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Zelenskyy says Russia intensifying attacks out of frustration; Moscow holds Victory Day military parade

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine on May 9, 2023. See here for the latest updates. 

Russian soldiers march during a rehearsal of the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, on May 7, 2023.
Xinhua News Agency | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

All eyes are on Russia's Victory Day parade on Tuesday, an annual event marking the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

Moscow usually uses the high-profile event in Moscow to show off its military hardware, parading massive missile launchers, battle tanks and troops through Red Square as Russian President Vladimir Putin and military generals look on.

This year is expected to be a smaller affair, however, with the ongoing war in Ukraine involving much of Russia's military personnel and hardware. Security concerns are also high on the Kremlin's watchlist this year, particularly after a recent alleged drone attack on the Kremlin. Victory Day parades have been canceled in a number of places in Russia.

Russia has launched a wave of attacks on Ukrainian cities Kyiv, Odesa and Kherson in the last few days and Kyiv was targeted with more strikes overnight. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Russia is intensifying its attacks out of frustration that several Ukrainian cities have not fallen to Russian troops and the Kremlin needs to "sell" results to its society.

State Department announces potential weapons sale worth $250 million to Slovakia

Oshkosh entrant in JLTV bid war
Source: Oshkosh

The U.S. State Department has approved a potential foreign military sale to Slovakia for 192 joint light tactical vehicles, as allies look to bolster their arsenals amid Russia's war in Ukraine.

Oshkosh Defense in Wisconsin will be the primary contractor for the weapons system, which is expected to cost an estimated $250 million.

The proposed sale will accelerate Slovakia's divestiture of Russian-produced equipment and will contribute to U.S. security interests.

"This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO Ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe," the State Department wrote in a statement announcing the sale.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy thanks Biden for latest security assistance package

Ukrainian soldiers at their artillery position on the Donetsk front line in Ukraine on April 24, 2023.
Diego Herrera Carcedo | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskky thanked President Joe Biden for the latest security assistance package worth $1.2 billion.

"There is another good news from partners. From what can be said publicly, there is a new defense package from the United States," Zelenskyy said on his official Telegram channel.

"Artillery, protection against missiles and terrorist drones, other things to strengthen our defenders. Thank you to president Biden, bipartisan Congress, and every American family for your continued support and for the American strength that keeps us strong," he added.

The new weapons package brings U.S. total commitment to more than $36.9 billion since the beginning of Russia's unprovoked invasion last February.

— Amanda Macias

More than 900 ships carrying 29.7 million metric tons of agricultural goods have left Ukrainian ports, UN says

Farmer Artur Tabor shows wheat at his farm in Buczyna, Poland on April 25, 2023. Polish farmers protest as some Ukrainian grain and other products stay in the country during transport abroad. Ukrainian grain is cheaper than local, which has a strong impact on prices on the market. 
Jakub Porzycki | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The organization overseeing the export of agricultural products from Ukraine said that more than 900 ships have transported 29.7 million metric tons of goods so far.

Before Moscow's full-scale invasion of its ex-Soviet neighbor last year, Ukraine and Russia accounted for roughly a quarter of global grain exports, until those shipments came to a severe halt for nearly six months.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased Russia's naval blockade and reopened three key Ukrainian ports.

Russia has indicated that it is not pleased with the Black Sea Grain Initiative and is not in favor of extending the current deal this month.

— Amanda Macias

AFP journalist Arman Soldin killed by rocket fire in eastern Ukraine

(FILES) AFP journalist Arman Soldin, walks in a trench as he is covering the war in Ukraine on March 18, 2023. Arman was killed by a rocket strike as he reported with AFP colleagues from Ukrainian positions in Chasiv Yar on May 9, 2023. 
Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images

Agence France-Presse video photographer Arman Soldin has died in Ukraine, the French news wire service said on Twitter.

Soldin, who was AFP's Ukraine video coordinator, was killed by rocket fire near the outskirts of Bakhmut, according to the news agency.

"We are devastated to learn of the death of AFP video journalist Arman Soldin in eastern Ukraine today," the French wire service wrote on Twitter. "All of our thoughts go out to his family and loved ones."

