AS IT HAPPENED The top of Wagner says Russian fighters close to central Bakhmut

The top of Russian paramilitary group Wagner mentioned Saturday his fighters have been close to the centre of Bakhmut as a high Ukrainian commander insisted it was necessary to “purchase time” forward of an upcoming counteroffensive. Learn FRANCE 24’s reside weblog under to see how the day’s occasions unfolded. All occasions are Paris time (GMT+1).

10:50pm: Russia suffered greater than 500 killed and wounded in in the future at Bakhmut

Greater than 500 Russian troops have been killed or wounded in a latest 24-hour interval throughout the battle for the japanese Ukrainian metropolis of Bakhmut, a Ukrainian army spokesman mentioned on Saturday.

Professional-Moscow forces have been preventing for months to take Bakhmut, within the japanese Donbas area. Either side admit to important losses and the precise numbers are tough to confirm.

Serhiy Cherevaty, a army spokesperson for forces within the east, mentioned the Russians had launched 16 assaults over a 24-hour interval, with 23 clashes going down in Bakhmut.

“Over the course of the preventing, 221 enemies have been killed and 314 sustained accidents of varied levels,” he advised the nationwide parliament’s tv channel.

9:10pm: Russian advance in Bakhmut might include heavy losses, says UK Protection Ministry

Russian forces have made progress of their marketing campaign to seize the town of Bakhmut in japanese Ukraine, the main focus of the conflict’s longest floor battle, however their assault will likely be tough to maintain with out extra important personnel losses, British army officers mentioned Saturday.

The UK Protection Ministry mentioned in its newest evaluation that paramilitary models from the Kremlin-controlled Wagner Group have seized most of japanese Bakhmut, with a river flowing by means of the town now marking the entrance line of the preventing.

Ukrainian troops and provide strains stay weak to “continued Russian makes an attempt to outflank the defenders from the north and south” because the Wagner Group’s forces attempt to shut in on them in a pincer motion, the UK ministry mentioned.

9:10pm: Russian Orthodox head appeals towards eviction of church from Kyiv

Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, on Saturday requested Pope Francis and different spiritual leaders to influence Ukraine to cease a crackdown towards a traditionally Russian-aligned wing of the church.

Kyiv on Friday ordered the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) to go away a monastery advanced the place it’s primarily based, the most recent transfer towards a denomination the federal government says is pro-Russian and collaborating with Moscow.

Kirill urged spiritual leaders and worldwide organisations to “make each effort to forestall the pressured closure of the monastery, which can result in a violation of the rights of thousands and thousands of Ukrainian believers”, mentioned a press release posted on the church’s web site.

Kirill strongly backed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The UOC says it has severed its ties with Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate, and is the sufferer of a political witch hunt.

5:01pm: Wagner chief says forces close to centre of Bakhmut

The chief of the Russian mercenary Wagner Group has mentioned in a clip posted Saturday that his forces are near the centre of the frontline hotspot of Bakhmut.

In a video posted on messaging app Telegram, Yevgeny Prigozhin is seen standing on the rooftop of a high-rise constructing in what is alleged to be Bakhmut.

“That is the constructing of the city administration, that is the centre of the city,” Prigozhin mentioned within the video, pointing in the direction of a constructing within the distance.

“It’s 1 kilometre and 200 metres away,” mentioned Prigozhin, who was clad in full army gear.

Talking as artillery boomed within the background, Prigozhin mentioned that a very powerful factor was to obtain extra ammunition from the Russian military and “transfer ahead”.

4:50pm: Ukrainian helicopters goal enemy forces close to Bakhmut as battle for metropolis continues

Three Mi-8 helicopter gunships stand up from a secret base in Ukraine and head at low altitude for his or her goal close to Bakhmut.

Because the japanese Ukrainian metropolis nears, one after the other the helicopters all of a sudden rear up, unleash their rockets, financial institution sharply and return to base, skimming the bottom.

The goal is “an enemy fortification line made up of troops on the bottom, armoured automobiles and a munitions depot”, a pilot, Petro, tells AFP after the 30-minute mission.

The fortification lies close to Severodonetsk, which the Russian military seized final spring, to the northeast of Bakhmut, the place Ukrainian troopers are nonetheless holding out amid heavy losses on either side.

Click on on the video under to study extra about Petro and the battle for Bakhmut:

2:46pm: Iran says deal reached to purchase Russian fighter jets

Iran has finalised a deal to purchase Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia, state media reported, as defence cooperation between the 2 nations deepens.

The air pressure of sanctions-hit Iran has an ageing fleet of plane and has struggled to accumulate spare elements to maintain its warplanes in use.

In a press release to the United Nations, Tehran mentioned it started approaching “nations to purchase fighter jets” to replenish its fleet within the wake of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq conflict.

“Russia introduced it was able to promote them” after the expiry in October 2020 of restrictions on Iran buying standard weapons underneath UN Decision 2231, mentioned the assertion carried late Friday by Iran’s official IRNA information company

2:33pm: Russia’s Wagner Group opens greater than 40 recruitment centres

Wagner has been spearheading offensives towards cities in japanese Ukraine together with Bakhmut, in what has turn out to be the longest and bloodiest combat of Russia’s year-long invasion. Either side have suffered heavy losses round Bakhmut.

“Recruitment centres for PMC Wagner have opened in 42 Russian cities,” Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin mentioned in a press release, referring to his personal army firm.

2:24pm: Russian shells kill three in Kherson, officers say

A Russian strike on the southern Ukrainian metropolis of Kherson on Saturday left three folks lifeless and two others wounded, authorities mentioned.

“Russian terrorists are shelling Kherson once more,” Andriy Yermak, the pinnacle of Ukraine’s presidential workplace, mentioned on messaging app Telegram.

He posted an image of firefighters subsequent to a charred automotive.

Oleksandr Prokudin, the pinnacle of Kherson’s regional army administration, mentioned the casualties occurred when a automotive was hit by a shell and caught fireplace.

The strike got here two days after Russian artillery fireplace additionally killed three folks in Kherson, in keeping with the Ukrainian presidency.

© France Media World graphic studio

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP & Reuters)