Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 613 | Ukraine
A third round of Ukrainian-backed peace talks opened in Malta, but without Moscow, which condemned it. In a statement afterwards, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said 66 countries had taken part, proof that his plan “has gradually become global”. It follows similar meetings in Jeddah and Copenhagen, with the Ukrainians hoping to eventually hold a summit at the level of heads of state.
Russia’s forces around the Donetsk oblast town of Avdiivka have “likely suffered” some of its highest casualty rates of 2023 so far, according to the UK Ministry of Defence’s intelligence update.
The report follows the Ukrainian president’s claims on Friday that Russian forces lost at least a brigade’s worth of troops attempting to advance on Avdiivka.
The head of the office of the president of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, has praised Qatar’s role in facilitating the return of four Ukrainian children from Russian captivity earlier this month.
Ukraine and the Netherlands began talks on a bilateral agreement on security guarantees in Malta, Andriy Yermak also announced. It is the sixth country to start bilateral negotiations with Ukraine on security guarantees.
Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister, Mykola Tochytskyi, has pointedly accused Russia of having a history of “provoking” and “stoking” hybrid conflicts across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
“We warned that turning a blind eye to [Russian] violation of international peace and security would fuel conflicts in the world,” Tochytskyi said, amid the Israel-Hamas war. Volodymyr Zelenskiy has previously expressed fears that the aftermath of Hamas’s attack on Israel could threaten military support for Ukraine.
Russia’s foreign ministry claimed a Ukrainian drone crashed into a nuclear waste storage facility at the Kursk nuclear power plant in western Russia, damaging its walls.