Here is the situation as it stands on Wednesday, May 3, 2023:
- Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the United States government does not have any data on Russian losses in eastern Ukraine and that estimates claiming 20,000 soldiers had been killed in the past five months had been “plucked from thin air”.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said at least two people were killed in Pavlohrad, a Ukrainian city and railway hub in the east, in an overnight Russian missile attack.
- General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, said Ukraine would continue defending the eastern city of Bakhmut as the army prepares for an expected counteroffensive.
- A freight train was derailed in Russia’s Bryansk region bordering Ukraine due to an “explosive device” on the tracks, the local governor said. It was the second train incident in as many days. Ukrainian forces were also accused of shelling a village in the region causing a fire.
- Russia summoned Poland’s chargé d’affaires after Warsaw closed a school run by the Russian embassy in the Polish capital.
- Talks on the Black Sea grain agreement, with every party involved in the deal, are set to take place on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
- Members of Ukraine’s Parliament – the Verkhovna Rada – have voted to extend martial law in the country, according to a statement on Telegram by parliament member Yaroslav Zhelezniak.
- Zelenskyy said he discussed Ukraine’s integration into the European Union and NATO with the speaker of Portugal’s parliament, Augusto Santos Silva.
- Denmark’s Security and Intelligence Service said it expects Russia to recruit civilians as agents and use journalists to spy on the country as Moscow’s need for intelligence-gathering in NATO countries intensifies.
- The European Commission said it has set restrictions until June 5 on imports of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed to ease the excess supply of these grains in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
- The company behind the dating app Tinder is leaving Russia more than a year after Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine led a wave of international companies to close or suspend their Russian operations.
- The US plans to announce as soon as Wednesday a new $300m military aid package for Ukraine, which will for the first time include a short-range air-launched rocket, two US officials have told the Reuters news agency.
- Denmark’s Defence Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said his country will donate more funds to support Ukraine’s military needs.
- Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow had taken steps to increase the production of weapons and military equipment to support its troops in Ukraine, according to state media.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies