Ukrainian forces demobilise Russian tanks near Donetsk frontline
Kremlin war chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut was “practically surrounded” by Russian forces.
In a video published on Friday, the founder of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force, called on president Zelensky to withdraw his forces from the city which Wagner has been trying to capture for months.
It comes as foreign ministers of the Quad group from the US, India, Japan and Australia gathered in New Delhi to denounce Russian threats to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war, deeming such constant warnings from Moscow as “inadmissible”.
“We continued to discuss our responses to the conflict in Ukraine and the immense human suffering it is causing, and concurred that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible,” the foreign ministers said in a joint statement today.
They pushed the need for a “comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine in accordance with international law, including the UN Charter”.
Putin signs decree to ensure defence contracts are met
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree today enabling the state to suspend the directors and shareholders of any companies that fail to meet state defence contracts under conditions of martial law.
The decree would allow the industry ministry to name a new external administrator to take over the running of such companies.
Putin said in October he was introducing martial law in four regions of Ukraine that Moscow has partly seized control of and claimed as its own territory, a move condemned as illegal by most countries.
Martial law has not been extended across Russia but he has effectively placed the economy on a war footing, with defence factories working around the clock in three shifts to meet the needs of the army.
The new decree would apply to companies that “violate their obligations under a state contract, including failing to take measures to guarantee production deliveries”.
Asked earlier at his daily news briefing if martial law could be introduced in certain regions of Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that was the president’s prerogative, but did not say whether Putin planned such a move.
Joe Middleton3 March 2023 13:55
Russia launches Kalibr missile in Sea of Japan, hits dummy target almost 650 miles away
Russia launches Kalibr missile in Sea of Japan, hits dummy target almost 650 miles away.mp4
Joe Middleton3 March 2023 13:13
A year into Ukraine war, bodies dug up in once occupied town
The freshly exhumed remains of three men lie in black body bags on the edge of the small cemetery in a town not far from Ukraine’s capital, waiting to be taken to a morgue. None has yet been identified.
Ukrainian authorities are still unearthing people who were hastily buried in makeshift graves during Russia‘s brief but brutal occupation of villages and towns near Kyiv. Almost 200 bodies remain unidentified, while 280 people are listed as missing.
Oleksander Pinchuk’s mother, Halyna, is among them. They never found her body in the wreckage of her apartment building, which took a direct hit from an airstrike a year ago. Pinchuk had walked out of the building just eight hours earlier, and has not seen his mother since, he said.
Joe Middleton3 March 2023 12:41
Germany will not send tanks to Ukraine if Switzerland agrees to send them
Germany would not send Leopard 2 tanks onwards to Ukraine if Switzerland agreed to send them as requested by Berlin, a German defence ministry spokesperson said on Friday.
“There are existing and assessed contractual regulations,” the spokesperson said when asked at a regular news conference how Berlin could guarantee this.
Germany wants Switzerland to sell some of the tanks back to arms maker Rheinmetall, which would allow the company to backfill gaps in the armaments of European Union and NATO members.
Joe Middleton3 March 2023 11:44
Lavrov says Russia will ‘no longer rely’ on West for energy trade as Moscow pivots to India and China
Russia will no longer rely on partners in the West for its energy trade and its new energy policy will be oriented towards more reliable partners such as India and China, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said.
The Russian foreign minister who was in Delhi for the foreign ministers’ G20 meeting was speaking at the Raisina Dialogue, a multilateral conference, in capital New Delhi on Friday.
Mr Lavrov was asked how the war affected Russia’s strategy on energy and whether it will pivot to Asia for its energy trade.
Read the full story below:
Thomas Kingsley3 March 2023 10:33
Russia says it will move to stop further incursions after incident near Ukraine border
Russia said on Friday it would take measures to prevent new border incursions, a day after accusing Ukraine-backed nationalists of killing two people in a cross-border raid in southern Russia.
President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Russia had been hit by a “terrorist attack” in the southern Bryansk region bordering Ukraine, and vowed to crush what he said was a Ukrainian sabotage group that had fired at civilians.
A Ukrainian presidential adviser accused Russia of staging the incident as a false “provocation” to justify aggression against Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday that additional measures were being taken to protect the border.
“Of course, yesterday’s terrorist attack will be investigated and measures will be taken to prevent similar events in the future,” he said.
The FSB security service released video and photos of Thursday’s incident showing two shot-up cars with their drivers slumped dead inside.
Putin was due to hold a regular meeting of his Security Council later on Friday.
Thomas Kingsley3 March 2023 10:11
Bakhmut practically surrounded, announces Wagner chief
The contested Ukrainian city of Bakhmut has been “practically surrounded” by Russian forces, claimed Russian mercenaru force Wagner’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Ukrainian forces had access to only one road out, indicating that the soldiers will need to exit the war-marred mining city.
The Wagner chief also called on Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelensky in the video to withdraw his forces from the city which Wagner has been trying to capture for months at the cost of high attrition rate.
Arpan Rai3 March 2023 08:26
Moscow won’t let West blow up gas pipelines again, claims Lavrov
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has remarked that Russia “will not let the West blow up gas pipelines again” in an unbacked claim of attack on Nord Stream pipelines and said that Moscow would no longer rely on the West as an energy partner.
Moscow has suggested that Western countries were responsible for the blasts that damaged the Nord Stream pipelines in September, an assertion they have dismissed, and has called for an international investigation.
Lavrov was speaking at an event in New Delhi, a day after attending a meeting of G20 foreign ministers.
Arpan Rai3 March 2023 08:08
Air raid sirens blare across Ukraine
Officials have sounded air raid alert sirens in all Ukrainian regions, reported The Kyiv Independent.
The country-wide sirens were sounded around 9am.
Arpan Rai3 March 2023 07:35
Kremlin ‘weaponising fears of nuclear escalation’
The Kremlin is “very probably weaponising fears of nuclear escalation” in order to stop the West from aiding Ukraine in the continuing war, according to a US-based think tank.
Moscow announced the suspension of New START nuclear treat “in hopes of deterring Western support for Ukraine and slowing down pledged Western military aid transfers”, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest intelligence assessment.
“The Kremlin remains extremely unlikely to use nuclear weapons but routinely makes low-credibility threats of nuclear escalation in an effort to intimidate the West and appeal to its ultranationalist base,” it added.
Arpan Rai3 March 2023 07:32