Zelenskyy, atomic agency chief discuss nuclear plant fearsMarch 27, 2023 GMT
ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine (AP) — The U.N.'s atomic energy chief warned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a meeting Monday that the perilous situation at Europe’s largest nuclear plant “isn’t getting any better” as relentless fighting in the area keeps the facility at risk of a disaster.
Japanese student goes to graduation dressed like ZelenskyyMarch 27, 2023 GMT
TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese student showed up to graduation as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s lookalike, wearing his signature olive-colored, snug-fit T-shirt and khaki trousers to show his support for Ukraine’s fight against Russia.
Today in History: March 27, ‘Godfather’ wins best pictureMarch 27, 2023 GMT
Today in History
Today is Monday, March 27, the 86th day of 2023. There are 279 days left in the year.
Ukraine demands emergency UN meeting over Putin nuclear planMarch 26, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's government on Sunday called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to “counter the Kremlin's nuclear blackmail” after Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed plans to station tactical atomic weapons in Belarus.
Tensions on the rise at revered Kyiv monastery complexMarch 26, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The courtyards of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra have been busy with more than just the usual worshippers, going to and from its churches in the sprawling monastic complex that is Ukraine’s most revered Orthodox site.
Russia ‘largely stalled’ in Bakhmut, shifting focus, UK saysMarch 25, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The top commander of Ukraine's military said Saturday that his forces were pushing back against Russian troops in the long and grinding battle for the town of Bakhmut, and British military intelligence says Russia appears to be moving to a defensive strategy in eastern Ukraine.
Biden, Trudeau say ‘inseparable’ nations won’t fail UkraineMarch 25, 2023 GMT
OTTAWA, ONTARIO (AP) — President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday celebrated the close, “inseparable” U.S.-Canada relationship and vowed that the two nations remain committed to defending Ukraine as it tries to repel a Russian invasion that has no end in sight.
UN decries torture, killing of Ukrainian and Russian POWsMarch 24, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — U.N. human rights monitors have documented dozens of summary killings of Ukrainian and Russian prisoners of war, as well as other possible war crimes such as the use of torture, human shields and other abuses against POWs since Russia invaded its neighbor, according to a report released Friday.
Prince William thanks Poland for generosity to UkrainiansMarch 24, 2023 GMT
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Britain's Prince William paid tribute on Thursday to Poles who lost their lives in past wars, and expressed gratitude to the nation for what it is doing today to provide humanitarian and military support to Ukraine.
Biden’s Canada agenda stacked: NORAD, migration deals likelyMarch 24, 2023 GMT
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — President Joe Biden arrived in Canada on Thursday for talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on several of the world's most difficult challenges: the war in Ukraine, climate change, trade, mass migration and an increasingly assertive China.
Russian officials seek another opposition activist’s arrestMarch 23, 2023 GMT
MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian court on Thursday issued an order to arrest an opposition activist on charges of disparaging the military, and auhorities declared other activists and bloggers “foreign agents” amid efforts to muzzle criticism of Russia's action in Ukraine.
EU leaders endorse joint ammo purchases for UkraineMarch 23, 2023 GMT
BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders endorsed a plan Thursday for sending Ukraine 1 million rounds of artillery ammunition within the next 12 months to help the country counter Russia’s invasion forces.
Ukraine president visits front-line areas as new phase nearsMarch 23, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's president on Thursday made his third visit in two days to areas that have felt the brunt of Russia’s war, with a trip to the southern Kherson region that was retaken from the Kremlin’s forces, and as a senior Kyiv commander hinted that a brewing Ukrainian counteroffensive could come “very soon.”
Slovakia delivers first 4 Soviet-era MiG-29 jets to UkraineMarch 23, 2023 GMT
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — The first four of 13 Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets that Slovakia decided to give Ukraine have been safely handed over to the Ukrainian air force, the Slovak Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
Ukraine: Russia hits apartments and dorm, killing civiliansMarch 23, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia stepped up its missile and drone attacks against Ukraine on Wednesday, killing students and other civilians, in a violent follow-up to dueling high-level diplomatic missions aimed at bringing peace after 13 months of war.
Ex-New Zealand soldier who helped veterans dies in UkraineMarch 23, 2023 GMT
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A former New Zealand soldier who co-founded a charity to help struggling veterans has been killed in Ukraine, authorities said Thursday.
