Here is the situation on Wednesday, April 20, 2023:
- A Russian fighter jet accidentally fired on the Russian city of Belgorod near the border with Ukraine, causing an explosion and damaging buildings, state news agency TASS cited the defence ministry as saying.
- A Ukrainian major said a counteroffensive against Russian forces could begin at any time and could be a “sudden attack”.
- The Russian military launched a video advertising campaign to encourage men to sign up for the war. Reports suggest Moscow is seeking to recruit as many as 400,000 volunteer professional soldiers.
- NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg visited Kyiv for the first time since Russia launched its full-scale invasion and met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
- Stoltenberg said Ukraine’s rightful place was in the military alliance and that membership and security guarantees for Ukraine would be high on the agenda of NATO’s July summit.
- The Kremlin said preventing Ukraine from ever joining NATO was a key war aim.
- Zelenskyy called on Mexican legislators to support his country’s fight against invading Russian forces, chastising those he accused of denying Ukraine’s pursuit of peace. Mexico’s government has said it wants to remain neutral in the war.
- French President Emmanuel Macron spoke on the phone with United States President Joe Biden to discuss Ukraine as well as China and Sudan, his office said.
- Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the city had terminated the Russian Embassy’s deal to lease land in the capital and wanted the property to be returned to the Ukrainian state.
- Ron van Dartel, a veteran Dutch diplomat appointed less than three weeks ago to promote Dutch involvement in the reconstruction of Ukraine, has quit after he was quoted in a new book saying, “Ukrainians are also Russians. That is the reality.”
- Denmark and the Netherlands agreed to buy and donate 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, which is likely to get the tanks from “early 2024”.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies