Ukraine Latest: Putin’s Naval Strategy; Grain Magnate Killed

Track the latest developments emerging from the Russian attacks on Ukraine.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Ukrainian flag flutters, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine, May 12, 2022.(Photo:&nbsp;Viachslav Ratynski/Reuters)</p></div>
Ukrainian flag flutters, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine, May 12, 2022.(Photo: Viachslav Ratynski/Reuters)

(Bloomberg) -- President Vladimir Putin said the Russian fleet would start to be fitted with powerful “Zircon” hypersonic missiles within months as he outlined a new naval doctriner. A Ukrainian grain magnate was killed by Russian shelling in Mykolaiv. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on civilians in the Donetsk region to evacuate to protect themselves from Russian attacks in what’s become a lengthy ground battle. 

Russia’s defense ministry said it would allow the UN and Red Cross to investigate the deaths in a detention center in occupied Donetsk of about 50 Ukrainian POWs. Kyiv has called the attack a Russian war crime; Moscow says Ukraine’s military struck the facility with US-provided weapons.    

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Ukraine Latest: Putin’s Naval Strategy; Grain Magnate Killed

On the Ground

With the invasion now well into its sixth month, Russia continues to launch air and missile strikes against military and civilian targets. Shelling continued overnight in the Donestsk, Dnipro and Kharkiv regions. Heavy shelling in Mykolaiv in Ukraine’s south killed at least one person, governor Vitaliy Kim said. In the Donbas ground campaign, Russian forces are likely prioritizing offensive operations toward Bakhmut and around Donetsk City, at the expense of efforts to take Siversk and Slovyansk, the Institute for the Study of War said. Ukrainian forces disrupted a Russian ground assault in Kherson Oblast with preemptive artillery strikes.

(All times CET)

Founder of Ukraine Grain Shipper Nibulon Killed (11:30 a.m.)

The multi-millionaire owner of Nibulon, one of Ukraine’s largest agricultural companies, died during Russian shelling in the southern city of Mykolaiv this weekend, according to the region’s governor. 

Oleksiy Vadaturskyi and his wife Raisa Vadaturska were killed in their home during shelling that hit several targets, including schools, a sports complex and many residences, governor Vitaliy Kim said in a post on Telegram. 

Putin Says Russian Navy to Get New Hypersonic Missiles (11:12 a.m.)

Russia’s navy will start to be fitted with “Zircon” hypersonic missiles in the coming months, President Vladimir Putin said Sunday in St. Petersburg in a speech to mark Russia’s Navy Day holiday. 

The location of the ships equipped with the cruise missiles will be determined based on the “interests of ensuring the security of Russia,” Putin said. 

The Russian leader didn’t mention Ukraine in his speech, but said he’d signed a new naval doctrine. The Russian navy’s sphere of strategic and economic interest includes “our Arctic waters, the waters of the Black, Okhotsk and Bering Seas, the Baltic and Kuril straits,” Putin said. 

Russia Invites UN, Red Cross to Probe POW Deaths (9:42 a.m.)

Russia’s defense ministry on Sunday invited experts from the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to investigate the deaths of Ukrainian POWs in the Olenivka detention center, according to Tass. It’s unclear what level of access agency personnel will receive. 

Thursday night’s strike on the prison camp in occupied Donetsk killed about 50 Ukrainian prisoners. Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for the deadly attack. Earlier, the Ukrainian branch of the Red Cross said access to the center hadn’t been granted.

German Gas Storage ‘Heading in Right Direction’ (9:30 a.m.)

Germany’s gas-storage facilities are gradually increasing capacity despite reduced flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and a lack of alternative supplies via other routes, said the president of the country’s Federal Network Agency. 

“We’re going in the right direction,” Klaus Mueller said late Saturday in a tweet, pointing to official data that showed capacity at 68.1% as of Friday, up about 0.3 percentage points from the previous day.

Gazprom this week cut Nord Stream flows to 20%, citing issues with turbine maintenance and sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion.

Gazprom Sets Out Challenges for Resuming Normal Nord Stream Flow

Crimean Official Says Five Wounded in Drone Attack (8:45 a.m.)

