May 9, 2022: Russia-Ukraine news

By Rhea Mogul, Andrew Raine, Tara John, Ben Church, Aditi Sangal, Laura Smith-Spark and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 12:08 AM ET, Tue May 10, 2022
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1:01 p.m. ET, May 9, 2022

US sees "anecdotal reports" of Russian troops in Ukraine not obeying orders, senior defense official says

From CNN's Michael Conte and Oren Liebermann

The US sees “anecdotal reports” of Russian troops and “mid-grade officers at various levels, even up to the battalion level” refusing to obey orders to move forward in the new Donbas offensive in Ukraine, according to a senior US defense official.

The official said these officers “have either refused to obey orders or are not obeying them with the same measure of alacrity that you would expect an officer to obey.”

Russian forces have struggled with widespread morale problems since the beginning of the invasion, according to this official, which is just one of numerous problems that has plagued the Russian military during this war.

Russian forces are also still facing logistics issues that are slowing their progress, according to the official.

There are 97 operational battalion tactical groups (BTGs) of Russian forces in Ukraine right now, up from 92 BTGs assessed on April 28, the official told reporters on Monday. This is an increase of five BTGs in 11 days.

"It’s not unusual for them to move a BTG or two out of the Donbas back into Russia for re-fit or re-supply and then move them back in, that’s normal," the official said. But overall, "they've added about five BTGs to Ukraine, and all of those BTGs are either in the east or in the south" of Ukraine, the official said.

12:09 p.m. ET, May 9, 2022

Source: Biden told top US national security officials leaks about intelligence sharing with Ukraine must stop

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

US President Joe Biden recently told his top national security officials that leaks about US intelligence sharing with Ukrainians aren’t helpful and need to stop, according to an official familiar with the conversation. 

Last week, after the White House denied providing direct intelligence to Ukrainians “with the intent to kill Russian generals,” Biden spoke separately with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, CIA Director William Burns and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.

He told them that it was not helpful for information to become public about what the US was sharing with the Ukrainian forces fighting the Russian invasion, an official said, and stressed that the leaks regarding such information must stop.

Biden’s message to his top national security officials was first reported by NBC News.

US officials have been candid about intelligence sharing with Ukrainians but have also said there is a line in what is shared with them. In addition to sending weapons for the battlefield, officials have also provided intelligence "to help the Ukrainians defend their country," a spokesperson for the National Security Council said last week.

12:32 p.m. ET, May 9, 2022

Russian missile destroys Odesa hotel beloved by Russia's elite

From Sanyo Fylyppov and Tim Lister in Lviv

The Grande Pettine Hotel in Odesa, Ukraine, is seen on May 9 after it was struck by a Russian cruise missile.
The Grande Pettine Hotel in Odesa, Ukraine, is seen on May 9 after it was struck by a Russian cruise missile. (ddp images/Sipa USA/AP)

There is a hotel in the southern Ukrainian city of Odesa that became known locally as "the stronghold of the Russian world."

The luxury development named the "Grande Pettine" is situated on a Black Sea beach. When the pro-Russian movement in Odesa was at its peak — about 10 years ago — the complex held conferences dedicated to the brotherhood of Ukraine and Russia. One was called: "Challenges of the global crisis: the unity of Ukraine and Russia."

The place attracted Russian talk show personalities and some of the most hawkish of Russian politicians. It is still owned by a businessman who was prominent in the pro-Russian Party of Regions.

This weekend, the "Grand Pettine" was hit by at least one Russian cruise missile, sustaining severe damage.

Given the fond memories of influential Russians for the warmth and luxury offered by the Black Sea resort, it seems unlikely it was deliberately targeted.

Rubble from the Grande Pettine Hotel is seen in Odesa on May 8.
Rubble from the Grande Pettine Hotel is seen in Odesa on May 8. (Max Pshybyshevsky/AP)

CNN contacted the hotel Monday and was told that it could not provide a response until the curfew was over Tuesday. 

"The buildings of the hotel and restaurant complex, as well as the utility infrastructure, were destroyed and damaged. There are no victims or injured," the prosecutor's office in Odesa said Monday.

11:51 a.m. ET, May 9, 2022

US has delivered most of the pledged howitzers to Ukraine, senior defense official days

From CNN's Michael Conte and Ellie Kaufman

The US has delivered "more than 85" of the 90 howitzers, long-range weapons, that were pledged to Ukraine, as well as more than 110,000 of the 184,000 ammunition rounds for them, according to a senior US defense official.

The official also said that “more than 310” Ukrainian soldiers have completed training on the howitzers, with another “50 plus” currently being trained as well, along with a new separate two week long course on howitzer maintenance beginning today.

At least 20 Ukrainians have completed training on the Phoenix Ghost drone, 60 Ukrainians have completed training on the M113 armored personnel carrier (APC) with another “45 plus” completing training on that APC today, and 15 Ukrainian soldiers have completed training on the Q64 mobile air defense radar, with a second class beginning training on that radar today, the official added.

At least “13 deliveries from seven different nations have arrived at various transshipment sites throughout the region” that have included “shotguns, spare parts, Humvees, generators,” and “even a couple of additional Howitzers.” the official noted.

12:25 p.m. ET, May 9, 2022

European Council president forced to take shelter from missile strike during Ukraine visit, EU official says 

From CNN’s James Frater and Julia Kesaieva 

President of the European Council Charles Michel is seen during his visit to Odesa, Ukraine, on May 9, in this picture released by the European Council press office.
President of the European Council Charles Michel is seen during his visit to Odesa, Ukraine, on May 9, in this picture released by the European Council press office. (Dario Pignatelli/European Council Press Service/AFP/Getty Images)

During a meeting with the Ukrainian prime minister on Monday, European Council President Charles Michel and other participants “needed to interrupt the meeting to take shelter as missiles struck again the region of Odesa,” a European Union official told CNN. 

In a readout of Michel’s visit, the official, who was not in Ukraine, said that President Michel and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal were joined by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky via video link from Kyiv, and their discussions “focused on how best the EU can continue to support Ukraine in meeting the humanitarian, economic and military challenges they currently face.” 

Speaking in Odesa, Michel said he wanted to confirm to Zelensky and “to all the people in Ukraine, that our support will be maximum,” and that the EU “will provide as much as we can” in terms of military equipment. 

He also said that EU was coordinating with the international community to “mobilize financial support, expertise, in order for you to be able to address the humanitarian challenges, to be also able to run the country, and you need liquidity and to start the rebuilding of the country.” 

Michel added, “We know, that you and the people of Ukraine who are fighting for your homeland, for the future of your children, for your freedoms, but you are also fighting for our common European principles, values and democracy and democratic rights.” 

“And that's why it's our moral duty to support you as much as we can,” he said. 

In a video statement, Zelensky thanked the European Council president for his support and for giving Ukraine “the possibility to be equal in the family of the European Union.” 

"And in this difficult moment — of the bombardment, and the war — your courageous position and being present, in Odesa, in person is not just welcome, but raises lots of gratitude," the Ukrainian leader added.  

Earlier on Monday, Serhiy Bratchuk, the spokesperson for the Odesa region military administration, said that Russian forces had fired four Onyx cruise missiles at the region. 

11:04 a.m. ET, May 9, 2022

Russian storming of Azovstal plant continues with tanks and artillery, Ukrainian defense official says

From CNN's Anastasia Graham-Yooll

Smoke rises from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 7.
Smoke rises from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 7. (Alexei Alexandrov/AP)

Russian forces continue with a “storm offensive” on the Azovstal plant in Mariupol on Monday, using tanks and artillery, Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesperson Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told reporters in a daily briefing.

“We cannot exclude renewed bombings, Tu22M3 long range bombers,” he added.

According to the ministry, Russia’s presence in the Black Sea has now swelled to seven vessels armed with Kaliber-type cruise missiles, “collectively carrying up to 50 missiles.”

