Russia’s Leader Said The West Left Him No Choice But To Invade Ukraine. Elsewhere, The Russian Ambassador To Poland Is Attacked With Red Paint In Warsaw.

Russia’s Leader Said The West Left Him No Choice But To Invade Ukraine. Elsewhere, The Russian Ambassador To Poland Is Attacked With Red Paint In Warsaw.

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1 min agoUS sees “anecdotal reports” of Russian troops in Ukraine not obeying orders, senior defense official saysFrom CNN’s Michael Conte and Oren Liebermann

The US sees “anecdotal reports” of Russian troops and “mid-grade officers at various levels, even up to the battalion level” refusing to obey orders to move forward in the new Donbas offensive in Ukraine, according to a senior US defense official.

The official said these officers “have either refused to obey orders or are not obeying them with the same measure of alacrity that you would expect an officer to obey.”

Russian forces have struggled with widespread morale problems since the beginning of the invasion, according to this official, which is just one of numerous problems that has plagued the Russian military during this war.

Russian forces are also still facing logistics issues that are slowing their progress, according to the official.

There are 97 operational battalion tactical groups (BTGs) of Russian forces in Ukraine right now, up from 92 BTGs assessed on April 28, the official told reporters on Monday. This is an increase of five BTGs in 11 days.

“It’s not unusual for them to move a BTG or two out of the Donbas back into Russia for re-fit or re-supply and then move them back in, that’s normal,” the official said. But overall, “they’ve added about five BTGs to Ukraine, and all of those BTGs are either in the east or in the south” of Ukraine, the official said.

53 min agoSource: Biden told top US national security officials leaks about intelligence sharing with Ukraine must stopFrom CNN’s Kaitlan Collins

US President Joe Biden recently told his top national security officials that leaks about US intelligence sharing with Ukrainians aren’t helpful and need to stop, according to an official familiar with the conversation. 

Last week, after the White House denied providing direct intelligence to Ukrainians “with the intent to kill Russian generals,” Biden spoke separately with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, CIA Director William Burns and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.

He told them that it was not helpful for information to become public about what the US was sharing with the Ukrainian forces fighting the Russian invasion, an official said, and stressed that the leaks regarding such information must stop.

Biden’s message to his top national security officials was first reported by NBC News.

US officials have been candid about intelligence sharing with Ukrainians but have also said there is a line in what is shared with them. In addition to sending weapons for the battlefield, officials have also provided intelligence “to help the Ukrainians defend their country,” a spokesperson for the National Security Council said last week.

29 min agoRussian missile destroys Odesa hotel beloved by Russia’s eliteFrom Sanyo Fylyppov and Tim Lister in Lviv

The Grande Pettine Hotel in Odesa, Ukraine, is seen on May 9 after it was struck by a Russian cruise missile. (ddp images/Sipa USA/AP)There is a hotel in the southern Ukrainian city of Odesa that became known locally as “the stronghold of the Russian world.”

The luxury development named the “Grande Pettine” is situated on a Black Sea beach. When the pro-Russian movement in Odesa was at its peak — about 10 years ago — the complex held conferences dedicated to the brotherhood of Ukraine and Russia. One was called: “Challenges of the global crisis: the unity of Ukraine and Russia.”

The place attracted Russian talk show personalities and some of the most hawkish of Russian politicians. It is still owned by a businessman who was prominent in the pro-Russian Party of Regions.

This weekend, the “Grand Pettine” was hit by at least one Russian cruise missile, sustaining severe damage.

Given the fond memories of influential Russians for the warmth and luxury offered by the Black Sea resort, it seems unlikely it was deliberately targeted.

Rubble from the Grande Pettine Hotel is seen in Odesa on May 8. (Max Pshybyshevsky/AP)CNN contacted the hotel Monday and was told that it could not provide a response until the curfew was over Tuesday. 

“The buildings of the hotel and restaurant complex, as well as the utility infrastructure, were destroyed and damaged. There are no victims or injured,” the prosecutor’s office in Odesa said Monday.

1 hr 10 min agoUS has delivered most of the pledged howitzers to Ukraine, senior defense official daysFrom CNN’s Michael Conte and Ellie Kaufman

The US has delivered “more than 85” of the 90 howitzers, long-range weapons, that were pledged to Ukraine, as well as more than 110,000 of the 184,000 ammunition rounds for them, according to a senior US defense official.

The official also said that “more than 310” Ukrainian soldiers have completed training on the howitzers, with another “50 plus” currently being trained as well, along with a new separate two week long course on howitzer maintenance beginning today.

At least 20 Ukrainians have completed training on the Phoenix Ghost drone, 60 Ukrainians have completed training on the M113 armored personnel carrier (APC) with another “45 plus” completing training on that APC today, and 15 Ukrainian soldiers have completed training on the Q64 mobile air defense radar, with a second class beginning training on that radar today, the official added.

At least “13 deliveries from seven different nations have arrived at various transshipment sites throughout the region” that have included “shotguns, spare parts, Humvees, generators,” and “even a couple of additional Howitzers.” the official noted.

37 min agoEuropean Council president forced to take shelter from missile strike during Ukraine visit, EU official says From CNN’s James Frater and Julia Kesaieva 

President of the European Council Charles Michel is seen during his visit to Odesa, Ukraine, on May 9, in this picture released by the European Council press office. (Dario Pignatelli/European Council Press Service/AFP/Getty Images)Du

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