Here is the situation as it stands on Wednesday, March 15, 2023:
- An MQ-9 US military drone has crashed into the Black Sea after being intercepted by Russian fighter jets in a move the United States called a “brazen violation of international law”.
- Russia said its fighter jets scrambled to intercept the US drone but that the spycraft crashed because of “sharp manoeuvring”.
- RIA state news agency cited Russia’s ambassador to the United States as saying Moscow viewed the drone incident as a provocation.
- The US said it would summon the Russian ambassador over the incident.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the country’s top military command is unanimously in favour of defending eastern Ukraine, including the besieged town of Bakhmut, to inflict maximum losses on Russian forces.
- A Russian missile struck an apartment building in the centre of the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, killing at least one person and injuring three, Zelenskyy said.
- The Russian-installed acting governor Yevgeny Balitsky of the occupied Zaporizhia region said the front line in the region is stable but that Russian forces are attentive in anticipation of an attack.
- 32 countries have joined a coalition supporting the creation of a special tribunal against Russia for the crime of aggression against Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba.
- Last year’s blasts on the Nord Stream gas pipelines were carried out at a “state level”, Russian President Vladimir Putin alleged on Tuesday.
- Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, has voted to approve an amendment that would punish those found guilty of discrediting “volunteer” groups fighting in Ukraine.
- A peaceful resolution in Ukraine will not be possible without taking into account the “new realities” on the ground, according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
- Lithuania’s parliament has voted unanimously to designate Russia’s Wagner mercenary force “a terrorist organisation,” accusing it of “systematic, serious crimes of aggression” in Ukraine, according to the Reuters news agency.
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a possible Republican presidential candidate, has described the war in Ukraine as a “territorial dispute” that is not a top national security interest of the US.
- Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered a top Russian arms manufacturer to double its production of high-precision rockets, the TASS news agency reported.
- Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki says the country could supply Ukraine with MIG fighter jets in the next four to six weeks.
- Russia is running out of artillery ammunition to the extent that “punitive shell-rationing” is taking place in many areas of Ukraine’s front line, according to UK intelligence.
- Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren says the Netherlands will give Ukraine two minesweepers, drone radars and an M3 amphibious bridge-building system.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies