Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu visited Mariupol, in a rare visit to occupied Ukraine by a senior Moscow figure. The Russian defence ministry issued images on Monday of Shoigu “inspecting Russian reconstruction efforts of infrastructure”. During his visit, it said, he was presented with a medical centre, a rescue centre, and a “new microdistrict” of 12 five-story residential buildings.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has paid tribute to fighters in the Donbas, as his forces come under increasingly intense pressure in the city of Bakhmut. “It is one of the toughest battles. Painful and challenging,” he said in his nightly address.
His comments came after Kyiv said it had repelled “more than 130 enemy attacks” on Sunday as Russian troops continue attempts to surround Bakhmut. Russian forces are said to be contesting lines of communication and preventing resupply.
Zelenskiy also said “the world was strong enough to punish Russia for the war”. Ukraine would spend the next six months working to shore up the country’s energy supply against Russian attack, he said.
The founder of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said that his representative had been denied access to the headquarters of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine after Prigozhin complained about a lack of ammunition.