(FILES) AFP journalist Arman Soldin, walks in a village after a shelling on March 3, 2022 in Ukraine. 
Aris Messinis | AFP | Getty Images

— CNBC's Amanda Macias and Ari Messinis | AFP | Getty Images

Russia launched at least 20 missiles against Ukrainian cities, Ukraine's military says

Mayor of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, examines high-rise residential building damaged by remains of a shot down Russian drone in Kyiv on May 8, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine's military said Russian forces launched 20 missiles against the cities of Kramatorsk and Kostyantynivka in the Donetsk region. More than half of the missiles used were air-launched cruise missiles.

Ukrainian generals also said in their evening update that fierce battles continue in the Ukrainian cities of Bakhmut and Maryinka.

— Amanda Macias

One ship leaves Ukraine’s port of Chornomorsk under UN-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative

An aerial view of a dry cargo ship transporting grain from Ukraine under the U.N.-brokered Black Sea deal.
Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

One ship carrying 63,500 metric tons of corn left Ukraine's port of Chornomorsk for Spain under the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

The U.N.-backed humanitarian sea corridor has allowed more than 900 ships carrying more than 29 million metric tons of agricultural products to depart Ukrainian war-weary ports.

The deal was brokered in July by representatives from Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations. Russia has previously said that it would not recognize an extension of the deal, which could expire in mid-May.

Ukraine's navy has previously said Russia is intentionally slowing down the movement of ships from Ukrainian ports in an effort to weaponize food.

— Amanda Macias

UK has trained more than 50,000 Ukrainian troops, Ukrainian prime minister says

A Ukrainian soldier is seen with flags of Ukraine and the United Kingdom during their final training, on March 24, 2023 in South West, England. 
Finnbarr Webster | Getty Images

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal thanked the United Kingdom for training Ukrainian troops as Kyiv continues to fight off Moscow's invasion.

"More than 50,000 were trained here in Great Britain and we continue this mission together and I'm sure it will be our mutual victory in the future," Shmyhal said in an interview with Sky News.

"I am sure that the most important Victory Day for Ukraine will be victory day in this terrible Russian full-scale aggression against Ukraine," he added, referencing May 9 celebrations.

— Amanda Macias

Russia has intensified attacks out of frustration as several Ukrainian cities have not fallen, Zelenskyy says

Ukrainian service members from 28th mechanised brigade remain in their trenches after incoming fire at the frontline, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine in the region of Bakhmut, Ukraine, April 5, 2023. 
Kai Pfaffenbach | Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia has intensified its attacks across the country out of frustration that several Ukrainian cities, including Bakhmut, have not fallen to Russian troops.

Zelenskyy told reporters in Kyiv that the Kremlin needs to "sell" results to its society, but that Russian forces have no significant victories on the battlefield, according to a readout from the Ukrainian government.

"They failed to sell Bakhmut because they failed to capture it. It was their last important operation to do it by May 9. Although, unfortunately, there is no such whole city there anymore, everything is completely destroyed," Zelenskyy said referencing Victory Day celebrations in Russia.

— Amanda Macias

Britain solicits companies to supply long-range missiles for Ukraine

A British-led group of European countries is soliciting companies that can supply Ukraine with long-range missiles that can be launched from land, sea or air, Reuters reported.

The call for responses from companies that could supply such missiles was posted last week by the International Fund for Ukraine, a group that includes Britain, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, according to Reuters.

Britain's Ministry of Defence administers the fund and asked companies to get in touch if they could provide missiles with a range of up to 300 km (190 miles) that can carry a payload of between 20 and 490 kg (44 and 1,078 pounds). The notice said companies that responded would be contacted from June 5.

A British official told Reuters no final decision had been made to send missiles with these capabilities to Ukraine.

Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukraine's defense minister, told Reuters that Kyiv had no concrete information about the British-led effort to supply long-range missiles, but that Ukraine has been consistently appealing to Western governments for long-range weapons.

— Melodie Warner

UN says at least 8,700 killed in Ukraine since start of war

A view of a cemetery amid Russia-Ukraine war in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on February 28, 2023. 
Ignacio Marin | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The United Nations has confirmed 8,791 civilian deaths and 14,815 injuries in Ukraine since Russia invaded its ex-Soviet neighbor a year ago.

