🔴 Zelensky pays tribute to troops in 'difficult' fight as Bakhmut battle rages

© Anatolii Stepanov, AFP

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky on Sunday paid tribute to his soldiers fighting in a "painful and difficult" battle in the eastern Donbas region, which includes the city of Bakhmut that Russia has been trying to capture for months. Ukrainian troops have vowed to defend "fortress Bakhmut". Read our blog to see how the day's events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

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2:20am: Russia's Wagner chief warns of frontline collapse if forced to retreat from Bakhmut

The founder of Russia's Wagner mercenary force said his troops now tightening their grip on the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut were being deprived of ammunition andif they were forced to retreat the entire front would collapse.

"If Wagner retreats from Bakhmut now, the whole front will collapse," Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a video published over the weekend. "The situation will not be sweet for all military formations protecting Russian interests."

Prigozhin on Friday said that his units had "practically surrounded Bakhmut," where fighting has intensified in the past week with Russian forces attacking from nearly all sides.

But on Sunday he complained that most of the ammunition that his forces were promised by Moscow in February had not yet been shipped.

1:28am: Scholz warns of 'consequences' if China sends arms to Russia

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says there would be “consequences” if China sent weapons to Russia for Moscow's war in Ukraine, but he's fairly optimistic that Beijing will refrain from doing so.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP & Reuters)

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