Russian forces again bomb Kyiv overnight, Ukraine reports no casualties

Russian forces again bombed Kyiv on Thursday night, according to the city’s civil and military administration, which said that all missiles had been intercepted and destroyed. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says he plans to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin “in due course”, holding out the prospect of resuming contact after a near-total breakdown in relations since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Read our live blog for all the latest developments in the war in Ukraine. All times are Paris time (GMT+2). 

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7:14am: Russia’s Medvedev says pre-emptive strike needed if Ukraine receives nuclear weapons

Russia will have to launch a pre-emptive strike if the West gives Ukraine nuclear weapons, Russian news agencies quoted Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman, former president Dmitry Medvedev, as saying on Friday.

“There are irreversible laws of war. If it comes to nuclear weapons, there will have to be a pre-emptive strike,” Medvedev said.

6:09am: New overnight bombing raids on Kyiv

Russian forces bombed Kyiv again Thursday night, according to the city’s civil and military administration, which said that all the missiles had been intercepted and destroyed.

“Another air attack on Kyiv, the 13th in a row since the beginning of May! And as always, at night”, said the administration on its Telegram account. According to the administration, cruise missiles were launched by Tu-95MS strategic bombers from the Caspian Sea region.

“According to preliminary information, all enemy targets in Kiev’s airspace have been detected and destroyed,” it added.

6:00am: Germany’s Scholz plans to speak with Putin ‘in due course’

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says he plans to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin “in due course”, holding out the prospect of resuming contact after a near-total breakdown in relations since the Ukraine war.

“My last telephone call was some time ago,” Scholz told the Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper in an interview published Friday. “But I plan to speak to Putin again in due course”.

Scholz insisted that his aim remained to “actively support Ukraine”, but “at the same to prevent a direct conflict between NATO and Russia. … And never to act alone, but in close coordination with our friends and allies.” 

Asked about the prospect of halting the conflict through negotiations, Scholz said that Putin had to understand that the war could not be ended by making “some kind of cold peace … for instance, by turning the current front line into the new ‘border’ between Russia and Ukraine,” he said. “It is about a fair peace, and the prerequisite for that is the withdrawal of Russian troops,” he added.

3:47am: Kyiv reports increased danger of missile strikes, says defences working

Military authorities in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv reported an increased danger of Russian missile strikes in the early hours of Friday morning and said anti-aircraft defences were working.

Russia has launched hundreds of rocket attacks against targets across Ukraine since last October, seeking to destroy critical infrastructure and other targets. In recent weeks Ukraine said it has knocked out most of the missiles.

“Increased missile danger! Air defences are working in the region,” the Kyiv regional military administration said in a message on Telegram.

2:57am: Japan to slap additional sanctions on Russia after G7 summit

Japan will place additional sanctions on Russia, a government bulletin showed on Friday, after the Group of Seven (G7) summit the country hosted last week in Hiroshima showed the G7 leaders’ resolve to support Ukraine.

Japan will freeze assets of 78 groups and 17 individuals in Russia and ban exports to 80 Russian entities such as military-affiliated research labs, according to the bulletin.

2:30am: Putin ally says Ukraine war could last for decades

A top ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Ukraine war could last for decades, with long periods of fighting interspersed by truces, Russia’s RIA news agency reported on Thursday.

It said former President Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Putin’s powerful security council, had spoken during a visit to Vietnam. Medvedev often makes hardline comments and last month described Ukrainian authorities as an infection.

“This conflict will last a very long time, most likely decades,” RIA cited Medvedev as saying.

“As long as there is such a power in place, there will be, say, three years of truce, two years of conflict, and everything will be repeated,” he continued, reiterating Moscow’s claim that Ukraine is a Nazi state.

1:21am: EU extends Ukraine tariff suspension, Zelensky pledges to make it permanent

The European Union agreed on Thursday to suspend restrictions on imports from Ukraine for a further year after warding off an import ban imposed by some EU nations amid farmer protests over low prices.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the EU for the extension and pledged to work towards meeting the union’s standards required to secure membership of the 27-nation bloc.

The Council of the EU, a grouping of EU governments, said in a tweet that EU ministers responsible for trade had agreed to the extension at a meeting on Thursday.


12:30am: Russia signals July end to Black Sea grain deal if demands not met

Russia signalled on Thursday that if demands to improve its grain and fertiliser exports are not met, it will not extend beyond July 17 a deal allowing the safe wartime export of the  products from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

It made the same threat and demands in March. Moscow agreed last week to renew for 60 days the Black Sea export pact initially brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July with Russia and Ukraine to ease a global food crisis aggravated by Moscow’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

  • Key developments from Thursday, May 25:

Russia’s Wagner group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said it is withdrawing its forces from the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut and transferring its positions to Russian army units. 

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that Russia had begun moving tactical nuclear weapons into his country.

Read yesterday’s live blog to see how the day’s events unfolded.


Read more analysis on the war in Ukraine
Read more analysis on the war in Ukraine © France Médias Monde graphic studio

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP & Reuters)

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