As the war enters its 444th day, we take a look at the main developments.
Here is the situation as it stands on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
- Moscow acknowledged that its forces had fallen back north of Ukraine’s ruined eastern city of Bakhmut, in a retreat that the head of Russia’s Wagner private army called a “rout”.
- The Ukrainian military said in a daily update that Russia was focusing its efforts near Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Maryinka in eastern Ukraine. “The enemy carried out 36 attacks in these directions in the last 24 hours,” it said.
- Russian-installed officials in the occupied eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk said missiles fired by Kyiv injured six children and a Russian parliamentarian. Two disused factories were also damaged, they said.
- The commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet said it was strengthening its defences amid a flurry of Ukrainian drone strikes aimed at the Crimean port of Sevastopol. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
- Two Russian pilots were killed when a Russian Mi-28 military helicopter crashed in Crimea, Russian news agencies reported, citing the defence ministry.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine had to keep pressing Russian forces and promised more weapons to his soldiers. “We must put pressure on them every day so that their sense of defeat turns into their flight, their mistakes, their losses”, he said in his daily address.
- The Chinese foreign ministry said Li Hui, China’s special representative for Eurasian affairs, would visit Ukraine, Poland, France, Germany and Russia from Monday to promote peace talks.
- The Kremlin said it was unaware of a Vatican peace mission after diplomatic sources told the Reuters news agency that Zelenskyy was expected to meet Pope Francis in the Vatican on Saturday.
- South Africa’s foreign ministry said in a statement the US ambassador to South Africa had “apologised unreservedly” for claims a sanctioned Russian ship had picked up weapons in South Africa last year.
- The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was “disappointed” at European broadcasters banning Zelenskyy from sending a video message at the final of this weekend’s Eurovision Song Contest. The organisers say the event, won by Ukraine last year, is “non-political”.
- Zelenskyy spoke on the phone to Sunak about Ukraine’s future in NATO and thanked him for donating long-range missiles to Ukraine.
- Germany plans to buy 18 Leopard 2 tanks for 525 million euros ($578m) to replace tanks delivered to Ukraine, a defence source told the Reuters news agency.