Meanwhile, the situation in breakaway region of Transnistria remains tense, according to Motuzyanyk, with “local units and brigades of the so called ‘operational forces’ from the Russian Federation stationed there remaining on high alert.”

10:40 a.m. ET, May 9, 2022

Here's the latest on Ukraine's efforts to obtain EU membership

From CNN's Radina Gigova in London

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a video conference call with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday, where he announced the transfer for the second part of the completed questionnaire for obtaining the status of a candidate for EU membership, according to his office.

Sending the answers in itself is "also a small victory for our team," he said, according to a statement released from the office.

Obtaining EU membership candidate status is "of great importance for the Ukrainian people and our Armed Forces, which are defending their homeland," he told von der Leyen on Monday.

"We are waiting for the consideration and conclusions of the European Commission. I would like these conclusions to be positive. And I would like these conclusions to be provided faster thanks to you."

The EU "will aim to deliver its opinion in June," von der Leyen tweeted Monday.

10:36 a.m. ET, May 9, 2022

US ambassador to UN: Putin "has recognized he has no victory to celebrate" — but gave no plans to withdraw

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Kylie Atwood

Press briefing by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield President of the Security Council for the month of May at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on May 3.
Press briefing by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield President of the Security Council for the month of May at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on May 3. (Lev Radin/Sipa USA/Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin “has recognized he has no victory to celebrate,” US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told CNN in response to the lack of a major escalatory announcement in Putin's “Victory Day” speech Monday, but she said he also gave no indication that he plans to end the war. 

In the first reaction from a Biden administration official to Putin’s speech, Thomas-Greenfield noted that the Russian leader did not use his remarks on Monday to announce a withdrawal from Ukraine – which would have been welcomed by the United States – and which she said signals that Putin’s war will continue. 

Thomas-Greenfield told CNN’s Kylie Atwood “there was no reason for (Putin) to either declare victory or declare a war that he has already been carrying on for more than two months.”

“His efforts in Ukraine have not succeeded,” she said. “He was not able to go into Ukraine and bring them to their knees in a few days and have them surrender.”

However, “the conflict is not over, for sure,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

“He didn’t announce a withdrawal. He didn’t announce a deal with the Ukrainians,” she told CNN. “So I suspect and we all assess that this could be a long-term conflict that could carry on for additional months.”

Moreover, Thomas-Greenfield told CNN that it would be too strong to say the United States “welcomed” Putin’s remarks today because the “unconscionable war on the Ukrainian people” continues.

“So what we would see as a positive sign is for Putin to pull his troops out of Ukraine and bring this unconscionable war to an end,” she said.

10:18 a.m. ET, May 9, 2022

Russian diplomats' behavior at UN has "absolutely" changed since the war began, US ambassador to UN says

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler and Kylie Atwood

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia consults with ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy, center, during a Security Council meeting on maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on May 5
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia consults with ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy, center, during a Security Council meeting on maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on May 5 (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images)

The US ambassador to the United Nations told CNN the behavior of the Russian diplomats she works with in New York has “absolutely” changed since Russia began its war in Ukraine.

“From day one, the 24th of February, when we were sitting in an emergency meeting of Security Council and the Russians were president of the Security Council, we saw their demeanor change significantly in the council,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in Brussels Monday.

Thomas-Greenfield told CNN that the Russian diplomats at the United Nations “certainly” are “reading off of prepared remarks.”

“We know and expect when they will respond to things we say but I suspect that everything is very much laid out for them and scripted,” she said.

The Russian diplomats at the UN seem “uncomfortable,” noting she sees that reflected in “the way they carry themselves, the demeanor,” Thomas-Greenfield said, adding that she sees her Russian counterpart appear at the UN Security Council less frequently than before the war — now he often sends his deputy or his experts in his place.

She also said that she believes the Russian diplomats at the UN “were taken by surprise by the attack” on Feb. 24 that launched Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“I think they knew about the attack when we knew about the attack in the (Security) Council,” the US ambassador said, referring to the emergency meeting that was taking place at UN headquarters at the same time.