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Russia blames car blast targeting pro-Kremlin writer on Ukraine, West

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Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Saturday blamed the West and Ukraine for a car explosion that wounded the pro-Kremlin writer Zakhar Prilepin and killed another person, without providing any evidence. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

12:30am: Pro-Kremlin writer injured in car ‘explosion’, one other killed, says interior ministry

A prominent pro-Kremlin writer and Russian nationalist was injured Saturday in a car “explosion” and one other person was killed, the interior ministry said, after a string of recent drone attacks in Russia amid the fighting in Ukraine.

“According to initial reports, one person was killed by the explosion, and the writer Zakhar Prilepin, who was in the car, was injured” in the Nizhny Novgorod region some 400 kilometres (250 miles) east of Moscow, the ministry said.

12:10am: Ukraine downs Russian hypersonic missile with US Patriot

Ukraine’s air force claimed Saturday to have downed a Russian hypersonic missile over Kyiv using newly acquired American Patriot defence systems, the first known time the country has been able to intercept one of Moscow’s most modern missiles.

Air Force commander Mykola Oleshchuk said in a Telegram post that the Kinzhal-type ballistic missile had been intercepted in an overnight attack on the Ukrainian capital earlier in the week. It was also the first time Ukraine is known to have used the Patriot defence systems. 

“Yes, we shot down the ‘unique’ Kinzhal,” Oleshchuk wrote. “It happened during the night time attack on May 4 in the skies of the Kyiv region.”

9:27am: Zelensky to address Swiss parliament

Switzerland‘s parliament has approved a request from Ukrainian authorities for President Volodymyr Zelensky to address it.

The invitation, announced in a statement late on Friday, comes amid pressure on Switzerland’s government to break with a centuries-old tradition of neutrality and end a ban of exports of Swiss weapons to conflict zones such as Ukraine. 

The subject of Zelensky’s address, which will the first by video by a foreign leader to the legislature, is unknown.

It is scheduled for the summer session beginning on May 30. During that session, lawmakers are also set to weigh a motion to provide 5 billion Swiss Francs ($5.6 billion) of support to Ukraine over 5-10 years.

  • Key developments from Friday, May 5:

Russian paramilitary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin on Friday threatened to pull frontline troops out of Bakhmut — the epicentre of Ukraine’s determined fight against Moscow’s forces— in an extraordinary attack on military chiefs ahead of an expected offensive by Kyiv.

In a series of scathing videos, Prigozhin blamed Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov for “tens of thousands” of killed and wounded Russian fighters in Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Wednesday’s drone incident at the Kremlin was a “hostile act” and that Russia would respond with “concrete actions”.


Read yesterday’s live blog to see how the day’s events unfolded


© France Médias Monde graphic studio

This story originally appeared on France24

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