Here is the situation as it stands on Tuesday, March 14, 2023:
- Russia does not recognise the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the TASS news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying when asked about reports the ICC was expected to seek its first arrest warrants against Russian individuals.
- Ukraine accused two Russian soldiers of sexually assaulting a four-year-old girl and gang raping her mother at gunpoint in front of her father, as part of widespread allegations of abuse during the more than one-year-long invasion. Russia’s defence ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
- Russia has strongly denied its forces have committed war crimes.
- The ICC is close to opening war crimes cases and issuing arrest warrants against several Russians accused of being responsible for the mass abduction of Ukrainian children and the targeting of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, according to reports.
- The Kremlin says Russia’s goals in Ukraine could only be achieved by military force at the moment, and Kyiv needed to accept the “new realities” on the ground before a peaceful settlement could be reached.
- Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, voted to approve an amendment that would punish those found guilty of discrediting “volunteer” groups fighting in Ukraine, extending a law that censors criticism of Russia’s armed forces.
- Russia’s Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu ordered a top Russian arms manufacturer to double its production of high-precision rockets, the TASS news agency reported.
- The situation around Bakhmut remains difficult, but Ukrainian forces are resisting Russian attempts to capture the city, according to the commander of Ukrainian ground forces, amid heavy casualties on both sides.
- Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of Russian private military group Wagner, has described the Bakhmut battles as “tough, very tough”.
- Ukraine’s future depends on the outcome of battles in key points in the east of the country, says Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, adding, “it is very tough in the east — very painful. We have to destroy the enemy’s military power. And we shall destroy it.”
- A Ukrainian soldier executed by Russian troops in graphic footage that emerged last week was a citizen of Moldova, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova. The footage showed Oleksandr Matsievsky as a prisoner of war, smoking a cigarette before saying “Glory to Ukraine” to the camera as he was shot by automatic weapons.
- A Russian legislator has introduced a bill to raise the age of compulsory military service to 21-30 years from the current 18-27 years.
- Chinese President Xi Jinping may travel to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin as soon as next week, according to the Reuters news agency.
- Xi might hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the first time since Russia’s invasion, reports Wall Street Journal. The phone call will probably take place after Xi has visited Moscow.
- The United States will extend the one-year authorisation granted to thousands of Ukrainians to live in the country.
- The United Nations confirmed its commitment to the Black Sea grain deal, saying its chief would do everything possible to preserve its “integrity” after Russia’s proposal to renew it for a shorter period.
- Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov says a Russian proposal to extend the grain deal for 60 days contradicts documents signed by guarantors Turkey and the UN for an extension of 120 days, but did not reject the proposal.
- Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said Kyiv’s membership in the European Union and NATO should be seen as something in the “best pragmatic interest of the European community” rather than an act of “charity”.
- The United Kingdom will spend more on security amid growing concerns about China and Russia.
- Ukraine has denied it meddled in antigovernment protests that erupted in Georgia last week after the country’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili accused Zelenskyy of getting involved in Georgia’s politics by commenting on the unrest.
- Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhail Podolyak has criticised the Academy Awards after Zelenskyy was not granted permission to send a video message to the ceremony.
- Ukraine has emerged as the world’s third-largest arms importer following Moscow’s invasion last year, according to the annual report on the global arms trade by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
- Ukrainian troops have wrapped up four weeks of Leopard 2 tank training in Spain.
- Finland is open to discussion on providing fighter jets to Ukraine, according to Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
- Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska has called for more Western weapons as her country continues to fight off the Russian invasion.
- The UK’s Royal Navy has been escorting a Russian frigate and tanker through waters close to its shores after shadowing the vessels through the English Channel on Sunday morning.
Source: News Agencies