This is the state of affairs on Saturday, March 25, 2023:
- The United Nations has said it is “deeply concerned” by what it denounced as summary executions of prisoners of war by both Russian and Ukrainian forces on the battlefield.
- Russia’s former president Dmitry Medvedev said Russia wants to create demilitarized buffer zones around areas of Ukraine it has annexed.
- According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), an estimated 10,000 Ukrainians, many of them elderly and disabled, are clinging to living in squalid conditions in and around the besieged city of Bakhmut.
- Russian forces attacked northern and southern parts of the frontline in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Ukrainian military reports report heavy fighting along a line running from the towns of Lyman to Kupiansk, as well as to the south at Avdiivka, on the outskirts of the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk. Both areas have been key Russian targets in efforts to completely conquer Ukraine’s industrialized Donbas region.
- Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy said the situation in eastern Ukraine was “not good” due to a lack of ammunition among his troops, according to local media reports.
- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu presented awards to female soldiers who fended off a drone attack in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, state news agency TASS reported. Shoigu presented the Order of Courage to the soldiers of the Crimean naval base of the Black Sea Fleet.
- Russia’s defense ministry said its forces destroyed a hangar containing Ukrainian armed forces drones in Ukraine’s southwestern Odessa region.
- Russian strikes over the past day have killed at least 10 civilians and injured 20 people across the country, Ukraine’s presidential office said.
- Russia’s wartime censorship laws have intensified as the conflict continues. According to the human rights monitor OVD-Info, at least 482 people have been charged under the strict new laws. Some 136 of them were sent to prison.
Aid / Diplomacy
- Air force commanders from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark have signed a letter of intent to create a unified Nordic air defense force aimed at countering the growing threat from Russia.
- Estonia’s foreign ministry has decided to expel a Russian diplomat working at the Moscow embassy in Tallinn for “causing division in Estonian society”.
- As international sanctions bite on Moscow and prospects for economic development wane, Russia’s middle class is expected to shrink, while social inequality will widen in the coming years, an economic study conducted by Russian experts suggests.
- Democratic and Republican senators in the United States have urged President Joe Biden’s administration to share information with the International Criminal Court related to the war crimes charges against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- The Group of Creditors of Ukraine says it has provided financing guarantees to support the International Monetary Fund’s approval of a top credit tranche program to help Ukraine’s economy recover. The group includes Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US.