Ukraine live briefing: Wagner says it controls Bakhmut, which Ukraine disputes; Zelensky may meet Biden at G-7

The Russian-backed Wagner mercenary group says it has 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 protracted battles for the city, which has little strategic value, has slowed Russia’s full-scale invasion and brought internecine squabbles to the public.

Meanwhile, President Biden probably will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Japan for the Group of Seven summit this weekend, according to White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan. While he did not have an official announcement, 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.

Ukrainians, crossing Dnieper River, test Russian lines on southern front: Intrigue about where Ukraine’s counterattack will occur has focused on the Zaporizhzhia region, or in the east around the embattled city of Bakhmut, Isabelle Khurshudyan and Kamila Hrabchuk report from Ukraine’s southern Kherson region.

“Those scenarios are more likely, but Ukrainians also have been quietly testing their ability to push across the Dnieper and training units in how to conduct a possible river landing,” they write.

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