Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 813

As the war enters its 813th day, these are the main developments.

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy greeting an injured soldier in hospital in Kharkiv. Zelenskyy is wearing a yellow medical gown. The soldier is sitting up in bed and shaking hands.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, visited wounded soldiers at a hospital in Kharkiv on Thursday [Ukrainian Presidential Press Service via AFP]

Here is the situation on Friday, May 17, 2024.


  • Visiting Kharkiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the situation in the northeast was “extremely difficult” but “under control” after the military partially halted a Russian advance, most notably thwarting an invasion of Vovchansk, 5km (3 miles) from the border with Russia.
  • Sergiy Bolvinov, the head of police investigations in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, accused Russia of taking “30 to 40” civilians captive in Vovchansk to use as “human shields” near their command centre.
  • General Christopher Cavoli, NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, said he did not believe Russia’s military had the troop numbers to make a strategic breakthrough in the Kharkiv region and he was confident Ukrainian forces would hold their lines there.
  • Ukraine’s General Staff said Russia was directing its most intense assaults on the front line near the cities of Pokrovsk and Kramatorsk in the eastern Donetsk region, where Russia’s offensive has been unrelenting for months.
  • An air raid alert in the northeastern Kharkiv region remained in place for more than 16 and a half hours amid Russian drone and missile attacks. Officials said five drones hit parts of the city of Kharkiv, starting a fire. There were no reports of casualties. The alert was lifted in the early hours of Friday.
  • Vyacheslav Gladkov, the regional governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, said a woman and her four-year-old son were killed when their car was hit by a Ukrainian drone. Two other people in the vehicle were injured.

Politics and diplomacy

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. The two held talks, walked in a park and drank tea. Xi said the two countries’ deepening relationship was a “stabilising force” in the world and that he hoped the war in Ukraine could be resolved peacefully. China has not condemned Moscow’s full-scale invasion. Putin said he was grateful for China’s efforts to resolve the crisis.
  • Russia expelled Adrian Coghill, the United Kingdom’s defence attache, from Moscow a week after Britain ordered Russia’s defence attache to leave London for being an “undeclared military intelligence officer”. UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said Moscow’s move was because Coghill “personified the UK’s unwavering support for Ukraine“.
  • Sri Lanka said it would send a high-level delegation to Russia to investigate the fate of hundreds of nationals reportedly fighting in the war in Ukraine. The Defence Ministry said social media campaigns via WhatsApp have targeted ex-military personnel with promises of lucrative salaries and citizenship in Russia, warning its nationals not to be duped.


  • The United States announced sanctions on two Russian nationals and three Russian companies for facilitating arms transfers between Russia and North Korea, including ballistic missiles for use in Ukraine. US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Russia had already used at least 40 North Korean-produced ballistic missiles against Ukraine.
  • Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un, denied Pyongyang was selling weapons to Russia, saying it was a “most absurd theory”, according to state media. UN monitors have found debris from North Korean missiles in Ukraine.
  • Denmark said it would send Ukraine a new military aid package, mostly of air defence and artillery, worth about 5.6 billion Danish crowns ($815.47m).
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies