Battle for Bakhmut: Russia closing off last access routes to city

The Ukrainian frontline town of Bakhmut has been dubbed the "meat grinder" for the high number of battlefield casualties on both sides. Kyiv had pledged to hold on to the fortress town for as long as possible, but has now given hints of a tactical withdrawal. Meanwhile, the head of the Russian mercenary Wagner Group has said his forces have practically encircled the town, one of the last major holdouts of the Donetsk region.

French President Emmanuel Macron is on a charm offensive in Africa, visiting four nations in the continent as he tries to reset relations with former colonies that have become strained. He began in Gabon before moving on to Angola, Congo Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The French military has been heavily involved in anti-jihadist operations in the Sahel region of West Africa for the best part of a decade, but Mali and Burkina Faso have asked those troops to leave. Macron said France will now draw down all its troops at bases in Africa, instead setting up academies in partnership with local forces.

Produced by Juliette Laurain, Sara Ayach and Imen Mellaz

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