As the war enters its 465th day, here’s a look at the main developments.
This is the situation as it stands on Saturday, June 3, 2023.
The head of the Russian mercenary force Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said that nearly all of his fighters have pulled out of the captured eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. Prigozhin said that 99 percent of his units have left the city.
Russia’s Ministry of Defence announced that the Akhmat group of Chechen special forces are waging an offensive near the town of Marinka in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
The Freedom of Russia Legion, a pro-Ukrainian force, said it was fighting Russian troops on the outskirts of a village in Russia’s Belgorod region just over the border with Ukraine. “We have active fighting on the outskirts of the village of Novaya Tavolzhanka [in the Belgorod region]. Unfortunately, there are wounded legionnaires, but freedom is won through blood,” the legion said in a statement.
Ukrainian forces in Kyiv said they shot down 36 Russian missiles and drones in and around the capital overnight, with two people injured by falling debris before authorities lifted air raid alerts across most of the country. Russia has launched about 20 missiles and drone attacks on Kyiv since the beginning of May.
Two people were killed and six others were injured in the Russian border region of Belgorod after heavy shelling from the Ukrainian side, according to Russian officials. Two children were among the injured.
A Russian-installed official in Donetsk said at least three people were killed and four wounded, including a three-year-old girl, due to Ukrainian shelling of the city of Makiivka. Russian forces bombed the Kharkiv region, killing two people and injuring four, according to The Kyiv Independent.
A Russian-installed official in Zaporizhia said Ukrainian forces shelled the Russian-controlled port city of Berdyansk and at least nine people were injured. Ukraine’s governor for the Zaporizhia region said that at least two people died and four were wounded due to a Russian attack on a village while a Russian-installed official said Ukrainian forces hit a “hospital camp” in the occupied part of Zaporizhia region. He did not proe details.
Ukraine’s President Volodymr Zelenskyy complained about problems with Kyiv’s air raid shelters after residents reported shortages of bunkers, locked bunkers and restricted access to them. “This level of negligence in the city cannot be justified,” Zelenskyy said, instructing his government to handle the issue.
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the US will not support peace talks for the war in Ukraine until Kyiv holds the upper hand, possibly after a Ukrainian counteroffensive. Blinken said heeding calls from Russia and others, including China, for a ceasefire and negotiations to end the war now would result in a “Potemkin peace” that would not secure Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity or enhance European security.
Zelenskyy said he knows it would be “impossible” for Ukraine to join the NATO military alliance while in the middle of a war. He said Ukraine joining the alliance was still the best security guarantee. “And that’s why we understand that we won’t be a member of NATO while this war is ongoing. Not because we don’t want to. Because it’s impossible”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said “ill-wishers” are increasing efforts to destabilise Russia, and he urged members of his cabinet not to allow this “under any circumstances”. Putin said Russia’s security council would discuss ensuring security between the country’s 190 ethnic groups.
China’s envoy to Ukraine appealed to governments to “stop sending weapons to the battlefield” and hold peace talks. “China believes that if we really want to put an end to war, to save lives and realise peace, it is important for us to stop sending weapons to the battlefield, or else the tensions will only spiral up,” Li Hui said.
The Swiss parliament rejected an exemption for the transfer of arms to Ukraine after most members of parliament voted against a proposal that would have allowed other states to supply Swiss-made weapons to Ukraine. The laws of neutral Switzerland prohibit support for countries involved in acts of war.
US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley said the training of Ukrainian forces in the use of Abrams tanks has begun.
Polish President Andrzej Duda has backtracked on a new law creating a body to probe “Russian influence” after critics, including the European Union and the US, voiced concern.