Here is the situation as it stands on Thursday, May 25, 2023.
- Moscow said its forces killed 70 members of the Russian anti-Kremlin groups who tried to attack Russia’s Belgorod region from Ukraine.
- Ilya Ponomarev, a representative of the Liberty of Russia Legion accused of being part of the Belgorod raids, told Al Jazeera its fighters received some support from the Ukrainian armed forces.
- About 20,000 Wagner Group fighters were killed in the battle for the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, according to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Russian mercenary force.
- The United Kingdom’s defence ministry said Russia’s military had “struggled to enforce discipline in its ranks throughout its operations in Ukraine, but its issues have highly likely worsened following the forced mobilisation of reservists since October 2022″.
- Russia said it scrambled an Su-27 fighter jet to “prevent violations of the state border” by two United States Air Force strategic bombers flying over the Baltic Sea.
- The United Nations said the number of civilians killed in armed conflicts and their humanitarian aftershocks has soared, with nearly 17,000 deaths recorded in war zones last year — including almost 8,000 people in Ukraine alone.
- Ukraine’s defence ministry’s intelligence unit said Russian troops were still using three units of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as a military base.
- The United States said it was “deeply concerned” by a meeting between a leading UN official for children and Russia’s ombudsman for children’s rights, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court.
- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged African countries to abandon their stance of neutrality towards Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
- Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that “sensational pressure” from the West was taking Russia-China ties to an “unprecedented high” as officials from the two countries signed a set of agreements on trade and sport cooperation.
- Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said that while Tbilisi supports Ukraine, further sanctions on Russia would destroy the economy and damage the interests of people in his country.
- UK Defence Minister Ben Wallace made a surprise visit to Kyiv to meet his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov.
- Ukraine will not be able to join NATO as long as the war is going on, according to Jens Stoltenberg, leader of the world’s largest military alliance.
- A court in Russia extended the detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich by three months, until August 30.
- Ukraine’s Orthodox Church said it would switch to the “revised” Julian calendar from September 1, in an effort to distance itself from Russia’s Orthodox Church.
- Supplying Ukraine with F-16 fighter aircraft will deal a big blow to Russia and the faster a decision is implemented on the planes, the better, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
- UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the West is prepared to support Ukraine “for years”. His comments came after the US and other European Union nations pledged to bolster Ukraine’s air defence systems and train Ukrainian pilots in flying F-16 fighter jets.