Ukraine Daily Summary - Wednesday, March 15

Russian soldiers sexually abused 4-year-old child, raped her mother in Kyiv Oblast -- Russia's ammunition shortage behind lack of significant offensives in Ukraine -- Russia's proxies in occupied parts of Kherson Oblast preparing to leave -- Russia attacks fire station in Kharkiv Oblast, killing 1 -- and more

Wednesday, March 15

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Police officers investigate the debris of an explosion following a missile strike in a residential area in Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, which left one person dead and four wounded on March 14, 2023. (Photo by Narciso Contreras/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Danilov refutes claims that Ukraine’s counteroffensive may be at risk due to casualties. National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said that information published by the Washington Post about the lack of skilled military personnel due to losses at the front and doubts of anonymous Ukraine’s officials regarding “Kyiv’s readiness for the long-awaited spring offensive” is not true.

UK Defense Ministry: Russia’s ammunition shortage behind lack of ‘significant offensives’ in Ukraine. Russian artillery ammunition deficit, likely aggravating over the recent weeks, has led to “extremely” tight ammunition restrictions in many areas of Ukraine’s front line, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on March 14.

Reuters: Russian soldiers sexually abused 4-year-old child, raped her mother in Kyiv Oblast. Ukraine accused two Russian soldiers of sexually abusing a 4-year-old girl and gang-raping her mother at gunpoint in front of her father during the occupation in the Brovary District of Kyiv Oblast, Reuters reported, citing the materials of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office.

Russian military intensifies mobilization efforts in occupied Crimea. Russian occupying forces are intensifying their mobilization efforts throughout the Crimean peninsula, Ukraine’s National Resistance Center reported.

Dismissed deputy defense minister denies wrongdoing in procurement scandal. Former Deputy Minister of Defense Viacheslav Shapovalov, who was dismissed after a corruption scandal and currently remains in a pre-trial detention center, has denied any personal wrongdoing in comments made to Ukrainska Pravda via his attorney.

Top Defense Ministry official arrested for accepting $9,000 bribe. According to a statement on the State Bureau of Investigation’s website, the unnamed 60-year-old colonel allegedly agreed with a Ukrainian citizen of draft age to issue documents for removal from the military register for money, so that the latter would not be mobilized and would have the opportunity to travel abroad during the period of martial law.

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Governor: Russia downs 3 missiles over Belgorod region. Belgorod Oblast Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov claimed that Russia’s air defense shot down three missiles over Russia’s Belgorod region late on March 14. He did not specify whether the missiles were Ukrainian in origin or Russian weaponry that had veered off course.

Cabinet of Ministers approves dismissals of Luhansk, Odesa, Khmelnytsky oblast governors. The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the dismissal of Serhiy Haidai, Maksym Marchenko, and Serhiy Hamaliy from their positions as governors of Luhansk, Odesa, and Khmelnytsky oblasts, respectively, according to official government representative in parliament Taras Melnychuk.

SBU detains Russian suspect plotting to assassinate Ukrainian officials, activists. An individual has been found guilty for plotting the assassinations of Intelligence Chief Kyrylo Budanov, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov and a popular Ukrainian activist, Ukraine’s Security Service reported.

Zelensky holds meeting of commander-in-chief’s staff, discusses Bakhmut. “After considering the defense operation’s progress in the Bakhmut area, all staff members expressed a common position regarding the further holding and defense of the city of Bakhmut,” President’s Office wrote on March 14.

Southern Command: Russia’s proxies in occupied parts of Kherson Oblast preparing to leave. Moscow-installed proxies on the east bank of Kherson Oblast prepare to leave the Russian-occupied territories, “taking away documentation and looted things,” Ukraine’s Southern Command spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk told Ukrainian Channel 24.

