As the war between Russia and Ukraine enters its 389th day, we take a look at the main developments.
This is the state of affairs on Sunday, March 19, 2023:
- The Ukrainian army says its troops outside the eastern city of Bakhmut are managing to hold off Russian units so that ammunition, food, equipment and medicines can be delivered to defenders.
- The Russian mercenary group Wagner plans to recruit some 30,000 new fighters by mid-May, founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said.
- Russian strikes killed two people and injured 10 in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk on Saturday, a governor said, accusing Moscow of using cluster bombs in the attack.
- President Vladimir Putin has visited Mariupol nearly a year after Moscow claimed to have captured the strategic port city. It is the Russian leader’s first trip to the Donbas region since the start of the conflict in Ukraine in February last year.
- Putin went to Crimea on Saturday for an unannounced visit to mark the ninth anniversary of Moscow’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine.
- A deal allowing the safe export of Ukrainian grain to the Black Sea was extended for at least 60 days – half the planned period – after Russia warned that any further extension beyond mid-May is conditional on the lifting of some Western sanctions.
- Three senior US security officials held a video call with a group of their Ukrainian counterparts to discuss military aid to Kiev, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff said.
- President Xi Jinping is heading to Russia on Monday in hopes of making a breakthrough in Ukraine as China tries to position itself as a peacemaker.