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Latest on Ukraine: Zelenskyy made a spring diplomatic offensive in Europe (May 15)

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (right) walks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to a waiting Chinook helicopter after meetings at Chequers, the U.K. leader's country retreat, in Aylesbury, England, on Monday.
Carl Court
Getty Images
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (right) walks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to a waiting Chinook helicopter after meetings at Chequers, the U.K. leader's country retreat, in Aylesbury, England, on Monday.

Here's a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week.

What to watch

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy just made a surprise visit to the United Kingdom and discussed military aid with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

China's government is dispatching special envoy Li Hui to visit Ukraine, Poland, France, Germany and Russia this week, saying he wouldopen up dialogue with those countries toward a political settlement of the crisis in Ukraine.

The Copenhagen Democracy Summit this week will discuss the war in Ukraine, among other topics, and features a list of speakers including NATO head Jens Stoltenberg and former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The foreign minister of Belarus will visit Russia.

On Thursday, a 60-day extension for the Black Sea Grain Initiative agreement is up.

What happened last week

Ukraine's President Zelenskyy took a whirlwind Europe tour, visiting Italy and the Vatican, Germany and France last week, and on Monday Britain. He met with Pope Francis and leaders of each country, picked up the Charlemagne Prize for promoting European unity and secured more military aid for Ukraine. On Monday, he made a trip to the United Kingdom for the second time this year.

Arman Soldin, a video journalist with Agence France-Presse, was killed by rocket fire near eastern Ukraine's embattled city of Bakhmut. French prosecutors opened a war crimes investigation. This followed the killing of a Ukrainian reporter in April — the latest of 15 media workers killed in 14 1/2 months of war, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Zelenskyy said his country needs more time to launch a planned counteroffensive until more promised Western military aid arrives, in an interview with a European broadcasters' network earlier last week.

Britain delivered Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine, giving it long-range weapons to "push back Russian forces" based within Ukraine, British Defense Minister Ben Wallace told Parliament.

The Group of Seven's top financial leaders recommitted to enforcing sanctions against Russia and supporting Ukraine.

Putin assailed the West for unleashing a "real war" against Russia in a Victory Day address, trying to link the fight in Ukraine with the anniversary of the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany.

Ukrainian forces took back part of Bakhmut, a city in eastern Ukraine that's been the site of the war's longest battle. Ukraine's military commanders said their forces recaptured more than 1.2 miles of territory from Russian forces in the past week.

Former President Donald Trump claimed he would quickly end the war in Ukraine without committing to help Ukraine, if elected next year, in a CNN town hall. It set up a potential preview of a stark choice for U.S. voters in next year's election compared with the Biden administration's "unprecedented" levels of aid to Ukraine. Zelenskyy dismissed concerns about potentially losing American support.

Russia now has about 5,889 nuclear warheads, the Federation of American Scientists estimated in a report. It said some of the weapons are in storage headed for retirement but many are assigned for long- or shorter-range use.

Britain hosted the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine, which won last year but could not host this time because of the ongoing war. (Swedish singer Loreen won.) Ukrainian officials reported that the hometown of the country's act this year, Tvorchi, came under Russian missile attack moments before the band played for Eurovision in Liverpool, England.


Ukraine's currency is being bolstered with financial support from other nations.

Ukraine is expected to make a counteroffensive to take back Crimea.

A former U.S. Army general predicts "successful" Ukrainian offensive.

This duo rehearsed between air raid alarms. Now they're repping Ukraine at Eurovision.

On the State of Ukraine podcast: Ukraine co-hosts the Eurovision Song Contest from afar.

Special report

Russia's war in Ukraine is changing the world: See our report on its ripple effects in all corners of the globe.

Earlier developments

You can read past recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR's coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


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