Russia-Ukraine war news: Kyiv focuses attacks on Bakhmut’s outskirts

Ukrainian forces are staging counterattacks on Russian troops on the outskirts of Bakhmut, even as their presence on the ground dwindles to just small footholds of the eastern city, according to Kyiv, which denied Moscow’s claim over the weekend to have captured the city. Ukraine’s military said its stated goal is to encircle Bakhmut to force Russian troops to defend their ground.

“In the future, this will give us the opportunity to enter the city when the operational situation at the front changes,” Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrsky, Ukraine’s eastern military commander, wrote on Telegram early Monday. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky painted a grim picture of the devastated city at a weekend summit of the Group of Seven nations, acknowledging that it has been effectively destroyed over months of fierce battles.

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

Alleged Belgorod incursion

IAEA chief pushes plan to secure nuclear plant ahead of Ukrainian offensive: The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, is pushing for a last-minute agreement to secure Europe’s largest nuclear plant, located in southeastern Ukraine, ahead of a counteroffensive that could intensify battles in the neighboring area, write Stephanie Liechtenstein and John Hudson.

Officials have spent nearly nine months trying to forge an agreement between Ukraine and Russia to establish a protection zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, so far without success. Grossi, the IAEA chief, is hoping the U.N. Security Council will back a plan to prevent a catastrophe, U.S. and European diplomats told The Washington Post. Kyiv has been skeptical of his efforts, according to sensitive U.S. intelligence documents leaked on the Discord messaging platform and obtained by The Post.

Isobel Koshiw contributed to this report. Dan L

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