Status: 03/14/2023 12:30 p.m
The Russian military has fired rockets at the center of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin is unimpressed by the expected arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court. All developments in the live blog.
Duma passes law against criticism of mercenaries
The Russian lower house has approved a law that will criminalize criticism not only of the armed forces but also of mercenary groups. Specifically, the Duma passed a norm designed to punish the discrediting of groups of “volunteer fighters” in Ukraine. The expansion of the law is seen as a measure to protect the fighters of the Wagner mercenary group.
Shoigu orders the production of precision missiles to be doubled
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has ordered a leading Russian defense company to double production of high-precision missiles. This was reported by the Russian news agency Tass. Apparently, this is in response to increasing ammunition shortages among Russian forces in Ukraine. This has been reported in the past, as well as growing shortages of ammunition in the Ukrainian military.
Moscow: No peaceful solution without recognition of the annexation
According to Russia, a peaceful solution in Ukraine is not possible without acknowledging the “new realities”. The spokesman for the Presidential Office in Moscow, Dmitry Peskov, reiterated the position of the Russian government and says it is “well known”.
Russia has repeatedly said Ukraine must accept the annexation of four territories. Russia only partially controls these four regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia and Cherson in eastern and southern Ukraine. Nevertheless, at the end of September they were unilaterally declared as belonging to the Russian Federation.
The annexation is not recognized internationally. Russia had already annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014, which is also not recognised.
Dark green: Russian army advancing. Hatched: areas annexed by Russia.
Military Commissioner criticizes the pace of the turning point
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces, Eva Högl, has criticized the slow pace of the Bundeswehr towards full operational readiness. “Although the first projects are on the way, our soldiers have not received a cent from the special fund by 2022. The procurement system is too sluggish,” writes the SPD politician in her annual report presented in Berlin.
Högl states: “The troops’ ledgers have become fuller, but the clothing stores, ammunition depots and spare parts stores have not.” There has seldom been such a great social consensus as after the change of era proclaimed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in response to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, says Högl. With reference to expert opinions, she pleads for a financing framework that goes well beyond the 100 billion euros from the special pot.
Separate NATO accessions more likely, according to Sweden
In view of the unresolved NATO dispute with Turkey, the Swedish government is preparing its compatriots that their country could only join the defense alliance after Finland. Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said at a press conference in Stockholm that the likelihood of the accessions happening at different speeds has increased. Should Finland’s accession protocols be ratified first, then Sweden would also be safer than with Finland outside of NATO.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland decided last year to apply for NATO membership after a long period of military freedom from alliances. 28 of the 30 current alliance members ratified the accession long ago, only Hungary and Turkey are still missing. Turkey has been blocking dual accession for months.
UN: Grain deal consultations ongoing
According to the United Nations (UN), after the conclusion of the talks in Geneva on an extension of the Russian-Ukrainian grain agreement, there will be further informal consultations. “Talks concluded yesterday as agreed, but consultations with all parties continue,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Moscow had previously said that the grain agreement would be extended by 60 days, not 120 days as was the case recently. The government in Kiev, on the other hand, announced that it would stick to the agreement on a 120-day extension.
Russia: Goals in Ukraine can only be achieved with military force
According to Presidential Office spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Russia can only achieve its goals in Ukraine with military force. “We have to achieve our goals. Due to the current position of the Kiev regime, this is currently only possible by military means,” he said, according to Russian news agencies.
Russian missile strike on center of Kramatorsk
The Russian military has fired rockets at the center of the city of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine. “The evil state continues to fight against the civilian population,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, according to a statement shared on social media. At least three people were injured and one killed in the attack.
Zelenskyy expressed his condolences to the relatives. These acts deserve just punishment. Six apartment buildings were damaged by the missile strike, he said.
Russia does not recognize The Hague’s jurisdiction
The Russian leadership is unimpressed by the expected arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court against several Russians in connection with the war in Ukraine. Russia does not recognize the jurisdiction of the Criminal Court in The Hague, said the spokesman for the Presidential Office in Moscow, Dmitry Peskov, according to the Russian news agency TASS. “We do not recognize this court, we do not recognize its jurisdiction,” said Peskow.
He was responding to questions about reports that the first war-related arrest warrants would soon be applied for. On Monday, an insider said The Hague prosecutors would soon seek arrest warrants against certain Russian citizens. They are accused of being involved in kidnapping Ukrainian children and attacking civilian targets in Ukraine.
Military analysts doubt Ukraine’s Bakhmut strategy
Ukrainian military analysts have been critical of the persistence in the Bakhmut battle. “We have information that Ukraine is sending reservists to Bakhmut who were trained in Western countries. And we are suffering casualties among the reservists that we intended to use for counter-offensives,” said Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov. “We could lose everything we wanted to use for these counter-offensives here.”
Ukrainian military historian Roman Ponomarenko said the threat of encirclement at Bakhmut was “very real”. “If we just give up on Bakhmut and withdraw our troops and equipment, nothing bad can happen (…) if they close the ring, we will lose men and equipment,” Ponomarenko told Ukrainian Radio NV.
The city in eastern Ukraine was also hotly contested yesterday. The situation in the area remains difficult, said the commander of the Ukrainian ground forces, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyj. The mercenaries of the Russian Wagner group advanced from several directions, trying to break through the defensive lines and advance to the center. The Ukrainian units inflicted “noticeable losses” on the enemy with artillery and tanks. In his evening video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the fighting for the city as crucial.
conflicting parties as a source
Information on the course of the war, shelling and casualties provided by official bodies of the Russian and Ukrainian conflict parties cannot be directly checked by an independent body in the current situation.