May 30, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Jack Guy, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, May 31, 2023
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10:04 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

Governor of Russia's Belgorod region reports highest number of Ukrainian strikes in a day

From CNN's Julia Kesaieva and Tim Lister

The governor of Russia's Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, said there have been dozens of strikes against several areas of the region by Ukrainian mortar and artillery fire over the last 24 hours — by far the highest reported number in a single day.

Vyacheslav Gladkov said that 155 hits were recorded in the Shebekinsky district alone.

"Six mortar shells were fired at the checkpoint. 48 shells - 39 artillery and 9 mortar shells - were fired at the town of Shebekino," he said on Telegram.

A power transmission line was damaged and a gas pipeline ruptured, he added.

Gladkov said the village of Grafovka was shelled with artillery, killing one man and seriously injuring his wife. In the village of Zhuravlevka, Gladkov said 20 hits had been recorded, but there had been no casualties or damage.

In the township of Graivoron, which is near the Ukrainian border, "39 hits were recorded," Gladkov said. "Twelve mortar shells were fired at the village of Kozinka and seven at the checkpoint. There were no casualties," he added.

He said 16 houses were destroyed in the area.

Other villages were hit, Gladkov said, and a Ukrainian drone had been shot down near the village of Chapayevsky. Other drones had been shot down or failed to do any damage, he continued.

Key context: The region of Belgorod has seen a growing incidence of cross-border fire, in both directions, as well as incursions yesterday and last week from Ukraine by groups calling themselves anti-President Vladimir Putin Russian nationals. 

10:10 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

Several drones were downed west of Moscow — close to one of Putin's residences, Russian lawmaker says

From CNN’s Anna Chernova

Several drones were downed in the elite Moscow suburb of Rublyovka, which is in close proximity to one of President Vladimir Putin’s official residences, Russian lawmaker Alexander Khinshtein said Tuesday.

Here are some of the locations where downed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the Moscow region crashed, according to a list published by State Duma Deputy Khinshtein:

  • Ilyinskoye village: Located in the Krasnogorsk district, it is less than 4 kilometers (more than 2 miles) away from Putin’s state residence of Novo-Ogaryovo in the west of Moscow.
  • Razdory and Romashkovo villages: Located in the Odintsovo district, they are 7 to 8.5 kilometers (4 to 5 miles) away.
  • Timoshkino village in the Krasnogorsk district.
  • Greenfield village in the Istra district

CNN has geolocated footage from Ilyinskoye that shows a drone flying across the sky.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, "I cannot comment. The only thing [I can say] is that it was obviously an attack of the Kyiv regime."

Rublyovka is a spoken name for a prestigious and affluent neighborhood in Moscow along the Rublyovo-Uspenskoye Highway. It is known for its luxurious residential estates and mansions for the Russian elite: wealthy businessmen, politicians, and celebrities.

10:03 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

Ukrainians gear up for looming counteroffensive

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio, Frederik Pleitgen and William Bonnett

Even as Ukrainian cities experience barrage after barrage of Russian missile and drone strikes, members of the Offensive Guard — which is part of an initiative by the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs to establish new assault brigades — have remained unfazed, simulating scenarios they expect to find once Kyiv finally launches its much-anticipated counteroffensive.

That day is fast approaching, if one of the top advisers to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is to be believed.

“There is already some sort of work underway to increase the intensity of the shelling of Russia’s logistics support in order to reduce their combat capabilities in the near future, to loosen up their defenses,” presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told CNN in an interview.

The strikes Podolyak mentions are often referred to as shaping operations – so-called because they aim to "shape" the battlefield – in this case, in Ukraine’s favor. CNN has previously reported that these began on May 12, citing a senior US military official and senior Western official.

“Everything that is happening now is a precursor to a counterattack, a necessary pre-condition,” Podolyak explained. “When the intensity of fire increases, especially on the logistics supplies, when the number of operations increases.”

Ukraine has increased the number of strikes on Russian ammunition depots, logistical nodes and rear echelon bases, such as the ones seen in Mariupol and Berdyansk in the past few days. The military’s top general, Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi, released a slickly produced video over the weekend with the caption: “The time has come to take back what belongs to us.”

