Moscow acknowledged on Friday that its forces had fallen back north of Ukraine’s battlefield city of Bakhmut after a new offensive, in a retreat that the head of Russia’s Wagner private army called a rout.
- Russian-installed officials on Friday said missiles fired by Ukrainian forces had injured six children and a Russian parliamentarian and damaged two disused factories in eastern Luhansk region’s main city, about 100 km (60 miles) behind the frontlines.
- As anticipation grows of a Ukrainian counteroffensive aiming to drive Moscow’s forces out of the land they have seized in the last 15 months, Serhiy Cherevatyi, spokesman for the “east” group of Ukrainian forces said on Telegram: “In three days of counter-offensive activity, the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Bakhmut sector have liberated 17.3 sq. km of territory.”
- President Zelenskiy said Ukraine had to keep pressing Russian forces and promised more weapons to his soldiers “to defeat the aggressor”
- “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 a daily address.
- Russia’s defence ministry said its forces had repelled a surge of attempted Ukrainian attacks against its positions in eastern Ukraine but admitted its troops had fallen back in one area to regroup, for what it said were tactical reasons.
- Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner forces that have led the campaign in Bakhmut, said in an audio message that what the ministry described, “unfortunately, is called ‘a rout’ and not a regrouping”.
- In a separate video message, Prigozhin said the Ukrainians seized high ground overlooking Bakhmut and opened the main highway leading into the city from the West, saying 5 sq km had been lost on Friday alone.
- Two Russian pilots were killed when a Russian Mi-28 military helicopter crashed in the annexed peninsula of Crimea, Russian news agencies reported, citing the defence ministry.
- The Ukrainian military said in a daily update that Russia was focussing its efforts near Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Marinka. “The enemy carried out 36 attacks in these directions in the last 24 hours.”
- South African officials hit back at U.S. accusations that a sanctioned Russian ship had picked up weapons from a naval base near Cape Town late last year, a move investors feared could lead Washington to impose sanctions.
- U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi plans to present an agreement with Russia and Ukraine on protecting the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to the U.N. Security Council this month, indicating a deal is close, four diplomats have told Reuters.
- The EU is discussing its 11th package of sanctions sinceRussia invaded Ukraine, meant to focus on those circumventingexisting trade restrictions.
- Lawmakers accused the Pentagon of effectively undermining war crimes prosecution of Russia by blocking the sharing of U.S. military intelligence with the International Criminal Court at the Hague.
- U.S. President Joe Biden and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will discuss Ukraine, defense cooperation, and migration on Friday during a meeting at the White House in which the war between Moscow and Kyiv is likely to loom large.
- Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are considering speeding up a plan to disconnect the Baltic region’s electricity supply from Russia’s grid.
- Police in the Russian city of St. Petersburg have created a new anti-drone unit to detect unmanned aerial vehicles following a purported drone attack on the Kremlin earlier this month.
- Pro-war Russian nationalists led by Igor Girkin said a new group they had set up was entering politics to save Russia which they warned was in danger of turmoil due to military failures in the Ukraine war.
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