As the war enters its 445th day, we take a look at the main developments.
Here is the situation as it stands on Sunday, May 14, 2023.
- Ukraine forces have advanced on parts of the front line against Russian troops near the war-torn eastern town of Bakhmut. “Our soldiers are moving forward in some areas of the front, and the enemy is losing equipment and manpower,” Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of the Ukrainian Ground Forces, said on social media on Saturday.
- Russia’s defence ministry said its forces have gained control over another city block in Bakhmut. “The units of the Airborne Forces provided support to the assault units and pinned down the enemy on the flanks,” the ministry said in a statement.
- The United Kingdom’s defence ministry has suggested in its daily intelligence update that Russian forces had likely withdrawn from their positions on the southern flank of Bakhmut in bad order over the last four days.
- Russian news outlet Kommersant has reported two Russian fighter jets and two military helicopters were down over Russian territory close to the Ukrainian border. Kommersant said on its website that the Su-34 fighter bomber, Su-35 fighter, and two Mi-8 helicopters, which had made up an aerial raiding party, were “shot down almost simultaneously” in an ambush in the Bryansk region of Russia.
- Bryansk’s regional governor Alexander Bogomaz has claimed a Ukrainian drone hit a food production plant in Starodub, close to the Ukraine border, damaging the roof. Bogomaz, writing on Telegram, said there were no casualties.
- Russia’s Defence Ministry has said Ukrainian aircraft hit two industrial sites in the Russian-held city of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine with Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles supplied by the UK.
- Germany will provide Ukraine with additional military aid worth more than $3bn, including tanks, anti-aircraft systems and ammunition, the government said, ahead of a planned visit to Berlin by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy — his first visit to Germany since Russia invaded Ukraine last year.
- European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the EU must speed up the supply of ammunition to Ukraine as the country’s forces need 1,000 artillery shells every day in the Bakhmut area alone.
- Zelenskyy has called on Pope Francis to more clearly condemn Russia, as he met the pontiff and Italian political leaders in Rome on Saturday. “I’m grateful for his personal attention to the tragedy of millions of Ukrainians,” Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter after the meeting with Francis in the Vatican, which lasted some 40 minutes. “I asked [Pope Francis] to condemn Russian crimes in Ukraine. Because there can be no equality between the victim and the aggressor.”
I met with Pope Francis @Pontifex.
I’m grateful for his personal attention to the tragedy of millions of Ukrainians. I spoke about tens of thousands of deported ???????? children. We must make every effort to return them home.
In addition, I asked to condemn ???????? crimes in Ukraine.…
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) May 13, 2023
- The Ukrainian president has said he spoke to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday and urged him to help implement Kyiv’s peace plan to end the war with Russia.
- South Africa’s presidential security adviser Sydney Mufamadi has declared the country was “actively non-aligned” in Russia’s war against Ukraine after allegations by the United States that it had supplied weapons to Moscow led to a diplomatic crisis this week. “We will make absolutely sure that should wars break out, our contribution will always be calculated at helping the parties and everybody else to bring such conflicts to an end,” Mufamadi said.
- UN nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi plans to present an agreement with Russia and Ukraine on protecting the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to the UN Security Council this month, indicating a deal is close, four diplomats told the Reuters news agency.