Day 452 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Prigozhin announced Bakhmut was completely under the control of Wagner - Kyiv denies
Day 452 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Prigozhin announced that Bakhmut was completely under the control of "Wagner", Ukraine denied
- The US allowed NATO allies to provide F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine
- Zelensky also sought support from the "Global South”
- The Pope assigned an Italian cardinal a mission for peace in Ukraine
Prigozhin announced that Bakhmut was completely under the control of "Wagner", Ukraine denied
The head of the private military organization "Wagner" Yevgeny Prigozhin announced that the key eastern city of Bakhmut in Ukraine is fully under the control of his fighters after months of fighting, reported AFP.
Prigozhin announced this in a video posted on his Telegram channel. The announcements come as Ukraine reports progress and that it has regained the initiative in the battle for the city and awaits a massive counteroffensive by Kyiv’s forces.
Prigozhin announced the fall of Bakhmut in a video in which he appeared against a background of fighters holding Russian flags and "Wagner" emblems.
"We fought not only the Ukrainian army, we fought the Russian bureaucracy, which put bars in our wheels. Its names are partially known. These are Shoigu and Gerasimov, who turned the war into their own entertainment, who decided that their whims should are carried out, but precisely because of these whims, 5 times as many boys died. We prepared lists of those who helped us and those who actively opposed us, supporting, in practice, the enemy".
Prigrozhin mentioned 3 names in the list of the "good ones" - President Putin and Generals Surovikin and Mizintsev. He announced that Wagner would hand over control of Bakhmut to the Russian military on May 25. By then, the city will be completely searched, defensive positions will be established, and Wagner's mercenaries will return to base, Prigogine says.
There is still no comment from the authorities in Moscow. Kyiv denies that Bakhmut was ceded:
"This is not true, our soldiers are fighting in Bakhmut," responded Ukrainian army spokesman Serhiy Cherevatii. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar called the situation "critical" but added that the city's defenders were in control of parts of Bakhmut.
BREAKING: Wagner Group chief claims his forces have taken control of Bakhmut pic.twitter.com/GSMfgpnq8l— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) May 20, 2023
The US allowed NATO allies to provide F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine
The United States allowed NATO allies to provide F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. This became clear before Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Japan for the meeting of the G-7 leaders.
At the same time at the front, the leader of the Russian mercenary group Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin announced that his forces had completely captured Bakhmut.
Kyiv denied the loss of the city. He assured that the fighting continued, but admitted that the situation was critical. The Ukrainian president continues his diplomatic offensive at the G-7 meeting.
"You made it!" - this is how the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed the Ukrainian leader after the American "yes" to the provision of F-16s to Kyiv. President Biden has informed his colleagues that he will support a joint effort to train Ukrainian pilots. The United States has committed another 5 million in military aid to Ukraine, including artillery, ammunition and HIMARS missile systems.
"We've talked a lot about the future fighter coalition and I want to thank you and all the partners for this decision, for the training missions, it's really, really very important. It's very important for us to include in this formula as much as possible countries and I am glad that there are many positive signals," said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for pragmatic measures against the circumvention of sanctions against Russia. Britain plans to ban imports of Russian diamonds, copper, aluminum and nickel and has announced sanctions against companies it accuses of stealing Ukrainian grain.
G7 leaders have secured the necessary support for Ukraine's budget until the end of this year and the beginning of next year, a joint statement said.
In a series of bilateral meetings, Volodymyr Zelensky also presented the Ukrainian cause to the leaders of the so-called "Global South".
In talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he urged Delhi to join the Ukrainian peace formula. The two spoke for the first time in person since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.
"The war in Ukraine is a huge topic for the whole world. It has multiple effects on the globe, but I do not reduce it only to economics and politics. For me, the problem is humanity and common human values," said Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.
G7 leaders called on China to put pressure on Russia to stop its aggression against Ukraine. Moscow described the G7 decisions as aimed at dually containing Russia and China and warned that the West would take "colossal risks" if it supplied F-16s to Ukraine. China expressed strong dissatisfaction with the final communique of the Hiroshima meeting.
It contains criticisms of Beijing's policies in the South China Sea and human rights. The Chinese side urged the Japanese hosts not to turn the meeting into a "political show" against China or for its containment.
Beijing has warned that words and deeds directed against China's interests will be met with firm and decisive countermeasures.
Zelensky also sought support from the "Global South”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky joined G7 leaders in Hiroshima in seeking even wider support against the Russian invasion.
Hours earlier, the US gave the green light to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets.
The participants announced new sanctions against Moscow and measures against China's policies, which they described as "economic coercion".
In a series of meetings, Zelensky defended the Ukrainian cause in front of the so-called "Global South". He invited Indian Prime Minister Modi to visit Ukraine and urged Delhi to join the Kyiv formula for peace.
The Indian side has expressed support for seeking peace through "dialogue and diplomacy". Moscow described the Hiroshima decisions as an attempt to contain Russia and China and warned the West that it was taking "colossal risks" if it supplied F-16s to Ukraine.
Beijing expressed dissatisfaction with Hiroshima's stance on China and urged the Japanese hosts not to turn the meeting into a political show against the country.
The Pope assigned an Italian cardinal a mission for peace in Ukraine
The Pope has charged Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, the president of the Italian bishops' conference, with the implementation of a mission aimed at helping to end the war in Ukraine, the Vatican said, as quoted by Reuters and BTA.
Francis first announced his intention for such a mission last month on his way back from a visit to Hungary, but then he did so veiledly without giving details.
A Vatican diplomatic source said Zuppi would try to meet separately with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Vatican clarified in an official announcement that the 67-year-old cardinal will carry out a mission that has been agreed with the Vatican Secretariat of State (Government) and which "will contribute to reducing the tension surrounding the conflict in Ukraine, with the hope that has never left the Holy Father , that this is how a peace process can be started".
On April 30, on his way back from a visit to Hungary, Francis made a significant statement about the Vatican's involvement in a mission to end the war.
"There is a mission that is underway, but it is not public yet. When it becomes public, I will reveal (details about it) to you," he told reporters.
Yesterday, the Vatican clarified that deadlines and other details about the mission are still being specified.
Zuppi comes from the Community of Saint Aegidius, a secular Catholic organization from Rome fighting for peace and justice in the world. In 1992, with her mediation, an agreement was concluded that ended the civil war in Mozambique, which claimed about half a million lives and drove about four million people from their homes.
Pope Francis made Zuppi a cardinal in 2019, and last year he was elected to preside over the Italian Episcopal Conference (the assembly of Italian Catholic bishops).
Recently, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said that "now is the time to take the initiative to achieve a just peace in Ukraine."
In 2003, the late Pope John Paul II sent his high-ranking representatives to Washington and Baghdad in a failed attempt to prevent the outbreak of the Iraq War.
Last Saturday, Zelensky met with Pope Francis at the Vatican, but afterwards he seemed to downplay the possibility of papal mediation.
"With all due respect to the Holy Father, we don't need mediators, we need a just peace. Putin only kills. We don't need mediation between us and him," the Ukrainian president told Italian television.
A Vatican statement on the day of his visit made no mention of such a mission, and Zelensky said he had urged the pope to support Kyiv’s peace plan, which calls for restoring Ukraine's territorial integrity, withdrawing Russian troops and ending hostilities.
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