​Day 97th of War Between Ukraine and Russian Federation (Live Updates)

Defense Express collects operative information on Russia's invasion of Ukraine – official sources and senior Ukrainian authorities' announcements
russian T-72B3 tank (with mine roller) in the service of the Armed Forces of Ukraine / Open source photo
russian T-72B3 tank (with mine roller) in the service of the Armed Forces of Ukraine / Open source photo

Ukraine keeps conducting counter-offensive in the south of Ukraine successfully pushing the enemy back. However, the situation in the east of the country is really difficult due to high concentration of russia’s troops and armament, the city of Sievierodonetsk is reportedly occupied, severe fighting continues in the region. Russia is getting ready to shell Sumy in the north-east from own territory. Nevertheless, Ukraine keeps getting 155mm artillery and other armament to help fight back and this military aid won't stop until Ukraine’s victory

Brief Facts:

  • U.S. to announce more military help to Ukraine "in coming days"
  • EU to impose an oil embargo on russia.
  • The U.S. plans to provide Ukraine with Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems – WSJ
  • The war with Russia will not end soon, and Ukraine’s victory requires that the entire state consolidate effort – Oleksiy Danilov.

Side note: news are marked in accordance with the Kyiv time zone: Eastern European Time (EET), GMT/UTC+2

Read more: The 96th Day of the War: Russian Casualties in Ukraine

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23:45 U.S. to announce more military help to Ukraine "in coming days"

Speaker of the US Department of State Ned Price said on Tuesday, May 31, that the United States "must also bolster Ukraine's ability to defend itself in the face of Kremlin's brutality. And we will have more of that n the coming days," the official said, Defense Express reports

He also recalled that Congress has approved $40 billion to work with, and the Department of State is aware of the Ukrainian needs for security assistance to impact the battlefield.

23:07 Thirteen artillery systems eliminated in Donbas

Ukrainian military published a regular update on the situation in the eastern frontlines from the JFO and Operational-tactical Group "East". Learn more:

Eastern Operational Zone Update: russian Artillery Gets Outgunned

Ukrainian BM-21 "Grad" MLRS firing on russian positions / Photo credit: 93rd Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

22:35 Sixth package of sanctions on russia was approved – Zelensky

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine, speaking of the sixth sanctions package from the European Union / Screenshot credit: Zelensky's official Telegram channel

In his daily address to the people of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky said the EU countries have agreed on the next sanctions package. Correction: the package is still to be officially adopted by the European Union. This one includes restrictions on russian oil imports and further disconnection of russian major "Sberbank" bank from the SWIFT worldwide payment system. The President said russia will lose "dozens of billions of euros" for russia to finance the war.

"Strategically, this leaves russia on the outskirts of the modern economy," Zelensky said about the partial oil embargo, which will inevitably lead to russia's defeat.

22:01 Russians dropped a bomb on a chemical plant

A cloud was rising from the damaged chemical plant in Severodonetsk / Photo credit: Serhii Haidai

Air attack of russian forces resulted in a chemical plant being hit in Severodonetsk, Serhii Haidai, the Head of the Luhansk region administration reports. A tank with nitric acid got damaged, a release of hazardous substances was recorded. The local citizens were urged to stay at their homes and prepare masks to minimize the threat of intoxication.

21:48 The fighting in Severodonetsk continues

As of the evening of May 31, street hostilities are still continuing in the city of Severodonetsk, according to a local Suspilne reporter. The Ukrainian military are holding the defense

21:33 Norway will treat wounded Ukrainian soldiers

Norway has previously decided to receive 550 patients from Ukraine. Now it became known that military servicemen will be among those who receive medical care from the Norwegian medics, Norwegian broadcaster NRK reports. The earlier delays to evacuate the wounded were caused by the uncertainty among the politicians:

"There has been a need to ensure that it is within the regulations to also include wounded soldiers in the scheme of medical evacuation," Mehl said in the press release, according to Norway Posts English.

20:53 Ukraine is winning the drone-jamming war – the Economist

Infographics credit: UA War Infographics

The Economist has published an article explaining how Ukrainian UAVs are able to make trouble for the russian invasion forces. The newspaper assumes the russian army possesses formidable resources for electronic warfare but fails to jam even vulnerable consumer drones. The reason is russia seems unwilling to move electronic-warfare units far enough forward on the battlefield to be effective, for fear they might be destroyed or, worse, captured and their secrets passed to the West.