Ukrainian authorities confirmed the death of Kane Te Tai and the New Zealand embassy in Poland was trying to find out more details, New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement.
Prince William visits Poland to support ally helping UkraineMarch 23, 2023 GMT
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Prince William made a surprise visit to Poland on Wednesday that underscored Britain’s support for a nation on the front line of efforts to help refugees displaced by Russia's war in Ukraine and to assist the Ukrainian military in fighting off the invasion.
120 leaders invited to Biden’s 2nd Summit for DemocracyMarch 22, 2023 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has extended invitations to 120 global leaders for next week's Summit for Democracy, including to representatives from eight countries that weren't invited to the White House's inaugural summit in 2021.
World Bank puts cost of rebuilding Ukraine at $411 billionMarch 22, 2023 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) — A World Bank report released Wednesday puts the cost of Ukraine's recovery and rebuilding from Russia's invasion at $411 billion over the next decade, with the cost of cleaning up the war rubble alone at $5 billion.
China calls Xi’s Russia visit one of friendship, peaceMarch 22, 2023 GMT
BEIJING (AP) — China on Wednesday said President Xi Jinping’s just-concluded visit to Russia was a “journey of friendship, cooperation and peace,” and again criticized Washington for providing military support to Ukraine.
Japan’s Kishida pledges aid for Ukraine-backing PolandMarch 22, 2023 GMT
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Japan's prime minister pledged Wednesday to provide Poland with development support to help the European country assist neighboring Ukraine as it defends itself from Russia's invasion.
Ukraine, IMF agree on $15.6 billion loan packageMarch 22, 2023 GMT
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Ukraine and the International Monetary Fund have agreed on a $15.6 billion loan package aimed at shoring up government finances severely strained by Russia's invasion and leveraging even more support by reassuring allies that Ukraine is pursuing strong economic policies and fighting corruption.
Slovakia offered US helicopters for giving jets to UkraineMarch 22, 2023 GMT
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — The United States has offered Slovakia 12 new military helicopters as compensation for the MiG-29 fighter jets the European country is giving to Ukraine, Slovakia's defense minister said Wednesday.
Ukraine, Russia trade claims after blast rocks Crimean townMarch 21, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian and Ukrainian officials gave conflicting accounts Tuesday of what appeared to be a brazen attack on Russian cruise missiles transported by train in the occupied Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula.
Japan’s PM offers Ukraine support as China’s Xi backs RussiaMarch 21, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made a surprise visit Tuesday to Kyiv, engaging in dueling diplomacy with Asian rival President Xi Jinping of China, who met in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin to promote Beijing's peace proposal for Ukraine that Western nations have all but dismissed as a non-starter.
NATO to hold Ukraine meeting despite Hungary’s objectionsMarch 21, 2023 GMT
BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday that he would call a high-level meeting of the military organization’s main forum for cooperation with Ukraine next month despite objections from Hungary.
Japan, China push opposing visions in top-level visitsMarch 21, 2023 GMT
BANGKOK (AP) — Asia’s stake in Europe’s war was made crystal clear Tuesday when the leaders of the region's two richest countries sat in the capitals of Russia and Ukraine in strong shows of support for the opposing sides.
Japan’s Kishida heading to Ukraine for talks with ZelenskyyMarch 21, 2023 GMT
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was heading to Kyiv early Tuesday for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that coincide with the Chinese leader's visit to Moscow.
Ukraine hints it hit Russian missiles in occupied CrimeaMarch 21, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's military intelligence agency reported what appeared to be a brazen attack late Monday on Russian cruise missiles being transported by train in the occupied and illegally annexed Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula.
Russia to hold UN meeting on Ukraine kids taken to RussiaMarch 21, 2023 GMT
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia plans to hold an informal meeting of the U.N. Security Council in early April on what it said is “the real situation” of Ukrainian children taken to Russia, an issue that has gained the spotlight following the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes related to their abduction.
Putin welcomes China’s Xi to Kremlin amid Ukraine fightingMarch 20, 2023 GMT
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin warmly welcomed Chinese leader Xi Jinping to the Kremlin on Monday, sending a powerful message to Western leaders that their efforts to isolate Moscow over the fighting in Ukraine have fallen short.
EU’s top diplomat hails deal on artillery shells for UkraineMarch 20, 2023 GMT
BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union countries have endorsed a fast-track procedure aimed at providing Ukraine with sorely needed artillery shells to repel Russia's invasion forces, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Monday, as Moscow maintains its focus on attacking the industrial east of the war-ravaged country.
