Ukraine Daily Summary - Sunday, March 26

Over 300 cyber attacks registered in Ukraine in January-February -- Russia to modernize over 1,600 tanks over next 3 years, produce new ones -- Putin has likely sought to deploy Russian nuclear weapons to Belarus since before full-scale invasion -- Russia's war destroyed or damaged $2.5 billion worth of medical facilities in Ukraine -- and more

Sunday, March 26

Russia’s war against Ukraine

People feed dogs in the village of Bogorodychne, which was destroyed by fighting, in Donetsk Oblast on March 25, 2023. The village was de-occupied by Ukrainian forces on September 11, 2022. Today there is not a single surviving house, and eight people live here. (Photo by Sofiia Bobok/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Defense Ministry asks media to ‘stay quiet’ on Ukraine’s counteroffensive.

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar noted on March 25 that only three officials in Ukraine are allowed to announce strategic plans of Ukraine’s forces: President Volodymyr Zelensky, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, and Commander in Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

Zelensky: Ukraine didn’t receive peace mediation proposal from China. President Volodymyr Zelensky didn’t receive a proposal to mediate peace between Ukraine and Russia from China, he told the Japan News. Zelensky said that he gave “straight messages” through the diplomatic channels that he wanted to speak with China’s leader Xi Jinping but didn’t get a response.

Head of IAEA plans to visit Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant next week. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi will conduct a second visit to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southeastern Ukraine next week, the UN watchdog’s press service said on March 25.

Putin threatens to place tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened on March 25 that his country intends to place tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus for training, the latest in Moscow’s series of nuclear threats against Ukraine and the West. He claimed the decision was made due to the U.K. Defense Ministry’s recent decision to supply Ukraine with ammunition containing depleted uranium.

Wagner boss claims over 5,000 Russian prisoners freed after fighting in Ukraine. Head of Russian state-backed Wagner mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed on March 25 that more than 5,000 Russian prisoners who fought in Ukraine were offered amnesty.

Over 300 cyber attacks registered in Ukraine in January-February. The Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine (CERT-UA), a body of the State Special Communications Services, registered more than 300 cyber attacks in the first two months of 2023.

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Putin: Russia to modernize over 1,600 tanks over next 3 years, produce new ones. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on March 25 that his country planned to modernize 1,600 tanks available in its stock over the next three years, as well as ramp up tank production, Russian state media reported.

ISW: Putin has likely sought to deploy Russian nuclear weapons to Belarus since before full-scale invasion. Russian President Vladimir Putin most likely made the decision to deploy Russian nuclear weapons to Belarus before the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine and probably chose this moment to serve his current messaging strategy against Ukraine’s Western allies, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update.

Health Ministry: Russia’s war destroyed or damaged $2.5 billion worth of medical facilities in Ukraine. Russian attacks have destroyed or damaged at least 978 medical facilities in Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Health Ministry said on March 25, citing a report by the World Bank.

Russian media: Gazprom reduces gas export to EU via Ukraine by 15%. Gazprom recorded a gas transit flow of 42.5 million cubic meters from Russia to the EU through Ukraine’s northern Sumy Oblast on March 24. On March 25, the volume fell to 36.2 million cubic meters, according to the report.

The human cost of Russia’s war

Russia shells Toretsk and Chasiv Yar in Donetsk Oblast, killing 2. According to Ukrainian presidential office head Andriy Yermak, one Russian attack killed a man in Chasiv Yar, five kilometers west of Bakhmut. Meanwhile, a woman was killed in a separate attack on Toretsk, 20 kilometers to the south.

Governor: Russia shells humanitarian aid point in Kherson, injuring 2. Kherson Oblast Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said a 41-year-old woman and a 25-year-old man were hospitalized with mine-blast injuries and shrapnel wounds.

Polish commander of International Legion unit killed in action. “Today another Ukrainian soldier – a Polish citizen – was killed, and two wounded a few days ago are still in a serious condition,” Michal Dworczyk, head of the Polish prime minister’s office tweeted on March 24.

Insights and opinions

Jakub Kalenský: The information war against the Kremlin is far from over

“There have been many optimistic takes claiming that Russia is losing or has already lost the information war against the West. This optimism is both misguided and dangerous,” writes Jakub Kalenský, a senior analyst at the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, in his recent op-ed.

Photo: Getty Images

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International response

Reuters: Pentagon sees no indication Russia plans to use nuclear weapons. The U.S. Department of Defense said on March 25 that there are no indications that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons after the Kremlin announced they plan to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

Polish PM: New EU sanction package to be adopted in the next two months.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in an interview on March 25 that the EU should adopt its 11th round of sanctions against Russia in the next two months despite some countries facing “fatigue” on continued support for Ukraine.

The Guardian: Russian spies detained in Slovenia allegedly worked for Russia’s foreign intelligence. “Maria Mayer” and “Ludwig Gisch,” two suspects arrested in Slovenia and accused of spying for Russia in January, allegedly worked for Russia’s foreign intelligence service (SVR), the Guardian reported, citing anonymous sources.

Oman offers Ukraine to set up grain hub for Horn of Africa supply. Oman has offered Ukraine to set up a grain hub in the Gulf country for the steady supply of Ukrainian grain to the Horn of Africa countries, Maksym Subkh, a Special Representative of Ukraine for the Middle East and Africa, said on March 25.

Erdogan calls on Putin to end war ‘through negotiations’ in phone call. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin “the importance Turkey attaches to the immediate cessation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict through negotiations,“ in a March 25 phone call, Erdogan’s office said.

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