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UKRAINE UPDATE: 13 MARCH 2023

Russian strikes ‘have destroyed 152,000 residences’; US and EU to step up enforcement of sanctions

Russian strikes ‘have destroyed 152,000 residences’; US and EU to step up enforcement of sanctions
Mourners kneel during the funeral ceremony for Ukrainian serviceman Dmytro Kotsiubailo in Kyiv, Ukraine, on 10 March 2023. Commander Kotsiubailo of the 67th brigade, call sign Da Vinci and awarded the title ‘Hero of Ukraine’, was killed in action on the frontline in Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, on 7 March 2023. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Oleg Petrasyuk)

Russian missiles and artillery have destroyed more than 152,000 residential buildings since the start of the invasion, Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said in a televised interview.

The US and the European Union pledged to step up the enforcement of sanctions on Russia and further choke off supplies and technology for its military. “We’re making Russia pay for its atrocious war,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during a meeting on Friday with US President Joe Biden.

Key developments

Russia says West continues to block its agriculture exports  

Russia reiterated ahead of Monday’s consultations with the UN in Geneva that the only part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative that had been effectively enforced was allowing Ukrainian exports, while its own agricultural shipments continue to be blocked by Kyiv’s allies, according to a statement on the Foreign Ministry’s website.

The agreement, whose 120-day run ends on 18 March, has enabled the shipment of 24 million tonnes of Ukrainian crops since it was negotiated last July.

Russia was aware of various statements regarding the possible extension of the Turkish-brokered grain deal, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in the statement, adding that there had been no talks on this yet, especially with Russia’s participation. Turkish defence minister Hulusi Akar said his government expected the deal would be extended.

 

 

 

Ukraine wants security guarantees to prevent future attacks

Ukraine doesn’t see a link between ongoing discussions about safety guarantees with the UK, Germany, France and the US and the start of possible peace talks with Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna told the Journal du Dimanche in an interview. “It is possible that this is debated among allies, but there can’t be preconditions to these talks,” she told the French weekly newspaper.

At this stage, the country believes the guarantees would strengthen the nation’s defence capacities so that neither Russia nor any other country could attack Ukraine in the future, she said.

Moldova detains 25 people ahead of protests 

Moldova’s police detained about 25 people late on Saturday who were allegedly preparing to cause unrest during a protest against the government planned by an opposition party on Sunday, police chief Viorel Cernauteanu said during a news conference. The people’s plans were allegedly coordinated from Russia, he added.

The tiny nation that borders Ukraine has been under rising pressure since Russia invaded its neighbour and its leaders have accused Moscow of trying to overthrow its pro-European government. Russia has denied any involvement in Moldova’s internal affairs.

Ukraine has logged 66,300 crimes by Russian troops — minister

Ukraine has already registered 66,300 criminal proceedings of alleged crimes committed by Russian troops from the start of the invasion, according to Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko. “Most of the crimes are violations of the laws and rules of war,” he said in a televised interview.

Russia has carried out more than 40,000 shelling attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure since February of last year, he said.

 

 

 

Two civilians killed in attack on Kherson, says Ukraine 

At least two civilians were killed and three injured in salvo attacks on Kherson over the past day, according to the Ukrainian military. Missile strikes were launched on Zaporizhzhia, destroying a civilian building, though without casualties. “The threat of further missile strikes throughout the country remains quite high.” the General Staff said on its website.

Sunak to meet Biden, Australian premier to discuss submarine programme 

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was heading to the US on Sunday to meet President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese as the three nations unveil the next phase of the Aukus nuclear submarine programme, a security partnership meant to counter China.

The UK is also planning an update to its 2021 Integrated Review of defence and security to set out its response to increased global volatility. The revision will address the grave risks from Vladimir Putin’s Russia alongside increasing aggression from Beijing. DM

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