Russia claims downing Storm Shadow missile for the first time
Russian Defense Ministry said for the first time that Russian troops had intercepted a Storm Shadow long-range missile supplied to Ukraine by the U.K., Reuters reported on May 15.
Earlier, the ministry claimed Ukrainian forces had struck industrial facilities in the occupied city of Luhansk on May 12 with a Storm Shadow rocket. However, according to the Institute for the Study of War, there is no visual confirmation that the Ukrainian army has already used those missiles to hit Russian positions in Ukraine.
The ISW cited a Russian military blogger saying that a Storm Shadow attack would have caused more damage, as well as a report by Russian proxies in Luhansk Oblast that Ukrainian soldiers had used Hrim-2 missiles to carry out the May 12 strike.
The U.K. has become the first country to provide Ukraine with weapons capable of reaching targets deep into Russian-occupied territories.
U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced donating the missiles to Ukraine on May 11, confirming previous media reports. However, Wallace didn't specify whether the U.K. had already delivered any missiles and, if yes, how many.
The air-launched Storm Shadow missile, jointly developed by the U.K. and France, has a range of 250 kilometers (155 miles), aiming at the target at 987 kilometers per hour or 0.8 of the speed of sound.
Storm Shadow is only slightly inferior to the 185-mile U.S. Army Surface-to-Surface System (ATACMS), which Ukraine has long requested, so far unsuccessfully.
Such missiles can reach Russia's territory, but Kyiv promised the U.K. government not to use them to strike targets inside Russia. Instead, Ukraine says it would use donated long-range weapons to attack Russian command centers, supply lines, ammunition, and fuel depots in Crimea and the occupied territories of Ukraine's east.
The Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, as reported by Russian state-controlled news outlet RIA Novosti, that Russia "is extremely negative" about London's decision to send Storm Shadow to Ukraine. Peskov threatened the U.K. with "an adequate response."
Putin simplifies the citizenship process for foreigners fighting for Russia in Ukraine
According to the Russian government site, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin signed a decree simplifying the citizenship process on May 15 for foreigners and stateless people fighting in the Russian military against Ukraine.
A simplified pathway to Russian citizenship will now be available for those who sign a one-year Russian military service contract. According to the decree, their spouses, children, and parents will also be eligible.
The decree, signed by Putin on May 15, has entered into immediate effect.
Russia has faced challenges in sustaining its troop levels as it seeks to avoid a complete mobilization within its borders.
The Wagner mercenary group, which operates alongside the regular Russian army, allegedly recruited thousands of prisoners to fight against Ukraine with the promise of amnesty if they survived the battlefield.
Governor: Russian missile strike on Avdiivka kills 4 people
A Russian missile strike on Avdiivka killed four people on May 15, Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported.
According to Kyrylenko, the missiles were launched at Avdiivka in the morning and struck a hospital.
"Every new day spent in Donetsk increases the risk of becoming a victim of Russian aggression!" Kyrylenko wrote.
The industrial city of Avdiivka, located five kilometers north of Russian-occupied Donetsk, has been a target of Russian attacks since 2014, when Russia first invaded Ukraine.
On March 27, the city was closed off to outside volunteers and the press due to the increased security risk.