Military expert Carlo Masala is sounding the alarm. “Putin’s plan is working at the moment,” he warns. Russia reports the capture of a Ukrainian bastion in Luhansk. All news about the war against Ukraine in the news ticker.

Wednesday, May 22, 08:09: Ukrainian President Zelenskyj indicated in an interview with the Reuters news agency that the Russian offensive near Kharkiv has achieved its goal.

Although the situation there has been “stable” for about a week, “no one” is paying attention to any real danger: the situation in the east, for example near the mountain fortress of Chasiv Yar. The experts from the “Institute for the Study of War” write in their daily briefing on the war that the Russian army is accelerating the pace of its offensive in Chasiv Yar.

The experts see Russia’s mountain fortress as the greatest chance for operational success in the war against Ukraine. If Putin’s troops succeed in occupying the city, the elevated terrain would give them control of the surrounding area and could thus launch an attack on Ukraine’s “fortress belt” in Donbass.

11:18 p.m.: According to the USA, Russia has sent a satellite into space, which is probably a space weapon. The satellite can probably attack other satellites and is in low-Earth orbit, Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said on Tuesday. The start took place on May 16th. The Russian satellite is now in the same orbit as a US government satellite, Ryder continued. When asked whether the Russian satellite posed a threat to the US satellite, Ryder said: “Well, it is a space defense weapon in the same orbit as a US government satellite.” There have been similar Russian launches in 2019 and Given in 2022.

5:04 p.m.: Russia has announced the start of nuclear weapons exercises near the Ukrainian border. The Russian Defense Ministry said the exercise was a “response to provocative statements and threats from certain Western officials.” Russia announced the exercise at the beginning of May.

The first stage of the maneuver, which is intended to increase the readiness of the nuclear forces, has begun in the southern military district, the Defense Ministry announced in Moscow on Tuesday. The Iskander and Kinschal missile complexes are also involved. These tactical weapons can be equipped with nuclear warheads.

These are nuclear weapons that can be used selectively against enemy troops and other military targets. As a rule, they have a significantly lower explosive power than the strategic nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles, which were developed specifically for deterrence. In view of Western arms deliveries to Ukraine, which has been defending itself against the Russian war of aggression for more than two years, the maneuver is seen as an additional threatening gesture by Putin.

According to the ministry, what is being tested is the covert movement of the rockets to a specific position from which they are fired. According to the ministry, the exercise aims to “maintain the readiness of personnel and equipment of non-strategic nuclear weapons units to respond to provocative statements and threats made by certain Western officials against the Russian Federation and to unconditionally protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian state to ensure”.

Tuesday, May 21st, 7:02 a.m.: Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock traveled to Ukraine on a solidarity visit in light of the recent Russian offensive. The Green Party politician arrived in the capital Kiev on Tuesday morning for a visit that was not announced for security reasons.

In view of the current Russian offensive, she urgently calls for more international support for Ukraine in air defense. “In order to protect Ukraine from the Russian hail of missiles and drones, it urgently needs more air defense,” demanded the Green politician on Tuesday.

“We must now join forces so that Ukraine can survive (…) and so that Putin’s troops do not soon find themselves at our own borders,” Baerbock appealed to the international partner countries with a view to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The global initiative for more air defense that she launched together with Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) raised almost a billion euros to provide additional support for the Ukrainian air defense forces. “And we are working intensively to ensure that this becomes even more.” The minister added: “We are turning over every stone several times and have led the way with an additional patriot unit.”

5:00 a.m.: As announced, Spain wants to deliver more older Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks to Ukraine by the end of June. Defense Minister Margarita Robles confirmed this at the video conference of the Ukraine Contact Group, the government said in Madrid. The promised delivery dates will be met and additional Patriot anti-aircraft missiles and various types of ammunition will also be sent.

The left-wing government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had already sent ten Leopard 2A4s to Ukraine last year. In March it announced the deployment of a total of 19 more tanks of this type this year. The first ten have been promised by the end of June, with nine more to follow in September.

More on the Ukraine conflict on the next page.