Ukraine Daily Summary - Tuesday, March 14

Russian Defense Ministry appears to deliberately expend Wagner forces in Bakhmut to derail Prigozhin’s political aspirations -- Ukrainian soldiers complete Leopard tank training in Spain -- How do some Western anti-war protests help Russia? -- International Criminal Court to open 2 war crimes cases against Russia -- and more

Tuesday, March 14

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Ukrainian servicemen sit on a BMP military vehicle as they move towards Bakhmut in the region of Donbas, on March 13, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Aris Messinis / AFP) (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Zelensky: Ukraine to spend additional $13.5 billion on defense. An additional $13.5 billion will be spent on defense, including military salaries and drones, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on March 13 in his nightly video address.

WSJ: China’s Xi Jinping to speak to Zelensky after his Moscow visit. The first conversation between the Chinese and Ukrainian leaders since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion is expected to occur online, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the issue.

Moscow Patriarchate refuses to vacate premises of Kyiv Pechersk Lavra. The Russian-affiliated head of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, an Orthodox monastery, said on March 13 that he and other monks of the monastery had no intention of vacating the premises of the Lavra.

Official: Russia ‘ready’ to extend Black Sea grain deal for only 60 days. Russia is prepared to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative after deliberations with United Nations officials, but only for a period of 0 days, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said on March 13.

Stand with the Kyiv Independent. Become a member today.

SBU: Court sentences Russian agent to 15 years in prison. A Ukrainian court has sentenced a man accused of being a Russian agent to 15 years in prison, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said on March 13.

Mayor: Wagner forces attempt to recruit residents of occupied Melitopol to fight in Bakhmut. According to a statement made on national television by Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov, Wagner forces began to recruit residents to participate in the battles for Bakhmut. Fedorov, who is in Ukrainian-controlled territory, said Russian troops are offering Melitopol residents 200,000 rubles ($2,650) per month to fight for Russia in Bakhmut.

ISW: Russian Defense Ministry appears to deliberately expend Wagner forces in Bakhmut to derail Prigozhin’s political aspirations. On March 12, Russian political scientist Aleksey Mukhin commented on sarcastic remarks made by Yevgeny Prigozhin in which he said he intends to run for the office of the President of Ukraine in 2024. Mukhin rhetorically asked if Prigozhin notified Russian President Vladimir Putin about his “presidential ambitions,” the Institute for the Study of War said on March 13.

Survey: 41.4% of respondents think Hungary could make territorial claims against Ukraine. As many as 41.4% of Ukrainians believe Hungary could make territorial claims against Ukraine, according to an exclusive survey conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology in February.

Reuters: Ukrainian soldiers complete Leopard tank training in Spain. Ukrainian soldiers completed training in Spain to operate Leopard 2 tanks, Reuters reported on March 13. Fifty-five Ukrainian soldiers departed for Spain in February 2023, including 40 tank crew members and 15 mechanical specialists.

Read our exclusives

How outcome of Russia’s war can tip international order

A year into Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, there is little doubt in the West that Ukraine needs to win. Led by the U.S., Western support helped Ukraine push back Russian forces and kept Russian President Vladimir Putin from achieving his major warmongering goals.

Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Learn More

Ukraine war latest: Fierce fighting rages over central Bakhmut

Fierce fighting rages over central Bakhmut as Russia’s Wagner mercenaries try to break through Ukrainian defenses in the ruined city, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi said on March 13.

Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

Learn More

Explainer: How do some Western anti-war protests help Russia?

Explainer: How do some Western anti-war protests help Russia?

The human cost of Russia’s war

Russia shells Donetsk Oblast, killing 1, injuring 5. Russian occupying forces shelled Avdiivka and Kostyantynivka in Donetsk Oblast on March 13 with Uragan multiple rocket launchers and artillery, killing one civilian and injuring 5 others, according to the Donetsk Oblast Prosecutor’s Office.

Russian attack on village in Sumy Oblast kills 1, injures 4. Russian troops launched a missile strike on the village of Znob-Novhorodske in Ukraine’s northeastern Sumy Oblast on March 13, according to President’s Office head Andrii Yermak. A Russian rocket fell in the area of a local agricultural lyceum, killing one civilian and wounding four more, said Yermak.

Insights and opinions

Kate Tsurkan: The problem with lionizing Navalny and snubbing Zelensky at Oscars

Check out this op-ed by Kate Tsurkan, news editor at the Kyiv Independent.

Photo: Navalny Doc/Twitter

Learn More

International response

Official: EU to give first evaluation of Ukraine’s EU accession progress in May.

The European Commission will give the first evaluation of Ukraine’s progress in fulfilling the EU’s “candidate criteria” in May, by which Kyiv will finish the implementation of most of the conditions, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna said on March 13.

Biden administration requests $886 billion defense budget. The requested budget is the largest peacetime budget request, Reuters reported. The budget request includes a 5.2% increase in pay for troops and a large allocation for research and development.

NYT: International Criminal Court to open 2 war crimes cases against Russia. According to The New York Times, the International Criminal Court plans to open two cases investigating war crimes conducted by Russian forces against Ukraine. Arrest warrants will be sought for several individuals, the NYT reports, citing current and former officials.

Moldova condemns Russia’s execution of Ukrainian POW, claims war crime was committed. Moldovan Foreign Ministry condemned the execution of Ukrainian serviceman Oleksandr Matsievskyi, adding that his execution “could be qualified as a war crime and a gross violation of international humanitarian law.” According to a statement published by the ministry, Matsievskyi also had Moldovan citizenship.

Finnish PM: No one promised to send F-18 Hornet fighter jets to Ukraine. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has said that “no one promised Ukraine Finnish Hornet jets” but added that Ukraine needs heavier weapons to fight back against Russia.

Serbian minister calls for sanctions against Russia. Serbia’s Economy Minister Rade Basta on March 13 called on his government to finally impose sanctions against Russia, declaring that they were paying a “high price” for not doing so.

European Council extends sanctions against Russia for 6 months. The European Council issued a press release on March 13 extending sanctions against 1,473 individuals and 205 entities who support Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Want to get the news faster? Follow our website:

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

If you’re enjoying this newsletter, consider becoming our patron on Patreon or donating via GoFundMe. Start supporting independent journalism today.