20:32 Ukraine will receive tanks from Greece

Germany will help Ukraine get Soviet-era tanks from Greece, Politico reports. Instead, the Greek Army will receive modern German vehicles as a replacement, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on Tuesday, May 31. He said, this kind of indirect aid is being "discussed in very concrete terms between the defense ministries" of the countries involved.

The scheme is called Ringtausch (ring exchange) in German and its has already been implemented. In this way, Ukraine was said to get T-72 tanks from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as Slovenian M-84 tanks. Defense Express has told about this mechanism in detail here:

How Germany Can Help Ukraine Get T-72 Tank Battalion via "Lend-Lease Analog"

T-72 tanks of Slovak Armed Forces / Open source illustrative photo

19:32 EU to impose an oil embargo on russia

Tonight, the European Union agreed to impose an embargo on russian oil, the Minister of Energy of Ukraine Herman Galushchenko wrote on his social media. Further legal decisions and procedures should be approved by the EU Council. According to the official, "the very fact of the embargo will make Russian oil even more 'toxic,' pave the way for new suppliers and undermine the Kremlin's economic ability to finance the war".

"The embargo decision was a sign that the principles matter. That values are more important than prices. <...> It showed that the abandonment of Russian hydrocarbons for Europe is not a matter of survival, but decisiveness," he wrote.

18:43 Biden's administration gave new details on plans to hand over missile systems to Ukraine

U.S. officials said last week that the White House was nearing a decision on what rockets to provide to Kyiv but didn’t identify the specific weapons that would be sent. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System the U.S. plans to provide has roughly twice the range of the M777 howitzers that the U.S. has provided to Ukraine.

Officials said late Monday that the goal in sending the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System—or GMLRS—is to boost Ukraine’s firepower against Russian troops who have invaded the country’s Donbas region, without enabling Kyiv to expand the war deep into Russian territory.

More details:

US President Administration Gave New Details on Plans to Hand Over Missile Systems to Ukraine

High Mobility Artillery Rocket System / Photo for illustration

18:15 The war with Russia will not end soon, and Ukraine’s victory requires that the entire state consolidate efforts. The relevant statement was made by National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Secretary Oleksiy Danilov in an interview with Ukrinform.

“Those who were saying that the war would end very quickly, that we had already won and would celebrate in April – they were saying a dangerous thing. Sadly, the war is yet to last, and we need to do a lot of work before we win. It is very difficult for us at the front line. Battles are raging in Luhansk Region, Donetsk Region and other regions. Until the moment they end, until the moment the last Russian boot leaves our territory, we cannot calm down. No one has cancelled Russia’s objective to destroy out state. We must live with this, and our decisions should be taken with this postulate in mind,” Danilov told.

National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Secretary Oleksiy Danilov
National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Secretary Oleksiy Danilov

A reminder that, on February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, starting a war. Russian troops are shelling and destroying the key infrastructure facilities, launching air and missile strikes on Ukrainian cities and villages, torturing and murdering civilians.

17:46 The President of Slovakia Zuzana Chaputova arrived in Ukraine on a visit. She visited Irpin and Borodianka destroyed by Russian troops, addressed the Verkhovna Rada and met with President Zelenskyy.

In an address to the Peopleʼs Deputies of Ukraine, Chaputova acknowledged that during all these eight years of war against Ukraine, the West has not done enough to stop Russia.

17:10 A joint press conference of International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan and Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova has started in The Hague.

The press conference is taking place in Eurojust, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova delivered her speech first. In her words, the judicial front is very important, as “about 200-300 war crimes are committed daily”.

Venediktova stressed that hostilities are continuously raging in Ukraine.

“It is a brutal war. We do not have access to the occupied territories, but I hope, thanks to international colleagues, we will be able to achieve justice,” Venediktova noted.

The press conference was also attended by Lithuanian Prosecutor General Nida Grunskienė, Polish National Prosecutor Dariusz Barski and Eurojust President Ladislav Hamran.

A reminder that, in cooperation with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Eurojust organized a press conference, following a coordination meeting of the joint investigation team on alleged core international crimes committed in Ukraine.

Find more details on the theme in a publication by Defense Express:

Chronicle of the Russian Federation Crimes in Ukraine (May)

16:35 The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense has published exclusive footage of Ukrainian helicopter flights to the besieged Mariupol. They delivered weapons, ammunition, medicine, and food to the Armed Forces.

16:00 Ukrainian reconnaissance scouts of the Air Assault Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have destroyed an engineer unit of Russian invaders.

The relevant statement was made by the Air Assault Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Telegram.