Five people were wounded in an attack on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol in Russian-annexed Crimea. Tass, citing the fleet’s press service, said it a low-powered explosive device was carried by a “makeshift” drone. 

The city’s mayor, Mikhail Razvozhayev, blamed the incident on Ukrainian forces. In response, Serhiy Bratchuk, administration spokesman for the Odesa region, called the attack “sheer provocation” by Russia. Ukraine’s liberation of Crimea “will be carried out in another way and much more effectively,” he wrote on Telegram.

Sunday is the Navy Day in Russia, a national holiday. President Vladimir Putin is attending a large parade in St. Petersburg. 

Zelenskiy Calls for Donbas Evacuation (9:30 p.m.)

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on residents of Ukraine’s Donbas region to evacuate, saying in his nightly video address on Saturday that many are refusing. “Leave, we will help,” Zelensky said. “At this stage of the war, terror is the main weapon of Russia.”

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the government is enforcing evacuations amid intensified shelling and fears that it’ll be hard to survive the winter. 

“The enemy is destroying everything that would help to heat people in winter again and again,” she said in a television interview. At least 200,000 to 220,000 civilians live in areas of the Donetsk region under Kyiv’s control, she said. 

Access to Olenivka Not Granted, Ukraine’s Red Cross Says (5:30 p.m.)

Access to the Olenivka penal facility in occupied Donetsk hasn’t been granted, the Ukrainian branch of the Red Cross said, adding that it stands ready to “support the return and transfer of mortal remains” of some 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war killed there in an attack on Thursday night. 

“Granting ICRC access to POWs is an obligation of parties to conflict under the Geneva Conventions,” ICRC Ukraine said in a Twitter thread. 

Ukraine Demands Details of POWs Killed in Attack (3:51 p.m.)

Ukraine’s Coordination Centre on Handling Prisoner of War Issues demanded that Moscow provide a list of POWs killed and wounded in Thursday night’s explosion in Olenivka, Donetsk. The center also seeks to retrieve the bodies of those killed, and has urged the Red Cross and the United Nations to immediately start an investigation.

Russia hasn’t responded to the request. Moscow has said the deadly attack on the correctional facility was conducted by Kyiv with US-supplied weapons. Russia’s defense ministry earlier published a list of what it said were POWs from Ukraine’s Azov battalion killed in Olenivka. 

France’s foreign ministry joined the US and the EU in condemning the attack, which killed an estimated 50 POWs, as well as recent reports of the torture of Ukrainian prisoners. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it has requested access to the prison. 

Gazprom Halts Gas Supplies to Latvia (10:24 a.m.)

The Russian gas producer Gazprom PJSC halted supplies to Latvia, saying the Baltic nation had “violated the conditions” of its purchases. Flows were cut off on Saturday, Gazprom said in a statement on Telegram, without providing details.

Deutsche Bank Chief Sees Germany Prepared for Gas Crisis (9:59 a.m.)

Germany’s economy is more than capable of withstanding the impact of Russia cutting gas supplies, said the CEO of the country’s leading bank.

While a complete halt in Russian gas deliveries would trigger a recession, Europe’s biggest economy can cope with the fallout “no matter how bad it gets,” Deutsche Bank AG’s Christian Sewing, said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper. 

Deutsche Bank Chief Sees Germany as Well Prepared for Gas Crisis  

Ukraine Says Ten Ships Ready to Sail (8:19 a.m.) 

Seventeen cargo ships are loaded with grain at the Black Sea ports of Odesa and Chornomorsk, with as many as ten ready to depart under the deal for safe transit between Ukraine, Turkey, Russia and the UN, according to Ukraine’s Infrastructure Ministry.

“Vessels that had been loaded with grain already in winter are ready to depart” as soon as the UN and Turkey agree on a “green corridor” toward Bosporus, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday, citing minister Oleksandr Kubrakov. 

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday declared Ukraine “fully ready” to start shipping during a visit to the Chornomorsk Sea Trade Port. The Turkish-flagged vessel Polarnet was shown loading grain. 

Ukraine Latest: Putin’s Naval Strategy; Grain Magnate Killed

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