Here is the situation as it stands on Wednesday, May 24, 2023.
- Russia has blamed Ukraine for an attack in the border town of Belgorod and said it had killed dozens of attackers in a “counterterrorism operation”.
- Ukraine has denied Russia’s allegations, with Ukrainian military intelligence saying two armed Russian opposition groups — the Freedom of Russia Legion and Russian Volunteer Corps, consisting of Russian citizens — were responsible.
- Ukrainian forces still control the southwestern edge of Bakhmut, and fighting in the city itself has decreased, Deputy Ukrainian Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said. Bakhmut, a salt-mining town that once had a population of 70,000 people, has been the scene of the longest and bloodiest battle since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine 15 months ago.
- Three villages in Russia’s Kursk region bordering Ukraine were left without power on Tuesday after a drone dropped explosives on an electrical substation, the region’s governor said.
- Ukraine’s State Security Service (SBU) has said it launched a criminal investigation into Andrey Ruzinsky, a Russian commander who helped lead the military occupation of eastern Ukraine.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has visited troops on the front line in Donetsk after returning from a trip to Japan and Saudi Arabia over the weekend.
- Hungary’s Viktor Orban has told a forum in Qatar that Ukraine’s troops are unlikely to win the war against Russia and the conflict represents “the failure of the world”.
- The office of the prosecutor general in Ukraine has said it was investigating the alleged role of Belarus in the forced transfer of children from Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories.
- President Joe Biden is deeply concerned about the Russian security service’s decision to extend the detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre has said.
- The Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi has halted operations because Russia is not allowing ships to enter it, affecting the promised safe transport of grain exports under the Black Sea deal, Ukrainian Deputy Renovation Minister Yuriy Vaskov told the Reuters news agency.
- The Czech state-run Mero energy firm has said it signed a deal to end the country’s dependence on Russian oil. Mero will finance a $73m expansion of the Transalpine Pipeline (TAL), which supplies oil from the Italian port of Trieste to central Europe.
- Russia’s embassy in Norway has criticised a planned visit by a US aircraft carrier to Oslo as an “illogical and harmful” show of force. The 337-metre (1,106-ft) USS General Ford is scheduled to dock in the Norwegian capital this week.
- Sanctioned Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev has visited Saudi Arabia.
- Poland is ready to train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said.
- German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius has said Germany was looking into options to support a coalition of countries that plan to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16s.
- European Union countries have sent 220,000 artillery shells and 1,300 missiles to Ukraine under a plan agreed by ministers in March, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said.
- Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned Western powers against sending more arms to Ukraine, saying shipments increase the risk of a “nuclear apocalypse”.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies