Are the Wagner group troops actually pulling out of Bakhmut?
Does BIG Russia have enough troops to hold what they have coming at them soon?
The mercenary group’s leader said his fighters would hand the ruined city to regular Russian forces, who are already stretched and will have to fill the gap left by the mercenaries.
Here’s what we’re covering:
Stretched Russian forces would have to fill the gap if Wagner fighters pull out of Bakhmut.
Prigozhin says his forces have begun withdrawing from Bakhmut.
Ukraine and Russia engage in dueling drone attacks.
The United States condemns a deal allowing Moscow to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus.
Zelensky asks Iranians to stop backing Russia.
A U.S. aircraft carrier visits Oslo, in a show of strength aimed at Russia…..
Denmark and the Netherlands are set to head a new European coalition to provide Ukraine with F-16 pilot training and maintenance as the allies prepare to supply Kyiv with fighter jets, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Thursday. The United States will participate in the training program, to be conducted in Europe, along with Norway, Belgium, Portugal, Poland and others that have F-16s in their arsenals….
Here’s the latest on the war and its impact across the globe.
- Russia’s Wagner Group began a planned withdrawal Thursday from the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, according to Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the leader of the mercenary force.
- “From today at five in the morning, May 25 until June 1, most of the units will rebase to camps in the rear,”Prigozhin said in a video. “We are handing our positions to the military.” Earlier this week, he vowed to hand over responsibility for the embattled city, now under Moscow’s control, to Russia’s Defense Ministry — with which he has engaged in long-running public feud over resources and support. The Washington Post could not independently verify his claims.
- Regular Russian army units replaced Wagner forces in Bakhmut’s outer suburbs, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said in a Telegram message Thursday. She added, however, that Wagner units are still in the city. Serhiy Cherevatyi, a spokesman for Ukraine’s eastern command, told The Post he could confirm that some Wagner troops are rotating but that he didn’t know the scale. He noted that Russia has mounted fewer attacks there over the past two days.
- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu signed an agreement Thursday with his Belarusian counterpart, allowing for the storage of tactical nuclear weapons on the Russian ally’s territory. The deal meets “every existent international legal obligation,” Shoigu said during a signing ceremony in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. He warned that further steps could be taken to protect the countries’ collective security. At the same time, he underlined that Russia “is not giving nuclear weapons to Belarus” and that control over their use and deployment remains “in the hands” of Moscow.
- Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense has filed lawsuits, seeking nearly $280 million, against state-owned arms companies that it alleges have failed to deleliver on contracts signed earlier in the conflict, Ukrainian news outlet Ukrainska Pravda reports.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky surprised graduates at Johns Hopkins University on Thursday,appearing in a live stream at their commencement ceremony. He told the crowd that time is of the essence and urged them not to waste it. “Every person eventually realizes that time is the most valuable resource on the planet — not oil, or uranium, not lithium or anything else, but time. Time,” he said. He told them he was proud that Ukraine is not losing a single day in its defense against Russian aggression.
- The U.S. military is still trying to determine whether U.S. Humvees and potentially other military material was used in a cross-border attack from Ukraine into Russia by anti-Putin Russians earlier this week, and if so, where it was obtained. “I’ve got the staff looking at that to confirm it or now. I don’t have an answer,” Milley said. The “rules,” Milley said, are that Ukraine does “not use U.S.-supplied equipment” to attack into Russian territory. Video verified by The Washington Post after the attack showed two heavily damaged U.S.-made Humvees on the Russian side of the border.
- Moscow summoned the Danish, German and Swedish ambassadors Thursday, accusing their governments of failing to make progress in investigations into attacks on the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines last year.
- Zelensky urged Iran to stop supplying Russia with Shahed drones, which have been used to target critical infrastructure in Ukraine. More than 1,100 Iranian-made drones have been deployed in Ukraine, he said in his nightly address, adding that most were downed by Ukrainian troops.
- Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reaffirmed Russia’s position that Ukrainian intelligence units were responsible for a drone attack on the Kremlin earlier this month, citing a New York Times report that suggested U.S. officials hold similar beliefs. “We said right off the bat that the Kyiv regime was behind the drone attack. … It doesn’t make much difference which unit is behind it,” he said. U.S. officials told the Times that the incident still lacked clarity and that their level of confidence that the Ukrainian government directly authorized the attack was “low.” Ukraine has denied involvement in the attack…..
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