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said the death toll in Ukraine is likely higher because the armed conflict can delay fatality reports.

The international organization said most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, as well as missiles and airstrikes.

— Amanda Macias

U.S. approves $1.2 billion for Ukraine in latest security assistance package

Ukrainian soldiers prepare to open fire on Russian positions to protect the defensive line on the frontline towards the city of Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on April 30, 2023. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Muhammed Enes Yildirim | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Pentagon announced a new security assistance package for Ukraine worth $1.2 billion.

The arms package is authorized through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, or USAI, which uses funds appropriated by Congress. The USAI finances America's defense industry to scale up arms production.

The capabilities in the package are:

  • Additional air defense systems and munitions
  • Equipment to integrate Western air defense launchers, missiles, and radars with Ukraine's air defense systems
  • Ammunition for counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems, or UAVs
  • 155mm artillery rounds
  • Commercial satellite imagery services
  • Support for training, maintenance and sustainment activities

— Amanda Macias

Donetsk faces increasing water scarcity issues

Local residents stand in line for drinking water brought by volunteers on April 7, 2023 in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. Despite the constant shelling, there are still civilians in the frontline cities, who sometimes have to bring humanitarian aid with the help of military equipment. (Photo by Yan Dobronosov/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
Yan Dobronosov | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Regional water supplies are running dangerously low in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, the U.K.'s Ministry of Defence wrote in its daily intelligence update.

The Ministry of Defence noted that water scarcity has been a growing issue for Russian-occupied Donetsk since Russia's invasion of Ukraine as forces battle over a contested canal.

"Russia's heavy use of indirect artillery to support the capture of Bakhmut and surrounding territory has likely inflicted collateral damage to the canal and other regional water infrastructure, undermining Russia's efforts to remedy the lack of water that its invasion originally created," the agency wrote.

The U.K. government also noted that Russia might be trying to build a pipeline to mitigate the water issue, but said it's unlikely to make up for the shortage.

— Michele Luhn

Russia's Victory Day in pictures

Veterans watch the Victory Day military parade on Dvortsovaya Square in central Saint Petersburg on May 9, 2023.
Olga Maltseva | Afp | Getty Images

Russia has been celebrating Victory Day today, with military parades and events around the country, albeit on a smaller-scale than in previous years.

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the crowds in Red Square in Moscow, claiming that a "real war" was being waged against Russia and that the country had to fight for its future.

Russia launched an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine 15 months ago but has portrayed its so-called "special military operation" there as a necessity, claiming baselessly that it faced an existential threat from Ukraine and the West.

Here's more: Russia's Victory Day in pictures: Putin watches on during scaled-back parade

U.S. exerting 'pressure and threats' in Gershkovich case, Russian official claims

U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich, arrested on espionage charges, stands inside a defendants' cage before a hearing to consider an appeal on his arrest at the Moscow City Court on April 18, 2023.
Natalia Kolesnikova | AFP | Getty Images

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov claimed Tuesday that the U.S. is attempting to put "pressure and threats" on Russia in the case of detained U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich.

Gershkovich, a correspondent with the Wall Street Journal, was arrested in Russia in March and accused of espionage. He and the newspaper deny the charges.

"The dialogue involves the search for some kind of solutions. From the American side, we see only attempts to pushing, pressure and threats. There can be no dialogue," Ryabkov said, according to comments reported by state news agency Tass and translated by NBC.

He did not detail what form any pressure was taking.

Ryabkov said Russian authorities were still considering U.S. applications for consular visits to Gershkovich. The U.S. State Department said last month that Russia had not allowed U.S. consular officials access to Gershkovich since he was detained, in violation of international law.

— Holly Ellyatt

Europe must not be intimated by Moscow's power plays, Scholz says

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attends a session of the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany January 25, 2023. 
Fabrizio Bensch | Reuters

The European Union must not be intimidated by Moscow's show-casing of military power but continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes, Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday as Russia marked Victory Day with a parade.

"2,200 kilometres northeast from here, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is parading his soldiers, tanks and missiles today," Scholz told lawmakers in a speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, according to prepared remarks.

"We must not be intimidated by such power plays! Let's remain steadfast in our support for Ukraine - for as long as it takes!"

