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11:44 PM
"Yesterday, Russian border guards celebrated their professional holiday. The fighters of the Russian Volunteer Corps congratulated them by successfully crossing the 'holey' state border once again," one of the Russian militia groups fighting on Ukraine's side said on May 29.
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6:09 PM
Russian troops hit the villages of Kozatske and Zolota Balka in Ukraine's southern Kherson Oblast on May 29, the regional administration reported. A 61-year-old man was killed in his house as a result of the Kozatske shelling, according to the report.
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3:16 PM
Russia shelled two villages in the Kupiansk district of Kharkiv Oblast on May 29, injuring at least seven people, including the elderly, children, and a pregnant woman, Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported.
2:14 PM
Moldova’s President Maia Sandu warned against the dangers of Russian propaganda and disinformation in the country and proposed the creation of a new governmental body to counter this threat. The envisioned “Patriot Center” would coordinate and implement the state's strategy on combatting disinformation, Sandu said during a press conference on May 29.
10:41 AM
According to updated information by the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces, Russia launched 40 cruise missiles and 38 attack drones in the overnight attack. Ukraine’s air defense successfully intercepted 30 Shahed kamikaze drones and 36 Kh-101/Kh-555 cruise missiles, the General Staff wrote.

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Zelensky holds 40-minute talk with Pope Francis

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 13, 2023 7:58 PM 2 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to Pope Francis in the Vatican for 40 minutes on May 13 during the Ukrainian leader's state visit to Italy, marking the first time Zelensky has met with the Pope since 2020.

Pope Francis reportedly gifted Zelensky a small olive branch sculpture that symbolizes peace, while Zelensky gave the pontiff an icon of the Virgin Mary painted onto a piece of body armor.

Zelensky soon typed off a statement thanking Pope Francis for his personal attention to "the tragedy of millions of Ukrainians." He said the Pope acknowledged the abduction of tens of thousands of Ukrainian children who have to be returned home.

Zelensky also asked the Pope to condemn Russia's war crimes, "as there cannot be equivalence between victim and aggressor."  Finally, the president said Ukraine's peace formula is the only effective step by step plan to achieve peace and asked the Pope to join Ukraine in implementing it.

Pope Francis has previously said that the Vatican is ready to mediate for Ukraine and Russia but has shown signals that he doesn't see the invasion as a one-sided war of aggression. He said in March he believes the war is driven by multiple "empires" besides just Russia and stated his readiness to talk to Putin.

Yet Pope Francis also said that he's working on a secret mission to halt the war and return the children that Russia abducted from Ukraine.

Zelensky's visit to Rome also included visits with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and President Sergio Mattarella.

An Italian parliamentary intelligence oversight committee has said that Russia sought to conduct influence campaigns in Italy. The U.S. claimed that Russia spent hundreds of millions of dollars to influence Italian elections, to try to reduce Europe's unity.

Right-wing politicians in Italy have made pro-Russian comments over the years, with Meloni sounding off positively about Russian President Vladimir Putin's 2018 election win. Former leader Silvio Berlusconi knew Putin well and hung out with him, while Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has supported Russia and opposed military aid to Ukraine.

However, the ruling party, Brothers of Italy, has condemned the invasion and promised to send arms to Ukraine.

Taras Tarasiuk: How the Russian Orthodox Church’s covert actions against Ukraine have failed
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in the op-ed section are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the views of the Kyiv Independent. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, a Ukrainian branch of the Russian Orthodox Church and not to be confused with the

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