© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian servicemen prepare a BM-21 Grad multiple launch rocket system to fire towards the positions of Russian troops, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, near the frontline town of Bakhmut, Ukraine May 19, 2023. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
(Reuters) – Russia and Ukraine gave conflicting accounts of the situation in Bakhmut with Kyiv saying its forces still controlled part of the besieged eastern city, while Moscow congratulated the Wagner mercenary force and Russian troops for “liberating” it.
* Ukrainian forces have partly encircled Bakhmut along the flanks and still control a part of the city, Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said on Sunday.
* Russia claimed on Saturday to have fully captured the destroyed city, which would mark an end to the longest and bloodiest battle of the 15-month war and Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated troops.
* U.S. President Joe Biden said the Russians had suffered over 100,000 casualties in Bakhmut.
* A Russian-installed official in Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhzhia region said on Sunday that Kyiv had struck the Russian-held port city of Berdyansk with British-supplied Storm Shadow cruise missiles.
* Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports.
DIPLOMACY AND ECONOMY
* Leaders of the world’s richest democracies at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Hiroshima, Japan said on Sunday they would not back down from supporting Ukraine.
* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he was confident that Kyiv would receive supplies of F-16 fighter jets from the West and Biden said he had received a “flat assurance” from Zelenskiy that Ukraine would not use them to go into Russian territory.
* Zelenskiy played down the fact he did not meet Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on the sidelines of the G7 summit and said it was likely because of scheduling.
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