May 10, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news

By Heather Chen, Christian Edwards, Hannah Strange, Aditi Sangal, Lianne Kolirin and Tori Powell, CNN

Updated 12:03 a.m. ET, May 11, 2023
22 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
3:50 p.m. ET, May 10, 2023

France opens war crime investigation after AFP journalist was killed in Ukraine

From CNN’s Saskya Vandoorne in Paris and Zahid Mahmood in London


AFP journalist Arman Soldin, walks in a trench while covering the war in Ukraine on March 18.
AFP journalist Arman Soldin, walks in a trench while covering the war in Ukraine on March 18. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

France has opened a war crime investigation following the death of Agence France-Presse journalist Arman Soldin in Ukraine, a statement from the country's antiterrorism prosecution office said on Wednesday. 

The investigation was opened under three "war crimes," according to the translated statement, including: a "voluntary attack on the life and physical or psychological integrity of a person," the "deliberate attack against the civilian population," and the "deliberate attack in the knowledge that it will cause incidental loss of civilian life or injury to the civilian population."

France’s antiterrorism prosecution office has already opened seven preliminary investigations against "persons unknown" for war crimes committed since February 2022 against French nationals in Ukraine, the statement added. "Two of them concern crimes committed against French journalists in the exercise of their profession," it said.

Soldin was killed in a rocket attack on the outskirts of the town of Chasiv Yar, near Bakhmut, AFP announced on Twitter, citing colleagues who witnessed the incident. Soldin and the reporting team were with Ukrainian soldiers when they came under fire around 4:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday, according to AFP. The 32-year-old was with four colleagues at the time of the attack, but the other journalists were not injured, the news agency added.

2:16 p.m. ET, May 10, 2023

Italy calls on its nationals to leave Ukraine as expected counteroffensive looms 

From CNN’s Barbie Latza Nadeau in Rome

Italy on Wednesday told its nationals still in Ukraine to leave the country "immediately" ahead of an anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces.

"Rocket attacks on the whole country continue. All compatriots still present are advised to leave Ukraine immediately. Risk of collapse of energy infrastructure,” the Italian embassy in Kyiv said on its website.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has assured a counteroffensive “will happen,” while demurring on any exact start date.

2:06 p.m. ET, May 10, 2023

Latvia and Canada will jointly train Ukrainian soldiers starting next week

From CNN’s Zahid Mahmood in London

Latvia and Canada will begin to train Ukrainian soldiers in Latvia starting on May 15, a statement from the Canadian government said on Wednesday.

According to the statement, the initiative was developed jointly between Canadian Armed Forces and the Latvian National Armed Forces and will see both forces deliver the training for the Armed Forces of Ukraine through Operation UNIFIER.  

This initiative is in addition to the other ongoing deployments through Operation UNIFIER in support of Ukraine, the statement said. 

Some background: About 800 Canadian Armed Forces members are currently deployed to Latvia, where Canada has served as Framework Nation of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia since 2017, the statement said.

11:54 a.m. ET, May 10, 2023

2 more Russian soldiers sentenced to prison terms for refusing to fight in Ukraine

From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova

Two Russian servicemen have been sentenced to 2.5 years for refusing to serve in Ukraine, according to the independent human rights monitor OVD-Info.

Both men — from the Kamchatka area in Russia’s Far East — were found guilty under the article on refusal to participate in hostilities, which carries a maximum penalty of up to three years in prison, according to OVD-Info.

One of the soldiers, Alexander Stepanov, was sentenced on April 25, according to the case file. The press service of the court reports that on January 18, Stepanov refused to follow the orders of the commander of the military unit and refused to go to war in Ukraine during mobilization.

The second serviceman is Andrey Mikhailov, who was sentenced on April 27 under similar circumstances. Mikhailov refused to go to fight in Ukraine on January 21 — three days after Stepanov's decision.

The Russian courts have already received more than 500 cases against servicemen who directly refused to carry out orders to be sent to Ukraine or have deserted from the front, according to calculations by the independent media outlet Mediazona in March. But it added that most such cases were hidden from public view: sentences are usually not published and statistics are hidden or deleted.

In more than one-third of known AWOL convictions defendants receive suspended sentences, which means they can be sent to the front again, Mediazona reports.

1:55 p.m. ET, May 10, 2023

Putin signs annual decree on conscription of reserve citizens for military training

From CNN’s Uliana Pavlova

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech on April 27, in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech on April 27, in St. Petersburg, Russia. (Contributor/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Wednesday permitting the conscription for military training of citizens in the reserve, according to a document published on the government’s website.

"I order to call up in 2023 Russian citizens who are in the reserve to undergo military training in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the National Guard Troops of the Russian Federation, state security agencies and the Federal Security Service,” the decree said.

Military training of Russian citizens in the reserve is an annual event.

The Russian military reserve consists of a special combat army reserve, which may number as many as two million, and a larger group of eligible reservists, estimated by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as almost 25 million people.

Some background: Russia’s move to send hundreds of thousands to fight on the battlefields of Ukraine has generated dissent and protest and prompted many Russians – young men in particular – to flee the country. In April, Putin signed a law that made the country’s conscription program more efficient, more modern – and harder to evade.

CNN's Rob Picheta contributed to this post.

12:06 p.m. ET, May 10, 2023

Wagner boss fumes that Russian brigade "fled" Bakhmut area, allowing Ukrainians to seize territory

From CNN's Tim Lister and Olga Voitovych

Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, right, is seen here in a grab from a video released on May 9.
Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, right, is seen here in a grab from a video released on May 9. (Concord Press Service/Reuters)

While Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has frequently poured scorn on Russia’s Defense Ministry and its leadership, he has not previously accused Russian units of running from battle and allowing Ukrainian forces to recapture territory.

