Here is the situation as it stands on Friday, March 3, 2023:
- President Vladimir Putin says Russia was hit by what he called a “terrorist” attack in its southern Bryansk region bordering Ukraine. He promised to crush what he said was a Ukrainian sabotage group that had fired at civilians.
- A Russian missile hit a five-storey building in Ukraine’s southern city of Zaporizhzhia, killing at least four people, Ukraine’s police say.
- A network of at least 20 torture chambers in the recently liberated southern Ukrainian region of Kherson is “planned and directly financed by the Russian state,” war crimes investigators say, citing new evidence.
- In the past 24 hours, Ukrainian forces have repelled more than 170 attacks on the five principal sectors of the front line, Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said.
- Zhdanov said Russian forces were trying to encircle the eastern city of Bakhmut from the north, east and south and he said that on western approaches to the city “this is probably the only part of the Bakhmut sector where our forces, rather than the Russian occupiers, have the initiative”.
- Russia and the United States’ top diplomats spoke to each other face-to-face for the first time since Moscow’s invasion, meeting on the sidelines of a G20 meeting where ministers traded blame over the conflict.
- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to end the war and urged Moscow to reverse its suspension of the New START nuclear treaty, according to a senior US official quoted by the Reuters news agency.
- Washington will announce a new $400m aid package for the Kyiv government, and is expected to be a main topic between US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz when they meet at the White House on Friday, officials say.
- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov accuses the US of providing intelligence on the location of strategic sites inside Russia to Ukraine, for it to attack them with drones. Washington says that was nonsense.
- Two American citizens have been arrested on suspicion of exporting aviation technology to Russia in violation of sanctions over the war in Ukraine.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies