G7 summit: Zelensky and Fumio Kishida lay wreaths at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima
Ukraine is seeking to encircle Russia’s troops in Bakhmut, as president Volodymyr Zelensky rejected counterpart Vladimir Putin’s claims to have finally captured the city after nine months of Europe’s bloodiest fighting in decades.
Mr Putin congratulated his troops after the Wagner Group claimed its mercenaries had seized the frontline Donetsk city on Saturday afternoon with “practically no” help from the Russian army.
But speaking from the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Mr Zelensky was insistent that Bakhmut – where US president Joe Biden claimed 100,000 Russian troops had died in recent months – “has not been captured by” Moscow.
The commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, General Oleksandr Syrskyi, also claimed Kyiv’s troops were advancing on Russian forces in the suburbs and were getting closer to a “tactical encirclement” of the city.
Echoing these claims, Kyiv’s deputy defence Minister Hanna Maliar said: “Our forces have taken the city in a semi-encirclement, which gives us the opportunity to destroy the enemy … [who] has to defend himself in the part of the city he controls.”
‘Situation critical’ in Bakhmut
Ukraine has denied claims by Russia that it has taken full control of Bakhmut but warned the situation in the key battle town is “critical”.
Hanna Maliar, Ukraine’s defence minister, pushed back on the claim by Yevgeny Prigozhin that his Wagner Group of mercenaries had seized the town around lunchtime.
“Heavy fighting in Bakhmut. The situation is critical,” she said on the Telegram messaging app.
“As of now, our defenders control some industrial and infrastructure facilities in the area and the private sector.”
Matt Mathers20 May 2023 15:28
Zelensky draws parallels between Bakhmut and Hiroshima
Speaking at the G7 summit in Japan on Sunday, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky drew a parallel between the destruction of Bakhmut and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
“I’ll tell you openly: Photographs of ruined Hiroshima absolutely remind me of Bakhmut and other similar settlements,” Mr Zelensky told reporters after laying flowers at the cenotaph to victims of the 1945 atrocity.
“Nothing left alive, all the buildings ruined.”
Andy Gregory22 May 2023 06:01
Brazil’s Lula says meeting fell through because Zelensky was late
Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said that a scheduled meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky fell through on the sidelines of the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Japan because the Ukrainian president was late.
“I had an interview, a bilateral one with Ukraine here in this room at 3.15pm. We waited and received the information that he was late,” Mr Lula was quoted as saying by Reuters.
He added that Mr Zelensky “did not show up … Clearly he had appointments and he couldn’t come.”
Earlier Zelensky had earlier played down the fact he did not meet with Lula.
On the sidelines of the summit Mr Lula also said that the Russia-Ukraine war should be discussed at the UN and not at the G7 meeting.
Sravasti Dasgupta22 May 2023 05:30
Modi promises ‘whatever is possible’ to find solution on Ukraine to Zelensky at G7
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has assured Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky of “whatever is possible” to find a solution to bring an end to the continuing war amid Russia’s full-scale invasion as the two leaders met in Hiroshima along the sidelines of the G7 summit, my colleague Arpan Rai reports.
“Over the past one-and-a-half years, we have spoken on the phone but… after a long time, we have an opportunity to meet. The war in Ukraine is a very big issue for the whole world. It has had many different impacts on the whole world,” Mr Modi told the Ukrainian president as the two leaders sat down for their first face-to-face talks with their delegation on Saturday.
Mr Modi added: “But I don’t see this as a political or economic issue, for me this is an issue of humanity, an issue of human values.”
Andy Gregory22 May 2023 05:02
Russia says F16 transfer to Ukraine would raise questions of Nato’s involvement
Russia has warned of a response and said that the transfer of F16 fighter jets to Ukraine would raise the question of Nato’s involvement in the conflict.
In remarks published early on Monday, Russia’s ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said on the embassy’s Telegram messaging channel: “There is no infrastructure for the operation of the F16 in Ukraine and the needed number of pilots and maintenance personnel is not there either.
“What will happen if the American fighters take off from Nato airfields, controlled by foreign ‘volunteers’?”
He added: “It is important that the United States be fully aware of the Russian response.”
The remarks come days after US president Joe Biden on Friday endorsed training programmes for Ukrainian pilots on F16 fighter jets.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky assured Mr Biden that the aircraft would not be used to go into Russian territory.
Sravasti Dasgupta22 May 2023 04:30
Watch: Ukrainian president Zelensky arrives in Japan for G7 summit
Ukrainian president Zelensky arrives in Japan for G7 summit
Andy Gregory22 May 2023 04:05
Russia indicts ICC prosecutor and judge who issued Putin arrest warrant
Russia has announced indictments in absentia for a judge and prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) who issued a war crimes warrant for president Vladimir Putin.
A statement from Russia’s national Investigative Committee said the judge, Rosario Salvatore Aitala, and prosecutor Khan Karim Asad Ahmad are both charged with “preparing to attack a representative of a foreign country enjoying international protection in order to complicate international relations”.
The committee also said other ICC officials are being investigated.
The March warrant against Mr Putin accuses him of personal responsibility for the abductions of children from Ukraine, and the court also charged Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian presidential commissioner for children’s rights.
Andy Gregory22 May 2023 03:02
Russian victory in Bakhmut opens door to more hard-fought battles nearby, says analyst
Russia’s claimed victory in Bakhmut would open the the door to more grinding battles nearby, an analyst has said.
These would take place in the direction of Sloviansk or Kostiantynivka, 12 miles away from Bakhmut, Kateryna Stepanenko of the US-based Institute for the Study of War think-tank, told the Associated Press.
Andy Gregory22 May 2023 02:02
Gains around Bakhmut make it easier to deliver supplies, says Ukrainian commander
The flanks regained by Ukraine around Bakhmut in recent days are located near two highways that lead to Chasiv Yar, a town 6 miles from the city that serves as a key logistics supply route, one dubbed the “road of life.”
Ukrainian forces passing this road often came under fire from Russians positioned along nearby strategic heights. Armoured vehicles and pickup trucks driving toward the city to replenish Ukrainian troops were frequently destroyed. With the high plains now under Ukrainian control, its forces have more breathing room.
“This will help us design new logistic chains to deliver ammunition in and evacuate the injured or killed boys,” said Taras Deiak, a commander of a special unit of a volunteer battalion, speaking from inside the city on Thursday, two days before Russia claimed it controlled the city.
“Now it is easier to deliver supplies, rotate troops, [carry out] evacuations.”
Ukraine ‘may have taken advantage of weak Russian lines’ outside Bakhmut
Some analysts have said that Ukraine’s tactical gains in the rural area outside urban Bakhmut could be more significant than they seem.
“It was almost like the Ukrainians just took advantage of the fact that, actually, the Russian lines were weak,” said Phillips O’Brien, a professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews.
“The Russian army has suffered such high losses and is so worn out around Bakhmut that … it cannot go forward anymore.”
Andy Gregory21 May 2023 23:59