F-16s to Kiev will raise the NATO-Russia question – DW – 05/22/2023

the Transportation of F-16 fighters Russia’s ambassador to the United States said in remarks published early Monday that Kiev would raise the issue of NATO’s involvement in the conflict.

“There is no infrastructure to operate the F-16 in Ukraine, nor does the required number of pilots and maintenance personnel exist,” Anatoly Antonov said in a statement posted on the embassy’s Telegram channel on Monday.

“What will happen if American fighters take off from NATO airfields controlled by foreign” volunteers “?

Notes come next US President Joe Biden On Friday, it approved a plan for training programs for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky assured Biden that the plane would not be used to enter Russian territory.

On the other hand, Antonov also said that any Ukrainian attack on Crimea would be seen as a blow to Russia.

“It is important for the United States to be fully aware of the Russian response,” he added.

Sending F-16s to Ukraine ‘Not a Game Changer’: Charles Kupchan, Council on Foreign Relations

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Here are some other developments related to Russia’s war in Ukraine on Monday, May 22:

Zelensky: Bakhmut was not “occupied” by Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Bakhmut was “not occupied” by Moscow, even as the commander of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group claimed his fighters had controlled the eastern salt-mining town “to the last centimeter”.

“Bakhmut is not occupied by Russia today,” Zelensky said on Sunday at a press conference on the sidelines of the conference. G7 summit in the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

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“I cannot share with you the tactical views of our army. The most difficult thing will be if there is a tactical error in Bakhmut and our people are surrounded.”

The Ukrainian military said it was holding a small part of the city, which was the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting during Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“We continue to advance on the flanks on the outskirts of Bakhmut,” said Oleksandr Sersky, commander of the Ukrainian Ground Forces.

However, Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said that there were no Ukrainian soldiers in Bakhmut.

“There is not a single Ukrainian soldier in Bakhmut because we have stopped holding prisoners,” he said in a statement posted on Telegram. “There are a huge number of corpses of Ukrainian soldiers.”

Prigozhin said that Zelensky was not telling the truth or “like many of our military leaders, he simply does not know what is happening on the ground, that is a possibility.”

He added that Wagner would hand over control of Bakhmut to the Russian army by May 25.

Russia’s Prigozhin claims capture of Bakhmut: DW reports

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Zelensky likens the ruins of Pahmut to Hiroshima after World War II

President Volodymyr Zelensky likened it to Bakhmut ruins to the destruction of Hiroshima in World War II while participating in the G7 summit in the Japanese city on Sunday.

Speaking to the media, Zelensky said, “I will tell you frankly: the pictures of the destroyed Hiroshima quite remind me of Bakhmut and other similar settlements. Nothing is left alive, all the buildings are in ruins.”

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Following the comments, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova mocked the Ukrainian president’s comparison, saying that the United States bombed Hiroshima and is now providing military support to Ukraine.

“It’s great,” Zakharova said on Telegram. Because the White House did them.”

Brazilian Lula is “upset” at not meeting Zelensky

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Monday that he was “disturbed” that he did not meet Volodymyr Zelensky at the G7 summit, adding that the meeting failed because his Ukrainian counterpart was late.

“I was not disappointed. I was upset because I wanted to meet him and discuss the matter,” Lula told reporters at a press conference before returning from Japan.

But Lula said: “Zelensky is exaggerating. He knows what he’s doing.”

He added that he did not see the point of meeting Zelensky now, saying that neither he nor Russian President Vladimir Putin apparently wanted peace.

“At the moment, they are both convinced that they will win the war,” he said.

Lula pushes for peace negotiations, proposing Brazil as a mediator, along with other “neutral” countries, including China and Indonesia.

But he faced criticism last month after he accused the United States of “encouraging” the war.

Russia launches an air attack during the night on the Dnipro governor

Officials said Russia launched an air attack overnight on the city of Dnipro in southeastern Ukraine.

Local media reported a series of explosions, but it was not immediately clear whether it was air defense systems destroying targets or Russian missiles or drones hitting their targets.

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“Thanks to the defense forces, we withstood the attack. Details will come in time,” local governor Serhiy Lysak said on his Telegram messaging app, referring to Russian forces as “terrorists”.

Ukraine’s RBC-Ukraine news agency reported that about 15 explosions were heard during the more than 90 minutes of air raid alerts.

With a Ukrainian counterattack looming, Russia resumed missile and drone strikes this month after a lull of nearly two months.

Waves of attacks now come several times a week, the most severe of the war.

Russian administration: Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is cut off from the power grid

A local official installed by Russia in the Moscow-controlled part of the region said the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant had gone into standby mode.

Vladimir Rogov said the station was “completely” disconnected from the external power source after Ukraine cut the power line it controls.

There was no immediate response from Ukraine, but Anatoly Kortev, secretary of Ukraine’s Zaporizhia City Council, said work has been going on since early Monday to restore power to the city.

“(Power) has partially disappeared in Zaporizhzhia due to an emergency at one of the power facilities,” Kurtev said on the Telegram messaging app.

Zaporizhzhia region in Ukraine is one of four regions of Ukraine that Russia annexed last year.

On several occasions, the Zaporizhia power plant has been the center of heavy fighting between Russian and Ukrainian fighters, causing concern among international nuclear experts who feared a possible accident at the facility.

dvv/kb (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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