71% of Russians think country is on right path, 87% approve of Putin - Poll

A poll released on May 30 by the Levada Center, a Russian independent polling organization, found that 71% of respondents believed Russia is "going in the right direction," and 87% said they supported Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Throughout the war, Levada Center's polls have consistently shown an overwhelming majority of Russians supporting Putin and believing the country is on the right path. According to the latest poll, only 17% of respondents thought Russia was going in the wrong direction, and 13% found it difficult to answer.

The findings showed a relatively consistent majority across age and other demographic groups, including those who said they "barely have enough food."

Support for Putin has remained above 80% in the last five polls conducted by Levada Center, dating back to December 2023. A majority of respondents also expressed support for Russia's legislative branches, governors, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and the overall "Russian government."

In terms of trust, Putin was the most trusted politician, with 52% of respondents naming him as their most trusted political figure.

Ukrainian forces control 70% of Vovchansk, Kharkiv Oblast


In the embattled town of Vovchansk, Kharkiv Oblast, a fierce struggle continues as Ukraine's Defence Forces control 70% of the town. Yet, the battle is far from over, with street fighting ongoing.

Yurii Povkh, spokesperson for the Kharkiv Operational Strategic Group, stated during Ukrainska Pravda. "The Armed Forces of Ukraine are currently in control of most of the town. We can now talk about 70% control over the city. Street battles continue," he reported, highlighting the ongoing conflict.

The town's defenders, including police officers and soldiers, have shared grim footage of their clashes with Russian forces. The videos reveal the harsh realities of urban warfare, with every corner potentially becoming a battlefield. The soldiers stress that the fighting for Vovchansk never ceases, showcasing their resilience and determination.

On May 30, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, provided a strategic update. He noted that Russian forces are bolstering their presence in the main strike areas of Strilecha-Lyptsi and Vovchansk. They are deploying additional regiments and brigades, drawing reinforcements from other regions and training grounds.

However, despite this buildup, Syrskyi remains confident. He pointed out that the current Russian forces are still insufficient for a full-scale offensive or a breakthrough of Ukrainian defenses on the Kharkiv front. The defenders of Vovchansk, though heavily engaged, continue to hold their ground with determination.

As the conflict stretches on, the people of Vovchansk live under the constant threat of violence, their town transformed into a battleground. Yet, amidst the destruction, the spirit of resistance remains unbroken. Each day, as the sun sets over the war-torn streets, the defenders brace for another night of combat, their resolve a beacon of hope in the face of adversity.

The story of Vovchansk is one of endurance and courage, a testament to the strength of those fighting to reclaim their home. In this crucible of conflict, the fate of the town hangs in the balance, each moment a new chapter in the ongoing struggle for survival and freedom.

Macron to discuss Ukraine support with Biden in France

French President Emmanuel Macron is set to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden on June 8 during Biden's first state visit to France, the White House announced on May 30.

The meeting follows Biden's participation in the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings on June 6. Other Western leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are also expected to attend the D-Day commemoration, though Kyiv has not yet officially confirmed Zelensky's presence.

Macron and Biden plan to discuss long-term support for Ukraine and ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation in economic, space, and nuclear spheres, according to a statement from the French presidency, as reported by the Associated Press.

The meeting will occur amid ongoing discussions about lifting the ban on Ukraine's right to strike targets on Russian soil with Western weapons. This potential policy shift has already received public support from more than 10 countries, including France.

Washington and Berlin, the top two providers of military aid to Ukraine, have been hesitant to allow Kyiv to strike Russian territory. U.S. officials have consistently stated that they do not support or encourage Kyiv's strikes with American weapons on Russian soil, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has explicitly stated that the policy will not change.

However, recent statements and two articles published by Politico on May 29 suggest that both countries may be signaling a potential change to their long-standing policy.

US opens arms factory to produce artillery shells for Ukraine

In the heart of Mesquite, Texas, a new General Dynamics arms factory has sprung to life, marking a significant step in bolstering U.S. military production capabilities. This state-of-the-art facility, dedicated to the production of 155mm artillery shells, has become a symbol of renewed vigor in American defense manufacturing.

Source: Reuters, NYT, Voice of America

The Pentagon, with an ambitious vision, has set its sights on producing up to 100,000 artillery shells per month by the end of 2025. This goal aims to ensure a steady supply of crucial weaponry to Ukraine amidst its ongoing conflict.

Across the country in Pennsylvania, the factories in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre have been the workhorses, churning out about 36,000 shells monthly. However, the opening of the new Mesquite facility adds a significant boost, with its capability to supply an additional 30,000 units per month.

The creation of this factory, with a price tag exceeding $500 million, wasn't just about numbers. It represented a leap forward in industrial flexibility and efficiency. Designed with three production lines, it provides 350 new jobs and the ability to adapt quickly to manufacturing different types of ammunition with minimal adjustments. This adaptability is key to meeting the army's modernization goals.

But the story doesn’t end in Texas. In Camden, Arkansas, another ammunition factory is under construction, and plans are in motion to open a second shell production line at a military plant in Iowa. Furthermore, a partially reopened plant in Parsons, Kansas, will add to this nationwide effort.

U.S. Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth, standing before the gleaming new facility at its opening ceremony, underscored its importance. "The work done in these production facilities contributes directly to our nation's defense and makes us stronger," she declared, her words echoing the resolve and determination behind these efforts.

As the machinery in Mesquite roars to life, it symbolizes more than just increased production. It reflects a strategic commitment to national security and an unyielding support for allies in need.

Russians build up forces near Kharkiv Oblast, but they're not enough to break through defenses 

According to a communication from Oleksandr Syrskyi, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, relayed via Telegram, there's been a noticeable surge in Russian troop numbers near Strilecha – Lyptsi and Vovchansk in Kharkiv Oblast. However, Syrskyi emphasizes that despite this escalation, these additional forces lack the capacity to launch a full-scale offensive.

Syrskyi personally inspected the brigades and battalions stationed along the Kharkiv front, affirming his assessment of the situation. In his own words, "The enemy continues to bolster their troop presence along the primary Strilecha – Lyptsi line and in the vicinity of Vovchansk, deploying more regiments and brigades from various fronts and training areas. Nevertheless, at present, these reinforcements do not constitute a sufficient force for a comprehensive offensive or a breach of our defenses."