Ukraine Daily Summary - Friday, March 31

April Fools Month: Russia to chair UN Security Council in April -- Tyranny's propagandists are winning -- Russia's FSB conducting 'filtration' in occupied Crimea -- Can Russia afford to commit to a years-long war? -- Bakhmut is 'slaughter-fest for Russians,' says top US general -- and more

Friday, March 31

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers evacuate civilians from Bakhmut in an armoured vehicle, in Chasiv Yar, Ukraine on March 29, 2023. (Photo by Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Russian forces strike Zaporizhzhia. Zaporizhzhia Oblast Military Administration reported early on March 31 that Russia targeted the regional capital and its outskirts with multiple rocket launchers.

Pentagon: Ukrainian soldiers complete Patriot missile training. Pentagon spokesperson Patrick Ryder said on March 30 that 65 Ukrainian soldiers completed training on Patriot air defense systems at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and returned to Europe.

Russia to chair UN Security Council in April. Russia will lead the UN Security Council in April, AFP News Agency reported on March 30. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the move a “bad joke”, adding that the world “can’t be a safe place” with Russia as head of the UN Security Council.

RFE/RL: Moscow court arrests Wall Street Journal reporter on suspicion of ‘espionage.’ Current Time, a project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, reported on March 30 that the Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich previously detained by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), was arrested for two months by the Lefortovo court in Moscow.

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General Staff: Russia’s FSB conducting ‘filtration’ in occupied Crimea. In the Crimean town of Krasnoperekopsk, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) is conducting so-called filtration measures, which involve undressing, interrogating, and beating civilians, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said on March 30.

ISW: Putin unlikely to deploy troops from routine spring conscription cycle to Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on March 30 calling 147,000 citizens up for statutory military service. The Institute for the Study of War said in their update that the new conscripts will not increase Russian combat power in the short term.

UK Defense Ministry: Russia ‘highly unlikely’ to call up 400,000 volunteers, may force men to join army. Russia will “highly unlikely” manage to attract 400,000 volunteer professional soldiers, which it claimed to be the goal of its new recruitment campaign, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on March 30.

Official: Mandatory evacuation of families with children from Avdiivka to take place next week. A mandatory evacuation of families with children from Avdiivka will be carried out next week, Vitalii Barabash, head of the Avdiivka city military administration, said in an interview on March 30.

Read our exclusives

Can Russia afford to commit to a years-long war?

When Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an all-out war against Ukraine, U.S. intelligence claimed that Russian forces planned to sweep Kyiv within days. More than 13 months on, Ukraine’s defenses still stand firm.

Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

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Ukraine war latest: Bakhmut is ‘slaughter-fest for Russians,’ says top US general

There are about 6,000 mercenaries of the Kremlin-controlled Wagner Group fighting in the eastern city of Bakhmut, according to the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley.

Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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Opinions and insights

Lalwani, Ressa: Tyranny’s propagandists are winning

According to the latest analysis by Varieties of Democracy, 72% of the world’s population lived in autocracies last year, compared to 50% a decade ago. For the first time in more than two decades, there are more authoritarian regimes than liberal democracies, Maria Ressa and Nishant Lalwani write in their latest opinion piece.

Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Image

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International response

Blinken calls on all Americans to leave Russia ‘immediately’ after journalist arrest. The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on American citizens to leave Russia, after Moscow arrested Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, on espionage charges.

North Macedonia approves transfer of combat helicopters to Ukraine. The government of North Macedonia has approved the transfer of combat helicopters to Ukraine, local media outlet Fokus reported on March 30.

Right-wing party members walk out of Zelensky’s speech to Austrian parliament. Lawmakers from the right-wing Austrian Freedom Party walked out during President Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech to the lower house of the Austrian parliament, CNN reported on March 30.

Japan to provide Ukraine with $400 million grant for reconstruction. Japan will provide Kyiv with a $400 million grant to recover Ukraine’s critical infrastructure heavily damaged by Russian attacks, Infrastructure Ministry reported on March 30.

What is happening in Bakhmut and what does it mean for Russian-Ukrainian war?

What is happening in Bakhmut and what does it mean for Russian-Ukrainian war?

In other news

The Kyiv Independent launches new video podcast. The Kyiv Independent is launching a new video podcast, “This Week in Ukraine,” on March 31, focusing each week on Ukraine’s most pressing issue.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Olga Rudenko, Dinara Khalilova, Oleksiy Sorokin, Kate Tsurkan, Anastasiya Gordiychuk, Brad LaFoy, and Olena Goncharova.

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