“In one of mission areas, the reconnaissance scouts of the Air Assault Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine successfully destroyed an engineer unit of Russian occupiers,” the report states.

15:10 Russian troops have opened fire again from their territory on the border villages of Chernihiv and Sumy regions.

“From 09:10 to 09:15, about eight explosions were recorded in the direction of the village of Fotovyzh, Sumy region. At 13:10, near the village of Leonivka, Chernihiv region, four explosions were recorded,” the Operational Command "North" posted on Facebook.

There are no casualties among personnel and civilians or damage to military equipment and civilian infrastructure in both cases.

Find more details on the theme in a publication by Defense Express:

Chronicle of the Russian Federation Crimes in Ukraine (May)

14:40 According to the Security Service of Ukraine, Ukrainian defenders destroyed a large unit of the Wagner Group [a network of mercenaries who serve as the de facto private army of Russian President Vladimir Putin] in Donbas.

A new telephone conversation between the invaders which was intercepted by the Security Service of Ukraine [SSU] showed that after the elimination of such an elite unit of Russian soldiers (according to a source, the Wagner group fighters were killed on 27 May), ordinary Russian occupiers are hesitating whether to fight.

Representatives of the Wagner Group
Representatives of the Wagner Group

Quote from the occupier: "So many ChVK Wagner [ChVK is the Russian abbreviation for Private Military Company] fighters were deployed there, where the border needs to be taken… But these ChVKs are of no use there! They all died there, these ChVKs. These are f**king special forces! Prepared, holy sh*t! They all died. Well, not all of them, there were some left. F**k if I know, I don’t see any other way out of this situation at all."

Find more details on the theme and key points of the report in a publication by Defense Express:

The 97th Day of the War: Russian Casualties in Ukraine

13:40 Two Russian servicemen, Aleksandr Bobykin and Aleksandr Ivanov, who had shelled Kharkiv region from Grad multiple rocket launchers, were sentenced to 11 years and 6 months in prison.

The sentence was read out at the Kotelevsky district court of Poltava region on May 31, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

The court considers well-founded and proven all the charges brought against servicemen. "The court has no doubts about the voluntariness of their position. The guilt has been proved in full," reads the verdict.

Aleksandr Bobykin and Aleksandr Ivanov

13:00 Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office: Russia’s war killed at least 243 children, injured 446.

The figures are expected to be higher since they do not include casualties in the areas where hostilities are ongoing and in Russian-occupied areas, the Prosecutor General’s Office said.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office: Russia’s war killed at least 243 children, injured 446, Defense Express

12:45 The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has released an operational update on the state of warfare as of 06.00 on May 31, 2022.

According to Ukraine’s General Staff operational report, in the past 24hrs, eight enemy attacks have been repulsed in Donetsk and Luhansk, one tank, four artillery systems, five armoured combat vehicles and two enemy vehicles have been destroyed

In the temporarily occupied territories, the enemy continues to commit illegal acts against the citizens of Ukraine.

Find more details on the theme and key points of the report in a publication by Defense Express:

Ukraine’s General Staff Operational Report: Ukraine’s Troops Repulsed 8 Enemy Attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk Regions

Ukraine’s General Staff Operational Report: Ukraine’s Troops Repulsed 8 Enemy Attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk Regions, Defense Express

12:30 Two Russian soldiers sentenced to jail in Ukraine for war crimes

A Ukrainian court sentenced two captured Russian soldiers to 11-and-a-half years in jail on Tuesday for shelling a town in eastern Ukraine, the second war crimes verdict since the start of Russia’s latest invasion in February.

Alexander Bobikin and Alexander Ivanov, who listened to the verdict standing in a reinforced glass box at the Kotelevska district court in central Ukraine, both pleaded ‘guilty’ last week, The Guardian reports citing Reuters.

Russian soldiers Alexander Bobikin and Alexander Ivanov pictured at their trial in Kotelva, northeastern Ukraine, on Thursday 26 May, Defense Express
Russian soldiers Alexander Bobikin and Alexander Ivanov pictured at their trial in Kotelva, northeastern Ukraine, on Thursday 26 May / Photo credit: Bernat Armangué/AP

11:55 Russia sends additional units to Snake Island, transfers two S-300 divisions to Crimea.

Russian troops continue to strengthen the bridgehead on Snake Island by sending three Russian Black Sea Fleet boats there.

Serhii Bratchuk, spokesman for the Odesa Regional Military Administration, said this on Telegram, Ukrinform reports.