Read our exclusives

Battle of Bakhmut: Ukrainian soldiers worry Russians begin to ‘taste victory’

“When they drive us to Bakhmut, I already know I’m being sent to death,” Volodymyr told the Kyiv Independent during his brief stay in Kramatorsk, a city in Donetsk Oblast some 25 kilometers west of the front line.

Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

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Investigative Stories from Ukraine: Bihus.Info finds another Defense Ministry contract with inflated food prices

Welcome to Investigative Stories from Ukraine, the Kyiv Independent’s newsletter that walks you through the most prominent investigations of the past week.

Photo: Bihus.Info

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Ukraine war latest: Ukraine vows to hold Bakhmut, as Wagner storms industrial zone in city’s northwest

Check out the key developments from March 14.

Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

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Insights and opinions

Fatih Birol: Building a resilient energy system in Ukraine can be a model for clean transition

“Before Russia invaded, Ukraine upped its climate ambitions, setting a target to reach net zero emissions by 2060. The devastation of war risks making it considerably harder to reach that goal,” writes Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency.

Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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The Kyiv Independent: Alexander Query on why Europe romanticizes Russia

The Kyiv Independent: Opinion. Alexander Query on why Europe romanticizes Russia

The human cost of Russia’s war

Russia attacks fire station in Kharkiv Oblast, killing 1. Russian troops struck a fire station in Kharkiv Oblast’s city of Vovchansk on the morning of March 14, Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported. One of the Russian projectiles hit a civilian car nearby, killing a 55-year-old woman who was inside, according to Syniehubov.

Russian forces attack 8 Ukrainian regions over past 24 hours. On the morning of March 14, Russian troops launched a missile attack on Kramatorsk in Donetsk Oblast, killing one person and wounding at least three, according to the oblast governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. Earlier the same day, Kyrylenko reported that Russian attacks had killed three civilians and injured 14 more in the region in the past 24 hours.

General Staff: Russia has lost 160,540 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24, 2022. Ukraine’s General Staff reported on March 14 that Russia had also lost 3,484 tanks, 6,789 armored fighting vehicles, 5,367 vehicles and fuel tanks, 2,519 artillery systems, 495 multiple launch rocket systems, 260 air defense systems, 304 airplanes, 289 helicopters, 2,120 drones, and 18 boats.

International response

Netherlands to deliver 2 minehunter ships to Ukraine. The Netherlands has pledged two Alkmaar class minehunter ships to Ukraine following Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren’s two-day visit to Ukraine, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said.

Iceland’s PM visits Kyiv, meets with Zelensky. Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir met with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on March 14, the president’s office reported. Zelensky thanked Jakobsdóttir for Iceland’s continued political, financial, and humanitarian support of Ukraine since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

EU Council increases ceiling for Ukraine military aid fund by 2 billion euros. “The European Peace Fund has become an integral part of the EU’s support for strengthening peace and security around the world,“ said Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Poland may send MiG-29 jets to Ukraine within next 4-6 weeks. Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki said at a press conference on March 14 that Poland could transfer MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine within the next four to six weeks, Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita reported.

Lithuanian parliament recognizes Wagner Group as terrorist organization. The resolution states that the Russian state-backed mercenary group Wagner is a terrorist organization, with their members posing a threat to the security of the Lithuanian state and society, the Baltic News Service reported.

Minister: Two more countries join Core Group on Special Tribunal for Russian crime of aggression. “Thirty-two states are now working together to hold Russia’s top political and military leadership accountable. Putin and his associates will stand trial,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.

In other news

Russia’s State Duma increases punishments for ‘discrediting’ Russian military. The new punishments include a fine of up to 5 million rubles (about $66,450), five years of correctional or forced labor (or seven years for “repeated discrediting that led to dangerous consequences”), as well as a sentence of 15 years in prison.

Bloomberg: Russia saved $80 billion in foreign assets in year under sanctions. Over the first year of its all-out war against Ukraine, Russia accumulated nearly a third of its profits from commodity exports abroad, creating a new potential target for Western sanctions, Bloomberg reported on March 14.

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