Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 485

As the war enters it 485th day, these are the main developments.

A soldier firing a machine gun
Ukrainian soldiers at a training ground near a front line in eastern Ukraine [Oleksandr Ratushniak/Reuters]

This is the situation as it stands on Friday, June 23, 2023.

Fighting

  • Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said Ukrainian forces were containing Russian forces on the eastern front and had not allowed the Russians to advance “a single metre” in four key areas in the east. Maliar said forces on the southern front, where several villages were retaken last week, were “gradually moving forward”.
  • Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu said Ukraine was “regrouping” two weeks into its new counteroffensive. “After conducting active hostilities over the past 16 days and having suffered significant losses, the enemy has reduced its activity and is currently regrouping,” Shoigu said, according to Russian news agencies.
  • Kyiv’s air force said Russia fired cruise missiles, hypersonic missiles and drones at targets in Ukraine, causing damage in the cities of Odesa and Kryvyi Rih.
  • The Russia-appointed governor of Kherson said Ukrainian forces struck a road bridge linking Ukraine’s mainland with Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. There were no casualties.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the country’s intelligence agencies had assessed Moscow was considering a “terrorist act” at the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe’s largest. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the claim as “another lie”.
  • Zelenskyy accused Russia of hiding the bodies of people killed in Russian-controlled areas in the aftermath of this month’s Nova Kakhovka dam collapse.

Diplomacy

  • The United Kingdom said foreign donors meeting in London pledged 60 billion euros ($66bn) in new financial support for Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction.
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on a state visit to Washington, DC, promised to work towards “peace” in Ukraine. Modi told reporters alongside United States President Joe Biden that India was “completely ready to contribute in any way we can to restore peace”.
  • United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was “appalled” by Russia’s actions after the UN added the Russian military and proxy armed groups to its global “list of shame” over the killing and maiming of hundreds of children in its war against Ukraine.
  • Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, will visit Russia on Friday, the Interfax news agency said. Grossi is expected to hold talks about the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
  • Oliver Varhelyi, the European Commissioner for relations with EU’s neighbours, said Ukraine was making progress on political reforms to open the way for European Union membership talks but had more work to do in five areas: constitutional court reform, fighting corruption, tackling money laundering, curbing the influence of oligarchs and improving its treatment of minorities.
  • Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich will remain in jail in Russia until at least August 30 after losing his latest appeal against extended pre-trial detention. Gershkovich was arrested in March and accused of spying. He denies the charges.
  • Olha Trofimtseva, Ukraine’s foreign ministry ambassador at large, said Russia was “99.99 percent” certain to quit the Black Sea grain deal when it expires on July 17.
  • Zelenskyy signed a law banning the commercial import of books from Russia in the latest move to reduce cultural ties between the two countries. The bill also bans the import of books printed in Belarus or in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory.

Weapons

  • Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of defence focusing on Russia and Ukraine, told a US congressional hearing that the US military believes cluster munitions would be useful for Ukraine against “dug-in” Russian positions on the battlefield, but their use had not been approved. Cluster munitions are banned by more than 120 countries because they can kill indiscriminately over a wide area.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies