French President Emmanuel Macron described Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s presence at the G7 summit in Hiroshima as ‘a way to build peace’. He added that putting a French plane at the disposal of the Ukrainian leader to fly him first to the Arab League summit and then to the G7 is Paris’s way “to building peace and seeking solutions”. Read our live blog for all the latest developments on the war in Ukraine. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
4:48am: Zelensky seeks diplomatic, military support in Hiroshima
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will plead for diplomatic and military support in Hiroshima Sunday as he addresses G7 allies and a few nations who have pointedly declined to condemn Russia’s invasion.
In a surprise trip to a city synonymous with the horror of nuclear war, Zelensky began his day huddling with G7 leaders.
Later he will address assembled leaders from India, Brazil, Vietnam and Indonesia and is expected to give a speech to rally support for Ukraine’s defence against Moscow’s 15-month onslaught.
His appearance at the G7 summit has firmly shifted the spotlight onto Russia’s aggression, and comes after a victory in his long-running campaign to win US backing for the supply of American-made advanced fighter jets.
3:41am: Zelensky presence at G7 a ‘way to build peace’ says Macron
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to the G7 for talks with allies and major developing nations is a “way to build peace”, French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday.
Macron said it was an “honour” to make a plane available to take Zelensky, first to an Arab League summit and then to the G7, saying it showed “France building peace and looking for solutions”.
1:00am: Putin congratulates Wagner, Russia army on capturing Bakhmut
Russian President Vladimir Putin late Saturday congratulated the Wagner mercenary group and the national army on their claimed capture of the east Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, according to a Kremlin statement quoted by Russian news agencies.
“Vladimir Putin congratulated the assault units of Wagner as well as all servicemen of units of the Russian armed forces who provided them with the necessary support and flank cover, on the completion of the operation to liberate Artemovsk (the Soviet-era name for Bakhmut),” the TASS news agency quoted the Kremlin statement as saying.
12:06am: Russia says Wagner private army, with help from Russian troops, seized Bakhmut
Russia’s defence ministry said early Sunday that forces of the Wagner private army, with the support of Russian troops, seized the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.
The ministry statement on the Telegram channel came about eight hours after a similar claim by Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin. Ukrainian authorities at that time said fighting for Bakhmut was continuing.
The eight-month battle for the city in eastern Ukraine is the longest and probably most bloody of the conflict in Ukraine.
Using the city’s Soviet-era name, the Russian ministry said, “In the Artyomovsk tactical direction, the assault teams of the Wagner private military company with the support of artillery and aviation of the southern battlegroup has completed the liberation of the city of Artyomovsk”. There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian officials about the latest claim.
Key developments from Friday, May 20
The leader of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner claimed responsibility for the capture of the town of Bakhmut on Saturday. For its part, Kiev said it still controlled some areas in the city, but said the situation on the ground was “critical”.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Japan for a surprise appearance at the G7 summit. He met several heads of state and government, including Narendra Modi, Georgia Meloni and Rishi Sunak.
Read yesterday’s live blog to see how the day’s events unfolded.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP & Reuters)
This story originally appeared on France24