War in Ukraine: Kiev says it moved in up to 2 km from Bachmout

UPDATE ON THE SITUATION – However, Zelenskyy said on Thursday that he “needs a little time to prepare for Ukraine’s major counter-offensive.”

By Le Figaro with AFP

Published 05/12/2023 at 09:25, updated 05/12/2023 at 10:51

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A Ukrainian soldier with a drone on the front line, near Bakhmout, Donetsk, Ukraine, May 8, 2023. SERGEY SHESTAK / AFP

Advance of the Ukrainian troops in Bachmout, Zelenskyy’s declaration of a counter-offensive, a Chinese visit to Kiev, an agreement on Ukrainian grain… This Friday, May 12, Le Figaro takes stock of the war in Ukraine.

Kiev claims to have recaptured two kilometers from Bakhmout

Kiev forces have advanced two kilometers around Bachmout, the epicenter of fighting in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister said on Friday.

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“The enemy suffered heavy casualties. “Our defense forces have advanced two kilometers near Bakhmout,” Ganna Malyar said in a statement released on social media. “We didn’t lose a position at Bakhmout this week,” she added. The statements came after another senior Ukrainian military official said on Wednesday that Russian forces had withdrawn from some areas near Bakhmout following counterattacks by Kyiv forces.

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Ukrainian soldiers with a drone on the front line, near Bakhmout, Donetsk, Ukraine, May 8, 2023. SERGEY SHESTAK / AFP

However, Zelenskyy claimed that he needed “time” for the counteroffensive

However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy assured in an interview with the BBC on Thursday, May 11, that his army still needs time to prepare a widely expected counter-offensive against Russian forces. “With (what we have) we can move forward and be successful. But we would lose a lot of people. I think that’s unacceptable. So we have to wait. We need a little more time,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, according to the BBC.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said in late April that “preparations are coming to an end”. “The equipment was promised, prepared and partially delivered. In the broadest sense, we’re ready,” he said during a press conference. “If God wills it, the weather and the decision of the commanders, we will do it.” However, he added that the powerful Abrams tanks promised by the United States “will not have time to take part in this counter-offensive” and that theirs Delivery to Ukraine is not expected until the end of 2023.

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President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a press conference in Kiev, Ukraine, May 9, 2023. SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP

China’s special envoy will visit Ukraine on Monday

China said on Friday it would dispatch a special envoy to Ukraine, Russia and other European countries starting Monday, May 15, to discuss a “political solution” to the war in Ukraine.

“Starting May 15, Ambassador Li Hui, the Chinese government’s special envoy for Eurasian affairs, will visit Ukraine, Poland, France, Germany and Russia to discuss a political solution to the Ukraine crisis with each of these parties,” said Wang Wenbin. a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry told reporters. He is the highest-ranking Chinese diplomat to visit Ukraine since the full-scale invasion of Ukrainian territory by Russian forces in late February 2022.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin during a news conference in Beijing, China April 26, 2023. FLORENCE LO/ Portal

Extension of Ukraine Grains Agreement nearing completion

The extension of the Ukrainian grain export deal is nearing completion, Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said, according to a ministry statement on Friday. “We are nearing the completion of the extension of the Grains Agreement,” Hulusi Akar said in a Thursday speech released on Friday. Turkey has managed to maintain ties with Ukraine and Russia since the conflict began.

Ankara was one of the key players in concluding the so-called Black Sea Agreement, signed for 120 days on July 22 by the United Nations, Ukraine, Russia and Turkey. The agreement helped alleviate the global food crisis caused by the war and was extended by four months. It expires on May 18 and Russia has not agreed to a third extension. The United States and the United Kingdom jointly called for an extension of the agreement on Tuesday and denounced that Russia continues to use food “as a weapon”.

Russia laments the non-application of a second agreement with Ukraine that allows its own grain and fertilizer exports. Moscow complains that it cannot sell its production and fertilizers due to Western sanctions, which particularly affect the financial and logistics sectors. Ukraine is one of the world’s leading grain producers.