May 20, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news (2023)

12:12 a.m. m. ET, May 21, 2023

That concludes our coverage for the day. Visitherefor the latest on Russia's war in Ukraine.

10:59 p.m. ET, May 20, 2023

Macron says that "it is up to the Ukrainian authorities" to declare the situation of their forces in Bakhmut

From CNN's Alex Stambaugh in Hong Kong, with previous reporting by Yulia Kesaieva and Andrew Carey in kyiv and Sugam Pokharel in London

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that "it is up to the Ukrainian authorities to declare the development of their forces on the ground," following claims by the head of the Russian private military group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, that his forces have taken full control of the region. Bakhmut city in eastern Ukraine.

"I think it is up to the Ukrainian authorities to declare the development of their forces on the ground, so I will remain extremely cautious at this stage," Macron said in Hiroshima, speaking on camera to reporters on the sidelines of the G7 summit.

The operation "shows the difficulty the Russian army had in advancing" on the city, Macron said.

CNN was unable to independently verify Prigozhin's claim, but an initial response from the Ukrainian side disputed it.

Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar, in a Telegram post less than an hour after the Russian mercenary's claim was published, admitted that the situation in Bakhmut was "critical" but said Ukrainian troops were still " maintaining defense" in a district in western Bakhmut. most edge.

Macron did not comment further on Wagner's claim, but said Zelensky's presence at the G7 summit in Hiroshima is "important".

The French president also said that the G7 is an opportunity to "discuss, exchange views and convince the partners" invited this year, including India, Indonesia and Brazil, regarding Ukraine.

"There will be an opportunity to explain the situation," he told reporters.

22:37 ET, May 20, 2023

Zelensky discusses security, defense and soldier training with Canadian leader Trudeau

CNN's Alex Stambaugh

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that he had discussed with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau "more cooperation" on security and defense, the situation on the front line and the training of Ukrainian soldiers.

"Another G7 Summit day began with a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau," Zelenskytweeted.

"We discussed further cooperation in the field of security and defense, the situation on the front line, the training of Ukrainian officers within the Canadian UNIFIER training mission, the importance of implementing all points of the Peace Formula of Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine," he said. he wrote.

Operation UNIFIER is the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) military training and training mission in support of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which launched in 2015 and in 2022 was expanded and extended to March 2025.

Zelensky also said he was "grateful" to Trudeau and Canada for their help in clearing mines from their territories and for the "prompt processing of our requests by the Canadian government and Canadian manufacturers."

Zelensky is currently in Hiroshima, Japan, where he is joining the G7 summit talks andmeeting with G7 leaderson Sunday.

10:35 p.m. ET, May 20, 2023

Putin congratulates Wagner mercenaries and Russian armed forces amid claims they have taken Bakhmut

CNN's Jonny Hallam

May 20, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news (1)

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Wagner's mercenaries and Russia's armed forces on Saturday after they claimed to have seized control of the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut.

The Kremlin said: "Vladimir Putin congratulates Wagner's assault detachments, as well as all units of the Russian Armed Forces, which confirmed the presence and closure of the flanks, on the completion of the operation to liberate Artemovsk [the Bakhmut's Soviet-Russian name]," Russian state news agency TASS said, citing the Kremlin.

"All distinguished fighters will receive state awards," the Kremlin added.

22:31 ET, May 20, 2023

The family of Russia's foreign minister visited Georgia despite sanctions, the president says, sparking protests.

CNN's Niamh Kennedy

May 20, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news (2)

Police removed several people on Saturday from the Kvareli Lake Hotel in the country of Georgia, where relatives of Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were allegedly staying, according to Georgian public broadcaster First Channel.

The opposition United National Movement party held a protest outside the hotel in northeast Georgia to express anger following local media reports that Lavrov's relatives were staying there.

Videos posted on social media showed violent scenes of police officers roughly grabbing protesters gathered outside the hotel. In one video, police officers can be seen holding a protester by the neck.

Georgian media reported that Lavrov's relatives had traveled to Georgia for the wedding of Lavrov's son-in-law's brother, Alexandre Vinokourov.

Lavrov's daughter,Ekaterina Vinokurova—who is married to Vinokourov— has been sanctioned by the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.

May 20, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news (3)

Tensions are already high this week, after direct flights between Russia and Georgia resumed on Friday, lifting the restrictions imposed in 2019.

The move was condemned by the country's president, Salome Zourabichvili, who has a largely ceremonial role and has opposed the government's alignment with Russia.

Zourabichvili expressed disbelief on Saturday that the Georgian government did not know that "the daughter of the highest-ranking official, from Putin's immediate circle, who is under sanctions" had entered Georgia for the wedding, First Channel said.

The president said she had been informed by a government official that the family had already left the country, but urged authorities to pay attention to lists of Russians sanctioned by Georgia's "partner countries."

