Ukraine Latest: Explosions, Sirens Mark Latest Russian Attack

(Bloomberg) -- Multiple explosions were heard in Kyiv early Tuesday, marking the eighth Russian attack on the capital this month.

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The US will impose new sanctions against those involved in the transfer of drones from Iran to Russia that are being used in Moscow’s war against Ukraine, the White House said Monday.

The US believes Iran and Russia are readying a deal for additional drone sales, after many of the more than 400 pilotless aircraft already sent to the Russian military have been used to target infrastructure in Ukraine, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that he backed the idea of a coalition to provide Ukraine with Western-made fighter jets but didn’t promise any UK planes. French President Emmanuel Macron said that he has “opened the door” for Ukrainian fighter pilots to be trained in France starting now.

Key Developments

  • Ukraine’s Supreme Court Under Scrutiny in Anti-Corruption Probe

  • UK’s Sunak Backs Coalition to Send Fighter Aircraft to Ukraine

  • Russia Hosts Belarus Official With Lukashenko Out of Public View

  • Ukraine Says Tycoon Firtash Suspected of Embezzlement

  • South Africa Says Row With US Resolved After Investor Alarm

  • Russia’s Seaborne Flows of Crude Oil Climb to a New High

  • Putin’s War Revives Russia’s Dark Tradition of Informers

(All times CET)

Missiles Shot Down in Latest Russian Attack, Mayor Says (3:30 a.m.)

Air raid sirens were triggered across the country and multiple explosions were heard in Kyiv, the capital, early Tuesday.

Air defense systems shot down some of the missiles and debris set fire to several cars and damaged at least one building in the city, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram. At least three persons were injured in what was the eighth attack on Kyiv by Russian forces this month.

Ukraine Supreme Court Is Focus of Graft Inquiry (12:40 a.m.)

Ukrainian investigators found “large-scale corruption” at the Supreme Court, amid pressure on Zelenskiy’s government to root out graft as a condition for joining the European Union.

Some judges on the court received “illegal gains,” the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, or NABU, and anti-corruption prosecutors said, without giving further details.

NABU announced the investigation late Monday in a statement on Facebook. Calls to the Supreme Court made after business hours were not answered.

France Is Ready to Train Ukraine Fighter Pilots, Macron Says (9:03 p.m.)

President Macron told the TF1 TV network that French training for Ukrainian fighter pilots would be coordinated with other European countries and added that discussions are also ongoing with the US.

While not ruling out a change in approach, the US hasn’t disavowed its position that providing Ukraine with fighter jets would be unnecessarily provocative. Macron’s comments came a day after the French leader hosted Zelenskiy for a working dinner in Paris.

US Seeks to Restrict Western Components Used in Iran’s Drones (7:03 p.m.)

In addition to sanctions aimed at curbing Iran’s supply of drones to Russia, the US plans steps to help governments and businesses better understand how Iran is obtaining components for its drone program, Kirby, the National Security Council spokesman, said.

The US has also joined the European Union and the UK in imposing new restrictions to prevent Western components that have been found in Iran’s Orion drones from making their way into the country.

Russian Premier, Sanctioned Tycoons to Visit China Forum (4 p.m.)

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin will lead a government delegation to China next week to attend a business forum along with sanctioned tycoons as Moscow leans on Beijing to help it withstand economic pressure over the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.

Billionaire Oleg Deripaska has been invited to the Russia-China Business Forum in Shanghai on May 23, while fertilizer tycoons Andrey Guryev and Andrey Melnichenko, pipe maker Dmitry Pumpyansky and Alexey Mordashov of steel and mining giant Severstal, have also been asked to attend, according to people with knowledge of the plans. Deripaska won’t be attending the forum, his spokesman said after publication of the original story.

UK Backs Coalition to Send Fighter Jets (3 p.m.)

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged support for a coalition to help provide Ukraine with a fleet of Western-made fighter jets, although he stopped short of promising actual aircraft during Zelenskiy’s visit.

Zelenskiy says his recent trip to Italy, Germany, France and Great Britain brought important agreements regarding military support, according to an emailed statement from his office.

“Really important, powerful defense packages,” Zelenskiy said.

Russia Hosts Belarus Official With Lukashenko Out of View (2:45 p.m.)

The foreign minister of Belarus begins a three-day visit to Moscow on Monday amid speculation about the whereabouts of the country’s long-serving President Alexander Lukashenko.

G-7 to Strengthen Russia Sanctions Enforcement (1 p.m.)

Group of Seven leaders plan to bolster their coordination in combating the circumvention of sanctions imposed on Russia when they meet in Hiroshima, Japan, later this week.

“The impact of sanctions is highly linked to the quality of the coordination with our partners, be they in the G-7 or beyond,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during a news conference on Monday.

The European Union is working on a new package of sanctions that would close loopholes and hit companies and countries that are helping Russia to obtain sanctioned goods. The bloc could ban goods from going to a certain country if there’s clear evidence of them ending up in Russian territory, von der Leyen said.

NATO Needs to Devise Framework for Ukraine: Stoltenberg (12:52 p.m.)

NATO allies need to devise “some kind of framework” to prevent Russia from continuing to chip away at European security and re-invading Ukraine after the war ends, the alliance’s chief, Jens Stoltenberg said, declining to provide more details on what that should look like.

“What I can say is that if NATO allies, and especially the big ones, start to issue security guarantees bilaterally to Ukraine, we are very close to Article 5,” Stoltenberg told his predecessor Anders Fogh Rasmussen in a live interview at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit. Article 5 refers to the collective defense commitments allies enjoy once they are full members of NATO.

Stoltenberg said he would push allies to agree to a stronger defense investment pledge and said the goal to spend at least 2% of gross domestic production on defense is “something that should be reached as soon as possible, immediately, without waiting as much as is necessary — the message should be that there’s not another decade.”

Asked about another potential extension to his role, Stoltenberg said he has made it clear he has no other plans than to leave this fall.

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