Ukraine says it thwarted an attempt by Russian forces to cross a key river to the east, costing Moscow a significant number of troops and significant armored equipment in another setback for the Kremlin during its invasion of Ukraine as Germany urged President Vladimir Putin to agree to a ceasefire as soon as possible.
On May 13, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry released photos of what it said was a damaged Russian pontoon bridge over the Siverskiy Donets River, with several destroyed or badly damaged Russian military vehicles nearby.
The British Ministry of Defense confirmed in its daily intelligence bulletin of May 13 that Ukrainian forces had succeeded in preventing an attempt to cross a Russian river to the east.
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He said that Russia had lost”important“elements of at least one battalion battle group – around 1,000 soldiers – as well as equipment used to rapidly deploy pontoon bridges, adding that Russian forces had failed to make any significant advances in the area.
“Conducting river crossings in a contested environment is a very risky maneuver and speaks to the pressure on Russian commanders to advance their operations in eastern Ukraine,” the ministry said in its update.
Russian forces struggled to advance even after diverting troops from other parts of the country to Donbass, the ministry added.
Ukrainian officials also claimed another success in the Black Sea, saying their forces had destroyed another Russian vessel, although there was no confirmation from Russia.
The logistics ship Vsevolod Bobrov was badly damaged but it is not believed to have sunk when it was hit while trying to deliver an anti-aircraft system to Snake Island, said Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to the President of Ukraine .
In its daily operational note of May 13, the Ukrainian army said that Russian forces continued to bombard the besieged port of Mariupol, where the last Ukrainian fighters are entrenched in the steelworks of Azovstal.
He said that during the Russian campaign in the east, villages were targeted near Donetsk, Lyman, Bakhmut and Kurakhiv.
Ukraine’s military chief of the eastern Luhansk region said on May 13 that Russian forces had fired 31 times at residential areas the previous day, destroying dozens of houses, including in the villages of Hirske and Popasnyanska, and a bridge in Rubizhne. .
On the diplomatic front, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to agree to a ceasefire in Ukraine as soon as possible in a May 13 phone call, a German government spokesman said.
During the 75-minute call – the first between the two leaders since March – Scholz reminded Putin of Russia’s responsibility for the global food situation, the spokesperson added.
Britain, meanwhile, has added around 10 people to its sanctions listingthis time targeting Putin and the network around him, including his ex-wife and cousins.
The list also includes Alina Kabayeva, a retired Olympic gymnast who is believed to be the mother of two of Putin’s children.
Putin and Kabayeva have been photographed together on several occasions, but they have never publicly admitted to having a relationship.
In Stockholm, the Swedish parliament concluded that the Nordic country’s NATO membership would have a stabilizing effect and benefit all Baltic Sea states, appearing ready to follow in Finland’s footsteps in seeking membership in the Western military alliance.
“Sweden’s membership in NATO would raise the threshold for military conflict and thus have a conflict-preventing effect in Northern Europe,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde said on May 13 as she presented a parliamentary assessment on security.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced Sweden and Finland, which has a very long border with Russia, to reconsider their security arrangements after remaining neutral in the post-war period.
But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flagged a potential obstacle to the two Nordic countries joining NATO, saying he opposed it because they were home to “many terrorist organisations”.
Turkey has repeatedly criticized Sweden and other Western European states for their treatment of groups considered terrorist by Ankara, including Kurdish militant groups and supporters of US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Erdogan claims that the “Gülenists” carried out a coup attempt in 2016. Gülen and his supporters deny the accusation.
Erdogan’s opposition could pose a problem for Sweden and Finland, as the new members need unanimous agreement.