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As the war enters its 454th day, we take a look at the main developments.

Here is the situation as it stands on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.


  • Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said its mercenary soldiers would leave Bakhmut starting on Thursday and transfer control of the eastern Ukrainian city to Russian conventional forces. Ukraine has denied Russian claims that Bakhmut has fallen.
  • One person died from shrapnel wounds after Russia shelled the village of Stanislav in Ukraine’s Kherson region, according to Governor Oleksandr Prokudin.
  • Two women were wounded by Russian shelling in Kupiansk in northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv province, according to the region’s governor, Oleh Syniehubov. He said residential buildings and other civilian infrastructure were damaged in the attack.
  • Ukrainian military intelligence officer Kyrylo Budanov addressed Russian soldiers in a video and urged them to surrender if they do not wish to die.
  • Power was restored at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant after Ukraine and Russia blamed one another for the latest blackout.
  • Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Russia’s southern region of Belgorod, said authorities were helping people leave the area after an armed attack by a “sabotage” group from Ukraine. Kyiv denied any involvement saying the attack was the work of armed groups within Russia.
  • The United Kingdom said Russian troops were probably forming a new “elite” aviation group as the West pledges to bolster Kyiv’s air defences.


  • The United Nations expressed concern that Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Pivdennyi, in the city of Yuzhne, had not received any ships since May 2 under a deal allowing the safe wartime export of grain and fertiliser.
  • NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly recognised Russian actions in Ukraine as “genocide”, according to Yehor Cherniev, the head of Ukraine’s delegation at the assembly.
  • Six African leaders proposed Ukraine accept opening peace talks with Russia even with Russian troops remaining on its soil, South Africa’s presidency said, as South African officials prepared to visit both countries to sell the idea.
  • Denmark’s Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said the country was planning to host a peace summit for Ukraine in July, according to Danish news agency Ritzau.
  • Tens of thousands of Moldovans rallied in the capital, Chisinau, to support their pro-Western government’s drive towards Europe amid what officials have said are Russian efforts to destabilise their country.


  • Poland is in advanced talks to buy Swedish early warning planes and hopes negotiations will be finalised shortly, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said. Poland has ramped up military spending since Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, with the government pledging to double the size of the army and spend 4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on defence in 2023.

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