As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 343rd day, we take a look at the main developments.
Here is the situation as it stands on Wednesday, February 1, 2023:
- Russia says it has captured the village of Blahodatne on the northern outskirts of Bakhmut as it is intensifies efforts to surround the front-line city in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region.
- Bakhmut came under renewed fire as did Klishchiivka and Kurdyumivka, villages on the southern approaches to Bakhmut, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has said in a statement.
- Russian forces made no headway in attempts to advance on Avdiivka, the second focal point of Russian attacks in the Donetsk region, Kyiv’s military general staff said. Russian forces also tried to advance near Lyman, a town further north that was recaptured by Ukrainian forces in October, the military said.
- Russia was reaching further west in Donetsk by firing on the town of Vuhledar and a half dozen other towns and villages, the Ukrainian military said. Vuhledar is about 148km (90 miles) from the main fighting in and around Bakhmut.
- In an unusually detailed intelligence update, the British defense ministry said Russian forces had advanced hundreds of meters across a river towards Vuhledar and could make more localized gains there. It said the assault was unlikely to lead to a significant breakthrough but could be intended to draw Ukrainian efforts away from defending Bakhmut.
Military aid, diplomacy
- The United States accused Russia of violating the New START treaty, the last major pillar of post-Cold War nuclear arms control between the two countries, saying Moscow was refusing to allow inspection activities on its territory.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government is lobbying hard for allies to supply fighter jets that it can use to repel Russian advances. French defense minister Sebastien Lecornu said “there was no taboo” about supplying Kyiv with fighter planes, following a meeting with Ukrainian defense minister Oleksii Reznikov in Paris.
- The US is preparing more than $2bn in military aid for Ukraine that is expected to include longer-range rockets for the first time, as well as other munitions and weapons, according to the Reuters news agency, citing two US officials briefed on the plan.
- Human Rights Watch has said Ukraine should investigate its troops’ use of banned antipersonnel landmines which caused civilian casualties in Izyum when the area was under Russian occupation.