Putin ally says Ukraine war could last ‘decades’
The war in Ukraine could last for “decades” with long periods of fighting interspersed by truces, one of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s most senior aides has predicted.
“This conflict will last a very long time, most likely decades,” former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said during a visit to Vietnam.
“As long as there is such a power in place, there will be, say, three years of truce, two years of conflict, and everything will be repeated,” the deputy chairman of Putin’s powerful security council continued, while reiterating Moscow’s claim that Ukraine is a Nazi state.
On the frontline, Russia’s Wagner mercenaries have started handing over positions in Bakhmut to the regular Russian military, five days after claiming to have completed the capture of the devastated eastern Ukrainian city.
But Ukrainian deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar said Wagner has only handed over positions on the city’s outskirts and “inside the city itself Wagner fighters remain”.
Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has said he is ready to return his forces to Bakhmut if the regular army is struggling.
Putin ally says Ukraine war could last ‘decades’
One of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s top aides has said the war in Ukraine could last for decades, with long periods of fighting interspersed by truces, a state news agency reported today.
“This conflict will last a very long time, most likely decades,” former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said.
“As long as there is such a power in place, there will be, say, three years of truce, two years of conflict, and everything will be repeated,” he continued, reiterating Moscow’s claim that Ukraine is a Nazi state.
The remarks by the deputy chairman of Putin’s powerful security council were made during a visit to Vietnam, reported RIA news agency. He had described the Ukrainian authorities as an “infection”.
As the Ukraine war spills into Russia, a dangerous new front is about to explode
At the start of this week, an unknown number of paramilitaries entered the Russian region of Belgorod from Ukraine.
The details are both unclear and contested, but what appears to have happened is essentially this: they took over a border post, attacked a few villages on the Russian side of the border north of Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, and advanced several dozen kilometres further into Russia before being beaten back by Russian troops.
Russia claims they killed 70, but there is no corroboration.
Ukraine says it was a couple of Russian volunteer groups opposed to President Putin, operating independently of the Kyiv government; Russia says it was Ukrainian saboteurs and terrorists operating with the full knowledge and support of Kyiv. But whoever was behind this raid is a secondary detail to the fact that it happened.
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‘I thank everyone who gave this result’ – Zelensky
Ukraine is celebrating the return of more than 100 soldiers from captivity.
“Today we have another positive result from our team working on exchanges,” Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said on Twitter.
“We have returned 106 more of warriors from captivity – they fought in the Bakhmut sector. It is very important that there was no information about many of these 106 people at all – they were considered missing. But we found them.
“We brought them back home. 8 officers, 98 soldiers and sergeants… I thank everyone who gave this result.”
Wagner starts handing Bakhmut to regular Russian troops
Russia’s Wagner private army started handing over its positions in Bakhmut to regular Russian troops yesterday, five days after announcing complete capture of the devastated eastern Ukrainian city following the longest and bloodiest battle of the war.
“From today at five in the morning, May 25 until June 1, most of the (Wagner) units will rebase to camps in the rear,” Wagner chief Yevgeny Prighozin said in a video. The mercenary group’s leader was wearing battle gear and standing beside a war-damaged residential block.
However, Ukrainian deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar said Wagner has only handed over positions on the city’s outskirts but “inside the city itself Wagner fighters remain”.
Prigozhin has said his fighting unit would be ready to return to the city if needed.
Pictures: May 25 in Ukraine
Ukraine warns of increased danger from missile strikes this morning
Military authorities in Kyiv warned of an increased danger of Russian missile strikes in the early hours today, adding that the anti-aircraft defences were working.
“Increased missile danger! Air defences are working in the region,” the Kyiv regional military administration said in a message on Telegram.
Russia has targeted all of Ukraine and especially Kyiv in the recent months with early morning combined strikes of drones, cruise and ballistic missiles in a bid to overwhelm Ukraine’s air defences.
However, Kyiv says it has knocked out most of the Russian missiles headed towards Ukrainian cities with a high rate of success since April.
No details of possible damage were immediately available.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers surprise commencement speech to Johns Hopkins
During a surprise commencement address to graduates of Johns Hopkins University on Thursday morning, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky told them to take advantage of the time and resources they have to pursue their passions and uphold the democratic values at stake in his country’s war against Russia.
He spoke via livestream from Ukraine, where the ongoing conflict has impacted the futures of countless young Ukrainians, robbing them of opportunities and loved ones, Mr Zelensky said.
He told Hopkins graduates to make the most of every moment.
“Time is the most valuable resource on the planet,” he said. “Some people realize this sooner, and these are the lucky ones.
Others realize it too late, when they lose someone or something.”
He also thanked US leaders for their support since the Russian invasion, including significant investments in humanitarian and military aid.
Leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan speak of peace progress while arguing in front of Putin
The leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia on Thursday both spoke of progress towards ending their decades-old conflict over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, even as they argued openly in front of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-populated enclave inside Azerbaijan, has been a source of conflict between the two Caucasus neighbours since the years leading up to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and between ethnic Armenians and Turkic Azeris for well over a century.
In 2020, Azerbaijan seized control of areas that had been controlled by ethnic Armenians in and around the mountain enclave, and since then it has periodically restricted access to the only access road linking Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, on which the enclave relies for financial and military support.
At a meeting in Moscow, Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Azerbaijan of causing a humanitarian crisis by blocking the only land route from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh.
He called it a “direct violation” of a 2020 ceasefire that ended the six-week war between the two countries, and called for an international mission to be sent to evaluate the situation.
US senator hopes Serbia adopts Russia sanctions as Serb spy chief travels to Moscow
A US senator on Thursday said he hopes Serbia would adopt Western sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, telling the Balkan country that “there is no future” in an alliance with Moscow.
“Russia’s invasion has been an absolute disaster and my belief is that Russia is ultimately going to lose this conflict,” Senator Chris Murphy told reporters in the Serbian capital Belgrade. Serbia is the only country in Europe that has not imposed any sanctions on Russia.
“The future for Serbia is with the European Union and with the United States not with Russia,” Mr Murphy said. “There is no future with Russia. They (Russia) are going to be devastated, a permanent pariah internationally after this invasion.”
Though Serbia is formally seeking EU membership and has condemned the invasion at the United Nations, Belgrade has maintained its historically friendly relations with Moscow.
Swedish minister for defence tweets about visit
Pål Jonson, Sweden’s minister for defence, has been in talks with Ukraine counterparts over what support the Scandinavian country can bring.
Mr Jonson was joined by his party colleague Carl-Oskar Bohlin for the visit on Thursday.
The minister for defence tweeted: “Impressed by the performance of the Ukrainian armed forces and the resilience of the Ukrainian people.”