Lithuania has refused to buy Russian electricity, in the south of Ukraine the occupiers are preparing reserve positions in case of retreat, and the Institute for the Study of War suggests that Russia may overestimate the number of evacuated defenders of Azovstal. Here is what you may have missed from the previous night.
New Ramstein format meeting
A Pentagon spokesman said the second meeting of Ukraine Defense Consultative Group would be held on May 23, with the participation of 40 Ukrainian partners. The meeting was initiated by the US Department of Defense and will take place online.
After a telephone conversation with his American counterpart, the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov stated that during the Ramstein-2 meeting the countries will assess the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Lithuania's refusal of electricity from Russia
Lithuania stops buying Russian electricity on May 22. Thus, the country will become completely energy independent of Russia: it will not import electricity, oil or gas from Russia. Lithuania plans to cover its electricity needs through local green energy and imports from other EU countries.
Pentagon denies Russian statements about "laser weapons"
On May 20, the U.S. Department of Defense responded to Moscow's statements that the Russian army allegedly used laser weapons in the war against Ukraine. The Pentagon says there are no signs of this.
"We don't have any indication of the use of lasers, at least weaponized lasers, in Ukraine. Nothing to confirm on that," said a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Russia may overestimate the number of Azovstal defenders
The American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) suggests that Russia may exaggerate when it names the number of Ukrainian Azovstal defenders evacuated from Mariupol in order to secure an exchange on more favorable terms or to avoid admitting that it has been struggling against "hundreds" instead of "thousands" of Ukrainian servicemen for months.
Reserve positions of the occupiers in the south
On the Mykolayiv and Kherson axes, the Russian occupation forces are engineering their positions in such a way as to have extra lines in case they have to retreat. The Russians have not been active in the offensive for a long time, the Operational Command "South" said.
In Zaporizhzhya, a convoy of 1,000 cars was allowed to pass
Near Vasylivka in the Zaporizhzhya region, after a long blockade of a convoy of about 1,000 cars, the occupiers began to let them through, Enerhodar Mayor Dmytro Orlov said. People are trying to enter the territory controlled by Ukraine through a Russian checkpoint.
Haidai on Shoigu's statements
The head of the Luhansk regional military administration, Serhiy Haidai, called the statements of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu about plans to seize the Luhansk region "in the near future" nonsense. He is convinced that Shoigu does not understand the real state of affairs in the Russian army, and makes such statements for propaganda purposes.
Haidai stresses that the Russian army is currently "looking forward with horror to Ukraine's counteroffensive, which will be accompanied by the process of deoccupation of all [Ukrainian] territories."
Personal data for rubles
In some temporarily occupied settlements of the Zaporizhzhya region, the Russian invaders are offering local residents, including retirees, 10,000 rubles ($161) in exchange for their personal data. The reasoning behind the need for this information is unknown.
Crimean activist Bohdan Ziza missing
The artist Bohdan Ziza, who on May 16 in occupied Crimean city of Yevpatoriya sprinkled the doors of the "administration" with yellow and blue paint and threw a Molotov cocktail into the building, went missing after his arrest.
Friends and human rights activists are trying to find Ziza, but his whereabouts have not been established. There is no information on the website of the Yevpatoriya City "court" about the arrest or opening of an administrative case against the activist.