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Ukraine war latest: Kyiv strikes Russian oil facilities, Germany to buy 3 HIMARS for Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 9, 2024 11:17 PM 5 min read
Photo for illustrative purposes. Ukrainian servicemen supervise an M142 HIMARS launching a rocket in the Bakhmut direction in Donetsk Oblast on May 18, 2023. (Serhii Mykhalchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Key developments on May 9:

  • Ukrainian drones strike multiple Russian oil facilities
  • Germany to buy 3 HIMARS for Ukraine
  • Zelensky dismisses Zaluzhnyi from military service
  • Russian attack on Nikopol kills 2, injures 8
  • Zelensky signs laws on mobilization, extension of martial law

A long-range drone operated by Ukraine's State Security Service (SBU) attacked an oil refinery, Gazprom Neftekhim Salavat, in Russia's Republic of Bashkortostan on May 9, an SBU source told the Kyiv Independent.

For the first time since the start of the full-scale invasion, Ukraine attacked facilities in Bashkortostan, some 1,500 kilometers from the country's border, according to the source.

In April, Ukraine hit production facilities in Russia's Tatarstan Republic, 1,300 kilometers away from the state border.

Gazprom Naftokhim Salavat is one of the largest oil refining and petrochemical production complexes in Russia. It specializes in the production of gasoline, diesel fuel, and other types of petroleum products.

The drone attack damaged an oil catalytic cracking unit of the refinery.

"The SBU once again proved that it has powerful technological solutions that help deliver painful strikes to the enemy," the source said.

"It means that Russian refineries and oil depots operating for the military cannot feel safe even deep inside (Russia)."

The SBU earlier on the same day hit two oil depots in Russia's Krasnodar Krai, according to a source interviewed by the Kyiv Independent.

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Germany to buy 3 HIMARS for Ukraine

Germany will buy three HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems) for Ukraine, the country's defense minister announced on May 7.

Speaking during a trip to Washington, Boris Pistorius said they would be purchased from the U.S. and handed over to Kyiv.

"They will come from the U.S. armed forces and will be paid for by us," he told reporters.

HIMARS, whose prowess became a popular motif of internet memes, was a game-changer for Ukraine when it first arrived in the summer of 2022, allowing Kyiv to target Russian forces behind the front lines far more accurately than they had previously.

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Zelensky dismisses Zaluzhnyi from military service

President Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the former commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, according to a presidential decree published online on May 9.

The decree stated that Zaluzhnyi was dismissed "from military service on health grounds" and retained "the right to wear a military uniform." The decree is dated May 8.

Zaluzhnyi will reportedly start his new role as Ukraine's ambassador to the U.K. in the coming weeks, after being replaced by Oleksandr Syrskyi as commander-in-chief in February.

Zaluzhnyi's dismissal followed multiple reports by Ukrainian and foreign media outlets, citing anonymous sources in the government, that Zelensky was set to fire the chief commander.

The decision sparked public debate, as Zaluzhnyi is widely popular with both the military and the population due to his role in leading the resistance against Russia.

Zaluzhnyi has served in Ukraine's Armed Forces since 1993, when he began his training at a military academy in Odesa.

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Russian attack on Nikopol kills 2, injures 8

A Russian attack on the Nikopol district in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast killed two people and injured eight others, Governor Serhii Lysak reported on May 9.

The district saw more than two dozen attacks over the day, from the early morning hours until nightfall, according to Lysak. Russian forces used artillery, multiple rocket launchers, and kamikaze drones to target the region.

Nikopol, the administrative center of the district, suffered the worst. Two people, a 62-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman, were killed in the city. Among the injured are two girls, aged 15 and 16, as well as two men, aged 39 and 67.

The two girls are reportedly in moderate condition.

Lysak initially reported that only two people had been injured.

The south-eastern city of Nikopol is situated on the banks of the mostly dried-up Kakhovka Reservoir, just across from Russian-occupied Enerhodar and the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, making it a regular target of Russian attacks.

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Zelensky signs laws on mobilization, extension of martial law

President Volodymyr Zelensky signed into law the extension of martial law and general mobilization from May 14 to Aug. 11.

Zelensky submitted a proposal to the parliament on May 6 to extend martial law and general mobilization for another 90 days. Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, voted to approve the extension two days later.

Ukraine's parliament previously extended martial law and mobilization from Feb. 14 until May 14.

Zelensky first declared martial law and general mobilization on Feb. 24, 2022, when Russia started its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The measure has been repeatedly extended since then.

Under martial law, Ukrainian men aged between 18 and 60, with some exceptions, are not allowed to leave the country as they may be called up for military service.

In April, the parliament passed a bill updating the rules on mobilization as the country seeks to replenish the ranks of its Armed Forces.

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