May 13, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news

By Sophie Tanno and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 4:24 PM ET, Sun May 14, 2023
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6:16 a.m. ET, May 13, 2023

Germany to supply Ukraine with aid package worth nearly $3 billion

From CNN’s Duarte Mendonca, Kostan Nechyporenko, Fred Pleitgen and Stephanie Halasz

German Defense minister, Boris Pistorius, speaks to soldiers during a visit to a German air defense missile unit on Thursday.
German Defense minister, Boris Pistorius, speaks to soldiers during a visit to a German air defense missile unit on Thursday. Jens Büttner/dpa/picture alliance/Getty Images

Germany announced on Saturday that it would supply Ukraine with an aid package worth nearly $3 billion (2.7 million euros) to strengthen the country’s defense. 

It marks the largest German military aid package to Ukraine since the start of the war.

The German Ministry of Defence said in a statement that the package may include a variety of military hardware, such as 20 Marder armoured personnel carriers, 30 Leopard tanks, 4 IRIS-T-SLM firing units, over 200 reconnaissance drones and ammunition. 

"With this valuable contribution of urgently needed military material, we are once again showing that Germany is serious about its support,” Germany’s Defense Minister Boris Pistorius was quoted saying in the statement.
“We all wish for a speedy end to this terrible war waged by Russia against the Ukrainian people, which is contrary to international law. Unfortunately, this is not yet in sight. Germany will therefore provide all the help it can - as long as it takes," Pistorius added.

Ukraine President’s Chief of Staff, Andriy Yermak, confirmed Germany’s support on Saturday via his Telegram account while thanking them for their aid.

“We thank our allies. Working more,” Yermak said.

Germany's announcement comes after the US on Tuesday announced a $1.2 billion aid package to Ukraine intended to “bolster its air defenses” and “sustain its artillery ammunition needs,” with Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian forces looming.

Some context: Germany's military support for Ukraine has evolved over time. The country initially resisted calls to provide weaponry to Kyiv, agreeing only to provide humanitarian help and medical equipment. That approach was in line with Germany’s decades-long policy of not supplying lethal weapons to crisis zone.

In a major policy U-turn earlier this year, Berlin announced it would provide Kyiv with Leopard 2 battle tanks. Then in April, Berlin also committed to sending Gepard anti-aircraft systems.

5:06 a.m. ET, May 13, 2023

Uptick in fighting reported along border between Kharkiv and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine

From CNN's Tim Lister, Julia Kesaieva and Josh Pennington

There has been an uptick in fighting along the border between the Kharkiv and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine, according to Russian and Ukrainian officials.

The Ukrainian General Staff said Russian artillery and mortar fire hit settlements in the Kupyansk sector, which is in Kharkiv.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said that in the same area, ground forces supported by airpower hit two Ukrainian units. The ministry said artillery fire had prevented a rotation of Ukrainian troops in the same area.

An unofficial Russian social media account also said Ukrainian attacks had increased along the front east of Kupyansk, but had made no progress.

In the south, Ukraine reported artillery and other attacks by Russian forces in the Zaporizhzhia region, where Russian forces are defending gains made in the first few days of the invasion.

Yurii Malashko, the head of Zaporizhzhia's military administration, said there was heavy shelling of villages along the entire front line, including Stepnohirsk, Mala Tokmachka and Huliaipole.

Malachko, speaking on Ukraine television, also claimed that under the guise of evacuating civilians, Russian soldiers were fleeing from the town of Enerhodar, adjacent to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

Some civilians who had been evacuated from Russian-controlled areas near the frontlines in Zaporizhzhia had returned home “because they were left to fend for themselves in Berdiansk [further south] and people are afraid that their homes will be looted,” he said. 

5:05 a.m. ET, May 13, 2023

Russia tried to destroy US-made Patriot system in Ukraine, officials say

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand and Oren Liebermann

A US Army Patriot air defense system is pictured in Rzesznow, Poland, on March 8, 2022.
A US Army Patriot air defense system is pictured in Rzesznow, Poland, on March 8, 2022. Sean Gallup/Getty Images/FILE

Russia tried to destroy a US-made Patriot air defense system in Ukraine last week with a hypersonic missile, two US officials tell CNN.

The attack failed, and the Ukrainian military instead intercepted the missile using the Patriot system, the officials said, marking their first known successful use of the advanced air defense system only weeks after it arrived in country. 

The Ukrainian air defenders fired multiple missiles from the Patriot at different angles to intercept the Russian missile, demonstrating they have quickly become adept at using the powerful system, one official said.  

US officials believe the Russians picked up on signals that are emitted from the Patriot, allowing them to target the system using the hypersonic missile, known as the Kinzhal or Killjoy.  

About the Patriot missile system: The Patriot missile system has a powerful radar to detect incoming targets at long-range, making it a potent air defense platform capable of intercepting ballistic missiles and more. But the radar emission necessary to spot threats at a distance also makes it possible for the enemy to detect the Patriot battery and figure out its location.

There are ways to camouflage those signals to some extent, officials said, but the Russian military was evidently able to figure out the rough location of the Patriot stationed outside of Kyiv. The interception took place on the night of May 4, Mykola Oleshchuk, commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, said last weekend. 

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has previously said that the Patriots would “definitely” be a legitimate target for Russian forces. 

Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder confirmed earlier this week that the Ukrainians had used the Patriot system to intercept the Kinzhal, which can reach hypersonic speeds. 

Ukraine has received at least two Patriot systems, one from the United States and one from Germany, to enhance its air defenses, which have previously been unable to intercept more modern Russian missiles such as the Kinzhal.