Ukraine Daily Summary - Sunday, March 19

Explosions reported in occupied Sevastopol -- Ukrainian, US top defense officials discuss Kyiv's weapon supply needs ahead of spring counteroffensive -- Russia likely to raise conscription age to bolster troop numbers -- Civilians wounded by cluster munitions in Kostiantynivka -- Russian army has not changed in 100 years -- and more

Sunday, March 19

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Firefighters put out a fire after the shelling of Khartsyyzk, Donetsk Oblast, on March 18, 2023. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Russian state media: Putin makes surprise visit to Mariupol. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Ukrainian city of Mariupol in Donetsk Oblast, Russian state-controlled media claimed, citing the Kremlin’s press service. His visit comes less than two days after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest.

Ukrainian, US top defense officials discuss Kyiv’s weapon supply needs ahead of spring counteroffensive. President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, reported on March 18 that he, along with Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, and other defense officials, had held a video call with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley.

Russia says it agreed to 60-day extension of grain deal, not 120. Russia said on March 18 that it agreed to a 60-day grain deal extension that enabled Ukraine to export its agricultural products via the Black Sea, refuting Ukraine’s earlier announcement that the deal was prolonged for 120 days. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that her country “repeatedly” notified all parties of the UN and Turkey-brokered deal that it was only renewed for 60 days.

UK Defense Ministry: Russia likely to raise conscription age to bolster troop numbers. The Russian State Duma deputies introduced a bill on March 13, aimed at changing the age bracket for military conscription to men from the current 18-27 to 21-30 years, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its daily update on March 18.

Putin toughens punishments for ‘discrediting’ Russian military. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed amendments to the Russian Criminal Code, introducing harsher punishments for “discrediting participants” of Moscow’s all-out war against Ukraine, the Russian state-controlled RIA Novosti news site reported on March 18.

Russian media: Putin visits Russian-occupied Crimea. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula nine years after proclaiming its occupation “official,” Russian state-controlled reported on March 18. On March 18, 2014, Putin announced Crimea as being part of Russia, a statement null and void, according to Ukraine and most UN member states.

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Prime Minister confirms government reshuffle to be implemented next week. Education Minister Serhiy Shkarlet will be replaced by Oksen Lisovyi, who currently works as a director of the Junior Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Pavlo Riabikin, the minister for strategic industries, would be replaced by the former CEO of Ukraine’s state-run railway operator Ukrzaliznytsia, Oleksandr Kamyshin.

Epiphanius: Monks can remain at Kyiv Pechersk Lavra if they renounce Moscow. The leader of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine called on Kyiv’s religious figures to help throw off “Moscow’s yoke,” calling Moscow’s religious authority in Ukraine “non-canonical” and pointed out that it’s used to spin propaganda against Ukraine.

Explosions reported in occupied Sevastopol. Local Telegram channels reported explosions in Russian-occupied Sevastopol, Crimea, on the morning of March 18. Mikhail Razvozhayev, Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, wrote on his Telegram channel that military training is underway at one of the polygons of the city.

Defense Ministry denies “fakes and myths” about mobilization of women in Ukraine. Ukraine is not forcibly mobilizing women, contrary to any rumors spread through Russian Telegram channels, according to a March 18 statement by Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar.

Announcing new sanctions, Zelensky says Russia must pay for crimes in Ukraine, Syria. President Volodymyr Zelensky announced sanctions on 400 more Russian, Iranian, and Syrian individuals and companies on March 18, vowing that Russia and those who help it wage war will be punished.

Defense ministry denies sending unprepared troops to front line. “There is one more Russian narrative, that the mobilized are sent straight to Bakhmut without preparation,” Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said. “In reality, mobilized troops that haven’t served before are sent to training centers.”

Governor: 6 civilians wounded by cluster munitions in Kostiantynivka. At least six civilians were wounded in the town of Konstyantynivka after Russian forces shelled the area with cluster munitions from Uragan multiple rocket launcher systems, Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported on March 18.

Prigozhin claims Wagner Group to recruit 30,000 mercenaries by mid-May. Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin added that Wagner recruitment centers, which he said last week have opened in 42 cities across Russia, sign on 500-800 people per day.

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Ukraine war latest: ICC issues arrest warrant for Putin, Russia’s Bakhmut offensives ‘lowest since January’

Check out the key developments from March 18.

Photo: Getty Images

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Estonian Defense Minister: ‘Russian army has not changed in 100 years’

In an exclusive interview with the Kyiv Independent, Hanno Pevkur, the Estonian defense minister, talked about the threat Russia poses to Estonia and why his country is so eager to support Ukraine.

Photo: Theo Prouvost

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Ukrainian State-Owned Enterprises Weekly – Issue 79

Ukrainian SOE Weekly is an independent weekly digest based on a compilation of the most important news related to state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and state-owned banks in Ukraine.

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The human cost of Russia’s war

Governor: Russia kills 2, wounds 10 in Kramatorsk with cluster munition. Russian forces used cluster munition in their latest attack on the eastern city of Kramatorsk, killing at least two civilians and wounding five, Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported on March 18. He said that the Russian forces targeted Bernatsky Park, located in the southern part of the city, damaging a dozen residential buildings and several cars.

General Staff: Russia has lost 164,200 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24, 2022. According to the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, Russia also lost 3,511 tanks, 6,830 armored fighting vehicles, 5,404 vehicles and fuel tanks, 2,560 artillery systems, 506 multiple launch rocket systems, 265 air defense systems, 305 airplanes, 290 helicopters, 2,159 drones, and 18 boats.

International response

Canada sends armored recovery vehicle to Ukraine. A video posted by Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand on Instagram showed a cargo plane being loaded with a vehicle that appears to be a Bergepanzer 3, which can tow heavy armor, transport or evacuate troops and clear obstacles.

In other news

Zelensky imposes sanctions against Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad, other officials. President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on March 18, approving a proposal by the National Security and Defense Council to impose sanctions on 141 legal entities and 300 individuals, including Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad.

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