Ukraine Daily Summary - Saturday, April 1

Explosions in Crimean Dzhankoi hinder Russia's transfer of weapons -- Ukraine starts using US-made ‘smart bomb’ kits -- Europol identifies 150 suspects of Russian war crimes in Ukraine -- Putin's plans to deploy nukes in Belarus violate Russia-China declaration -- Zelensky, EU leaders visit Bucha on liberation anniversary, honour massacre victims -- and more

Saturday, April 1

Russia’s war against Ukraine

A Ukrainian soldier sits at the wheel of a car in Huliaipole, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, in January. (Dmytro Smolienko / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Moscow Patriarchate representatives again block access to Kyiv monastery. A commission of Ukraine’s Culture Ministry charged with conducting an inventory of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra property was once again denied access by representatives of the Russian-controlled Ukrainian Orthodox Chkyivurch of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), RFE/RL reported.

Air Force: Ukraine starts using US-made ‘smart bomb’ kits. Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat confirmed on March 31 that Ukraine was already using U.S.-made Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extended Range (JDAM-ER) guided kits for aerial bombs.

Southern Command: Explosions in Crimean Dzhankoi hinder Russia’s transfer of weapons. Recent explosions in the Crimean town of Dzhankoi have restricted Russia’s ability to transport military equipment and ammunition, particularly Kalibr missiles, said Ukraine’s Southern Command spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk.

Russian attack injures 2 in Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Two employees of one the largest electricity suppliers of Ukraine, Zaporizhzhiaoblenergo, were wounded on the morning of March 31 in the town of Orikhiv in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast as a result of a Russian attack, Zaporizhzhiaoblenergo said on Facebook.

Europol identifies 150 suspects of Russian war crimes in Ukraine. Europol, Europe’s law enforcement cooperation agency, analyzed 7,000 videos and pictures and gathered the testimony of 550 witnesses in Ukraine to come up with a list of 150 Russian war crimes suspects.

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ISW: Kremlin spokesperson rejects Lukashenko’s ceasefire suggestion. Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko in his address to the nation on March 31 said that he supports peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia “as soon as possible” and offered to help mediate negotiations.

Lukashenko says Russia could place strategic nuclear weapons in Belarus ‘if necessary.’ Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko in an address to the nation spoke of the possibility of placing Russian strategic nuclear weapons in Belarus, just a few days after Russian dictator Vladimir Putin threatened to deploy nuclear weapons to its neighbor.

CNN: Russia names US as main security threat in new foreign policy doctrine. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin on March 31 signed a decree on a new version of the Russian Foreign Policy Concept, listing the United States as the main security threat to Russia and “the just development of mankind,” CNN reported.

Minister: Ukrainian athletes to boycott joint competitions with Russians, Belarusians. The Ukrainian government has decided that Ukrainian athletes must boycott tournaments with Russian or Belarusian participants, including selection for the 2024 Olympics, Oleh Nemchinov, Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, said on national television.

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Ukraine changes combat bonus system, soldiers warn it might lower morale

An overhaul of how the military determines bonus pay may cause more harm than good, six servicemen from multiple brigades told the Kyiv Independent. This change takes away the money that many service members need to both support their families and obtain vital military gear, they said.

Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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Ukraine war latest: Zelensky, EU leaders visit Bucha on liberation anniversary, honor massacre victims

On March 31, President Volodymyr Zelensky, along with the prime ministers of Slovakia, Slovenia, and Croatia, and the president of Moldova, attended a ceremony commemorating the first anniversary of Bucha’s liberation — a town now emblematic of Russian war crimes against civilians.

Photo: President’s Office

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Human cost of Russia’s war

Prosecutor General: Russian troops committed 9,000 war crimes in Bucha district. During the 33 days of occupation last year, Russian forces committed more than 9,000 war crimes in Kyiv Oblast’s city of Bucha and its district, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andrii Kostin said on March 31.

UN representative: UN casualties figures ‘just the tip of the iceberg.’ The UN Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said on March 31 that the number of civilian casualties far outstrips official figures of more than 8,400 civilians killed since Feb. 24, 2022.

Official: Grenade explosion kills 1, injures 1 in Lviv. Ihor Zinkevych, an official with the Lviv city council reported late on March 31 that a grenade exploded in a high-rise on Zamarstynivska Street in northern Lviv.

Russian landmine explosion kills 2, injures 1 in Kherson Oblast. Two electricians were killed, and one was wounded in an explosion caused by a Russian landmine in Kherson Oblast’s Posad-Pokrovske, the regional administration reported on March 31.

Listen to our new podcast

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 1 – Why does Ukraine keep up costly defense of Bakhmut?

Episode #1 is dedicated to Ukraine’s military strategy in Bakhmut, an embattled city in Donetsk Oblast in the east of Ukraine.

Cover image by Nizar Al-Rifai

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International response

Top US general says Ukraine victory unlikely this year. U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said in an interview with Defense One that Ukraine is unlikely to expel all Russian troops from its territory this year.

CNN: French presidential source says China ‘only game-changer’ in Russia’s war against Ukraine. China may be one of the only countries that could have a “game-changer effect“ on Russia’s war in Ukraine “for both sides,” CNN reported citing an undisclosed source in France’s presidential administration.

US diplomat: Putin’s plans to deploy nukes in Belarus violate Russia-China declaration. Robert Wood, a top U.S. representative in the UN said on March 31 that Russia’s plans to deploy nuclear weapons would go against a Russia-Chinese joint statement released on March 21 calling for an end to all steps that contribute to “the escalation of tension.”

Reuters: US could announce more than $2 billion new military aid for Ukraine. A new $2.6 billion U.S. military aid package that could include air surveillance radars, anti-tank rockets, and fuel trucks could be announced on April 3, Reuters reported, citing undisclosed U.S. officials.

Slovenia, Ukraine sign declaration supporting Ukraine’s move toward EU, NATO membership. Slovenia is the ninth country to sign the declaration of support for Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration, after the Czech Republic, Belgium, Montenegro, Lithuania, Poland, Italy, Latvia and Iceland.

IMF approves more than $15 billion program for Ukraine. Around $2.7 billion will be immediately disbursed, the IMF wrote in its statement, to sustain economic and financial stability “at a time of exceptionally high uncertainty” in Ukraine.

In other news

Kyiv Independent podcast ‘Power Lines’ nominated for British ARIAS award. The podcast “Power Lines: From Ukraine to the World,” co-produced with Message Heard, and co-hosted by the Kyiv Independent’s Anastasiia Lapatina and Jakub Parusinski, was nominated on March 30 by U.K.’s Radio Academy for the Audio and Radio Industry Awards (ARIAS).

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