China’s Xi meeting Putin in boost for isolated Russia leaderMarch 20, 2023 GMT
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping is due to meet with Vladimir Putin in a political boost for the isolated Russian president after the International Criminal Court charged him with war crimes in Ukraine.
Today in History: March 20, Menendez brothers convictedMarch 20, 2023 GMT
Today in History
Today is Monday, March 20, the 79th day of 2023. There are 286 days left in the year.
Russia’s Putin makes surprise trip to occupied MariupolMarch 19, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the occupied port city of Mariupol, his first trip to Ukrainian territory that Moscow illegally annexed in September and a show of defiance after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest on war crimes charges.
Serbian president criticizes ICC arrest warrant for PutinMarch 19, 2023 GMT
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Issuing an international arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin will have negative consequences and will only prolong the war in Ukraine, Serbia’s president said Sunday.
China’s Saudi-Iran deal is a clear victory in its global push to be a force for peaceMarch 18, 2023 GMT
Beijing deserves credit for seizing the opportunity to support Saudi-Iranian rapprochement.
Facing arrest warrant, Russia’s Putin visits annexed CrimeaMarch 18, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Crimea to mark the ninth anniversary of the Black Sea peninsula’s annexation from Ukraine on Saturday, the day after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the Russian leader accusing him of war crimes.
How Moscow grabs Ukrainian kids and makes them RussiansMarch 17, 2023 GMT
Olga Lopatkina paced around her basement in circles like a trapped animal. For more than a week, the Ukrainian mother had heard nothing from her six adopted children stranded in Mariupol, and she was going out of her mind with worry.
China’s Xi to meet Putin as Beijing seeks bolder global roleMarch 17, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to visit Moscow next week, offering a major diplomatic boost to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the same day the International Criminal Court announced it wants to put the Russian leader on trial for alleged war crimes.
UN rights chief decries ‘systematic repression’ in BelarusMarch 17, 2023 GMT
GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. human rights chief called on Belarus Friday to end its “systematic repression” of critics and immediately release people held on political grounds, saying some violations may amount to crimes against humanity.
Slovakia, after Poland, agrees to give Ukraine Soviet jetsMarch 17, 2023 GMT
PRAGUE (AP) — Slovakia’s government on Friday approved a plan to give Ukraine its fleet of 13 Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets, becoming the second NATO member country to heed the Ukrainian government's pleas for warplanes to help defend against Russia's invasion.
Pentagon video shows Russian jet dumping fuel on US droneMarch 17, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The Biden administration released video Thursday of a Russian fighter jet dumping fuel on a U.S.
China foreign minister in rare call with Ukraine counterpartMarch 17, 2023 GMT
BEIJING (AP) — In a rare phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Thursday, China’s foreign minister says Beijing is concerned about the year-old grinding conflict with Russia spinning out of control and urged talks on a political solution with Moscow.
Poland to be 1st NATO member to give Ukraine fighter jetsMarch 16, 2023 GMT
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland said Thursday it plans to give Ukraine about a dozen MiG-29 fighter jets, which would make it the first NATO member to fulfill Kyiv's increasingly urgent requests for warplanes to defend itself against the Russian invasion.
Russian dissident ex-mayor handed 14-day sentenceMarch 16, 2023 GMT
MOSCOW (AP) — A former mayor of Russia's fourth-largest city was ordered to spend 14 days in custody on Thursday pending his trial on charges that could entail a longer prison term, part of authorities' efforts to muzzle dissent.
Iranians facing economic crisis find little New Year’s cheerMarch 16, 2023 GMT
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran's bazaars are packed ahead of the Persian New Year next week, but there's little holiday cheer as customers survey the soaring prices of meat and holiday treats, wondering if they can afford either.
Today in History: March 16, Obama nominates Merrick GarlandMarch 16, 2023 GMT
Today in History
Today is Thursday, March 16, the 75th day of 2023. There are 290 days left in the year.
Garcetti confirmed as India ambassador after 20-month fightMarch 15, 2023 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti won confirmation Wednesday from a divided Senate as the nation’s next ambassador to India, more than a year and a half after he was first nominated by President Joe Biden and after weathering doubts about his truthfulness in a sexual harassment scandal involving a City Hall adviser.
US and Russia ratchet up rhetoric over downing of droneMarch 15, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia and the United States ratcheted up their confrontational rhetoric Wednesday over a U.S.