In his nightly address Monday, Zelensky said the timing of the counteroffensive had been set, but he did not provide further details. And despite the clear signs that a counteroffensive is coming, Podolyak also refuses to commit to specific dates.

“You can’t say about a counterattack that it will start any one day, one time when some events will start,” he said. “Already now there are intensive relatively offensive actions on the flanks of the town of Bakhmut. There is essentially no city left, but offensives are underway.”

Read more here.

10:02 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

EU considers options to use frozen Russian assets as a guarantee that Russia pays for damages

From CNN's James Frater in London

The European Union and its members are considering next steps for frozen Russian assets worth more than 24 billion euros ($25.8 billion), said European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders on Tuesday.

“We're trying to see if it's possible to seize some parts of those assets due to criminal offenses like corruption, money laundering or violation of the sanctions,” and where possible to “go to Justice and to confiscate a part of those assets,” Reynders said ahead of a meeting of EU Ministers in Brussels.

The frozen assets ensure "a real guarantee" that Russia will pay for damages caused by its aggression, he added.

Meanwhile, the Swedish Presidency of the EU is also "working towards new sanctions against Russia" ahead of the June summit of EU Leaders, said Jessika Roswall, minister for European Affairs of Sweden.

Some background: Since 2014, the European Union has progressively imposed restrictive measures on Russia over the country’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its war of aggression against Ukraine. The EU says these measures are designed to curtail Russia's "ability to wage war.”

In the most recent figures, the EU said its restrictive measures "now apply to a total of 1,473 individuals and 207 entities,” including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as well as the Russian private military company Wagner along with its commanders and boss Yevgeny Prigozhin.

9:40 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

Kyiv mayor says air defense systems prevented greater damage

From CNN’s Fred Pleitgen, Vasco Cotovio, Will Bonnet in Kyiv and Niamh Kennedy in London

The mayor of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, stands in front of a multi-story residential building that was partially destroyed after a drone attack on May 30.
The mayor of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, stands in front of a multi-story residential building that was partially destroyed after a drone attack on May 30. Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko highlighted the importance of Ukraine’s modern air defense systems, stressing that without them, there would have been greater damage caused by Tuesday’s drone attacks on the capital.

Speaking to CNN’s Fred Pleitgen outside a damaged apartment building in Kyiv’s Holosiivskyi district on Tuesday, Klitschko said he wanted to thank Ukraine’s partners for sending “critically important” air defense systems. 

“It worked well; we shoot down almost everything,” Klitschko said, speaking just hours after Russia launched a barrage of pre-dawn drones on the city. 

Ukraine’s Air Force said earlier on Tuesday that it managed to shoot down 29 out of 31 Iranian-made Shahed drones launched by Russia. 

Klitschko stressed to CNN that if Ukraine “didn’t have modern air defense from our partners,” the situation would be “much worse” with more damaged buildings and civilian deaths.  

He addressed the recent uptick in attacks, saying that in May there have been more attacks not just on Kyiv but also in other cities throughout Ukraine. 

Klitschko accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to bring a “depressing mood” to Ukraine with this latest attack, stressing that despite this, Ukrainians remain ready as ever to defend their homeland. 

Watch more:


9:33 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

Russian defense minister: West is stepping up supplies to Ukraine

From Anna Chernova and Sarah Dean

A still image from video shows Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu during a teleconference with the country's high-ranking military in Moscow, Russia, on May 30.
A still image from video shows Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu during a teleconference with the country's high-ranking military in Moscow, Russia, on May 30. Russian Defence Ministry/Reuters

Western countries are sending more supplies of weapons and equipment to Ukraine, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday.

“Deliveries of equipment and weapons to Ukraine are increasing. We monitor the volumes and routes of supply and, if identified, strike,” Shoigu told a military conference call Tuesday.

Shoigu also claimed Russian forces have intercepted 29 Storm Shadow long-range missiles – supplied to Ukraine by Britain – this month. Ukraine has so far not commented on this.

In recent days, Russia has destroyed large arms depots in Ukraine’s Khmelnytskyi, Ternopil and Mykolaiv regions, Shoigu added. Ukraine said Monday that Russia had attacked warehouses, including a military facility, in the western Khmelnytskyi region overnight. It is rare for Ukraine to publicize attacks on military facilities. 

