- The city of Artyomovsk (Bahmut) has been completely liberated in the course of the special military operation in Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Sunday.
“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,” - the ministry stated.
Artyomovsk is located in the north of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and it served as a major transportation hub for the Ukrainian army’s supplies in Donbass. Fierce fighting to liberate the city started on August 1, 2022.
The battle for this city is one of the largest battles during the liberation of Donbass since 2014. Some 72,000 people lived in Artyomovsk before the battle started.
- The key Donbass city of Artyomovsk, known as Bakhmut in Ukraine, has been fully liberated by the Russian forces, Evgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) has announced. “Today at noon, Bakhmut was fully captured,” he said in a video address published on May 20, and added that the last part of an area of high-rise buildings where the Ukrainians were holed up is now under full control of Russian forces.
The liberation of Artyomovsk/Bakhmut actually opens the way leading to Kramatorsk and other key Ukrainian cities.
- Zelensky has invested all he got on this battle. He staked his political future on defeating Russia in Bakmut. He has lost it all. This symbolic defeat has tremendous strategic consequences beyond Ukraine. This could lead to NATO fracture and the dissolution of the EU. If that is so, it could lead to the rapid demise of the US hegemony.
- Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan has said that Riyadh and other Arab states are taking an impartial stance in the Ukraine-Russia conflict and want to maintain ties with both parties. He made the statement after the conclusion of the Arab League summit in Jeddah on May 19, which was attended by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. The Saudi foreign minister visited Kiev and Moscow for high-level talks in 2022, and later said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in negotiating a prisoner swap between the two sides last September, which he hailed as a “humanitarian breakthrough.”
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke about “the Kingdom’s readiness to continue mediating efforts between Russia and Ukraine.” The Crown Prince said he would “support all international efforts aimed at resolving the crisis politically in a way that contributes to achieving security.”
Saudi Arabia has also declined to take part in the Western sanctions on Moscow, which include efforts to curtail its energy exports. Riyadh has continued its cooperation with Russia through OPEC+, a cartel of key oil exporters.
- The US government will not block allied countries from sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. Sources cited by the Washington Post, CNN, NBC, and other outlets said the White House is prepared to allow F-16 shipments after months of Ukrainian requests for the aircraft, which is used by more than two dozen nations. A senior White House official told NBC that Washington had already informed its partners about the decision.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan on May 20, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said, “in the coming months, we will work with our allies to determine when the planes will be delivered, who will be delivering them, and how many.”
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced earlier that London would back the creation of an “international coalition” to supply the F-16s and other aircraft to Kiev.
Such deliveries will hamper all political efforts to forge any political settlement of ending Ukrainian/NATO aggression against Russia.
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