As the war between Russia and Ukraine enters its 386th day, we take a look at the main developments.
This is the state of affairs on Thursday, March 16, 2023:
US drone incident
- The crash of a US military surveillance drone in the Black Sea after it was intercepted by Russian fighter jets is still “under investigation,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
- Chief of Defense Lloyd Austin said the US will continue to fly where international law allows, after speaking with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu.
- Russian ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov said he told US officials that Moscow “would no longer allow anyone to violate our waters,” the state news agency TASS reported.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the US is “ignoring” that Russia has imposed airspace restrictions around Crimea.
- Russia’s defense ministry said it would respond “proportionately” to future US “provocations”.
- Ukrainian ground forces shot down a Russian fighter jet near the besieged eastern city of Bakhmut, Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian president’s office, said.
- Russian troops have taken control of Zaliznianske village and are expanding the encirclement of Bakhmut, said the head of Russia’s mercenary Wagner force Yevgeny Prigozhin.
- Finland expects Turkey to approve its NATO membership this week, as Finnish President Sauli Niinistö is due to meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Friday.
- During a televised meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Russia was fighting “Nazis” in Ukraine and expressed support for Moscow.
- The International Monetary Fund says its staff have made “very good progress” in talks with Ukrainian officials on a range of policies to support a new loan program for Ukraine.