CNN is unable to independently verify these battlefield claims.

Additionally, the minister claimed that Russia struck a Patriot anti-aircraft missile system in Kyiv in recent days, but he did not specify when.

On May 16, the Russian Defense Ministry had said that one of its Kinzhal missiles had hit a US-made Patriot system in Kyiv during strikes that morning. The Pentagon later confirmed that one Patriot missile battery that was given to Ukraine was damaged by a Russian missile barrage against Kyiv, but that the system has since been fixed. The Patriot is an advanced surface-to-air missile defense system.

Ukraine has received at least two Patriot systems, one from the United States and one from Germany, to enhance its air defenses.

11:58 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

It's mid-afternoon in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

From CNN staff

Russia has blamed Ukraine for a drone attack on Moscow early Tuesday which injured two people and damaged several buildings, although Kyiv has denied any direct involvement.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has asked allies for more air defense systems following another Russian bombardment of Kyiv.

Here are the latest headlines:

  • Moscow drone attacks injure two: Two people were injured and at least three residential buildings were damaged by a drone attack on the Russian capital early Tuesday. Russian air defenses shot down a number of other drones as they approached Moscow, according to the country's main federal investigating authority. Moscow has blamed Ukraine for the attack, but Kyiv has denied any direct involvement.
  • Kremlin calls for calm: Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said there is currently “no threat” to Moscow’s residents following the drone attack. "The Ministry of Defense worked well, the air defense worked well," said Peskov.
  • Wagner chief slams Russian officials: Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian private military company Wagner, launched an expletive-laden tirade at the ministry of defense following the drone attack. He claimed that Russia is "years, maybe decades" behind in drone technology.
  • Ukraine asks for more air defenses: Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, has called for more air defense systems following a third night of attacks on Kyiv. One person was killed and at least three others were injured as a result of explosions in Kyiv early Tuesday as the city's air defenses intercepted 20 drones, the Ukrainian military said.
  • Kyiv sanctions Iran: Ukraine has slapped new sanctions on Iran for a period of 50 years in response to what Kyiv sees as Tehran's role in supplying weapons to Moscow. The move includes a ban on exports of "military and dual-use goods" to Iran and the "suspension of economic and financial obligations in favor of residents of Iran."

8:08 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

Residents of damaged Moscow buildings returning home, Moscow mayor says

From CNN's Radina Gigova in London 

Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin, center, attends a military parade on Victory Day in Red Square, Moscow, Russia, on May 9.
Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin, center, attends a military parade on Victory Day in Red Square, Moscow, Russia, on May 9. Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Residents who were evacuated from Moscow apartment buildings hit by drones early Tuesday are returning to their homes, according to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.

Emergency services have completed necessary works as part of the investigation into the drone attack that resulted in damage to the buildings, he said in a Telegram post. 

"Those residents who were evacuated to allow the special services to operate uninterruptedly at the scene are now starting to return to their homes," Sobyanin said. 

Sobyanin also said that residents of the building on Leninsky Prospekt (Lenin Avenue) will be the first to return to their apartments, adding that he has instructed specialized teams to repair the damage "as soon as possible." 

7:58 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

"No threat" to Moscow residents following drone attack, Kremlin spokesperson says

From CNN's Anna Chernova

Russian law enforcement officers stand guard near a damaged multi-storey apartment block following a reported drone attack in Moscow, Russia, on May 30.
Russian law enforcement officers stand guard near a damaged multi-storey apartment block following a reported drone attack in Moscow, Russia, on May 30. Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said there is currently “no threat” to Moscow’s residents following a drone attack on the capital on Tuesday.

“Thank God, there are no casualties and at present there is no threat to the residents of Moscow and the Moscow region,” Peskov said.

Peskov added there are no plans for Putin to make an address on the attack.

Asked if additional security measures were needed to prevent such attacks, he said: “I cannot comment on issues of the security of the capital. I can only repeat that the Ministry of Defense worked well, the air defense worked well.”

Two people were injured and buildings were damaged by the attack, according to Russian state media.