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Ukraine signed security agreements with 3 more countries and returned 75 POWs - Friday brief

Ukraine signed security agreements with 3 more countries and returned 75 POWs - Friday brief RBC-Ukraine collage

On Friday, May 31, Ukraine signed security agreements with Sweden, Iceland, and Norway. Meanwhile, Ukraine returned 71 defenders and four civilians from Russian captivity.

RBC-Ukraine compiled the main news for May 31.

Russia's war against Ukraine: Latest

Ukraine returns 71 defenders and 4 civilians from Russian captivity

Ukraine returned 75 people from Russian captivity. Among them are 71 servicemen.

“All this time, we have not stopped working for a day to bring home every one of the Russian captives. And today we have an important result: 75 more of our people have returned to Ukraine,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

According to the President, soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the National Guard, border guards, and four civilians returned from Russian captivity.

The head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Ihor Klymenko, added that among those who were returned were 29 employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine: 21 National Guardsmen, 7 border guards, and a police officer.

Also among those returned are the defenders of Mariupol, Zmiinyi Island, Hostomel, and 14 defenders of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

Ukraine and Sweden sign security agreement

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, in Stockholm, have signed a bilateral agreement on security guarantees.

According to the document, Sweden will provide military aid to Ukraine amounting to approximately 6.5 billion euros from 2024 to 2026, roughly 2.2 billion euros annually. This assistance package will see a gradual increase over the ten years of the agreement.

The military support encompasses aviation and air defense, armored vehicles, artillery, bolstering maritime security, demining efforts, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Sweden has already supplied and will continue to supply artillery systems like the Archer and combat vehicles like the CV90 to Ukraine, with discussions underway for potential joint production opportunities.

The unique aspect of the agreement with Sweden lies in the provision of specialized ASC 890 aircraft, alongside the prospect of transferring JAS 39 Gripen aircraft to Ukraine, including corresponding training.

Additionally, Sweden will support the development of Ukraine's modern defense-industrial potential and foster bilateral cooperation concerning localization, repair, technical servicing, and production of Swedish defense products in Ukraine.

Specific components of the agreement address support for the peace formula, sanctions, compensation for damages, holding aggressors accountable, as well as assistance to Ukraine in economic recovery, reconstruction, and safeguarding critical infrastructure.

Furthermore, Sweden will help Ukraine on its path towards membership in the EU and NATO.

Ukraine and Iceland sign security agreement

Ukraine and Iceland have signed a security guarantees agreement. Iceland has committed to providing long-term economic, humanitarian, and defense support to Ukraine.

Iceland has pledged not only to assist Ukraine but also to support its future membership in the EU and NATO.

As part of the security agreement, Iceland will allocate at least 4 billion Icelandic krona (nearly $30 million) annually to Ukraine from 2024 to 2028. Support for Ukraine will continue for 10 years, covering the entire term of the agreement.

Iceland is also ready to finance, procure, and supply defense materials and equipment, and to collaborate with Ukraine in developing its defense industry.

Notably, the agreement is unique in that Iceland commits to continue transporting military cargo and equipment to Ukraine from NATO allies using chartered cargo planes. The country will pay special attention to women in the military.

The agreement also covers support for the peace formula, sanctions against Russia, compensation for damages, holding Russia accountable, strengthening social and civil infrastructure, and energy security.

Ukraine and Norway sign security agreement

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre have signed an agreement on security cooperation and long-term support.

This year, Norway will provide Ukraine with around €1.2 billion in military assistance. Overall, Norway has allocated nearly €6.4 billion for the long-term support program for Ukraine from 2023 to 2027. Norwegian support for Ukraine will continue for the duration of the agreement.

Additionally, Norway will help Ukraine develop its capabilities in modern combat aircraft and has already expressed a clear willingness to transfer F-16 fighters.

Moreover, Oslo will make a significant contribution to the development of maritime capabilities in the Black and Azov Seas, continue to provide NASAMS systems and equipment, and train specialists.

As part of their collaboration, Ukraine and Norway will focus on strengthening defense-industrial cooperation, particularly in areas such as technology transfer, joint research and development, and defense equipment production.

According to the document, Norway will also support the peace formula, sanctions, compensation for damages, holding the aggressor accountable, assistance in economic recovery, humanitarian demining, protection of critical infrastructure, and combating Russian propaganda. Norwegian hospitals will continue to provide aid to Ukrainians.

Furthermore, Norway will work on Ukraine's future NATO membership.

US allows Ukraine to use American weapons to strike Russian territory

The administration of US President Joe Biden has secretly allowed Ukraine to launch strikes with US weapons on Russian territory. But there are restrictions, according to Politico.

The press secretary of the President of Ukraine, Serhii Nikiforov, confirmed that Ukraine had received permission from the United States to use American weapons for strikes on Russian territory. However, the US has set limitations.

The Wall Street Journal reports the new US policy will allow Ukrainian forces to use artillery and launch short-range missiles from HIMARS launchers against command posts, weapon depots, and other targets on Russian territory used by Russian forces to attack Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine.

However, this policy does not allow Ukraine to use longer-range land-to-land ATACMS missiles on Russian territory.

Later, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed US President Joe Biden permitted Ukraine to use the transferred US weapons to strike Russia.

Ukraine can use American weapons for its defense and strike Russian formations near the border where necessary.

Security Service of Ukraine disables Russian radar system in Crimea, sources

On the night of May 29-30, drones of the Security Service of Ukraine attacked the Russian Nebo-SVU long-range radar detection system. The cost of the complex is $100 million, the sources say.

According to the sources, the drones were an in-house development of SSU military counterintelligence.

The complex was located near Armyansk. It controlled a 380-kilometer section of the frontline and provided terrorists with protection of their facilities in the temporarily occupied Crimea.

After the attack, space reconnaissance systems detected a blackout of the Nebo-SVU radar. After that, its operation was no longer monitored.

The SSU special operation made the Russian air defense blind on a large section of the front.

Poland prepares new aid package for Ukraine

Poland is currently working on a new military aid package for Ukraine, marking the 45th such assistance initiative.

"Poland has sent 44 packages of aid to Ukraine, we are now organizing our 45th... we think we've contributed in military assistance alone around 4 billion euros," said Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski.

Ukrainian Defense Forces strike Russian oil terminal with Neptune missiles

The Ukrainian Defense Forces attacked an oil terminal near the Kavkaz port in the Krasnodar Territory of the Russian Federation. The strikes were carried out with Ukrainian-made missiles from the Neptune coastal missile system.

It happened on the night of May 31. The day before, the Ukrainian Defense Forces had put out of action the ferries of the Kerch ferry crossing in the occupied Crimea, which ran to the port of Kavkaz and was used for the aggressor's military logistics.