US President Joe Biden (4th from L) at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, May 19, 2023

Friday’s Coverage: Zelenskiy To Join G7 Summit

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has posted a video report to the nation about his first day at the G7 summit in Japan.


Ukrainian officials have pushed back yet another claim by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group mercenaries, that his fighters control all of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine after a year-long Russian assault.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense minister Hanna Maliar said on Saturday that the situation in the city center is critical, but Ukrainian troops are still in the southwestern part.

“As of now, our defenders control some industrial and infrastructure facilities in the area and the private sector,” Maliar said.

The spokesman for the Ukraine military’s Eastern District, Serhiy Cherevatyi, said simply, “This is not true. Our units are fighting in Bakhmut.”


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy meets UK Prime Minister at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan….


Bypassing international sanctions, Russia has been purchasing drones and microchips via Kazakhstan.

An investigation by iStories, Der Spiegel, and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project found that the Kazakh company Aspan Arba — established after the start of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine — has been supplying drones to the Russian company Sky Mechanics. The Kazakh company Da Group 22 buys German microchips and sells them to the Russian company Stek, who then provides them to the State security FSB, the Foreign Intelligence Service, and the Defense Ministry.

During the invasion, the supply of microchips from Kakazhstan to Russia has risen from $35 million to $75 million.


In their final communiqué, the G7 leaders have said of Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

We once again condemn in the strongest possible terms the war of aggression by Russia against Ukraine, which constitutes a serious violation of international law, including the UN Charter.

Russia’s brutal war of aggression represents a threat to the whole world in breach of fundamental norms, rules and principles of the international community. We reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine for as long as it takes to bring a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.

The leaders committed themselves “to intensifying our diplomatic, financial, humanitarian and military support for Ukraine, to increasing the costs to Russia and those supporting its war efforts, and to continuing to counter the negative impacts of the war on the rest of the world, particularly on the most vulnerable people”.


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has arrived in Hiroshima, Japan to attend the G7 summit and hold discussions with leaders, including US President Joe Biden.


Explosions have been reported early Saturday near the airport in Russian-occupied Mariupol in southeast Ukraine.

Russia State outlet TASS said, “The causes and consequences are being clarified.”

Mariupol has symbolic and strategic significance making it a leading objective of a Ukrainian counter-offensive. The port city fell in May 2022 after 12 weeks of Russian bombing, ground assaults, and siege killing tens of thousands of people.

The city on the Sea of Azov is also a link between Russian-occupied areas in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine and Crimea in the south.


Footage from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s appearance at the Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia on Friday….

Zelenskiy’s speech indicated some Arab countries may be moving away from their cautious, non-committal positions on Russia’s invasion. He told the summit:

Ukrainians has never chosen the war. Our troops didn’t go to other lands. We do not engage in annexation and plunder of other nation’s resources. But we will never submit to any foreigners or colonisers. That’s why we fight.

The President also met Saudi Crowd Prince Mohammad bin Salman, thanking him “for supporting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine”.

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said the Kingdom has chosen “active neutrality”.


Russia has again tried — and failed — to bolster its invasion with a “massive” drone attack on Kyiv.

Ukrainian air defenses repelled the 11th Russian assault on the capital in May. There has been no direct hit on a significant target, and the Ukrainians have downed hypersonic Kh-47 Khinzal missiles for the first time.

The Ukraine Air Force said the Russians attacked just after midnight on Friday with 18 Iranian-made Shahed drones. All were intercepted and destroyed.

The head of Kyiv’s military administration, Serhiy Popko, posted on Telegram:

This night, the aggressor again carried out a massive drone attack. All detected air targets were destroyed by the forces and means of our air defence. No strikes on Kyiv were performed!

Falling debris set afire a residential building in the Darnytskyi district. It was extinguished with no casualties.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: For the first time, the US has supported an international program to train Ukrainian pilots on fighter jets, including American-made F16s.

The Biden Administration has held out for months against delivering the F16s to Kyiv, but the support of training could indicate endorsement of supply through third countries.

Earlier this week, the UK and Netherlands said they would lead the international effort to arrange the training. Belgium, Denmark, and Portugal have indicated that they will participate.

President Joe Biden notified fellow leaders at the G7 summit in Japan of the decision for training “on fourth-generation fighter aircraft, including F-16s, to further strengthen and improve the capabilities of the Ukrainian air force”.

The endorsement also covers UK-made Typhoons and France’s Mirage 2000s.

A senior US official said:

As the training takes place over the coming months, our coalition of countries participating in this effort will decide when to actually provide jets, how many we will provide, and who will provide them.

This training will take place outside Ukraine at sites in Europe and will require months to complete. We hope we can begin this training in the coming weeks.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the UK will work with the US, Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark to provide the training.

The Danish Defense Ministry confirmed, “Denmark is ready to support this. We will work with close allies work on the details with priority.”

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy responded:

F16s In Battle By Autumn?

Ukrainian officials said F-16s could be flying inside the country within four months of the start of training.

“When we will have well-trained pilots, the F-16s will be in the sky over Ukraine and will help us to move forward,” said Yehor Cherniev, the deputy chair of Parliament’s National Security Committee. “It’s important to us, not just as one more tool for our air defence system, but also to cover our infantry from the sky because without it, we would have more losses.”

Cherniev credited Biden’s shift to rapid Ukrainian success in the use of US-made Patriot air defense systems, knocking down hypersonic Russian Kh-47 Khinzal missiles for the first time.