Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 451

As the war enters its 451st day, we take a look at the main developments.

A Ukrainian serviceman carries a reconnaissance unmanned aerial device during a training session, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near the city of Kostiantynivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine May 19, 2023. REUTERS/Sofiia Gatilova TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A Ukrainian soldier carries a reconnaissance drone during a training session near the city of Kostiantynivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine on May 19, 2023 [Sofiia Gatilova/Reuters]

Here is the situation as it stands on Saturday, May 20, 2023.


  • Ukrainian air defences repelled another Russian air attack on the capital Kyiv and other locations, destroying 19 drones and missiles out of 28 launched, the Ukrainian military said. “Three calibre missiles launched from the Black Sea and 16 drones were shot down. Shelling continues on an almost daily basis,” Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said in televised comments.
  • Russia has shifted the focus of its missile attacks to try to disrupt preparations for a Ukrainian counterattack, a senior Ukrainian military official said. Russia is attacking decision-making centres, supply routes and places where large quantities of troops are based as well as where ammunition, equipment and fuel are being stored.
  • Russian air attacks hit several buildings in President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s hometown – Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine, the president’s office said in a statement.

  • Russian forces gained some ground inside Bakhmut but do not control the battle-ravaged city, Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said. “The rate of our troops’ advance in the suburbs of Bakhmut today is somewhat reduced. At the same time, the enemy is unable to regain lost positions – our soldiers repel all enemy attacks in this area,” she said.
  • Wagner mercenary force boss Yevgeny Prigozhin said Bakhmut was unlikely to fall in the next two days as Ukrainian forces have fortified their positions in the south of the city. “There is a quarter known as the ‘Airplane’ – it is like an impregnable fortress from a bed of multi-storey buildings in the southwest of Bakhmut, where incredibly heavy battles are going on,” he said.
  • Russian military forces have enhanced defensive positions in and around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in recent weeks, according to witnesses. New trenches have been dug around the city and more mines have been laid.

Military aid

  • United States President Joe Biden approved plans to train Ukrainian pilots on US-made F-16 fighter jets. Biden gave the green light to the training during a meeting of G7 leaders in Hiroshima, Japan. The pilot training is likely to start in Europe over the coming months.
  • Denmark will help train Ukrainian pilots on the US-made F-16 fighter jet, the country’s defence minister said, after Washington said it would back such an initiative.


  • Zelenskyy will meet Biden at the G7 meeting, where the Ukrainian leader is expected to arrive on Saturday. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also meet Zelenskyy on the sidelines of the summit, according to media reports.
  • Making a surprise visit to the Arab League Summit, Zelenskyy sought support for his country in its war against Russia and said in a speech that some countries preferred to “turn a blind eye” to Moscow’s illegal annexation of Ukrainian land.
  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said at the summit that his kingdom is ready to mediate between Russia and Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reiterated separately that every country could act as a mediator in the war between Moscow and Kyiv, but would have to follow what he called “fundamental principles” which would “lead to the full restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity” and should not “freeze the conflict”.

  • An aide to Polish President Andrzej Duda said that an object that entered Poland’s airspace last year and found in April was a Russian-made rocket. Poland’s defence officials had been facing questions about an object that crash-landed on Polish territory in December and whose parts were found in April.
  • Poland called on China to pressure Russia to end its war in Ukraine during a meeting between two senior officials from both countries in Warsaw, the Polish foreign ministry said. China’s special envoy for Eurasian affairs, Li Hui, is on a tour of European capitals and was in Kyiv on Tuesday and Wednesday, where he discussed ways to end the war through a political settlement.


  • Russian opposition politician Yevgeny Roizman was fined 260,000 roubles ($3,245) after being found guilty of “discrediting” the Russian army. Roizman – a former mayor of Russia’s fourth-largest city, Yekaterinburg – was detained in August after he referred to Moscow’s actions in Ukraine as a “war” in a YouTube video.
  • The United Kingdom published plans to ban imports of Russian diamonds, copper, aluminium and nickel. The UK also said it was sanctioning 86 individuals and entities. The sanctions are aimed at Russia’s major energy and arms shipping companies, including those connected to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom.
  • The US announced new penalties on Russia and is now targeting Russian sanctions evaders, future energy revenues and military-industrial supply chains. The Department of the Treasury said it imposed sanctions on 22 people and 104 entities with involvement in more than 20 countries or jurisdictions. The US State Department has targeted almost 200 people, entities, vessels and aircraft.

  • Russia banned 500 US citizens from entry to the country. Russia’s foreign ministry said former US President Barack Obama was among the 500 people banned in response to new sanctions announced by Washington. Comedian Stephen Colbert is also on the list.
  • Russia issued an arrest warrant for the International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) head prosecutor, who issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin in March for alleged war crimes, Russian news agencies report.
  • The Russian arm of the environmental campaign group Greenpeace says it will shut down after Russia’s prosecutor general designated it an “undesirable organisation”, a label that effectively criminalises the group in Russia. “This decision makes it illegal for any Greenpeace activity to continue in Russia. Therefore, the Russian branch of Greenpeace is forced to close,” the organisation said in a statement.
  • Moscow refused the latest request for US consular access to imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, according to Russia’s foreign ministry. Gershkovich was arrested in March in Russia on suspicion of spying, which he and his newspaper deny.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies