As the war enters its 450th day, let’s take a look at the main developments.
This is the situation on Friday, May 19, 2023.
- Ukraine’s military and Russia’s private Wagner Group reported fresh Russian withdrawals outside Bakhmut, as Kyiv continued its biggest advance in six months ahead of a planned major counter-offensive.
- Ukraine said it gained about a kilometer in some areas, while buying time for “some planned actions”.
- Russian troops are shelling Ukrainian supply lines in Bakhmut to try and stop the Ukrainian advance, according to soldiers close to the front line.
- Russia has fired several cruise missiles targeting Kyiv – the ninth time this month the capital has been attacked.
- The attacks also targeted the Odesa region where at least one person was killed, according to Ukrainian officials. Ukraine said its defense forces shot down 29 of the 30 missiles.
- Rail traffic was suspended between Simferopol, the capital of the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula, after a grain train derailed. Moscow-backed officials called the incident a deliberate act.
- China’s special envoy Li Hui concluded his meeting in Kyiv with repeated calls for Ukraine and Russia to join peace talks to end the war, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- The United Nations said three new ships were authorized to join the Black Sea grain deal that allows safe exports of Ukrainian grain.
- Russia has announced that African leaders will visit Moscow next month or in early July as part of a peace initiative for the war in Ukraine announced by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida agreed with US President Joe Biden to maintain sanctions against Russia and support Ukraine. The two men met ahead of the G7 Summit, which begins in Hiroshima on Friday.
- Moldova wants EU members “as soon as possible” to protect itself against any threat from Russia, President Maia Sandu said. Sandu said he hoped a decision to start negotiations would be made “in the next few months”.
- The Pentagon overstated the amount of US equipment it sent to Ukraine by about $3bn, according to officials in an accounting error that opened the possibility of more weapons being sent to Kyiv.