More about Georgia:Since gaining its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Georgia has played a balancing act between pro-European sentiment among its citizens and the influence of its powerful neighbor, Russia. The country's ruling Georgian Dream party has faced repeated accusations of close ties to Moscow, most notably during efforts to pass aforeign agent invoicein March, which critics say reflected controversial Russian laws.

18:06 ET, May 20, 2023

Russian defense ministry declares victory in Bakhmut, while Ukraine insists it is still fighting for the city

CNN's Jonny Hallam

Russia's Defense Ministry claimed on Saturday that it has seized the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, echoingWagner mercenary group claimsthat officials in Ukrainehave disputed so far.

Calling the city by its Russian-Soviet name, the ministry said: "As a result of the offensive actions of Wagner's assault units, supported by the artillery and aviation of the Yug Force Group, the liberation of Artyomovsk was completed." .

Wagner's chief claimed his troops had fully captured the city early Saturday, while Ukraine's deputy defense minister insisted fighting continued, with Kiev forces clinging to the city's westernmost edge.

CNN cannot independently verify the battlefield claims.

Inrecent reports from the front, the Ukrainian army had focused on progress made in the areas surrounding the city, while Wagner's forces had said they were consolidating territory closer to the city center.

5:53 p.m. ET, May 20, 2023

International Criminal Court denounces Russian arrest warrant against one of its prosecutors

From Mariya Knight and CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq

Leaders of the International Criminal Court (ICC) expressed deep concern over the arrest warrant issued by the Russian government against one of the court's prosecutors this week.

In a statement on Saturday, the ICC called Russia's actions against prosecutor Karim Khan "acts of intimidation and unacceptable attempts to undermine the mandate of the International Criminal Court to investigate, punish and prevent the commission of the most serious international crimes." .

The court's legislative and supervisory body, the Presidency of the Assembly of States Parties, "strongly supports the International Criminal Court, its elected officials and its staff," the statement read.
"We reiterate our full confidence in the ICC as an independent and impartial court of justice," the statement added.

The ICC said in a separate statement on Saturday that it is "aware of and deeply concerned by the unwarranted and unwarranted coercive measures allegedly taken against ICC officials, in particular the Court's Prosecutor and Pre-Trial Chamber II judges by of the authorities of the Russian Federation". ."

Some context:In March, the ICC, whose jurisdiction is not recognized by Russia,issued an orderover the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin and another Moscow official, Maria Lvova-Belova, claiming they were involved in thedeportation and "re-education"of Ukrainian children in Russia.

Later, in March, the Russian Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against ICC judges Tomoko Akane, Rosario Aytala and Sergio Godinez, as well as against Khan.

On Friday, the Russian state news agency TASS reported that the Russian Interior Ministry had issued an arrest warrant for Khan.

CNN's Uliana Pavlova contributed reporting.

4:19 p.m. ET, May 20, 2023

Biden to meet Ukraine's Zelensky in Japan on Sunday

The Betsy Klein the CNN

US President Joe Biden will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Hiroshima, Japan on Sunday to underscore US support for Ukraine as top US officials announce a unified Group of Seven summit.

“We expect the president to have a bilateral meeting with President Zelensky,” a senior administration official told reporters, adding that the meeting will be “a little after 2 p.m.” local time (1am ET).

Biden, the official said, "will continue to reiterate America's strong and resolute support for Ukraine going forward."

The official pointed to a "powerful statement of unity" by the G7 countries opposing Russia's invasion of Ukraine at this week's summit, which includessanctionsand the announcement of ajoint effortto train Ukrainian pilots on F-16s, efforts that were "spearheaded" by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

Asked about the possibility of China playing a role in ending Russia's war, the official said the United States hopes Chinese President Xi Jinping sees this week's summit as a sign of "resolve." .

"We would hope that President Xi and the (People's Republic of China) take away from what they've been seeing that there is a great deal of determination to continue to support Ukraine, as the G7 keeps saying, for as long as it's needed, and that China could play a significant role in helping to end this war,” the official said.

Biden is also expected to have a trilateral meeting with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday afternoon local time. The official called relations a "priority" for Biden. The leaders will discuss security, economy and other issues.

Remember:The G7 comprises the world's most advanced industrialized democracies: the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and Italy. Tokyo also invited other emerging economic powerhouses and regional players to the meetings.

3:51 p.m. ET, May 20, 2023

Pope entrusts cardinal peace mission to Ukraine

From Delia Gallagher and Barbie Latza Nadeau of CNN in Rome

May 20, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news (4)

Pope Francis has entrusted Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, Archbishop of Bologna and President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, to lead apeace missionto address the war in Ukraine, according to the Holy See press office.

The mission aims to contribute "to a relaxation of the tensions in the conflict in Ukraine, with the hope that this can initiate paths of peace, something that the Holy Father never abandoned," Matteo Bruni, director of the office, Saturday in the statement.

The statement added that the Vatican is still investigating how and when Zuppi will undertake the mission.


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