— Reuters

Who's who at the Victory Day parade

Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov attends the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in central Moscow on May 9, 2023.
Gavriil Grigorov | Afp | Getty Images

Here's the list of foreign leaders attending the Victory Day Parade in Moscow today, compiled by NBC's Tatyana Chistikova. She counted seven leaders of former Soviet republics (there were 15 Soviet republics in the Soviet Union, including Russia) in attendance today. They are:

— President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov

— President of Kazakhstan Kasymzhomart Tokayev

— Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan

— President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon

— President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev

— President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko

— President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov

Technically, the only other leader of a post-Soviet state that is considered "friendly" to Russia who did not attend was Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, she noted. That's because his father Heydar Aliyev is celebrating his 100th birthday in Azerbaijan.

Other former Soviet republics include Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. The first three are now in the European Union; Ukraine wishes to join the EU and NATO; and a high degree of insecurity is pervading Moldova and Georgia amid fears that they could also be in Moscow's sights as it seemingly looks to reaffirm its power and influence over its former Soviet neighbors.

— Holly Ellyatt

'Real war is being waged against our Motherland,' Putin says at Victory Day parade

Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a 10-minute speech at the 2023 Victory Day parade in which he said Russia wanted a peaceful future but that "Western elites" were "sowing hatred and Russophobia."
Gavriil Grigorov | Afp | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a speech as Moscow's annual Victory Day parade got underway in Moscow that "real war is being waged against our Motherland."

More than 10,000 people and 125 units of weapons and military equipment are set to be involved in the procession through Red Square in the Russian capital on Tuesday. The event commemorates the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

The Russian president gave a 10-minute speech in which he said Russia wanted a peaceful future but that "Western elites" were "sowing hatred and Russophobia" and that Ukrainians had become "hostages to a state coup" and the ambitions of the West.

He said the West had forgotten the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany and that Russia was currently fighting for its own survival.

"Today, civilization is again at a decisive turning point. A real war has been unleashed against our homeland. We have repulsed international terrorism, we will protect the inhabitants of Donbas, we will ensure our security," Putin said, according to comments translated by Reuters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, accompanied by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov, arrives for the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in central Moscow on May 9, 2023.
Gavriil Grigorov | Afp | Getty Images

Putin and other heads of state from former Soviet states, as well as top military personnel and war veterans, are attending the event today.

— Holly Ellyatt

EU's von der Leyen in Kyiv as Russia marks World War II anniversary

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, visits a display of destroyed Russian military vehicles and war photography in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday, May 9, 2023.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after a new wave of Russian air strikes on the capital.

The trip falls on the European Union's Europe Day, which Ukraine adopted as its own on Monday, underlining its ambition to join Western institutions after applying to join the EU last year following Russia's invasion.

"Good to be back in Kyiv. "Where the values we hold dear are defended everyday," von der Leyen said on Twitter alongside a photograph of her arriving by train.

She began her highly symbolic trip shortly before Russian President Vladimir Putin marked the Soviet victory in World War Two with an annual military parade and speech on Moscow's Red Square.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen (L) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) take part in a press conference in Kyiv on May 9, 2023. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Kiev on May 9, 2023, to mark Europe Day and show her support for Ukraine in the face of the Russian offensive, on the day Moscow commemorates the victory over Nazi Germany.
Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

Zelenskyy acted on Sunday to institute May 8 as the day Kyiv commemorates the World War Two victory -- meaning it will no longer mark it on the same day as Moscow, Ukraine's former Soviet master.

"I welcome President Zelenskyy's decision to make 9 May Europe Day also here in Ukraine," von der Leyen tweeted.

Europe Day honours a 1950 French declaration that led to the founding of the body that became the EU.

The European Commission, the EU executive, took the unusual step of publicly announcing her trip the day before she travelled. Visiting dignitaries usually keep wartime trips Ukraine secret for security reasons.

— Reuters

Ukraine's capital targeted by further missile strikes overnight

Ukraine's capital Kyiv was targeted by another Russian missile strike on Monday. The head of the city's military administration noted that it's the fifth time the capital has been attacked since the start of May.

