Ukraine Daily Summary - Friday, March 24

Civilian forced to dig trenches for Russians: ‘I wanted to jump on a mine and end it’ -- Hague court responds to Russian threats after Putin arrest warrant -- Ukraine submits request for F/A-18 fighters from Finland -- Prigozhin softened rhetoric towards Russian Ministry of Defense likely out of fear of losing his mercenary force in Bakhmut -- and more

Friday, March 24

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Firefighters work in a damaged building after Russian attack in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on March 22, 2023. After the attack by Russian forces on March 22, in which one person died and 34 were injured, the people are trying to continue their daily life. As a result of the attack, many buildings and infrastructure were severely damaged. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Military: Ukraine will soon ‘take advantage’ of Russian troops’ fatigue in Bakhmut. Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut are preparing to “take advantage” of Russian forces’ massive losses and fatigue, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of the Ground Forces of Ukraine wrote on March 23.

Zelensky visits Kherson Oblast on March 23. President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Kherson Oblast on March 23 and surveyed infrastructure damaged by Russian attacks, the President’s Office reported. Among his stops was the village of Posad-Pokrovske, which was liberated by Ukrainian forces.

Ukraine submits request for F/A-18 fighters from Finland. Ukraine has submitted a request for trilateral negotiations between Kyiv, Washington, and Helsinki to discuss the transfer of F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets from Finland, according to sources cited by Helsingin Sanomat on March 23.

Prosecutor General’s Office: International Criminal Court to open office in Ukraine. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andrii Kostin and the Registrar of the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) Peter Lewis signed an agreement on opening the ICC’s office in Ukraine on March 23.

Ombudsman: 2 more children returned from occupied territories. A 9-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy were returned to their family on the Ukrainian-controlled territory, ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets reported on March 23.

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World Bank: Ukraine needs $411 billion for recovery. The World Bank has increased its assessment of Ukraine’s needs for recovery and reconstruction to at least $411 billion based on the damages caused by the first year of Russia’s all-out war, Bloomberg reported on March 23. This figure is equivalent to 2.6 times Ukraine’s projected gross domestic product in 2022.

Russian forces strike Kryvyi Rih with drones. Oleksandr Vilkul, who heads Kryvyi Rih military administration, reported early on March 24 that Russian forces used Shahed-type drones to attack the city. Vilkul did not specify the location but said there was a hit in the city.

ISW: Prigozhin softened rhetoric towards Russian Ministry of Defense likely out of fear of losing his mercenary force in Bakhmut. Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed in an interview on March 23 that Ukraine has 200,000 reserves concentrating on attacking along the entire eastern front line, into Belgorod Oblast, and in Bakhmut.

Bloomberg: Wagner may scale back Ukraine operations, shift to Africa.

After facing multiple setbacks on the Ukrainian frontline, Wagner group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin might be turning his focus to Africa, Bloomberg reported on March 23.

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Ukraine war latest: Ukraine receives fighter jets from Slovakia, says Bakhmut counterattack possible

Kyiv has repeatedly requested fighter jets from Western allies, underlining the need for air superiority on the battlefield.

Photo: Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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Civilian forced to dig trenches for Russians: ‘I wanted to jump on a mine and end it’

Many Ukrainian families have reported their loved ones have gone missing after Russian occupiers recorded and published videos of their so-called “deportation” from the occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

Photo: Courtesy

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Surviving Avdiivka: Russia intensifies assault on city deemed a ‘second Bakhmut’

Avdiivka with a pre-war population of over 31,000 is now next to empty, with local administration head Vitalii Barabash estimating on March 22 that only around 200 people remained, including six children.

Photo: Francis Farrell/The Kyiv Independent

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International response

Hague court responds to Russian threats after Putin arrest warrant. The International Criminal Court (ICC) responded on March 23 to threats made by Russia, expressing regret over the country’s attempts to obstruct “international efforts to ensure accountability” for violations of international law.

Slovakia transfers first MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. Slovakia on March 23 transferred four of the 13 MiG-29 jets it has pledged to Ukraine, according to Slovakia’s Defense Ministry website.

Sweden approves $600 million in military aid to Ukraine. The new package proposed by the country’s government includes Leopard 2 tanks, Archer self-propelled artillery systems, Robotsystem 97 missile systems as well as ammunition.

Spain to send Ukraine first Leopard 2 tanks next week. Spain’s Defense Ministry reported on March 23 it would transfer the first six of ten Leopard 2 main battle tanks it has pledged for Ukraine by the end of the next week.

Finland to give 3 additional Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Finland has pledged three more Leopard 2 tanks from its arsenal to Ukraine, bringing the total to six, MTV Uutiset reported on March 23. Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen also confirmed that Ukraine had approached Finland’s Defense Ministry about supplying F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets.

Hungarian official says Budapest will not arrest Putin if he visits. Despite the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Hungary would not detain Russian dictator Vladimir Putin if he entered the country, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyas said on March 23, cited by Reuters.

Iceland recognizes Holodomor as genocide against Ukrainians. The Icelandic government supported a resolution recognizing the Holodomor as a genocide against the Ukrainian people, Foreign Minister Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir reported on March 23. “In November, I visited the Holodomor memorial in Kyiv. It was a heartbreaking reminder of a terrible crime,” the minister wrote.

In other news

Moscow Patriarchate members start to leave Kyiv Pechersk Lavra. Members of the Russian-controlled Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) have started to vacate the premises of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said in a televised interview on March 23. Tkachenko said an interdepartmental commission is currently investigating the premise’s conditions, adding that the UOC-MP will be held responsible for any missing property.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Kate Tsurkan, Oleg Sukhov, Dinara Khalilova, Oleksiy Sorokin, Sofiya Doig, Teah Pelechaty, Olena Goncharova, and Brad LaFoy.

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