Ukraine Latest: Russia Strikes Home Town of Eurovision Entrants

Germany on Saturday announced it’s preparing a record military aid package for Ukraine worth almost $3 billion.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Olaf Scholz shake hands in Berlin.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Olaf Scholz shake hands in Berlin.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is in Berlin, where he held talks with Germany’s president and will next meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other leaders, a day after a visit to Rome that included an audience with Pope Francis. 

Germany on Saturday announced it’s preparing a record military aid package for Ukraine worth almost $3 billion. 

Ukraine fired on targets in the occupied Luhansk region on Friday using Storm Shadow missiles provided by the UK, Russia’s defense ministry said. Two Russian military helicopters and two jets crashed on Saturday in the Bryansk region, which borders Ukraine, according to Russian media reports. 

Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Olaf Scholz shake hands in Berlin. Photographer: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg
Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Olaf Scholz shake hands in Berlin. Photographer: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg

Key Developments

  • Ramaphosa, Zelenskiy Hold Talks Amid Russia Weapons Dust-up
  • China to Send Special Envoy to Ukraine, Russia From Monday 
  • Ukraine Cites Gains on Russian Troops Near Embattled Bakhmut
  • Germany Announces Record €2.7B in Military Aid for Ukraine
  • G-7 Finance Chiefs Unite to Condemn Russia and Counter China

(All times CET)

Zelenskiy Meets With German President Steinmeier (10 a.m.)

Ukraine’s president was welcomed in Berlin by Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a day after Germany announced a new package of weapons aid to Kyiv worth close to $3 billion.  

Lukashenko Skips Ceremony in Minsk, Remains Out of Sight (10 a.m.) 

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, 68, was absent from a ceremony in Minsk on Sunday morning, with prime minister Roman Golovchenko reading an address on his behalf. 

The Belarusian strongman, a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, appeared frail during a visit to Moscow on May 9 for the Victory Day parade in Red Square, and has been out of sight since then. 

Russia Strikes Home City of Ukraine’s Eurovision Finalist (9 a.m.)

Russia struck Ternopil while the band Tvorchi, which hails from the western Ukrainian city, was preparing to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest finals in Liverpool on Saturday night, Andriy Yermak, Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, said on Telegram. 

The strike was one of several overnight. Russian troops attacked Ukraine with Shahed drones, as well as fired Kalibr missiles from ships in the Black Sea and cruise missiles from strategic bombers, General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Facebook.

Air defenses downed three missiles and 25 drones, according to the statement. Some missiles and their debris hit the Ternopil region as well as Mykolayiv in the country’s south. At least 30 civilians were wounded in the attacks, according to the General Staff. Russian missiles also hit Kharkiv in the northeast, the region’s governor said. 

Zelenskiy in Berlin for Talks With German Leaders (8 a.m.) 

Zelenskiy arrived in Berlin overnight, where the Ukrainian president is expected to have talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other top officials. He arrived in a Luftwaffe jet from Rome, according to the Associated Press. He met there Saturday with Italy’s prime minister, president, and Pope Francis. 

Germany on Saturday announced a record military aid package to Ukraine worth close to $3 billion.  

Zelenskiy and Scholz are expected to travel later on Sunday to the western German city of Aachen, where Ukraine’s leader will receive the Charlemagne Prize — for work done in the service of unification — awarded to him and the people of Ukraine. 

Read more: Europe Crowns Zelenskiy As New Charlemagne: Andreas Kluth

Ramaphosa, Zelenskiy Talk After Russian Weapons Claims (1 a.m.)

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa held talks with Zelenskiy on Saturday, amid allegations that the country supplied weapons and ammunition to Russia, despite Pretoria having taken a neutral stance on its invasion of Ukraine.

“Anyone who helps an aggressor with a weapon will be an accomplice with all the consequences,” Zelenskiy said in an statement after speaking to Ramaphosa remotely from Rome. He said he called on Ramaphosa “to join together with other countries of the world, all continents, and Africa in joint work to implement our peace formula.”  

South Africa and the US also sought on Friday to make amends after US Ambassador Reuben Brigety was summoned in protest over his accusation about Russian weapons supplies. 

Read more: Ramaphosa, Zelenskiy Hold Talks Amid Russia Weapons Dust-up

Zelenskiy Vows ‘Results’ From Counteroffensive (8:02 p.m.)

Zelenskiy said Ukraine is getting ready, with great effort, for a counteroffensive against Russia, adding that “important steps will be taken shortly.” He provided no other details in a live interview with Italian public broadcaster Rai Uno.

“You will see results,” he said. “We believe in victory.” 

Zelenskiy Says He Urged Pope ‘to Condemn Russian Crimes’  (6:21 p.m.)

Zelenskiy said on Twitter that he urged Pope Francis, in their private meeting at the Vatican on Saturday, “to condemn Russian crimes in Ukraine. Because there can be no equality between the victim and the aggressor.” 

“I also talked about our Peace Formula as the only effective algorithm for achieving a just peace. I proposed joining its implementation,” Zelenskiy said.

A Vatican statement after the meeting didn’t mention peace efforts, noting that the two men had discussed “he “humanitarian and political situation in Ukraine caused by the ongoing war.”  

Russia’s Kommersant Says Two Jets, Two Helicopters Crash in Bryansk (5:30 p.m.)

Two Russian military jets — an Su-24 and an Su-35 — and two Mi-8 helicopters likely crashed on Saturday in the Bryansk region not far from Ukraine’s northeast border, with their crews killed, the Kommersant newspaper reported. 

Earlier, Russian media reported that one plane and one helicopter had crashed, with the circumstances still under investigation. 

In its report, which cited “preliminary data,” Kommersant said the jets had been headed to Ukraine’s Chernihiv region on a bombing mission with the helicopters had trailed them to pick up crew members if they were shot down by enemy fire. 

Russia Says Ukraine Used UK Storm Shadow Missiles to Strike Luhansk (3:30 p.m.) 

Ukraine’s forces used Storm Shadow missiles provided by the UK to strike occupied Luhansk, Russia’s defense ministry said in an update on what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine. 

Russia said the targets included a polymer factory and a meat plant, without offering evidence. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine’s military. Images on social media showed large plumes of smoke rising in the city that’s far behind the front lines in eastern Ukraine. 

The UK confirmed this week that it’s donating the weapons to Ukraine, saying the move was a “calibrated and proportionate response to Russia’s escalations.” The missiles have a firing range in excess of 250 kilometers (155 miles). It was unclear when the Storm Shadows would be ready for deployment. 

Read more: UK Sends Long-Range Storm Shadow Cruise Missiles to Ukraine 

Germany Announces €2.7 Billion Military Aid Package for Ukraine (10 a.m.)

Germany is preparing another military support package for Ukraine worth more than €2.7 billion ($2.9 billion), the country’s defense ministry said, confirming an earlier report from Der Spiegel. 

Read more: Germany Announces Record €2.7B in Military Aid for Ukraine

The record large package is intended to continue to support Kyiv in its defense against Russia and will include material from the areas of artillery, air defense, and armored combat vehicles including main battle tanks. 

“We are once again showing that Germany is serious about its support,” said German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius. “Germany will provide all the help it can - as long as it takes,” he added. 

More stories like this are available on

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.