Ukraine war briefing: Zelenskiy fires top bodyguard after failed assassination attempt | Ukraine

  • Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy dismissed the head of the department responsible for his personal protection on Thursday, two days after two of its members were accused of plotting to assassinate him. Zelenskiy issued a decree dismissing the head of the state guards, Serhiy Rud. No successor was identified.

  • A Ukrainian drone struck a major oil processing plant in Russia’s Bashkiria region on Thursday from 1,500 km (932 miles) away, a Kyiv intelligence source said, its longest-range such attack since the start of the war. Ukraine also hit two oil depots in southern Russia, as Kyiv tries to undermine Russian forces pressing along frontlines on its territory by attacking energy facilities that are crucial to funding the economy and the war.

  • Ukraines parliament voted on Thursday to sack the deputy prime minister for infrastructure and the farm minister, removing two senior officials who have held key portfolios for the wartime economy. Lawmakers voted to dismiss deputy prime minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, who oversaw the reconstruction programme and championed efforts to set up a Black Sea shipping lane during a de-facto Russian blockade. The 41-year-old’s dismissal comes amid plans to break up his powerful ministry into two separate government portfolios. Lawmakers also accepted the resignation of agriculture minister Mykola Solsky, who is being investigated for alleged involvement in an illegal acquisition of state-owned land. Solsky has denied the allegations.

  • Ukraines parliament also voted to crack down on draft dodgers, as the country grapples with a serious shortage of soldiers available to fight more than two years after Russia launched its full-scale invasion. The bill, backed by a majority of lawmakers but not yet signed into law by Zelenskiy, includes raising fines for anyone caught trying to avoid the call-up and allowing authorities to detain draft dodgers for up to three days.

  • Slovakia said Thursday the number of Ukrainian military-age men making irregular crossings has more than doubled in a year ahead of the new mobilisation law being applied. The border guard service said 338 Ukrainians were detained and released in the first four months of the year – compared to 166 over the same period in 2023.

  • Zelenskiy on Thursday appointed popular former army chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi, who led Ukraine’s defence in the first two years of Moscow’s full-scale invasion, as Kyiv’s ambassador to the UK. The decree was published on the presidential website. Ukraine has not had an ambassador in London since Zelenskiy dismissed former envoy Vadym Prystaiko in July 2023 after he publicly criticised the president.

  • Zelenskiy also replaced the commander of his special forces on Thursday, the second time in half a year that he has changed the head of the unit which operates in Moscow-occupied territories. The dismissal of Colonel Serhiy Lupanchuk and appointment of Brig Gen Oleksandr Trepak in his place was announced in two decrees on the president’s website that provided no explanation for the move.

  • A solitary, symbolic tank featured in Russia’s annual 9 May military parade for the second year in a row as the country was forced to pare down its normal display of military might. The single tank to roll across Red Square as Vladimir Putin reviewed about 9,000 troops was a second world war-era T-34 carrying the banner that the Soviet Union used when it defeated Nazi Germany alongside other allies.

  • In a defiant speech on Red Square before thousands of soldiers dressed in ceremonial attire, Vladimir Putin heaped praise on his army fighting in Ukraine and accused “western elites” of fomenting conflicts around the world. “Russia will do everything to prevent a global clash, but at the same time we will not allow anyone to threaten us. Our strategic forces are always on alert,” Putin told the crowd.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed reappointing Mikhail Mishustin as prime minister, the speaker of the lower house of parliament said on Friday.
    The Duma’s approval of Mishustin, Putin’s chief technocrat in charge of the government, is nearly certain, as there is virtually no opposition in parliament.

  • German defence minister Boris Pistorius said on Thursday Ukraine’s western allies would deliver it three more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (Himars) to help it fight Russia’s invasion. “They come from US armed forces’ stocks and will be paid by us,” he said after meeting with U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin in Washington.

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