As the war enters its 447th day, let’s take a look at the main developments.
Here is the situation as of Tuesday, May 16, 2023.
- Ukraine’s top military commander hailed an advance on Bakhmut as “the first success” in offensive actions to defend the front-line city.
- At least four people were killed in a Russian missile attack on the town of Avdiivka in Donetsk, according to Ukraine, which said a hospital was hit.
- Russia’s defense ministry claims it has intercepted a British-made Storm Shadow long-range cruise missile for the “first time”. During a briefing, the ministry also said that the Russian air defense forces shot down 10 HIMARS MLRS shells.
- Russia’s defense ministry said it scrambled a fighter jet on Monday after it detected French and German patrol aircraft flying into Russian airspace. France and Germany said their planes were conducting flights as part of a NATO exercise and acting in accordance with international law.
- The Wagner Group offered Russian positions in Ukraine in exchange for withdrawal around Bakhmut, according to United States intelligence reports cited by The Washington Post. The leader of the Russian mercenary group and Russia rejected the report.
- Igor Kornet, the acting Moscow-appointed interior minister of the Russian-occupied part of Ukraine’s Luhansk province, was injured in an explosion in the city of Luhansk, according to Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti.
Diplomacy and economics
China’s top envoy on Eurasian Affairs has begun a trip to Europe aimed at discussing a “political settlement” of the crisis in Ukraine. Li Hui will start his multi-country tour in Ukraine and end it in Russia.
- The Group of Seven (G7) countries are preparing to impose tougher sanctions against Russia’s energy sector and restrict trade that supports the Kremlin’s military, according to Reuters news agency. The measures are expected to be approved at the G7 summit in Japan this week.
- The South African National Defense Force (SANDF) has confirmed that its army chief, Lawrence Mbatha, is in Moscow where he will visit Russian military academies and hold talks with officials. The visit comes days after Washington accused South Africa of secretly supplying Russia with weapons.
- UN aid chief Martin Griffiths says talks to extend the Black Sea grain export deal will continue in the coming days. Russia has threatened to withdraw from the agreement, due to expire on May 18, due to barriers to grain and fertilizer exports.
- The US claims it has seen many signs that Russia and Iran are expanding their defense partnership, which could help Moscow prolong its war in Ukraine and also pose a threat to Iran’s neighbors.
- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg revealed that he hopes the military alliance will agree on a “multiyear program” to help Ukraine meet NATO’s military standards at a summit in Lithuania in July.
The European office of the World Health Organization has decided to close a specialized WHO office in Moscow and transfer its functions to Denmark.
- Ukraine’s security agency says it suspects tycoon Dmytro Firtash of the embezzlement.
- The United Kingdom has promised more military aid for Ukraine, including hundreds of air defense missiles and drones, after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
- French President Emmanuel Macron, whom Zelenskyy met earlier in Paris, said his country “opens the door” to training Ukrainian fighter pilots.
– Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) May 15, 2023