Ukraine claimed gains this Friday, May 12, near the devastated eastern city of Bakhmout, the epicenter of fighting with Russian forces. The boss of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigojine, confirmed the Ukrainian breakthrough near the symbolic city, where his men are on the front line, accusing the regular army of Moscow, which holds the flanks, of having “fleed” his positions.
“The capture of Bakhmout will not bring anything to Russia because the flanks are crumbling and the front is collapsing,” Evgueni Prigojine said in a video, accusing the Russian general staff. to seek to “water down” the situation.
Russia says it repelled an offensive on a 95 km long front in the east
Shortly before these new virulent criticisms of the boss of Wagner, the Russian army claimed to have repelled 26 Ukrainian attacks the day before on a 95 kilometer long front in the Soledar sector, in eastern Ukraine, near Bakhmout.
“In the tactical direction of Soledar, the enemy yesterday (Thursday) carried out an offensive along the entire line of contact, with a length of more than 95 kilometers. Ukrainian army units carried out 26 attacks involving more than 1,000 soldiers and up to 40 tanks,” said the Russian Defense Ministry, claiming to have repelled all these attacks and prevented any breakthrough.
Ukraine would have taken back two kilometers around Bakhmout
Kiev forces have advanced two kilometers around the city of Bakhmout, the epicenter of the fighting in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian deputy defense minister announced earlier today.
“The enemy has suffered significant human losses. Our defense forces have advanced two kilometers near Bakhmout,” Ganna Malyar said in a statement posted on social media. “We haven’t lost any positions in Bakhmout this week,” she added.
China’s special representative to visit Ukraine, Russia
China is active on the Ukrainian crisis: it indicated this Friday that it will send from Monday May 15 a special representative to Ukraine, Russia and other European countries in order to discuss a “political settlement “. “From May 15, Ambassador Li Hui, the Chinese government’s special representative for Eurasian affairs, will visit Ukraine, Poland, France, Germany and Russia,” said Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Affairs.
“He will discuss with each of these parties a political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis,” he stressed to the press. Aged 70, Li Hui is the highest-ranking Chinese diplomat to visit Ukraine since the large-scale invasion of Ukrainian territory by Russian troops in late February 2022.
If the Asian giant regularly calls for respect for the sovereignty of States, it has never publicly condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukrainian territory. Beijing presents itself as a neutral party in the conflict and intends to play a role of mediator, even if its position as a close economic and diplomatic partner of Moscow disqualifies it in the eyes of certain European capitals.
Sweden wants EU, which it chairs, to label Wagner a terrorist group
Sweden, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, said Thursday it was ready to include the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, accused of abuses in Ukraine and Africa, on the list of the European Union (EU) of terrorist organizations.
“Sweden stands ready to work to build consensus within the EU to include Wagner on the EU list of terrorist organizations as soon as the legal conditions are met,” Foreign Minister Tobias said. Billström to the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN). “The Wagner group has committed atrocious abuses in particular in Sudan, Mali, Syria and Ukraine,” the head of Swedish diplomacy told DN.
On Tuesday, the French National Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution inviting the French government “to mobilize diplomatically” so that the paramilitary group is included on this list in order to more effectively sanction the members of Wagner and their supporters, in particular on the financial plan.
Eurovision: Zelensky prevented from speaking during the final
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will not be able to speak via video message during the Eurovision final organized on Saturday May 13, the organizer of the singing competition said on Thursday.
“Volodymyr Zelensky’s request to address the Eurovision Song Contest audience, although made with laudable intentions, regretfully cannot be granted as it would break the rules of the event,” European Broadcasting said. Union (EBU) which organizes the competition. “One of the pillars of the competition is the non-political nature of the event. This principle prohibits political or similar statements during the competition,” explained the EBU.
The competition is being held this year in Liverpool (north of England), the United Kingdom having offered to host Eurovision in place of Ukraine, winner last year, and which as such would have had to organize the event but who had to give it up because of the Russian invasion.
The final, which will see 26 countries compete, provides a strong tribute to Ukraine, with the presence of eleven Ukrainian artists on stage, including Kalush Orchestra, last year’s winner, said the EBU. Video clips broadcast during the evening will show different places in the country. Russia was excluded from the competition, as in the 2022 edition.
The British government said on Friday it was “disappointed” that the organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest decided to prevent Volodymyr Zelensky from speaking on Saturday. “The Prime Minister thinks it would have been correct for President Zelensky to speak during the event,” said a spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, adding that the values defended by Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian people in the face of the Russian invasion “are not political but fundamental”.
Zelensky will meet the Italian president on Saturday in Rome
Volodymyr Zelensky will meet Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Rome on Saturday, a spokesman for the Italian presidency told AFP on Friday. “We confirm that this meeting will take place tomorrow,” he said when asked about reports of a meeting between Sergio Mattarella and Volodymyr Zelensky. A Vatican source also said on Friday that a meeting between the Ukrainian president and Pope Francis was “possible.”
This will be Volodymyr Zelensky’s first visit to Italy, a member of the European Union and NATO, since the Russian invasion in February 2022. Details of his visit, including meeting times, have not yet been announced. not made public for security reasons.