Here is the situation as it stands on Friday, April 28, 2023:
- NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the first known wartime call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy but noted Beijing had still not condemned Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine since it began in February 2022.
- The Kremlin said that relations with European countries were at the lowest possible level and that each wave of expulsions of Russian diplomats reduced the space available for diplomacy.
- Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said he had invited Pope Francis to visit Ukraine and discussed Kyiv’s formula for peace during talks at the Vatican.
- A Russian court fined the Wikimedia Foundation, which owns Wikipedia, two million roubles ($24,510) for not deleting “banned content” related to the Russian military, Interfax reported.
- Russia rejected a request from the United States embassy to visit imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.
- Russian troops tried on Thursday to sever important supply routes into the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut and put more pressure on defending forces, Ukrainian military officials said.
- One person was killed and 23 wounded in a Russian missile attack on an apartment block and houses in Mykolaiv, Ukraine said.
- The Italian La Repubblica newspaper announced that Ukrainian journalist Bogdan Bitik, who was working as an interpreter with the paper, was killed “most likely by Russian snipers” as he travelled to Kherson on Wednesday with reporter Corrado Zunino.
- Russia’s defence ministry said its forces took control of four blocks in northwestern, western and southwestern Bakhmut, according to the TASS news agency.
- Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive could move the war into a critical new phase, military expert Justin Bronk told Al Jazeera.
- A deserter from Russia’s Wagner group of mercenaries claiming asylum in Norway was convicted of being involved in a bar fight and carrying an air gun. Andrey Medvedev, 26, was handed a suspended sentence of 14 days.
- NATO members and their partners have provided Ukraine with 1,550 armoured vehicles and 230 tanks, according to NATO’s Stoltenberg. That amounts to 98 percent of what has been pledged.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies