May 17 events in Babelʼs review: Ukrainian servicemen are taken out of Azovstal, Russians launched a missile strike on Lviv oblast

Dmytro Rayevskyi

From the very beginning of Russiaʼs full-scale war against Ukraine, Babel has been conducting daily live text coverage and promptly informing the main news on the Telegram channel. We also do a daily digest of the highlights of the day in case you havenʼt been able to follow live.

The wounded soldiers from Azovstal were evacuated to the hospital of occupied Novoazovsk, Donetsk oblast, at night, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said. 53 seriously wounded soldiers were taken there. Another 211 were evacuated through a humanitarian corridor to occupied Olenivka. They plan to exchange. President Volodymyr Zelenskyi has confirmed that an operation to rescue the defenders of Mariupol has begun. He added that work was underway to bring all the troops home. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine stressed that the higher military command ordered the soldiers in Mariupol to save the lives of the personnel. At least seven buses with Ukrainian defenders of Mariupol left Azovstal today. They are accompanied by a Russian convoy. The leader of the Azov movement, Andriy Biletsky, urged people to refrain from any assessments or comments about the evacuation of Azovstal fighters.

The speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation said at a meeting on May 17 that the Duma intends to ban the exchange of fighters of the Azov Regiment, some of which were taken out of the Azovstal in Mariupol the day before. He called them "war criminals to be brought to justice". At the same time, his colleague Slutskiy spoke in favor of the death penalty for soldiers. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine states that these statements of Russian politicians are aimed at internal propaganda, but in fact, negotiations on the exchange of evacuated defenders of Mariupol are underway.

In the morning, the Russians attacked Sievierodonetsk, Rubizhne and Lysychansk with missiles. In Luhansk oblast, there are ten dead and three wounded people. In addition, Russian troops fired missiles at the village of Desna in Chernihiv oblast, killing eight people and wounding 12 others. The occupiers fired 5 missiles at Okhtyrka. In Sumy oblast, the Russians again tried to break through the state border, but were repulsed. Three Russian cruise missiles were destroyed in the sky over Lviv oblast at night. In one of the villages of the Yavoriv district, the wreckage of the missile partially damaged the railway infrastructure. Windows flew in the surrounding houses.

In Kherson oblast, a Russian sniper killed a volunteer, Anton Kushnir, who was evacuating people from the occupied territories and delivering humanitarian aid.

The occupiers fired Grad at the evacuation bus from Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk. There were 36 people on the bus; no one was injured, the bus managed to break through and not fall under the shells.

The SBU neutralized the Russian intelligence network, which was to ensure the penetration of enemy reconnaissance and sabotage groups in Mykolayiv. According to the curatorʼs instructions, the agents also collected information about the socio-political situation in the region and the consequences of enemy missile strikes in Mykolayiv. In order to obtain secret information, in particular about the positions of Ukrainian units, the attackers tried to use the current servicemen "in the dark" — they interrogated them with secret information, allegedly in friendly conversations.

The US Senate has decided by a majority to end the debate on the bill to allocate almost $ 40 billion in support of Ukraine and move on. In addition, the Senate decided to call a final vote on the bill this week. It is expected to take place on Wednesday, May 18.

Swedenʼs Foreign Minister Ann Linde has officially signed an application to join NATO. The Finnish Parliament has voted in favor of joining NATO. The decision was supported by 188 deputies, only eight were against.

Russian Forbes stops publishing a paper magazine. This decision is due to the fact that foreign advertisers have left the Russian market.

Due to sanctions, Yandex is looking for buyers for its Russian assets — search engine, mail and Kinopoisk service. This was reported by Meduza. Sber and Rostech are considered among potential buyers.