According to him, the enemy is attempting to strengthen its bridgehead on Snake Island, where it is sending additional units of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and to transfer two divisions of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to the Crimean peninsula.

Find more details on the theme in a publication by Ukrinform:

Russia sends additional units to Snake Island, transfers two S-300 divisions to Crimea, Defense Express
Russia sends additional units to Snake Island, transfers two S-300 divisions to Crimea

11:30 The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has published a new summary of total combat losses of the enemy from 24.02 to 31.05.

According to the summery, russians are facing non-stop military losses on Ukrainian soil. About 30500 agressor's troops eliminated, 1017 air targets (excluding cruise missiles) of invaders were shot down, thousands of tanks, armored vehicles and tracks were destroyed by defenders of Ukraine.

Find more details on the current russias combat losses in Ukraine-russia war as well as an infographic by Defense Express in a publication:

The 97th Day of the War: Russian Casualties in Ukraine

Russian drone Kub-BLA, that was found by Ukrainian troops, Defense Express
Russian drone Kub-BLA, that was found by Ukrainian troops

11:00 Chief of the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense appointed head of coordinating HQ for treatment of prisoners of war.

Head of the Defense Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Kyrylo Budanov has headed the Coordinating Headquarters for the treatment of prisoners of war, according to the Facebook page of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Tuesday.

"The head of the Defense Intelligence Agency of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has been appointed head of the Coordinating Headquarters for the treatment of prisoners of war," the report says.

10:40 Head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration Part of Sievierodonetsk controlled by enemy.

Russian invaders control part of the city of Sievierodonetsk in the Luhansk region, but they cannot move freely there.

Serhii Haidai, head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration, said this during a nationwide TV telethon.

"The situation in our city remains extremely difficult. In Sievierodonetsk, unfortunately, part of the city is already controlled by the Russian army. A couple of days ago, they reported that the city had already been captured, but this was not the case. Our guys are there, they are repelling their [Russians’] attacks. That is, they [the Russians] cannot move freely there," Haidai said.

Find more details on the theme in a publication by Ukrinform:

Part of Sievierodonetsk Controlled by Enemy - Haidai

Part of Sievierodonetsk Controlled by Enemy - Haidai, Defense Express

10:20 The UK’s ministry of defense has issued its daily assesement of the situation in Ukraine, saying that in order to pursue their likely objective of the complete occupoation of the Donbas, Russia has further challenging targets ahead of it, The Guardian reports.

The assesment says:

Russia’s capture of Lyman supports its operational main effort, which likely remains the encirclement of Sieverodonetsk and the closure of the pocket around Ukrainian forces in Luhansk Oblast.

Heavy shelling continues, while street fighting is likely taking place on the outskirts of Sieverodonetsk town.

Routes into the pocket likely remain under Ukrainian control. Russia has achieved greater local successes than earlier in the campaign by massing forces and fires in a relatively small area. This forces Russia to accept risk elsewhere in occupied territory.

Russia will need to secure further challenging operational objectives beyond Sieverodonetsk, including the key city of Kramatorsk and the M04 Dnipro-Donetsk main road.

The UK’s ministry of defense has issued its daily assesement of the situation in Ukraine, Defense Express

09: 55 3 killed, 6 wounded in Sloviansk in a result of enemy airstrike.

Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported early on May 31 that three people have been killed and six injured after Russia hit the city of Sloviansk with missiles.

"At least three people were killed and six were injured in a rocket attack by the Russians on Sloviansk at night. A school and at least seven apartment buildings were damaged," the report reads.

One building of a local school and at least seven high-rises were damaged. The exact number of victims will not be known until the completion of rescue operations which are currently underway.

09:20 In the south of Ukraine, the situation remains dynamic and tense. The occupiers have intensified shelling, including of civilian neighborhoods, but as a result of Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the area, panic is spreading among the invaders

This is stated by Operational Command South, Ukrinform reports.

The enemy is holding the occupied positions, seeing no success in further advance and therefore focusing on air, artillery, and mortar strikes.

Find more details on the theme in a publication by Defense Express:

Operational Command South: Ukraine’s Counteroffensive in Country’s South Sows Panic Among Russian Troops

Operational Command South, Ukraine’s Counteroffensive in Country’s South Sows Panic Among Russian Troops, Defense Express

08:50 The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has confirmed 8,900 civilian casualties, including 4,074 dead and 4,826 injured, over a full-scale war Russia is waging against Ukraine.

That’s according to the organization’s latest report.

