Ukraine Daily Summary - Tuesday, March 28

Russia providing Iran with cyber weapons -- Ukraine considering every option in Bakhmut, will act adequately -- Ukraine downs 12 Iranian-made Shahed drones overnight -- Putin ‘raising stakes’ with nuclear threats -- Explosions in occupied Melitopol, building with Russian law enforcement damaged -- SBU neutralizes Russian agent group working in Donetsk, Kharkiv oblasts -- and more

Tuesday, March 28

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Civilians carry clean water with wheelbarrows in front of the heavily damaged building after Russian attacks in Toretsk, Donetsk Oblast, on March 24, 2023. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Zelensky visits soldiers on front line in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. “I have the honor to be here today and thank you for protecting our state, all of us, our sovereignty, our cities, our children,” President Volodymyr Zelensky told the Ukrainian servicemen at frontline positions in southeastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

Zelensky visits Nikopol as Dnipropetrovsk Oblast targeted by Russian drones. President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Dnipropetrovsk Oblast on March 27, the President’s Office wrote. Zelensky stopped by the city of Nikopol, which has been targeted by Russian attacks since the start of the full-scale invasion, to learn about the situation there and in neighboring areas.

Avdiivka closed for volunteers and press as situation deteriorates. Vitalii Barabash, head of the Avdiivka city military administration, said on March 27 that due to the worsening situation in the city, entry to the front-line city in Donetsk Oblast is now prohibited for journalists and volunteers.

Commander: Ukraine considering every option in Bakhmut, will ‘act adequately.’ Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of the Ground Forces of Ukraine, visited the Bakhmut front line again, saying that the battlefield situation in the area is “consistently difficult,” the Defense Ministry media center reported on March 27.

Ukraine’s air defense downs Russian drones that attacked Kyiv. According to preliminary information, Ukraine’s air defense destroyed every Russian drone near Kyiv used for the March 27 attack on the capital, Kyiv City Military Administration head Serhii Popko reported.

Support the Kyiv Independent for as little as $5 a month. Become a member today.

Air Force: Ukraine downs 12 Iranian-made Shahed drones overnight. In total, Russia launched 13 Shahed-136 and 131 “kamikaze” drones, 12 of which Ukraine’s air defenses shot down, the Air Force said. It also attacked Ukraine with one Granat-4 reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and two KABs, a Russian precision-guided weapon.

Ukrainian Intelligence: Putin ‘raising stakes’ with nuclear threats. “Defeated on the battlefield in a conventional war, Putin resorts to nuclear blackmail,” said military intelligence spokesperson Andriy Yusov in comments to Radio Svoboda.

Russian forces launch 18 attacks on Sumy Oblast. Russian forces attacked the communities of Esman, Bilopillia, Krasnopillia, Shalyhyne, Velyka Pysarivka, and Seredyna-Buda. The attacks injured a woman and destroyed civilian infrastructure.

Mayor: Explosions in occupied Melitopol, building with Russian law enforcement damaged. Several explosions were heard in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol in Zaporizhzhia Oblast on the morning of March 27, reported Mayor Ivan Fedorov. Later Fedorov said a building captured by Russian law enforcement was damaged as a result of the explosions.

SBU neutralizes Russian agent group working in Donetsk, Kharkiv oblasts.

Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) reported on March 27 it neutralized an agent network of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), allegedly aiding in targeting Ukrainian positions in the country’s east.

Read our exclusives

Ukraine holds back on southern counteroffensive, soldiers say

Preparations to fortify the southern front line look well underway, but the spring counteroffensive promised by the Ukrainian government still seems to be in the distant future for the troops stationed there. The Kyiv Independent met and talked to these soldiers.

Photo: Dmytro Smolienko / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Learn More

‘It’s a cult-like mentality’: Historian Ian Garner on the militarization of Russian society

The Kyiv Independent spoke to Dr. Ian Garner, Canada-based historian and specialist of Russian and Soviet wartime culture, on the trajectory of attitudes to the war of the Russian population, how they could shift over the next few years, and how this might affect Moscow’s pursuit of the war in Ukraine and at home.

Photo: Olga Maltseva/AFP via Getty Images

Learn More

The human cost of Russia’s war

Russian forces shell Kherson Oblast, injuring 3. At least three people have been injured after Russian forces shelled the city of Beryslav, Kherson Oblast Governor Oleksandr Prokudin wrote on March 27.

Updated: Russian March 27 missile strike on Sloviansk kills 2, injures 29.

Two Russian S-300 missiles hit the city center of Donetsk Oblast’s Sloviansk, damaging administrative and office buildings, five high-rises, and seven houses, said Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. The number of casualties is not final, as the rescue operation is ongoing.

General Staff: Russia has lost 171,160 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24, 2022.

Ukraine’s General Staff reported on March 27 that Russia had also lost 3,595 tanks, 6,953 armored fighting vehicles, 5,493 vehicles and fuel tanks, 2,638 artillery systems, 523 multiple launch rocket systems, 277 air defense systems, 305 airplanes, 291 helicopters, 2,216 drones, and 18 boats.

International response

Media: Leopard 2 tanks from Germany arrive in Ukraine. The 18 Leopard 2 tanks pledged by Germany have been transferred to Ukraine, der Spiegel reported on March 27. Germany also sent around 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles, der Spiegel wrote.

Spiegel: Germany wants to increase defense aid to Ukraine. Germany is looking to boost its defense aid to Ukraine to more than 15 billion euros in “the coming years”, der Spiegel reported on March 27.

Defense Ministry: First Challenger tanks in Ukraine. The first Challenger 2 tanks pledged by the U.K. are in Ukraine, the Defense Ministry reported on March 27.

China says ‘strategic risks should be reduced’ in response to Russia’s nuclear threats. Following Russia’s threats to place its nuclear weapons in Belarus, Mao Ning, the spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, said that the issue had to be settled “diplomatically,” Sina media outlet reported on March 27.

Japan calls on China to ‘act responsibly’ regarding Russia’s war on Ukraine. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on March 27 during an Upper House plenary session that he will call on China to act responsibly regarding Ukraine, as cited by NHK.

In other news

Wall Street Journal: Russia providing Iran with cyber weapons. Russia is supplying Iran with technology to bolster its cyber warfare capabilities, the Wall Street Journal reported on March 27. The military cooperation between the two countries has been steadily growing since the onset of Russia’s all-out war in Ukraine.

Media: Hungary votes in favor of Finnish accession to NATO. Hungary’s parliament has finally approved Finland’s NATO membership bid after months of delays, European Pravda reported on March 27.

Poland detains foreigner suspected of spying for Russia. The suspect was taken into custody on March 21 by Polish authorities for gathering information on security measures around critical infrastructure.

Want to get the news faster? Follow our website:

Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Francis Farrell, Sofiya Doig, Toma Istomina, Kate Tsurkan, Teah Pelechaty, and Lili Bivings.

If you’re enjoying this newsletter, consider becoming our patron on Patreon or donating via GoFundMe. Start supporting independent journalism today.