As the war between Russia and Ukraine enters its 391st day, we take a look at the main developments.
This is the state of affairs on Tuesday, March 21, 2023:
- Fierce fighting continues for control of the center of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.
- The eastern city of Avdiivka could soon become a “second Bakhmut”, at risk of being surrounded, the Ukrainian army said on Monday.
- The head of Russia’s Wagner group of mercenaries, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has said his forces control 70 percent of Bakhmut.
- Ukraine’s grain harvest in 2023 is likely to drop from 53.1 million tons in 2022 to 44.3 million tons as fewer crops are sown due to the Russian invasion, according to a forecast from the Ukrainian Ministry of Agriculture.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin received his Chinese counterpart and “dear friend” Xi Jinping for dinner at the Kremlin on Monday, where the two men held informal talks for several hours.
- China has offered a 12-point peace proposal for Ukraine and Putin told Xi that Russia was “open to negotiations” over Ukraine.
- Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said Kiev expected China to use its influence over Russia to end the war.
- Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States have urged Xi to pressure Putin to end the war.
- Russia has said it has opened a case against the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the judges who issued Putin’s arrest warrant.
- Officials say an international conference in London raised $4.9 million to support the ICC in its investigation of alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
- ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan told the conference that the issuance of the arrest warrants was “very sad” and “very dismal”, noting that it was the first time such action had been taken against a permanent member of the UN -Security Council.
- European Union countries have agreed to give 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine in the coming year, Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said.
- Norway said it had delivered eight Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US had approved an additional $350 million in military aid for Ukraine.
- Beijing said it was the US rather than China that supplied weapons to the Ukrainian battlefield, responding to reports that Russia had used Chinese munitions in Ukraine.