Here is the situation as it stands on Saturday, March 25, 2023:
- The United Nations has said it is “deeply concerned” by what it decried as summary executions of prisoners of war by both Russian and Ukrainian forces on the battlefield.
- Russia’s former President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia wants to create demilitarised buffer zones around areas of Ukraine it has annexed, which he added may require pushing deeper into Ukraine if such zones cannot be established.
- An estimated 10,000 Ukrainians, many elderly and with disabilities, are clinging to life in horrific conditions in and around the besieged city of Bakhmut, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.
- Russian forces attacked northern and southern stretches of the front line in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Ukrainian military reports recounted heavy fighting along a line running from the towns of Lyman to Kupiansk, as well as in the south at Avdiivka, on the outskirts of the Russian-held city of Donetsk. Both areas have been key Russian targets in efforts to fully capture Ukraine’s industrialised Donbas region.
- Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy said the situation in eastern Ukraine was “not good” due to a lack of ammunition among his forces, according to local media reports.
- Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu presented awards to female soldiers who repelled a drone attack in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, the TASS state news agency reported. Shoigu presented the Order of Courage to the soldiers of the Crimean naval base of the Black Sea Fleet.
- Russia’s Defence Ministry said its forces have destroyed a hangar housing drones belonging to Ukraine’s armed forces in Ukraine’s southwestern Odesa region.
- Russian attacks over the past day have killed at least 10 civilians and injured 20 people across the country, Ukraine’s presidential office said.
- Russia’s wartime censorship laws have intensified as the conflict continues. According to the human rights monitor OVD-Info, at least 482 people have been charged under the strict new laws. Among those, some 136 have been sent to prison.
- Air force commanders from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark have signed a letter of intent to create a unified Nordic air defence focused on countering the rising threat from Russia.
- Estonia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has decided to expel a Russian diplomat working at Moscow’s embassy in Tallinn for “causing divisions in Estonian society”.
- As international sanctions against Moscow bite and prospects for economic development diminish, Russia’s middle class is forecast to shrink, while social inequality grows over coming years, an economic study conducted by Russian experts suggests.
- Democratic and Republican senators in the United States have urged President Joe Biden’s administration to share information with the International Criminal Court as it pursues war crimes charges against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- The Group of Creditors of Ukraine says it has provided financing assurances to support the International Monetary Fund’s approval for an upper-credit tranche programme to help restore Ukraine’s economy. The group includes Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the US.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies