Here is the situation as it stands on Monday, March 13, 2023:
- Fierce fighting is raging for control of the centre of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.
- “Wagner assault units are advancing from several directions, trying to break through our troops’ defensive positions and move to the centre of the city. In fierce battles, our defenders are inflicting significant losses on the enemy,” the Ukrainian military said, referring to the Russian mercenary group that has claimed to be leading Moscow’s offensive.
- Wagner, meanwhile, said: “The enemy is battling for every metre. The closer we are to the city centre, the harder the battles”.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says more than 1,100 front-line Russian forces died in the past few days fighting for Bakhmut, and about 1,500 Russian soldiers were also wounded so badly they were unable to fight.
- Russia’s defence ministry, meanwhile, says more than 220 Ukrainian service members were killed in the 24 hours into Sunday.
- Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says Ukraine will continue to fight in Bakhmut, comparing the Russians’ advance to a thief breaking into someone’s home and trying to “steal everything”.
- The commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, Oleksandr Syrsky, says the ongoing defence of Bakhmut is necessary to “buy time” for a planned counteroffensive.
- Ukraine’s national police say Russia launched 48 attacks against civilians in the Donetsk region, targeting 15 cities and towns, including Bakhmut, Konstyantynivka, and Avdiivka.
- The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War says Russia’s advance on Bakhmut seems to have stalled and while Wagner Group soldiers continued to fight, they did not seem to be making any progress.
- Chinese President Xi Jinping is planning to travel to Russia to meet with his counterpart Vladimir Putin as soon as next week, Reuters news agency quoted “people familiar with the matter” as saying.
- Russian representatives are yet to take part in negotiations on extending the Black Sea grain deal, according to Russia’s foreign ministry.
- Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar says he believes the deal allowing the export of grain via the Black Sea will be extended from its current March 18 deadline.
- Zelenskyy has held his first talks with the Czech Republic’s new President Petr Pavel. He says the two discussed the situation at the front and Ukraine’s security needs.
- Moldovan police say they have arrested members of a network “orchestrated by Moscow” in a bid to destabilise the small former Soviet nation via anti-government protests.
- Iran has reached a deal to buy advanced Su-35 fighter planes from Russia, expanding a relationship that has seen Iranian-built drones used in Russia’s war on Ukraine, Iranian state media said on Saturday.
- Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has urged Germany to speed up supplies of ammunition and to start training Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter jets.
- Swiss President Alain Berset has defended the country’s controversial ban on transferring Swiss-made arms to Ukraine, stressing the importance of the country’s neutrality.
Source: News Agencies