Ukraine Daily Summary - Sunday, May 21

Prigozhin’s claim of capturing Bakhmut aimed at distracting from support for Ukraine -- Russia able to produce up to 67 missiles per month -- Ukrainians who took Russian passports under pressure will not be punished -- ICC slams Russian arrest warrant for top prosecutor, judges -- and more

Sunday, May 21

Russia’s war against Ukraine

A couple stands in front of a damaged multistory residential building, where a Russian strike killed 23 people, in Uman, Cherkasy Oblast.

(L to R) Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen walk after posing for a family photo during the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Hiroshima on May 21, 2023. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEFAN ROUSSEAU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Zelensky meets with leaders at G7 summit in Hiroshima. 

President Volodymyr Zelensky met with world leaders at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Hiroshima on May 20, including U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and European Council President Charles Michel.

Prigozhin says Wagner captured Bakhmut, Ukraine denies claim. 

“Today, at 12 noon, Bahmut was completely taken,” Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed in a video showing him holding a Russian flag in the embattled city. Ukrainian officials have refuted his claim.

ISW: Prigozhin’s claimed victory over remaining areas in Bakhmut purely symbolic, even if true. 

The last few urban blocks of eastern Bakhmut that Wagner Group has claimed to capture are not tactically or operationally significant, the Institute for the Study of War said in their latest assessment.

Ukraine’s military: Russia bringing airborne, motorized rifle units to Bakhmut.

In addition to Wagner Group mercenaries, Russia is sending airborne and motorized rifle units to Bakhmut, Serhii Cherevatyi, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Eastern Operational Command, reported on May 20. Capturing Bakhmut reportedly remains a top priority for Russia’s military.

Podolyak: Prigozhin’s claim of capturing Bakhmut aimed at distracting from support for Ukraine. 

Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin’s claim that his mercenaries had captured Bakhmut is an attempt to distract from the overwhelming support for Ukraine received during President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visits abroad, Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukraine’s Presidential Office, said.

UK Defense Ministry: Russia commits several more battalions to Bakhmut. 

In the last four days, the Russian military has likely redeployed several battalions to the Bakhmut sector. Following Ukrainian successes at Bakhmut’s flanks and growing concerns about Wagner mercenary group’s reliability, Russia is likely seeking to claim at least some level of success in the war, the British Defense Intelligence reports on May 20.

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Lavrov claims G7 intent on ‘double containment’ of Russia, China. 

“The task was set loudly and openly – to defeat Russia on the battlefield, but not to stop there, but to eliminate it as a geopolitical competitor,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed amid the ongoing G7 summit in Hiroshima.

Ombudsman: Ukrainians who took Russian passports under pressure will not be punished. 

Ukraine’s authorities will not prosecute people from occupied territories who took Russian passports under duress.

Ukraine’s defense intelligence: Russia able to produce up to 67 missiles per month.

Russia has likely used up its missile stockpiles but has successfully established a production line for fresh munitions.

Human cost of war

Governor: Russian shelling of Nikopol injures woman. 

A 46-year-old woman was injured when Russian troops shelled Nikopol in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast on May 20, Governor Serhii Lysak reported.

Russian attack injures 5 in Toretsk.

Russian forces attacked the town of Toretsk in Donetsk Oblast with Grad rockets, injuring five people, including an 11-year-old child, Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported on May 20.

Officials: Russian shellings kill 5, injure 13 in 4 different oblasts. 

Russian shellings killed five civilians and injured four between May 19 and May 20 in the Kherson, Kharkiv, and Donetsk oblasts, officials report.

General Staff: Russia has lost 202,430 troops in Ukraine. 

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported on May 20 that Russia has lost 202,430 troops in Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion, with an estimated 670 casualties on May 19 alone.

International response

CNN: Biden to meet with Zelensky in Japan on May 21. 

U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Hiroshima, Japan, on Sunday, underscoring his country’s support for Ukraine during the Group of Seven summit.

Pope Francis appoints Cardinal Zuppi to lead peace mission in Ukraine. 

In a significant move aimed at resolving the ongoing war, Pope Francis has entrusted Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, the Archbishop of Bologna and President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, to lead a peace mission in Ukraine.

EU leader promises to take on companies that help Russia violate sanctions. 

The EU’s new package of sanctions against Russia will target more than 90 companies that help Moscow evade sanctions, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a May 20 interview with German publication ZDF.

PM: Italy may train Ukrainian pilots but can’t supply F-16s. 

Italy may commit to training Ukrainian fighter pilots, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on May 20 at a news conference following the G7 summit in Japan.

Rheinmetall wants joint enterprise with Ukraine to produce armored vehicles.

German automotive and defense manufacturer Rheinmetall wants to work jointly with Ukrainian state defense contractor Ukroboronprom to manufacture Fuchs armored personnel carriers, Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger told German publication Bild.

ICC slams Russian arrest warrant for top prosecutor, judges. 

The International Criminal Court stated on May 20 that it is “profoundly concerned” after Russia issued an arrest warrant for a prosecutor and judges who issued a warrant for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 8 –

How Ukrainian air defense denies Russia air superiority

How Ukrainian air defense denies Russia air superiority | This Week In Ukraine Ep. 8

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