Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy after his meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican (Remo Casilli/Reuters)

Saturday’s Coverage: Russian Retreat Near Bakhmut Confirmed

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Continuing his European tour, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has arrived in France.

Zelenskiy and French President Emmanuel Macron will hold discussions on Sunday night over dinner.


The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed the deaths of two colonels this weekend on the Bakhmut front amid Ukraine’s counter-attack.

The slain officers are Col. Vyacheslav Makarov, commander of the 4th Motorized Rifle Brigade, and Col. Yevgeny Brovko, the deputy commander of the army corps for military-political work.

Makarov died en route to hospital after he was wounded south of Ivanivske village, to the west of Bakhmut. Brovko was killed in shelling.


In a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Ukraine President Vladimir Zelenskiy has said, “Now is the time for us to determine the end of the war this year. We can make the aggressor’s defeat irreversible.”

Zelenskiy said Ukraine will discuss peace initiatives by other states, but “the war is happening on the territory of our country and so any peace plan will be based on Ukraine’s proposals”.

Earlier, Zelenskiy thanked Germany for its largest military aid package to Kyiv during the Russian invasion.


Presidential Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak said an unexploded device left behind by Russian forces has detonated, killing five people aged between 27 and 68 in Myroliubivka in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine.


The Institute for the Study of War assesses that Ukrainian forces have liberated 16.85 square km (6.5 square miles) to the north and south of the frontline city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine since Tuesday.

The Ukraine military said on Saturday that the advance covered 17.3 square km (6.7 square miles).

Russian military bloggers wrote on Saturday that Ukrainian forces have established new positions on the outskirts of Kurdyumivka, 14 km (8.7 miles) southwest of Bakhmut)and pushed Russian forces behind the Siversky Donets-Donbas canal. The Ukrainians are advancing towards Klishchiivka, 7 km (4.3 miles) southwest of the city.


Two civilians, including a 15-year-old girl, were killed and 11 injured by a Russian rocket assault on Kostyantynivka in eastern Ukraine on Saturday.

Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote that a private house was destroyed, and four multi-story buildings, three private houses, two shops, an administrative building, and a cultural institution were damaged.

The Ukraine Air Force said defenses downed 25 Russian drones and three cruise missiles overnight.


As Ukraine’s Eurovision entry performed on Saturday night, Russia fired missiles at the hometown of the country’s duo Tvorchi.

The strike on Ternopil in western Ukraine hit a religious organization and the warehouses of commercial enterprises, injuring two people.

The city was attacked a second time early Sunday morning.

Tvorchi — Andrii Hutsuliak and Jeffery Kenny — posted on Instagram:

Ternopil is the name of our hometown, which was bombed by Russia while we sang on the Eurovision stage about our steel hearts, indomitability and will

This is a message for all cities of Ukraine that are shelled every day. Kharkiv, Dnipro, Khmelnytskyi, Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia, Uman, Sumy, Poltava, Vinnytsia, Odesa, Mykolaiv, Chernihiv, Kherson and all others.

Europe, unite against evil for the sake of peace!

Tvorchi finished 6th out of 26 performers with the song “Heart of Steel”:

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Following meetings in Italy on Saturday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is now in Germany.

Zelenskiy arrived in Berlin just after midnight for discussions with German chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Earlier this week the German Government confirmed its largest provision of military assistance to Ukraine during Russia’s 15-month invasion.

The €2.7bn (£2.4bn) package includes 20 Marder infantry fighting vehicles, 30 Leopard 1 tanks, 15 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks, 200 reconnaissance drones, four IRIS-T anti-aircraft systems, artillery ammunition, and more than 200 armored combat and logistics vehicles.

Meanwhile, Zelenskiy was conferring in Italy on Saturday with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, President Sergio Mattarella, and Pope Francis.

Zelenskiy spoke with the Pope about his proposal to end the invasion and about efforts to bring back tens of thousands of Ukranian children forcibly tranferred to Russia. He asked the Pontiff to condemn Russian war crimes “because there can be no equality between the victim and the aggressor”.

The President emphasized to Italian media:

We do not need mediators between Ukraine and the aggressor which seized our territories. We should develop an action plan for peace, a just peace in Ukraine….

There can be no mediation with Putin. He is a murderer.

Meloni pledged continued support for Ukraine’s defense:

We will continue to provide assistance, in particular security assistance, so that Ukraine can enter the negotiations with a firm position. This is important because peace cannot be achieved with a position of surrender

We will never forget that Ukraine is a victim of brutal aggression. No unjust peace can be imposed on Ukraine.