Ukraine Daily Summary - Thursday, March 2

Russia threatens to back out of Black Sea Grain Initiative -- Russia loses 'epic' tank battle in Vuhledar, 130 vehicles destroyed -- Russia’s key attack force, Wagner Group, embroiled in conflict with regular army -- Germany to increase ammunition production, repair capacity to support Ukraine -- and more

Thursday, March 2

Russia’s war against Ukraine

A woman walks by the building where she used to live until it was destroyed by a Russian rocket attack in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on March 1, 2023. At least three people were killed and 18 wounded in a Russian missile strike on an apartment complex in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region on February 2, 2023. (Photo by Ignacio Marin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Zelensky: Winter is over, but threat to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure remains. “Winter is over. It was very difficult, and it’s no exaggeration that every Ukrainian felt this difficulty. But still, we managed to provide Ukraine with energy and warmth,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address on March 1.

Eastern Command: Ukraine has not made decision to withdraw from Bakhmut. Despite ongoing heavy battles in Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, the Ukrainian forces have not made the decision to withdraw from the city, Serhii Cherevaty, spokesman of the Eastern Operational Command, told CNN on March 1.

Russia threatens to back out of Black Sea Grain Initiative. Russia has threatened not to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative, set to expire on March 18, if certain conditions are not met, Reuters reported on March 1.

Governor: Russian attack on Dnipropetrovsk Oblast hits civilian infrastructure, power lines. Russian forces shelled the communities of Nikopol, Marhanets, Myrove, and Chervonohryhorivka in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast with heavy artillery overnight on March 1, the regional governor Serhiy Lysak reported.

Russia hits civilian infrastructure in Kremenchuk, Poltava Oblast. A Russian missile strike hit civilian areas, including critical infrastructure, in the city of Kremenchuk, Poltava Oblast, on March 1, the oblast governor Dmytro Lunin reported.

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Official: Air defense downs Russian drone in Kyiv Oblast. Ukraine’s air defense shot down a Russian drone in Kyiv Oblast on March 1, Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat told Ukrainian online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda.

Russia claims 10 Ukrainian drones attacked occupied Crimea. According to the ministry, six drones were shot down by the air defense, and four more were “disabled using electronic warfare.”

Russian media: Drone that fell near Moscow carried explosives. Russian newspaper Izvestiya reported on March 1 that law enforcement agencies had found an explosive device after examining a drone that had crashed near the village of Gubastovo, Moscow Oblast.

NYT: Russia loses ‘epic’ tank battle in Vuhledar, 130 vehicles destroyed. According to the New York Times article published on March 1, the Ukrainian forces have destroyed at least 130 tanks and armored personnel carriers over a three-week fight in Vuhledar, Donetsk Oblast.

Ukraine’s military: Russia lacks enough troops in Transnistria to open second front. The contingent of Russian troops currently stationed in Transnistria is insufficient to open a new front in Ukraine, according to Natalia Humeniuk, spokesperson for Ukraine’s Southern Command.

ISW: Kremlin may leverage Criminal Code amendments to increase punishments for ‘discrediting’ Russian military. Chairman of the Russian State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin announced that the Duma could ratify amendments to the Russian Criminal Code as soon as March 14. Those will introduce harsher punishments for discrediting participants, including volunteers, in the war. Russia hides the brutal large-scale invasion behind the rhetoric of a “special military operation.”

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Russia’s key attack force, Wagner Group, embroiled in conflict with regular army

The battle for Bakhmut has revealed a decade-long covert conflict in Russia’s armed forces. On one side, there is the regular Russian military. On the other side, Wagner Group, Russia’s most high-profile mercenary outfit.

Photo: Olga Maltseva AFP via Getty Images

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Ukraine war latest: China, Belarus urge ceasefire as Russia continues striking civilian sites in Ukraine

As Western officials continue to voice concerns over China possibly providing deadly weapons to Russia, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko started a three-day visit to Beijing on March 1, where he met with Xi Jinping.

Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images

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The human cost of Russia’s war

2 killed in Russia’s attack on Zaporizhzhia. Two people were killed in the early hours of March 2 when Russian forces launched a missile strike on Zaporizhzhia, Acting Mayor of Zaporizhzhia Anatoly Kurtev reported on Telegram.

Russian shelling of Kherson Oblast injures 3, including 1-year-old child. According to the Kherson Oblast Military Administration, the child was wounded when Russian artillery hit a residential building in liberated Chornobaivka.

General Staff: Russia has lost 149,890 troops in Ukraine since start of full-scale war. According to the report, Russia has also lost 3,395 tanks, 6,638 armored fighting vehicles, 5,257 vehicles and fuel tanks, 2,393 artillery systems, 479 multiple launch rocket systems, 247 air defense systems, 300 airplanes, 288 helicopters, 2,055 drones, and 18 boats.

International response

Biden signs executive order prolonging ‘national emergency’ Russian aggression poses to US. U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order on March 1 prolonging a “national emergency” in the U.S. with regards to the war in Ukraine for one year.

Media: Stoltenberg invites Zelensky to attend NATO summit in Vilnius. “I firmly believe that this will be a strong sign of our solidarity, the support that allies have for Ukraine, and I hope that Zelensky will be able to attend,” Stoltenberg said in an interview with Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT. “Of course, this will depend on the situation in Ukraine, which is still in the midst of a war.“

CNN: Germany to increase ammunition production, repair capacity to support Ukraine. “The now one-year lasting support of Ukraine has also brought us the knowledge that enables us to ensure that there is also a sufficient supply, with spare parts, that we have created repair capacities for the weapons used in the war, at locations outside of Ukraine,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on March 1, as reported by CNN.

In other news

Court sentences ex-head of Boryspil airport to 5 years in prison. According to the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, Yevhenii Dykhne, the former head of Ukraine’s state-owned Boryspil International Airport, has been found guilty of abuse of power, resulting in Hr 15.7 million ($429,000) in damages.

Police chief appointed by Avakov charged with high treason. When evidence of his pro-Kremlin views emerged in 2016, then-President Petro Poroshenko and then-Interior Minister Arsen Avakov were accused of lobbying for his appointment. He was later fired and charged with treason and fled to Russia in the same year.

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