But in another expletive-laden tirade released on the same day that the Kremlin commemorated victory over Nazi Germany, Prigozhin said one Russian brigade had abandoned its positions south of Bakhmut, leading to many casualties among his fighters.  

In comments Tuesday, Prigozhin said “one of the units of the Ministry of Defense fled from one of our flanks, abandoning their positions. They all fled and [laid] bare a front nearly 2 kilometers [1.25 miles] wide and 500 meters [1,640ft] deep.”

Prighozhin said that the “72nd brigade f***ed up three square kilometers (1.1 miles) today, on which I had about 500 people killed. Because it was a strategic bridgehead. They just ran the hell out of there.”

The 72nd Brigade (or Separate Motorized Regiment as it is sometimes called) is part of the Russian military’s Western Military District.

As for soldiers fleeing, Prigozhin said: "The fish rots from the head. A soldier leaves the trenches because it is not necessary to die [as] useless. A soldier may die, but a soldier should not die because of the utter stupidity of his leadership.”

Speaking to Russian media, Prigozhin reiterated that Wagner had planned to leave the area because its units had inadequate ammunition – a decision postponed when a promise was made that supplies would be sent by May 9, he said.

“During the day of May 8-9, 2023, the required amount of ammunition was not issued,” Prigozhin said.

Separately, a prominent Russian military blogger, Anastasiya Kashevarova, has reported a complete lack of communication in the Bakhmut area between Wagner and Russian regular forces (72nd Brigade.) 

She wrote on Telegram: “The 72nd has a ban on working with the ‘orchestra’ [Wagner] and Wagner is too proud.”

Often, she added, a brigade does not know who is on its right or left. “There is no single command that would be respected by all without exception, “ she added. “Complete disunity of the front…the enemy is using it.”

The Ukrainian military has confirmed that its forces have made gains south of Bakhmut – a dramatic turn of events in an area where gains and losses have usually been measured in several feet.

The Ukrainian Third Assault Brigade, which has advanced in the area, spoke of eliminating dozens of Russian soldiers, and released video showing its tanks, supported by infantry, overrunning Russian trenches.

Some background: In an explosive, expletive-laden rant last week, Prigozhin appeared in front of dozens of his dead soldiers and blamed Russia’s military leadership for “tens of thousands” of Wagner casualties.

In late April, he threatened to withdraw his troops from Bakhmut if Moscow didn’t provide more ammunition. Prigozhin later backtracked on his threat after receiving promises of more ammunition.

11:08 a.m. ET, May 10, 2023

Russian troops won't let Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant staff evacuate with their families, Ukraine's military says

From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Kyiv

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine on March 29.
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine on March 29. (Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Russian soldiers are preventing employees of the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant from evacuating a nearby frontline town with their families, Ukraine's military said Wednesday. 

"In Enerhodar, the Russian occupiers organized a so-called 'evacuation' for family members of Zaporizhzhia NPP employees — yet employees of the power plant are not allowed to leave the city," Ukraine's General Staff of the Armed Forces said in a statement.

Russia-backed authorities have ordered the evacuation of thousands of civilians along the southern front as a Ukrainian counteroffensive looms.

Enerhodar, where most of the nuclear plant’s staff live, was among 18 settlements whose residents were evacuated over the weekend. The evacuees were moved to recreation centers and hotels in the southern towns of Berdiansk and Kyrylivka, while others were taken to Russia's Rostov region, Ukraine's military said.

Remember: The Zaporizhzhia plant is Europe’s largest nuclear power station and has been held by Russian forces since early in the invasion last year. It is mostly operated by a Ukrainian workforce.

The plant's position on the front lines means shelling in the surrounding towns and near the facility is common. The UN's nuclear watchdog again raised concerns earlier this week about safety at the plant, describing the situation as being "increasingly unpredictable."

10:40 a.m. ET, May 10, 2023

Russia claims its military hit Ukrainian ammunition depot in Zaporizhzhia region

From CNN's Katharina Krebs in London

The Russian defense ministry claimed on Wednesday that Russian forces had hit the ammunition depot of the Ukrainian army’s 65th mechanized brigade in the Zaporizhzhia region – an area that has seen a rise in shelling by both sides in anticipation of a Ukrainian counteroffensive. 

"An ammunition depot of the 65th mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was destroyed near the village of Preobrazhenka, Zaporizhzhia region," said the ministry in its daily briefing. There’s been no word from the Ukrainian side.

In addition, the ministry said that Russian assault detachments continued to move further into the northwestern and western outskirts of Bakhmut, while Russian airborne forces were "suppressing enemy actions on the flanks."

Some context: The ministry’s version of events around Bakhmut is at odds with that of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who says he lost 500 fighters because one Russian army unit had abandoned its positions south of Bakhmut, allowing Ukrainian forces to take a swathe of territory.

In an angry video message, Prigozhin said Russian units were “running away.”

9:29 a.m. ET, May 10, 2023

Russia’s war in Ukraine is informing China’s view on Taiwan, NATO chief says

From CNN's Angus Watson

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is informing China’s calculations on a possible invasion of Taiwan, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CNN Wednesday.

“What happens in Europe matters for Asia, and what happens in Asia matters for Europe,” Stoltenberg told CNN.

“Security is global,” Stoltenberg said. “Beijing is watching closely what happens in Ukraine, the price President Putin is paying but also the potential rewards. So what happens in Ukraine actually matters for the calculations Beijing, China's making regarding, for instance, Taiwan.”