Here is the situation as it stands on Wednesday, March 8, 2023:
- Russia’s Wagner Group of mercenaries has taken full control of the eastern part of town of Bakhmut, its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said.
- Russian forces made more than 30 unsuccessful attacks over the past day near Orikhovo-Vasylivka alone, 20km (12 miles) northwest of Bakhmut, Ukraine’s military said.
- Russian losses in Bakhmut are between five and eight times greater than Ukraine’s, military expert Pavlo Narozhniy told Ukrainian NV Radio.
- The Russian army would have an “open road” into eastern Ukraine if it captured Bakhmut, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, insisting Ukrainian troops will keep defending the besieged city.
- Belarus says it has arrested several people over what it called an attempted act of sabotage at a Belarusian airfield last month when a Russian plane was blown up on the tarmac.
- Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu said the seizure of Bakhmut would allow Moscow’s forces to mount further offensive operations.
- More than 8,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed by Russian forces since Russia invaded Ukraine, according to the UN Human Rights Office.
- Thousands of people in Ukraine have sustained complex injuries linked to the war and need rehabilitation services and equipment, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) official said.
- Ukraine has begun a criminal investigation into what it said was Russia’s “brutal and brazen shooting of an unarmed person” depicted in a video on social media.
- New intelligence reviewed by US officials suggests that a pro-Ukrainian group carried out the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines last year.
- The German government said its own investigation into the attack had not yet reached a conclusion.
- Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang has said that “an invisible hand is directing the conflict in Ukraine” without elaborating.
- Qin, speaking on the sidelines of China’s annual parliamentary meeting, also said that the relationship between Beijing and Moscow would also go from “strength to strength”.
- US President Joe Biden spoke on the phone with French President Emmanuel Macron about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the challenges posed by China, according to a statement by the White House.
- United Nations chief Antonio Guterres was on his way to Kyiv to meet Zelenskyy for discussions on extending the Black Sea grain deal with Moscow.
- Russia’s defence ministry says 90 Russian prisoners of war have been returned from Ukraine after talks, according to the state news agency RIA.
- A Ukrainian court has ordered the seizure of shares owned by billionaire Kostyantyn Zhevago in iron pellet producer Ferrexpo following compensation claims over his now bankrupt bank, says Ukraine’s Deposit Guarantee Fund. Ferrexpo is the third largest exporter of iron ore pellets in the world.
- Russia’s FSB security service said it had thwarted a Ukrainian-backed car bomb attack on prominent nationalist businessman Konstantin Malofeyev.
- Poland will send 10 more Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine this week, the Polish defence minister said.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies