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Ukraine war latest: 2 Russian commanders killed in Bakhmut as Ukraine ramps up counterattacks near the city

by Asami Terajima May 14, 2023 11:38 PM 4 min read
Artillery rocket units of the mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian Army conduct operation to target trenches of Russian forces through Donetsk Oblast on May 9, 2023. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Key developments on May 14:

  • Ukraine says it captured more than 10 Russian positions in northern and southern Bakhmut outskirts
  • Russia says two commanders killed in the Battle of Bakhmut
  • Zelensky meets Scholz in Berlin, calls on Germany's support for fighter jets
  • Governor: Russian attack wounds 4 in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, including a 7-year-old girl

The Defense Ministry said on May 14 that Ukrainian forces captured more than 10 Russian-held positions within a day on the northern and southern outskirts of Bakhmut, the epicenter of the war.

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar reported that Ukrainian forces on May 14 also liberated a considerable amount of area in a forest near Ivanivske, a village southwest of Bakhmut.

The reports of Ukrainian advances near Bakhmut come as the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed Ukraine's "mass attempts" at a breakthrough north and south of the city over the past few days. It claimed that all attacks were repelled.

The Russian Defense Ministry also said in its daily briefing that Colonel Vyacheslav Makarov, the commander of Russia's 4th Motorized Rifle Brigade, and Colonel Yevgeny Brovko, deputy commander of an unspecified army corps, were killed in the Bakhmut area.

While Russian forces have taken around 90% of the city's urban area, Ukrainian forces are holding onto an area comprising high-rise apartment buildings in the city's west.

Russia's recent failures near Bakhmut are likely connected with the escalating feud between the Russian defense ministry and Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenary group, which has led the assault on Bakhmut for months.

The tensions between the two have heightened as the Russian Defense Ministry repeatedly avoids mentioning Wagner's role in its offensives in eastern Ukraine. Prigozhin has recently escalated his criticism of the Russian military, accusing a regular Russian military unit of abandoning their positions in the Bakhmut sector.

The Ukrainian military said that Russian forces are showing signs of exhaustion in the Bakhmut area, with one of the indications being Prigozhin's "hysterical" complaints.

More than ten months into the Battle of Bakhmut, the front-line conditions are still difficult for Ukrainian forces, but their counterattacks appear to be making a push toward the city.

Emmanuel Macron, France's president, left, greets Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine's president, ahead of a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, late on May 14, 2023. Photographer: Benjamin Girette/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Zelensky calls on Germany's support for fighter jets

President Volodymyr Zelensky made his first visit to Berlin since the start of the full-scale war, where he met Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

At a press conference with Scholz, Zelensky said that Ukraine is creating a fighter jet coalition, and he is counting on Germany's support in the matter.

"We are now working on the creation of a fighter jet coalition, and my visits to European capitals are partially aimed precisely at this," Zelensky, who visited Rome a day earlier and is due to visit Paris late on May 14, said.

Earlier, a tank coalition was formed for countries that were ready to send Leopard 2 tanks right after Germany authorized their tank transfer in January. Now, after the long-sought Western tanks are finally starting to arrive in Ukraine, Zelensky said that Ukraine is seeking to become more "powerful" in the airspace as well.

Zelensky's visit to Berlin comes a day after Germany announced a record nearly $3 billion military package.

The package includes 20 more Marder infantry fighting vehicles, 30 Leopard tanks, four IRIS-T SLM air defense systems, 100 armored vehicles, and 200 reconnaissance drones, according to Zelensky's Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak.

Calling Germany's package "the largest since the beginning of the full-scale aggression," Zelensky thanked Berlin for the support and reiterated that he believes the anticipated counteroffensive would be a success, adding that "support is on our side."

Zelensky also emphasized that any peace plan should be based on Ukrainian proposals because "the war is taking place on the territory of our state."

At the same press conference, Zelensky said that Ukraine had almost enough weapons to begin its long-anticipated counteroffensive and that Ukrainian soldiers were "almost ready for success."

Zelensky said it would take "a few more visits (to European capitals), and that's it."

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Russia intensifies attacks against civilians

Russian forces intensified their attacks against civilians in the east, northeast, and south of the country on May 14.

At least two villages in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast came under Russian fire on May 14, leaving five people wounded.

In one of the villages called Prymorske, located some 30 kilometers from Zaporizhzhia, near the Dnipro River, four people – including a seven-year-old girl – were wounded, according to Governor Yurii Malashko.

Another victim, a 30-year-old man, is in critical condition after receiving shrapnel wounds from a direct hit to his house, the governor added. According to Yermak, the victims that came under a Grad rocket attack were four civilians, including an ambulance driver.

In northeastern Kharkiv Oblast, a 59-year-old woman and a 65-year-old man were killed by Russian shelling of a village near the Russian border, Governor Oleh Synyehubov said.

Another three civilians were also wounded in the town of Kurakhove in Donetsk Oblast with Uragan multiple-launch rocket systems.

Five apartment buildings, three houses, and the town's heating system were damaged in the attack, according to Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.

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