Serhiy Popko, head of Kyiv City Military Administration, said on Telegram that it was no accident that the latest attack came on the eve of Moscow's annual Victory Day parade, saying Russia was using its "sacred date" to then "try to kill as many civilians as possible on this day."

Monday night's attack was carried out by four Tu-95MS strategic bombers from the Caspian Sea region, Popko said, but he noted that the cruise missiles launched by the fighter jets had not reached their targets.

"The anti-aircraft defense of the capital worked perfectly again! According to preliminary information, about one and a half dozen enemy air targets were detected and destroyed in the airspace around Kyiv," Popko said. No one was injured in the attack, preliminary information suggested, he said.

"Kyiv stood up again and will stand up in the future," Popko said.

Kyiv's Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said that during the attack on Kyiv, "a fragment of a downed rocket fell on a private yard in Holosiivskyi district of the capital. The burning wreckage was extinguished. There were no casualties or damage." Explosives experts, rescuers and police are still working on the scene, he said Tuesday morning.

Early Monday morning, Kyiv was struck by Iranian-made "Shahed" drones.
Oleksii Chumachenko | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

CNBC was unable to immediately verify the information in the posts but, in recent days, Kyiv has been targeted in several attacks after a relative lull in several months. Early Monday morning, Kyiv was struck by Iranian-made "Shahed" drones.

Ukrainian Air Defense forces destroyed 35 "Shahed" drones used in strikes on the capital, the forces' General Staff said, but debris from the interceptions damaged buildings and cars and injured at least five people, according to local authorities.

— Holly Ellyatt, Natasha Turak

What's happening — and isn't — at this year's Victory Day in Moscow

Russian soldiers march during a rehearsal of the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, on May 7, 2023.
Xinhua News Agency | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Despite being one of the most important dates in Russia's calendar, Victory Day in Russia has not been what it was for a number of years now.

The Covid-19 pandemic and now the ongoing war with Ukraine have sorely affected annual commemorations of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany.

This year, Russia's growing domestic insecurities as a result of the war — and an uptick on attacks on its own soil — is also marring the commemorative event, with at least six regions (including Crimea) and 21 cities canceling their Victory Day parades, Britain's Ministry of Defense noted last Friday.

Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launchers parade through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in central Moscow on May 9, 2022.
Alexander Nemenov | Afp | Getty Images

Moscow's Victory Day celebration is likely to be held on a much smaller scale this year and Russian President Vladimir Putin's reception following the parade will not go ahead. The reception was last held in 2019, the U.K. noted.

The traditional "March of the Immortal Regiment," in which family members display photographs of dead veterans of World War II, has also been canceled. That follows the recent cancellation of the Russian-hosted International Army Games, the U.K. noted.

The timing of a recent alleged drone strike on the Kremlin a few days before Victory Day showed, the ministry said, "Russia's increasing vulnerability to such attacks and has almost certainly raised the threat perception of the Russian leadership over the Victory Day events."

"The potential for protests and discontent over the Ukraine war are also likely to have influenced the calculus of the Russian leadership."

The Kremlin said all possible security measures were in place ahead of this year's Victory Day and that Putin will watch the parade on Red Square along with the leaders of other former Soviet republics that now form part of a bloc known as the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The heads of state will then lay flowers and have an informal breakfast together, Peskov said. The parade is due to start at 10a.m. Moscow time. Putin is due to give a speech at the event and is also expected to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

— Holly Ellyatt

Aggression against Ukraine could intensify as Victory Day takes place

Russian soldiers at a rehearsal of the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, on May 7, 2023.
Xinhua News Agency | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Russia could intensify its military aggression against Ukraine today, given the backdrop of Victory Day and an uptick in attacks on the country in recent weeks ahead of Kyiv's expected counteroffensive.

The Kremlin has already been using security concerns as a justification for its "special military operation" in Ukraine, with Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claiming that "the nature of the Kyiv regime requires that Moscow be vigilant and reaffirms that President Putin made the right decision to start the special military operation," Tass reported.

Peskov repeated baseless claims that Russia was still dealing the "manifestations of Nazism in one way or another."

As it looked to bolster public support for its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has repeatedly stated that the government in Ukraine is a Nazi regime, despite the fact that Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish.

