Putin is preparing for a long war, U.S. intel chief says; House approves $40 billion in Ukraine aid – CNBC

Fighting at ‘Snake Island’ could determine who controls chunk of Black Sea, UK says

Fighting continues at Zmiinyi Island, also known as “Snake Island,” with Russia repeatedly trying to reinforce its exposed garrison there, according to the British Ministry of Defence in its latest intelligence update.

“If Russia consolidates its position on Zmiinyi Island with strategic air defence and coastal defence cruise missiles, they could dominate the north-western Black Sea,” the ministry said on Twitter this morning.

“Russia’s current efforts to augment its forces on Zmiinyi Island offer Ukraine more opportunities to engage Russian troops and attrit materiel,” the ministry added, saying Ukraine has successfully struck Russian air defenses and resupply vessels with Bayraktar drones.

In addition, the ministry noted that Russia’s resupply vessels have minimum protection in the western Black Sea, following the Russian Navy’s retreat to Crimea after the loss of the Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine gas operator to stop transporting almost a third of Russian gas to Europe

Pipes, valves and tanks with liquefied petroleum gas are seen in Poland on April 28, 2022. Ukraine’s gas transmission operator says it will stop transporting almost a third of Russian gas to Europe.

Beata Zawrzel | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Ukraine’s gas transmission operator says it will stop transporting almost a third of Russian gas to Europe.

Moscow’s invasion has rendered the operator unable “to carry out operational and technological control” of its facilities to ensure their stability and safety, particularly in Russian-controlled territory such as the Luhansk region, Gas TSO of Ukraine said.

In a statement, GTSOU said it would stop transporting gas through its Novopskov hub from 7 a.m. on Wednesday. Almost a third of the natural gas coming from Russia to Europe (up to 32.6 million cubic meters per day) is transited through the hub.

The company claimed force majeure, which are unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract.  

GTSOU also said it is possible to temporarily reroute gas to another crossing in Ukrainian-controlled territory, but said Russia’s state-controlled gas giant Gazprom has ignored appeals to do so.

“The company repeatedly informed Gazprom about gas transit threats due to the actions of the Russian-controlled occupation forces and stressed stopping interference in the operation of the facilities, but these appeals were ignored,” GTSOU said.

Sergei Kupriyanov, a spokesman for Gazprom, said Ukraine’s request would be “technologically impossible” and that the company sees no grounds for the decision, the Associated Press reported.

— Chelsea Ong

U.S. House passes $40 billion aid package to Ukraine

Rescue workers walk past debris and carsunder ruins in front of the shopping and entertainment center in the Ukrainian Black Sea city of Odessa on May 10, 2022, destroyed after Russian missiles strike late on May 9, 2022.

Oleksandr Gimanov | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. House passed a bill that’s set to deliver $40 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, according to a NBC News report.

The House voted 368-57 after President Joe Biden urged quick congressional action in stepping up support for Kyiv in its war against Russia, the report said.

All 57 no votes came from Republicans, according to NBC News.

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., who opposed the measure, tweeted: “I oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but we can’t help Ukraine by spending money we don’t have.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., praised the largely bipartisan vote, saying on Twitter that the package would build “on robust support already secured by Congress” and “help Ukraine defend not only its nation but democracy for the world.”

— Weizhen Tan

U.S. has committed more than $4.5 billion to Ukraine since Biden became president

Ukrainian servicemen unload missiles provided by U.S. to Ukraine as part of a military support on Feb. 11, 2022. The U.S. has committed more than $4.5 billion on security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration.

Sergei Supinsky | Afp | Getty Images

Russian forces are at least two weeks behind schedule in Donbas goals, U.S. Defense official says

A Ukrainian serviceman stands guard at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Barvinkove, eastern Ukraine, on April 15, 2022. Fighting in the Donbas is “intensifying” and Russia’s military build-up on Ukraine’s eastern border continues to increase, the British defense ministry said

Ronaldo Schemidt | Afp | Getty Images

The Pentagon said Russian forces are about two weeks behind schedule in their assault of the Donbas in eastern Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “has not achieved any of the success that we believe he wanted to achieve, certainly not on a timeline,” a senior U.S. Defense official said on a call with reporters.

The official, who declined to be named per ground rules established by the Pentagon, said that the U.S. assesses Putin’s forces are “easily two weeks or even maybe more behind.”

“We would not assess that the Russians have made any appreciable or significant progress,” the official added.

— Amanda Macias

US spy chief says Putin is preparing for prolonged war

Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on “Worldwide Threats” at the U.S. Capitol in Washington May 10, 2022. 

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

The United States believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for a long conflict in Ukraine, and a Russian victory in the Donbas in the east of the country might not end the war, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said.

“We assess President Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine, during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas,” Haines told lawmakers.

She added that Putin was counting on the Western resolve to weaken over time.

— Reuters

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