Russia-Ukraine war – latest: Vladimir Putin thanks troops for ‘taking Bakhmut’ as Zelensky says ‘nothing left’ in city


Replay : Ukraine’s Zelensky gives a speech at Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia

Ukraine has denied claims by Russia that it has captured Bakhmut.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has congratulated his troops after the Wagner Group claimed its mercenaries seized the key battle city in Ukraine’s east on Saturday afternoon. Kyiv has denied the city had been captured.

There was confusion on Sunday morning amid reports Volodymyr Zelensky appeared to confirm that the city had been captured by Russia while speaking at the G7 summit. But his spokesman later clarified that the Ukrainian president had not said the city had fallen.

Speaking alongside US president Joe Biden in Hiroshima, Japan, Mr Zelensky said the Russians had destroyed “everything” in Bakhmut.

“You have to understand that there is nothing,” he said. “For today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts. There is nothing in this place.”

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin posed with fighters on Saturday after claiming to have captured the city. Ukraine denied the city had been taken but said the situation was “critical”.


UN chief says it’s time to reform Security Council and Bretton Woods

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said on Sunday that it was time to reform both the Security Council and Bretton Woods to align with the “realities of today’s world”.

Speaking at a press conference in Hiroshima, Japan, where the G7 summit meeting had been held, Guterres said both institutions reflected the power relations of 1945 and needed to be updated.

“The global financial architecture is outdated, dysfunctional and unfair,” he said. “In the face of the economic shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has failed to fulfil its core function as a global safety net.”

(Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Matt Mathers21 May 2023 10:15


Company linked to Wager shares photo of troops raising Russian flag in Bakhmut

This video grab is taken from handout footage posted on 20 May, 2023 on the Telegram account of the press service of Concord –a company linked to the chief of Russian mercenary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin .

It purports to show members of Wagner Group waving a Russian national flag and Wagner Group’s flag on the rooftop of a damaged building in Bakhmut, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Prigozhin says Wager has claimed control of Bakhmut – Ukraine denies this.


Matt Mathers21 May 2023 09:45


UK support for Ukraine will ‘never waver’, Rishi Sunak tells Zelensky

The prime minister said he was glad the group of allies have agreed on the importance of providing the Ukrainian president with the advanced military equipment he needs as he pushes for F-16 fighter jets.

Matt Mathers21 May 2023 09:14


Zelensky seeks G7 support for Kyiv’s ‘peace formula’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sought global support on Sunday for Kyiv’s plan to end Russia’s war in Ukraine, telling G7 leaders it was “an obvious expression of rationality”.

Zelensky, who is attending the G7 summit in Japan in person, has in recent months been promoting what his administration has billed as a “peace formula”.

“We’re united by one more principle of rationality,” he said in a speech to the leaders, the text of which was posted to the president’s website.

“We always act practically protecting our values. And the Ukrainian Peace Formula is an obvious expression of rationality. I thank you for supporting our Formula.”

In a separate social media post, Zelensky said he had presented the plan to G7 leaders at the Hiroshima summit.

“We have developed the Peace Formula in a way that ensures each of its points is backed by UN resolutions,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“And in a way that everyone in the world can choose the track they can contribute to. From Japan to the Arab countries, from Europe to Latin America, we find support for our Formula.”

Matt Mathers21 May 2023 08:43


Zelensky appears to confirm Russia has taken Bakhmut

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky appears to have confirmed that Russia has taken control of the city of Bakhmut after a bloody eight-month battle by Moscow’s Wagner private army.

Mr Zelensky said he thought Ukraine had lost the city, but added, “You have to understand that there is nothing,” saying of the Russians, “They destroyed everything.”

“For today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts,” he said. “There is nothing in this place.”

Mr Zelensky was speaking alongside President Joe Biden at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

Zelensky with Biden at G7 summit in Japan

(Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Matt Mathers21 May 2023 07:53


Russia takes control of Bakhmut – Wager Group

Russia claimed on Saturday to have fully captured the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which would mark an end to the longest and bloodiest battle of the 15-month war.

The assault on the largely levelled city was led by troops from the Wagner Group of mercenaries, whose leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said earlier in the day that his troops had finally pushed the Ukrainians out of the last built-up area inside the city.

Taking Bakhmut – which Russia refers to by its Soviet-era name of Artyomovsk – would represent Moscow’s first big victory in the conflict in more than 10 months.

“As a result of offensive actions by Wagner assault units, supported by artillery and aviation of the Southern Group of Forces, the liberation of Artyomovsk has been completed,” the Russian defence ministry said in a one-line statement.

Russian media reported that President Putin had congratulated his troops.

Matt Mathers21 May 2023 07:50


Russia using long-strikes for more timely battle damage assessment – UK MoD

Russia has restarted frequent long-range missile strikes deep into Ukraine. They are likely primarily aimed at degrading Ukrainian air defences since early this month, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said today.

“Innovating on earlier waves of deep strikes, Russia has started more frequently integrating unarmed, surveillance uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) into operations. These have included Russian-produced SuperCam UAVs which are relatively cheap and have sufficient range to fly over the cruise missiles’ targets,” it said in its latest intelligence update.

Moscow has “highly likely adopted this tactic in an attempt to obtain more timely battle damage assessment and improve its targeting cycle”, the ministry added.

“The Russian military’s slow and inefficient targeting process has been a major weakness in its performance in Ukraine. However, slow surveillance UAVs are highly vulnerable to Ukrainian air defences,” it said.

Arpan Rai21 May 2023 07:11


No peace talks while Russia forces remain inside Ukraine, says Zelensky

Volodymyr Zelensky has said there will be no peace talks while Russian forces remain inside Ukraine as he pitched Kyiv’s peace formula “to the world” at the G7 summit.

“Our world is vast, but we are all in it together. And this is our shared cause — peace. proposed its Peace Formula to the world. As long as invaders remain on our land, no one will sit down at the negotiating table with [Russian flag]. The coloniser must get out,” Mr Zelensky said in a tweet.

He added: “And the world has enough power to force [Russian flag] to restore peace step by step. We have developed the Peace Formula in a way that ensures each of its points is backed by UN resolutions. And in a way that everyone in the world can choose the track they can contribute to. From Japan to the Arab countries, from Europe to Latin America, we find support for our Formula. And we continue this work.”

Arpan Rai21 May 2023 06:43


Russian minister slams G7 for isolating Moscow

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has panned the G7 summit for aiming to isolate both China and Russia.

“The task has been set loudly and openly: to defeat Russia on the battlefield, but not to stop there, but to eliminate it as a geopolitical competitor. As a matter of fact, any other country that claims some kind of independent place in the world alignment will also be to suppress a competitor,” the top minister said.

He added: “Look at the decisions that are now being discussed and adopted in Hiroshima, at the G7 summit, and which are aimed at the double containment of Russia and China.”

Arpan Rai21 May 2023 06:09


F-16 offer is basic pilot training, says France

For France, the offer made on F-16 jet was for basic pilot training, a French military official briefing reporters at the G7 said cautiously about the process.

Discussions with Kyiv were ongoing and no Ukrainian pilots were now being trained in France, the official said.

France does not have F-16s, only French-made Rafale warplanes and previous-generation Mirage 2000 jets.

The official added that training a person from scratch to operate a Nato-made warplane demands as long as four years but an experienced pilot who has a grip on Ukrainian jets would require four to nine months to finish training.

“It’s not the immediate priority for Ukraine. We are in a counteroffensive stage and this training won’t be ready in the coming weeks, but for the long term,” the official said.

The official said talk of F-16s was grabbing headlines, as the issue of German-made Leopard tanks had done before, while insisting the current request was just for training.

“It’s the logo to show the initiative. It’s an initiative to train pilots without putting a plane behind it,” he said.

Arpan Rai21 May 2023 05:46

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