“A total of 4,074 killed (1,540 men, 1,014 women, 93 girls, and 100 boys, as well as 69 children and 1,258 adults whose sex is yet unknown)… Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes,” the update reads, Ukrinform reports.

OHCHR delivers update on civilian death toll of Russian invasion of Ukraine, Defense Express
OHCHR delivers update on civilian death toll of Russian invasion of Ukraine

08:20 On Monday, May 30, the strike aircraft of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine fired on the occupying forces in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson regions.

The relevant statement was made by the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Facebook.

According to the statement, strike groups of close air support aircraft and bombers under cover of fighters carried out up to ten air raids on enemy positions.

Anti-aircraft missile units in the Donetsk and Odesa regions destroyed enemy missiles.

Find more details on the theme in a publication by Defense Express:

Ukraine’s Strike Aircraft Strikes Enemy Ground Target, Anti-Aircraft Missile Troops Destroy Two Occupiers' Missiles

A part of russia's downed missile, Defense Express
A part of russia's downed missile

07:45 Institute for the Study of War: Domestic dissent within Russian military circles continues to grow.

The U.S. think tank writes in its latest assessment that the Kremlin is facing discontent not from Russians opposed to the war as a whole, but military and nationalist figures angry at Russian losses and frustrated with shifting Kremlin framing of the war, The Kyiv Independent reports.

Russian officials are unable to use the same ideological justifications for the invasion in the face of clear setbacks, and a lack of concrete military gains within Ukraine will continue to foment domestic dissatisfaction with the war.

07:10 Pentagon: Hostilities may escalate in Ukraine.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, admits the possibility of escalation in the war Russia is waging against Ukraine. He emphasizes the need for constant contact with the Ukrainian side to ensure active risk management.

The official stated this in an interview with Fox News on Monday, Ukrinform reports.

"I think there's always a possibility of escalation, we have to closely manage chances and assess the chances of escalation, so we do that," Mark Milley said.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, Defense Express
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley / Photo credit: US DoD

In this context, the General stressed that U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is in constant contact with the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, as well as with his Ukrainian counterpart. According to Millie, this allows "to manage the escalation and prevent it from expanding into something much more horrific than it already is."

The U.S. official noted that decisive operational battles are currently taking place between Ukrainian forces and Russian invaders in eastern Ukraine. He clarified that the next few weeks are likely to “shape the outcomes of what would happen.”

06:25 U.S. to supply Ukraine MLR systems with 70-km, not 300-km range

New batches of high-precision guided rockets for multiple launch systems the U.S. is going to supply to Ukraine won’t be able to strike deep into the Russian territory.

That’s according to Michael McFaul, an American foreign relations expert, who was cited by The Washington Post as saying.

A senior U.S. official said Monday that President Biden has not ruled out sending Ukraine the Multiple Launch Rocket System, or MLRS, and that no final decision has been made.

“Clarifying comments from POTUSadministration on MLRS are more assuring. Ukraine will get new shipments of precision-guided missiles with longer ranges than Ukrainians have now, but not rockets that can strike deep into Russia,” McFaul tweeted.

05:00 Sometimes you don’t need to have modern armament if you’re a truly talented serviceman.

The National Guard’s conscript completely proves that.

Find more details in the article by Defense Express: National Guard Serviceman Shot Down 3 Enemy Jets with Soviet Igla MANPADS in Zaporizhzhia Oblast

National Guard Serviceman Shot Down 3 Enemy Jets with Soviet Igla MANPADS in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war

03:00 Joint Forces Task Force posted an update as of May 30, 2022.

According to the report, all over the defense line, russian troops used combat aviation, multiple launch rocket systems, cannon artillery, tanks, mortar systems, launching missile and air strikes on civil infrastructure facilities and residential areas.

Read more in the article by Defense Express: Joint Forces Task Force Reported About Enemy Units Elimination on May 30

Joint Forces Task Force Reported About Enemy Units Elimination on May 30, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Destroyed russia's armored infantry carrier / Open source photo

01:30 Operational Command South posted an update as of May 30, 2022.

Among the destroyed armament, the Armed Forces of Ukraine managed to destroy 8 units of infamous T-62.

More details in the article by Defense Express: Operational Command South: russia's T-62 Already Get Destroyed, Enemy Tu-22 Struck Odesa Region

Operational Command South: russia's T-62 Already Get Destroyed, Enemy Tu-22 Struck Odesa Region, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Ukraine's fighter posing in front of destroyed russia's vehicle / Photo credit: General Staff in Ukraine
Read more: ​Day 96th of War Between Ukraine and Russian Federation (Live Updates)