As the conflict enters its 505th day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation on Thursday, July 13, 2023.
- Moscow launched a wave of drone attacks on Kyiv for a third night, according to Ukraine military officials. The military said 11 of the 15 drones were destroyed. Two people were hurt in a fire caused by the attack.
- Zaporizhia regional governor Yuriy Malashko said 18 people, including six children, were injured in a Russian attack on a residential area in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia.
- Kherson region governor Oleksandr Prokudin said an 81-year-old man was killed and his 82-year-old wife wounded after Russia shelled the southern city of Kherson.
- Ukraine’s military said Russian forces carried out 65 air strikes and fired at least 71 times from heavy weapon rocket systems at Ukrainian troop positions and populated areas along the front lines over the previous 24 hours.
- Andriy Kovaliov, a spokesperson for the armed forces general staff, said Ukrainian forces “had success in some places” amid fierce fighting on the front line south of Bakhmut. He said the Russians were putting up strong resistance, moving units and troops and deploying reserves. He did not say how much ground Ukraine had gained.
NATO Summit and diplomacy
- The Group of Seven (G7) signed a new framework to provide long-term, bilateral security commitments for Ukraine. The measures cover areas including modern advanced military equipment, training, intelligence sharing and cyber defence. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the agreement was “potentially very dangerous“.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed defence packages announced by NATO and the G7 at the security alliance’s annual summit, but said an invitation to join NATO “would have been ideal”. At a joint press conference with Zelenskyy, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said “Ukraine is now closer to NATO than ever before”.
- Zelenskyy met United States President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the summit in Lithuania and said the two had “a very good, powerful meeting” that was “at least twice as long as planned, and as meaningful as it needed to be”.
- Zelenskyy said the NATO-Ukraine Council established by NATO could give his country “institutional clarity” as part of Kyiv’s path towards NATO membership. Writing on Twitter, he said it was “important” that the council “be an instrument of integration, not just partnership”.
- US President Joe Biden accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of having a “craven lust for land and power” and promised that the security alliance would not falter in supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression. Putin, he said, had underestimated NATO. “He thought NATO would break. He thought our unity would shatter at the first testing. He thought democratic leaders would be weak. But he thought wrong,” Biden said at the end of the two-day summit.
- Stoltenberg said the “biggest risk” in the Ukraine war was a victory for Putin, who sent Russian troops into Ukraine in February 2022. “Ukraine has the right to choose its own path,” Stoltenberg said, adding that “it is not for Moscow to decide”.
- Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy secretary of Russia’s powerful Security Council, said NATO’s increased assistance for Ukraine brought the threat of a third world war closer, and that Russia would not be deterred from achieving its goals in Ukraine.
- Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Sweden and Ukraine signed an agreement to cooperate on defence procurement and for the exchange of classified information.
- Russia’s state news agency TASS reported that Russian foreign intelligence chief Sergey Naryshkin held a phone call with his CIA counterpart William Burns in late June to discuss “what to do with Ukraine”. There was a possibility the two men might meet in person, TASS said, citing Naryshkin.
- The Kremlin said a visit by Putin to China was on the agenda, adding the date of the trip would be announced when it is finalised. China’s President Xi Jinping travelled to Moscow in March.
- UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres sent Putin a letter on Tuesday proposing a way forward to further facilitate Russian food and fertiliser exports and ensure the continued Black Sea shipments of Ukrainian grain. The existing deal, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, is due to expire on Monday.
- Zelenskyy announced Australia would give Ukraine 30 bushmaster armoured vehicles as part of a new defence package.
- Zelenskyy said that Germany would supply additional Patriot launchers and missiles to Ukraine. “This is very important for protecting life in Ukraine from Russian terror!” he said on the Telegram messaging platform.
- The British government said it would provide Ukraine with more than 70 combat and logistical vehicles, thousands of rounds of ammunition for Challenger 2 tanks, and a 50-million-pound ($64.9m) support package for equipment repair.
- UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Kyiv could express more “gratitude” to its allies for their support in the face of Russia’s invasion, given that some are giving up their own stocks to supply Ukraine. Wallace said after he received a list of weapons requests from Kyiv he had told officials: “I am not Amazon”.
- Biden’s nominee to become the US Army’s chief of staff, General Randy George, told a Senate committee that Ukraine would benefit from the US provision of ATACM long-range missiles. George said the Army Tactical Missile System would give Ukraine the ability to attack “attack deeper targets”.
Wagner mutiny fallout
- Russia’s Ministry of Defence said the Wagner mercenary group, which staged a brief mutiny last month, is completing the handover of its weapons. In a statement accompanied by a video showing tanks, rockets and other heavy weapons, the ministry said Wagner had transferred more than 2,000 pieces of equipment and over 2,500 tonnes of ammunition.
- General Sergei Surovikin, a deputy commander of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine, is “currently resting”, according to Andrei Kartapolov, head of the State Duma Defence Committee. Surovikin has not been seen in public since the Wagner mutiny, and there have been unconfirmed reports that he had been detained for questioning.
- The UK’s defence ministry said that Russia’s Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov made his first TV appearance since the mutiny. “Gerasimov was seen being briefed by video link by Russian Aerospace Forces Chief of Staff Colonel-General Viktor Afzalov,” it said.
- The Kremlin’s Peskov dismissed a claim by Ukrainian military intelligence that Wagner soldiers intended to acquire nuclear devices during their failed mutiny as “misinformation”. His comments followed a Reuters news agency report citing Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, saying Wagner fighters reached a nuclear base – known as Voronezh-45 – in an attempt to obtain small Soviet-era nuclear devices.