As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 381st day, we take a look at the main developments.
Here is the situation as it stands on Saturday, March 11, 2023:
- Ukraine will continue to fight for the destroyed city of Bakhmut because the battle has pinned down Russia’s best military forces in advance of a planned Ukrainian counteroffensive in the spring, an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.
- Russian forces have captured the eastern part of Bakhmut and the outskirts to the north and south but failed to close supply lines and completely encircle Ukrainian troops holding out in the city.
- Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenary force leading Russia’s assault on Bakhmut, said he had opened recruitment centres in 42 cities as his private army needs to replenish its ranks after heavy losses in fighting for the city.
- Power and water have been restored to most of Ukraine’s capital Kyv after Friday’s early morning barrage of Russian missiles and drones aimed at critical infrastructure, though about 30 percent of consumers were still waiting for repairs to restore heating in the capital. Power supplies were fully restored in the southern Odesa region after the attacks on Friday, private provider DTEK said.
- Ukrainian firefighters in the Donetsk region said they are being overwhelmed by Russian attacks on towns near Bakhmut as barrages of cluster bombs and missiles have set multiple houses on fire in the town of Kostyantynivka.
- United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron said new support measures would bolster Ukraine’s forces and allow them to “mount a successful counteroffensive” against Russia. The leaders signed off on jointly training Ukrainian marines and supplying more weapons during a summit on Friday.
- The European Union could soon top up the fund used for buying weapons for Ukraine by 3.5 billion euros, a senior EU official said on Friday. Under the plan drawn up by Europe’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, EU states would get financial incentives worth 1 billion euros to send more of their artillery rounds to Kyiv while another 1 billion euros would fund joint procurement of new shells, the Reuters news agency reported.
- Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Friday where she accompanied Zelenskyy and senior military officers to the funeral of one of Ukraine’s best-known fighters and commanders killed near Bakhmut.
- Macron will meet Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday to discuss the war in Ukraine and other issues ahead of a European Council meeting on March 23-24. Orban has been an outspoken critic of Europe’s stance on the war, accusing it of waging an “indirect war” on Russia.
- The United States has said there is no imminent military threat from Russia against Moldova but that Moscow may be trying to destabilise the country and have a pro-Russian government installed.
- Canada has announced a ban on imports of Russian aluminium and steel products to deny Moscow revenues to fund its war in Ukraine. Russian imports were worth almost 250 million Canadian dollars (US$180m) in 2021, according to the latest government data.
- Zelenskyy has rejected as “ridiculous” any suggestions of Ukrainian involvement in the Nord Stream gas pipeline blasts in September 2022 and accused an unnamed Western media outlet of playing into Russian plans to slow assistance to Kyiv. “I find it very dangerous that some independent media, for whom I have always had great respect, are making such moves,” he said.