Here is the situation as it stands on Friday, May 12, 2023:
- Russia’s defence ministry denied reports that Ukrainian forces had broken through in various places along the front lines and said the military situation was under control.
- Launching a counteroffensive now would be “unacceptable” and risk lives, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, adding that Kyiv was waiting for more Western armoured vehicles to arrive to begin its assault.
- Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin warned the “worst of all expected scenarios” was unfolding in Bakhmut as he blamed regular Russian army troops for failing to guard captured territory.
- A Ukrainian drone attacked an oil storage depot in the Russian border region of Bryansk, according to the local governor. There were no casualties.
- Legislators in the United States accused the Pentagon of undermining the war crimes prosecution of Russia by blocking the sharing of US military intelligence with the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.
- Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations discussed UN proposals to extend a deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukraine grain but the meeting appeared to end without Russian agreement for an extension.
Financial leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) developed nations are discussing ways to support Ukraine and pressure Russia to end the war as they meet in Japan for a three-day summit. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the G7 nations “will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes” to end the war.
- Zelenskyy said he had approved a plan to reform Ukraine’s criminal and law enforcement systems, a key element in plans to secure the country’s quick membership of the European Union.
- Zelenskyy is expected to meet Pope Francis in the Vatican on Saturday, just two weeks after the pope said the Vatican was involved in a peace mission to try to end Russia’s war in Ukraine.
- A Russian court fined Google’s Russian subsidiary 3 million roubles ($38,600) for failing to delete YouTube videos it said promoted “LGBT propaganda” and “false information” about the war in Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported.
- Russia is looking into boycotting fencing qualifying competitions for next year’s Paris Olympic Games after some fencers were not allowed to compete, Russian Olympic Committee president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said.
- Japan will unveil a plan to mobilise $1bn to help countries surrounding Ukraine accept refugees from the war-torn country, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said.
- The United Kingdom will send long-range cruise missiles to Ukraine, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said, the first country to do so.
- The Kremlin criticised a US decision to send confiscated Russian assets to Ukraine, saying it was illegal and would backfire on Washington.
- The US envoy to South Africa said a Russian ship had picked up weapons in South Africa, in a possible breach of Pretoria’s declared neutrality in the Ukraine war.