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Victorious news of 828th day of war: Neptune strikes, POW exchange, new security agreements

31 May, 2024 Friday
20:50

Ukraine used its domestic-made Neptune missiles to strike Russian territory for the first time, returned 75 prisoners of war home, and signed security agreements with three countries

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Ukrainian Neptunes hit a ferry and an oil terminal in Russia's Krasnodar Krai 

On the night of May 30-31, the Ukrainian forces hit a ferry crossing and an oil terminal in the port of Kavkaz in the Russian Krasnodar region with Ukrainian Neptune missiles.

A strike group of the Ukrainian Navy struck a ferry crossing and an oil terminal in the port of Kavkaz the next night after the Ukrainian Defense Forces had taken out the ferries of the Kerch ferry crossing in occupied Ukrainian Crimea, which were running to the port of Kavkaz and were used for Russian military logistics.

It is noted that the oil depot near the port of Kavkaz was hit by several Ukrainian-made missiles from the Neptune coastal missile system. Defense Express analysts believe this strike is historic.

"Firstly, we have a literally historic event here, because it was the first time domestic missile weapons were used to strike at targets in the Russian Federation. Secondly, the historicity lies in the fact that the very fact that the terminal was struck near the Russian port of Kavkaz indicates a significant modernization of Neptune, which could include an increase in the launch range, an increase in the weight of the warhead and an improvement in the guidance system," Defense Express said.

Howard Buffett Foundation to help restore a printing house destroyed in Kharkiv

The Factor-Druk printing house, which was destroyed as a result of a Russian missile attack on Kharkiv on May 23, will be rebuilt by the foundation of American billionaire Howard Buffett. This was announced by the billionaire himself and Ukraine's First Vice Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko at the Book Arsenal.

According to the Ukrainian official, the government will provide grants for new equipment for the printing house.

"In addition to grant support for the restoration of equipment, we turned to Howard Buffett, and he made a commitment to help us fully restore the destroyed equipment and premises," Svyrydenko said.

In his video message, Buffett said he had spoken with Serhiy Polituchyi, founder and president of the Factor group of companies, and noted that his foundation would help replace equipment and launch the printing of textbooks as soon as possible so that children in schools could receive them in time for the start of the new school year.

Ukraine returns 75 people from Russian captivity

On May 31, Ukraine managed to return 75 people from Russian captivity, including soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the National Guard, border guards, and four civilians.

The head of the President's Office, Andriy Yermak, clarified that the returned Ukrainians include privates, sergeants and officers of the Armed Forces, the National Guard, the State Border Guard Service and civilians.

In addition, there are 19 people who were captured on Zmiinyi Island, 10 defenders of Mariupol and Azovstal, as well as Ukrainian soldiers who were captured in different areas.

Photo: Coordination Center for the Treatment of Prisoners of War

New aid package from Germany will include another Patriot

On May 31, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock announced the transfer of another Patriot  air defense system and an additional EUR 500 million to Ukraine.

“In NATO, we uphold the principle of "one for all, all for one." Putin's brutal aggression against Ukraine and his provocations at the EU’s and NATO’s external borders demand our unwavering unity,” Baerbock said.

According to her, NATO's current priority is to strengthen Ukraine's air defense.

“Germany is contributing another Patriot system and an additional €500 million. Together, we must maintain our steadfast support and commitment,” she emphasized.

Ukraine signs security agreements with three countries in one day

On May 31, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed agreements on security cooperation with prime ministers of Sweden, Iceland, and Norway.

Norway will provide Ukraine with about €1.2 billion in military aid this year, and the country has earmarked almost €6.4 billion for 2023-2027. Norway will help develop the capabilities of combat aircraft, in particular, it is ready to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighters. Norway will also contribute to the development of maritime capabilities in the Black and Azov Seas, continue to provide NASAMS systems and equipment, and train specialists.

Iceland will allocate at least ISK 4 billion (almost USD 30 million) annually in 2024-2028. The country is also ready to finance, purchase and supply defense materials and equipment, as well as cooperate with Ukraine to develop its defense industry. At the same time, Iceland has pledged to continue transporting military supplies and equipment from NATO allies to Ukraine by chartered cargo planes.

Sweden, according to the agreement, will provide Ukraine with military assistance worth SEK 75 billion (about EUR 6.5 billion) in 2024-2026. The amount of assistance will increase over the ten-year term of the document. Sweden will provide aviation and air defense, armored vehicles, artillery, maritime security, mine action assistance, and unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as support the development of Ukraine's modern defense industry potential and develop bilateral cooperation on localization, repair, maintenance, and production of Swedish defense products in Ukraine.

So far, 13 countries have signed the security agreement with Ukraine: the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Denmark, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, Latvia, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, and Sweden.

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