As the war enters its 457th day, we take a look at the major developments.
Here is the situation as it stands on Friday, May 26, 2023.
- Wagner’s forces began to withdraw from Ukraine eastern town of Bakhmut and hand over positions to the Russian army, said the leader of the mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin.
- Prigozhin said he would return the bodies of a US citizen killed in fighting in Bakhmut and a Turkish citizen found dead in an exploded building.
- Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential aide, told Reuters news agency that Ukraine had nothing to do with a “strange and unnecessary” drone attack on the Kremlindownplaying the conclusions of two American media claiming the opposite.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff said kyiv secured the release of 106 prisoners of war in an exchange with Russia. The soldiers, including eight officers, were captured fighting in Bakhmut.
- The US Secretary of Defense said European allies were developing a coordinated program train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.
- The Finnish government has announced that it will send additional military equipment to Ukraine, including anti-aircraft weapons and ammunition, at a total cost of 109 million euros ($120 million).
- Sweden could allow Ukrainian pilots to test its Gripen fighter jets, its defense minister told TV4.
- Zelenskyy urged the Iranians to reconsider supplying murderous drones to Russia to stop their slide into “the dark side of history”. Iranian manufacturing Shahed-136 drones supplied to Moscow played a major role in Russia’s attacks on cities and infrastructure, although Zelenskyy said kyiv’s air defenses were now adept at bringing them down.