‘Nazi’ references: BBC sportscaster’s tweet revives debateMarch 15, 2023 GMT
NEW YORK (AP) — The references seem endless, and they can come from anywhere. In recent days, Pope Francis compared Nicaragua's repression of Catholics to Adolf Hitler's rule in Germany. In Britain, a BBC sportscaster likened the nation's asylum policy to 1930s Germany, resulting in his brief suspension and a national uproar.
Ukraine vows to hold on to Bakhmut despite Russian onslaughtMarch 15, 2023 GMT
BAKHMUT, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian troops on Wednesday defended positions in Bakhmut in eastern Ukrain e amid a relentless push by Russian forces to capture a city that has been turned into a wasteland by seven months of fighting.
German arms industry seeks clarity on Ukraine weapons ordersMarch 15, 2023 GMT
BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s defense industry says it stands ready to ramp up its output, including the kinds of arms and ammunition needed by Ukraine, but needs clarity about what governments want before investing in further production capacity.
US says Russian warplane hits American drone over Black SeaMarch 15, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A Russian fighter jet struck the propeller of a U.S. surveillance drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday in a “brazen violation of international law,” causing American forces to bring down the unmanned aerial vehicle, the U.S.
Today in History: March 15, Julius Caesar assassinatedMarch 15, 2023 GMT
Today in History
Today is Wednesday, March 15, the 74th day of 2023. There are 291 days left in the year.
Divide on Ukraine support emerges in early 2024 GOP fieldMarch 14, 2023 GMT
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are emerging as leading rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. But when it comes to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, they are united in arguing that stopping the aggression isn't a vital U.S.
Putin rejects theory about Ukrainian role in pipeline blastsMarch 14, 2023 GMT
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday dismissed as “sheer nonsense” allegations that Ukrainians could be behind the blasts that damaged the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea last year, and again pointed the finger at the U.S.
Belarus rights group says scores detained in new clampdownMarch 14, 2023 GMT
Rights advocates in Belarus sounded the alarm on Tuesday about a new heavy crackdown on dissent by the authoritarian government that saw over 100 people — including several psychologists and psychiatrists — detained in a week.
AP PHOTOS: Objects of war become new normal in KyivMarch 14, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — There are sandbags around the statues and anti-tank obstacles by the side of the streets, trenches in the nearby forests and land mine warnings in the woods. Signs painted on walls point to the nearest shelter, while air raid sirens occasionally wail across the city, which still sometimes comes under missile attack.
India enthuses over Oscars for ‘Naatu Naatu,’ elephant docMarch 14, 2023 GMT
HYDERABAD, India (AP) — India celebrated its two historic Academy Awards with enthusiasm befitting the high-energy best original song “Naatu Naatu.”
The dance anthem from the blockbuster Telugu-language action epic “RRR” is the first from an Indian film to earn a nomination and win and has dazzled audiences everywhere with its energetic tempo and choreography.
Russia’s economy holds up, but growing challenges test PutinMarch 13, 2023 GMT
Western sanctions have hit Russian banks, wealthy individuals and technology imports. But after a year of far-reaching restrictions aimed at degrading Moscow’s war chest, economic life for ordinary Russians doesn’t look all that different than it did before the invasion of Ukraine.
China’s Xi wants bigger global role after Saudi-Iran dealMarch 13, 2023 GMT
BEJIING (AP) — President Xi Jinping called Monday for China to play a bigger role in managing global affairs after Beijing scored a diplomatic coup as the host of talks that produced an agreement by Saudi Arabia and Iran to reopen diplomatic relations.
Russian advance stalls in Ukraine’s Bakhmut, think tank saysMarch 12, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia’s advance seems to have stalled in Moscow's campaign to capture the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, a leading think tank said in an assessment of the longest ground battle of the war.
Today in History: March 12, Grant takes over Union armiesMarch 12, 2023 GMT
Today in History
Today is Sunday, March 12, the 71st day of 2023. There are 294 days left in the year.
UK: Russian advance in Bakhmut could come with heavy lossesMarch 11, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces have made progress in their campaign to capture the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, the focus of the war's longest ground battle, but their assault will be difficult to sustain without more significant personnel losses, British military officials said Saturday.
