Wagner’s troop withdrawal from Bachmut has probably begun

Day 458 since the beginning of the war: Russia reports a drone attack on the Russian region of Pskov near Belarus. Germany sends Patriot missiles to Lithuania. All information in the news blog.

The most important things at a glance

Apparently, drone attacks on the Druzhba oil pipeline

1:35 p.m.: According to media reports, two drones attacked the Druzhba oil pipeline in northwestern Russia. The incident happened in the Tver region, reports the Russian newspaper Kommersant, citing reports on social media.

The region is north of Moscow and borders on the Pskov region in the north-west. From there, a drone attack on a pipeline administration building was reported. Pskov, in turn, borders Belarus, Latvia and Estonia. Neither Pskov nor Tver share a border with Ukraine.

China at the end of the war: Will make concrete proposals

11.11 a.m.: According to its special envoy Li Hui, China intends to work seriously towards a political solution to the Ukraine crisis and to submit concrete proposals for this. The Chinese Foreign Ministry quoted the Chinese government’s special envoy for Eurasian affairs as saying that China will promote exchange and dialogue between all parties involved – including Russia.

The day before he spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow during his trip to Europe, during which he was to explore the possibilities for a solution to the war in Ukraine on behalf of the Beijing leadership.

London: Wagner probably started with troop withdrawal from Bachmut

11:19 am: Russia’s private army Wagner has apparently begun withdrawing troops from some of its positions in the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, according to British intelligence experts. This was announced by the Ministry of Defense in London in its daily intelligence update on Saturday. Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin had announced the withdrawal on Thursday and said that the city should be left completely under control of the regular Russian armed forces by June 1. The Ukrainian side had confirmed an exchange of troops by the enemy around Bakhmut.

According to the British Defense Ministry, troops from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic likely entered the city on Wednesday to begin clearance operations. Parts of the 31st Brigade of the Russian Airborne Troops had probably been withdrawn from the Swatowe-Kreminna line in order to strengthen Bakhmut’s flanks, it said. There, Ukrainian troops had occupied around 20 square kilometers by mid-May. The exchange of Wagner troops will probably continue in controlled phases to prevent the areas around Bakhmut from collapsing, the intelligence report said.

According to British experts, the Wagner troops will probably be used for further offensive operations in the Donbass in the future, despite their chief’s criticism of the Russian Ministry of Defense.

A member of the Wagner group (archive photo): The mercenary troop had fought in Bachmut, now they are apparently retreating. (Quelle: Valentin Sprinchak/imago images)

Expert on Medvedev’s statements: “Says outrageous things”

Russia rejects Biden’s criticism of nuclear weapons deployment

10:25 a.m.: Russia dismisses US President Joe Biden’s criticism of Russian plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus as hypocritical. The US has been stationing such weapons in Europe for decades, the Russian embassy in Washington explains, citing “the sovereign right of Russia and Belarus to guarantee their security.” The measures taken by Russia are in line with its international legal obligations.

Russia said on Thursday that it was promoting the stationing of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. Its President Alexander Lukashenko announced that the weapons were already on their way. On Friday, Biden said his response to reports was “extremely negative.”

Russia: Drone attacked Russian region near Belarus

10.05 a.m.: According to the governor there, Mikhail Vedernikov, the explosion in the Russian region of Pskov is due to a drone attack (see entry from 9.43 a.m.). Two drones damaged the administration building, he writes on Telegram. That was the result of preliminary investigations. The Pskov region borders with Belarus. The information cannot be independently verified.


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