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Latest in Ukraine: Russian Reconnaissance Aircraft Spotted over Baltic, Barents Seas

Latest Developments  

Three Russian aircraft intercepted over Baltic Sea by Germany and Britain 
British Defense Ministry says heavy short-range combat continues in western districts of Bakhmut  
Russian opposition former mayor on trial over Ukraine criticism 

Three Russian military reconnaissance aircraft were intercepted in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, the German air force reported Wednesday. 

German officials said the aircraft, flying without their transponders on, were intercepted by German and British planes. 

Tuesday Norway said its air force had identified a group of Russian military planes flying over the Barents Sea. The Norwegian air force identified the aircraft as two bombers, two refueling tankers and three fighter jets. 

In Wednesday’s update on the situation in Ukraine, the British defense ministry said heavy, short-range combat continues in the western districts of Bakhmut. 

In the post on Twitter the ministry said during the past week Ukraine is seeking to maintain control of an important supply route, since other resupply options into Bakhmut are likely complicated by mud. 

The former mayor of Yekaterinburg, Yevgeny Roizman, has gone on trial on charges of discrediting the Russian military over its offensive in Ukraine.  

Roizman is a popular opposition figure. He is the last prominent Kremlin critic who is still in Russia and not in prison. 

Russian targets 

Ukrainian officials said a Russian missile struck a museum in the city of Kupiasnk on Tuesday, killing at least two people and injuring 10 others. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia is doing all it can to destroy Ukraine’s history, culture and its people. 

“Killing Ukrainians with absolutely barbaric methods,” Zelenskyy said after the Kupiansk attack. “We have no right to forget about it for a single second. We must and will respond!” 

Zelenskyy said those responsible for committing war crimes “will definitely be brought to justice and it will be merciless.” 

Russian forces seized Kupiansk, an important rail hub in northeastern Ukraine, during the early part of the invasion it launched in Ukraine last year. Ukrainian forces took it back in September. 

Grain deal

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has proposed a “way forward” of the Black Sea Grain Deal to Russian President Vladimir Putin.   

Guterres outlined his proposal in a letter to the Russian president on “the improvement, extension and expansion” of a grain deal that would allow the safe Black Sea export of Ukrainian grain, a U.N. spokesperson said on Monday after Guterres and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met in New York.  

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Monday an agreement between Moscow and the United Nations on Russia’s grain and fertilizer exports is not being fulfilled and there are “lots of details” to be discussed by Lavrov and Guterres.   

The Kremlin has indicated it will not allow the deal — brokered by the U.N. and Turkey last year — to continue beyond May 18 unless Russia’s terms on its own grain and fertilizer exports are met.    

Some material in this report came from Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.