Ukrainian firefighters on risky mission to save lives, homesMarch 11, 2023 GMT
KOSTIANTYNIVKA, Ukraine (AP) — Thick grey smoke pours from the roof as the firefighters arrive at the brick house, one of several homes hit by Russian shelling in a residential neighborhood of Kostiantynivka.
An anti-government protest in Czech capital draws thousandsMarch 11, 2023 GMT
PRAGUE (AP) — Thousands of people in the Czech Republic rallied against the government Saturday, protesting high inflation and demanding an end to the country's military support for Ukraine.
Ukraine rebounds from Russian barrage, restores power supplyMarch 10, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's capital had most of its power supply restored Friday, officials said, as the country again responded swiftly and defiantly to the latest Russian missile and drone barrage targeting critical infrastructure.
US says intelligence shows Russia stirring unrest in MoldovaMarch 10, 2023 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. intelligence officials have determined that people with ties to Russian intelligence are planning to stage protests in hopes of toppling the Moldovan government, according to the White House.
Why would Russia use hypersonic missile to strike Ukraine?March 10, 2023 GMT
The latest Russian missile barrage against Ukraine's civilian infrastructure has marked one of the largest such attacks in months.
On Thursday, Russia fired over 80 missiles in a massive effort to overwhelm Ukrainian air defenses and cripple the country’s energy system.
Ukrainians who fled war face end of temporary US sanctuaryMarch 10, 2023 GMT
SAN DIEGO (AP) — When U.S. officials at the U.S.-Mexico border stamped the Ukrainian passports of Mariia and her daughter last April and gave them permission to stay for a year, she figured she would return home within months.
Anti-Russia guerrillas in Belarus take on ‘two-headed enemy’March 10, 2023 GMT
After Russia invaded Ukraine, guerrillas from Belarus began carrying out acts of sabotage on their country's railways, including blowing up track equipment to paralyze the rails that Russian forces used to get troops and weapons into Ukraine.
Russian missile barrage slams into Ukrainian cities; 6 deadMarch 9, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A barrage of more than 80 Russian missiles and a smaller number of exploding drones hit residential buildings and critical infrastructure across Ukraine on Thursday, killing six people and leaving hundreds of thousands without heat or electricity.
Belarus passes law to execute officials convicted of treasonMarch 9, 2023 GMT
TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Belarus' authoritarian president on Thursday signed a bill introducing capital punishment for state officials and military personnel convicted of high treason.
The amendments to the country's criminal code endorsed by President Alexander Lukashenko envisage death sentences for officials and servicemen who caused “irreparable damage” to Belarus' national security through acts of treason.
A global mystery: What’s known about Nord Stream explosionsMarch 9, 2023 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s a major international mystery with global consequences: Who was behind the explosions that damaged the Nord Stream gas pipelines last year in the Baltic Sea?
The answer has broad implications for European energy security but could also threaten Western unity over backing Ukraine in defending itself from Russia’s invasion.
US defense chief’s visit to Israel reveals divisions on IranMarch 9, 2023 GMT
JERUSALEM (AP) — Long-running differences between the Biden administration and Israel over how to stop Iran’s rapidly accelerating nuclear program spilled into public view Thursday, as the U.S. defense secretary discussed Tehran's nuclear ambitions with his Israeli counterpart during a visit to the country.
Egypt’s inflation spikes again, hiking prices of basic foodMarch 9, 2023 GMT
CAIRO (AP) — Inflation in Egypt again hit a new high for this year in February, the government said Thursday, with prices rising most steeply for food. The country is in the midst of an economic crisis and a currency depreciation.
Transnistria accuses Ukraine of trying to kill its presidentMarch 9, 2023 GMT
MOSCOW (AP) — Moldova's breakaway region of Transnistria, which has close ties to Moscow and hosts Russian troops, claimed Thursday it has thwarted an assassination attempt on its president allegedly organized by Ukraine's national security service.
Garcetti India nomination clouded by uncertainty after voteMarch 8, 2023 GMT
A politically divided U.S. Senate panel on Wednesday advanced Democrat Eric Garcetti’s nomination to become ambassador to India but it remains unclear when, or if, the former Los Angeles mayor will be confirmed given the ongoing sexual harassment allegations against one of his former top aides.
Russian forces claim progress in Bakhmut but no end in sightMarch 8, 2023 GMT
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The owner of Russia's Wagner Group military contractor claimed Wednesday that his troops have extended their gains in the Ukrainian stronghold of Bakhmut, but it remained unclear how long the grinding fight might go on.