Russia-Ukraine war news: Russia claims Bakhmut; Ukraine says it’s still fighting

The Russian military says its mercenary forces have overrun Bakhmut, though the Ukrainian military says it is continuing to defend the eastern city that has hosted some of the war’s fiercest fighting for the past several months. The Kremlin-supported Wagner group said earlier in the day that it had taken the city. The protracted fighting for the city, which has little strategic value, has slowed Russia’s full-scale invasion and brought its squabbles with allies into public view.

Meanwhile, President Biden is scheduled to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Japan for the Group of Seven summit on Sunday, according to a readout from a White House press call. Before the announcement was public, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden “looks forward to the opportunity to be able to sit down face to face with President Zelensky.”

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

Ukraine found an unlikely tool to resist Russia — solar panels: Russian airstrikes on Ukraine’s power grid plunged many parts of the country into darkness last fall, but one water company was able to keep its pumps going. Its field of solar panels, installed as an environmentally friendly measure before the war, turned into a tool to resist the Kremlin’s attacks.

Now a growing number of Ukrainian hospitals, schools, police stations and other critical buildings are racing to install solar power ahead of what many expect will be another hard winter later this year.

A less carbon-intense, decentralized energy system is emerging as a key element of Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts. Seven months of Russian attacks on the energy grid have left it severely damaged. Ukrainian doctors, teachers and others have discovered that efforts to boost sustainability can also improve security by making it harder to knock power offline. Ukrainian policymakers, meanwhile, are setting ambitious clean energy goals, trying to shake off their prewar reputation as lagging on climate issues.

Ukrainian deputy energy minister Yaroslav Demchenkov said renewable energy, along with small modular nuclear reactors, are among the country’s priorities for its rebuilding effort. Both, Michael Birnbaum reports, would help distribute power generation away from the heavily centralized system the country had before the war, making it more resilient in addition to lowering emissions.

Mikhail Klimentov, Matt Viser, Tyler Pager, Natalia Abbakumova and David L. Stern contributed to this report.

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