On Tuesday, May 23, 2023, after 454 days of war, we review the latest developments in the conflict in Ukraine.
The Wagner Group’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, announced that their mercenary soldiers would withdraw from Bakhmut and hand over control to Russian conventional forces. However, Ukraine denied Russian claims that Bakhmut had fallen. In the Kherson region, one person died from shrapnel wounds after Russia shelled the village of Stanislav. Two women were wounded in Kupiansk in the Kharkiv province, and residential buildings and civilian infrastructure were damaged in the attack. Ukrainian military intelligence officer Kyrylo Budanov addressed Russian soldiers in a video, urging them to surrender if they do not wish to die. Power was restored at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant after Ukraine and Russia blamed each other for the latest blackout. The governor of Russia’s southern region of Belgorod, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said authorities were helping people leave the area after an armed attack by a “sabotage” group from Ukraine. Kyiv denied any involvement and said the attack was the work of armed groups within Russia. The United Kingdom claimed that Russian troops were probably forming a new “elite” aviation group as the West pledges to bolster Kyiv’s air defences.
The United Nations expressed concern that Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Pivdennyi had not received any ships since May 2 under a deal allowing the safe wartime export of grain and fertiliser. NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly recognised Russian actions in Ukraine as “genocide”, according to Yehor Cherniev, the head of Ukraine’s delegation at the assembly. Six African leaders proposed Ukraine accept opening peace talks with Russia even with Russian troops remaining on its soil. Denmark’s Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said the country was planning to host a peace summit for Ukraine in July.
Poland is in advanced talks to buy Swedish early warning planes, and negotiations are expected to be finalised shortly. Poland has increased military spending since Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, with the government pledging to double the size of the army and spend 4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on defence in 2023.
Overall, the situation in Ukraine remains tense, with fighting continuing and diplomatic efforts ongoing.