Ukraine and its Western allies have repeatedly rejected Russia's claims as nonsensical and part of a wider, deeper campaign to spread misinformation about the invasion and its motives for launching it.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia's Victory Day parade takes place amid security concerns

Russian servicemen march during the Victory Day parade in Rostov-on-Don on May 8, 2023. Russia will celebrate the 78th anniversary of the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany on May 9.
Stringer | Afp | Getty Images

All eyes are on Russia's Victory Day parade today that marks the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

Moscow usually uses the large-scale parade in Moscow to show off its military hardware as Russian President Vladimir Putin and his military generals, as well as other guest heads of state, look on.

This year will be different, however, with the ongoing war in Ukraine involving much of Russia's military personnel and hardware. Security concerns are high on the Kremlin's watchlist this year, particularly following a recent alleged drone attack on the Kremlin.

Six regions, including Crimea, and 21 cities across Russia have canceled their May 9 parades in light of security concerns, Britain's Ministry of Defense said Monday.

Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said stringent security measures were in place ahead of Victory Day.

"All the necessary measures are being taken to ensure security, especially when foreign guests, our head of state will be in attendance. Everything that is required by law is being done to that end," he told Russia's Channel One television network on Monday, according to state news agency Tass.

— Holly Ellyatt

Wagner Group leader reverses course on plan to leave Bakhmut

A house burns after shelling in the town of Chasiv Yar, near Bakhmut, on March 21, 2023.
Aris Messinis | Afp | Getty Images

Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin ditched his threat from last week to leave the war-ravaged city of Bakhmut in light of insufficient ammunition supplies.

The private military firm's boss wrote on Telegram Sunday,: "Overnight we received a combat order, for the first time in all this time. We have been promised as much ammunition and weapons as we need to continue further operations. We have been promised that everything needed to prevent the enemy from cutting us off will be deployed on the flank."

Prigozhin on Friday released a video in which he, surrounded by dead bodies of Wagner fighters, blasted Russian Defense Ministry chiefs for failing to supply his combatants with the ammunition they needed to fight in Bakhmut, an eastern Ukrainian city that's been the site of the war's longest and bloodiest battle so far.

— Natasha Turak

A view of damage from Russian drone attacks on Kyiv

Civilians and city officials took stock of damage from the wreckage of Russian drones shot down over Kyiv early Monday morning.

Ukrainian Air Defense forces destroyed all 35 Iranian "Shahed" drones used in Russia's strikes on the capital, the forces' General Staff said, but debris from the interceptions damaged buildings and cars and injured at least five people, according to local authorities.

A building was damaged by the wreckage of a Russian drone in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 8, 2023. On the night of May 8, air defense forces destroyed more than 30 combat drones over Kyiv
Oleg Pereverzev | Nurphoto | Getty Images
Damaged facade and windows of a residential building are seen as a result of a drone attack on May 8, 2023 in Kyiv, Ukraine. According to reports, Kyiv was attacked overnight by Russian drones. About 30 of them were destroyed with debris damaging a residential building and cars parked nearby.
Yevhenii Zavhorodnii | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Mayor of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, examines high-rise residential building damaged by remains of a shot down Russian drone in Kyiv on May 8, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images
A view of a damaged cars after night attack by Russian Iranian made drones in Kyiv, Ukraine on May 08, 2023.
Oleksii Chumachenko | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A view of a damaged building after night attack by Russian Iranian made drones in Kyiv, Ukraine on May 08, 2023.
Andre Luis Alves | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Mayor of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, gestures as he examines high-rise residential building damaged by remains of a shot down Russian drone in Kyiv on May 8, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images

— Getty Images

Russia prepares for Victory Day celebrations in Moscow despite 'nervousness'

Russian servicewomen march on Dvortsovaya Square during the Victory Day military parade in St. Petersburg on May 9, 2022.
Olga Maltseva | AFP | Getty Images

Moscow is going ahead with Victory Day celebrations on Tuesday, which include a major military parade, to celebrate the anniversary of the Soviet Union's defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.

This year's commemoration follows a turbulent week that saw an alleged attempted drone attack on the Kremlin, which Moscow blames on Ukraine and Washington, but that Kyiv argues was staged by Russia to escalate the war.

A Moscow city official was quoted by the Guardian as desc