Ukraine updates: Zelenskyy says future depends on Bakhmut – DW – 03/14/2023

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Ukraine’s future depends on a victory in Bakhmut and elsewhere along the front line, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his evening address on Monday.

Bakhmut has become the main focus of Russia’s assault, where it has captured the eastern part of the city.

“It is very tough in the east — very painful. We have to destroy the enemy’s military power. And we will destroy it,” Zelenskyy said.

Russia says taking Bakhmut would allow it to capture the rest of the Donetsk region — a key war aim for the Kremlin.

But in recent weeks, trench warefare has claimed a huge toll for both sides in Bakhmut.

On Monday, Ukrainian soldiers said they were repelling intensified Russian attacks in the city.

Zelenskyy said the front line towns are where “the kind of future we are to have is being decided, where the future of all Ukrainians is being fought for.”

Defense analyst Marina Miron on Bakhmut battle

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Here are some of the other notable developments concerning the war on Tuesday, March 14:

Russia says Black Sea grain deal will be extended automatically — source

A deal allowing the safe export of grain from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports will be extended automatically after it expires on March 18 if there are no objections from the involved parties, Russia’s TASS state news agency reported.

Citing an unnamed source familiar with the details of the negotiations around the agreement, TASS reported that so far none of the involved sides had indicated a withdrawal.

Russia on Monday suggested renewing a deal allowing the safe export of grain from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports but only for half of the 120-day term of the previous renewal, while the United Nations pledged to do everything possible to ensure the agreement’s integrity remained intact.

The source said that the time length of the extension did not matter. “If the deal is extended for 60 days, it will continue to operate after March 18, and after 60 days one of the parties may raise the issue of its termination,” the source added.

German jets deployed 27 times in response to Russian jets over Baltic

German fighter jets stationed on NATO’s eastern flank have been deployed 27 times since last August after being alerted to unknown aircraft in the Baltic region, according to the German air force, or Luftwaffe.

During the deployments, the German forces identified Russian military aircraft above the Baltic Sea, a spokesperson told dpa in Berlin.

The German Luftwaffe’s Eurofighter Typhoons are alerted when unknown aircraft approach the Baltic airspace without a transponder signal or radio contact.

The three Baltic republics and NATO members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania lack their own air forces. NATO makes use of bases at Ämari and Siauliai in Lithuania to police the airspace over the Baltic region.

NATO allies station the planes along with support staff at the bases in rotation. Germany has participated in the mission since 2005.

How NATO polices the skies on Russia’s border

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Russia not informed on progress of Nord Stream blasts probe — diplomat

Moscow has not been informed about the progress of an investigation into last year’s Nord Stream pipeline blasts and has handed in a report to prove this to the United Nations, a senior Russian diplomat said.

Russia has prepared an “official document” based on its correspondence with Denmark, Sweden and Germany and has given copies of it to the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, said Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s deputy UN ambassador.

“The documents allow our colleagues at the UN to verify that the allegations that these countries have informed us of the progress of their investigations are not true,” Polyanskiy said on the Telegram messaging platform.

The September 26 explosions on the pipelines connecting Russia and Germany occurred in the exclusive economic zones of Sweden and Denmark. Denmark, Germany and Sweden told the Security Council in a joint letter in February that the “Russian authorities have been informed regarding the ongoing investigations” by their national authorities.

Ukraine analysts question Bakhmut tactics

Some military analysts in Ukraine have questioned Zelenskyy’s decision to continue defending Bakhmut, rather than withdraw from the front line city.

“As of now we have information that Ukraine is sending reserves to Bakhmut that underwent training in Western countries. And we are suffering losses among reserves that we intended to use for counter-offensives,” Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said in an interview with the Reuters news agency.

“We could lose here everything we wanted to use for those counter-offensives.”

Ukrainian military historian Roman Ponomarenko was also concerned about the potential losses if Russia manages to encircle the city. 

“If we simply give up Bakhmut and withdraw our troops and equipment, nothing terrible can happen … if they seal the ring, we will lose men and equipment,” he told Ukrainian radio station NV.

Macron and Orban talk European unity

French President Emmanuel Macron had a working dinner with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban to discuss European unity on Monday night.

Unlike most European Union leaders, Orban has been openly critical of the bloc’s stance towards the invasion of Ukraine, which he has previously called an “indirect war” against Russia. He has pledged to maintain relations with Russia but nevertheless sided with EU sanctions.

During the meeting, Macron “reaffirmed the need for the unity of European countries in their support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, particularly via the strict application of sanctions,” his office said afterwards.

The two leaders also touched on the proposed accession of Finland and Sweden into NATO. Hungary is the only NATO member other than Turkey that has not ratified both countries’ bids.

More on the war in Ukraine

Ukraine’s military says Russia is using hypersonic missiles in attacks across the country. DW looks at what makes these missiles different to conventional missiles, and how they’re able to evade interception for longer.

Russian lawmakers want to crack down harder on individuals who criticize the troops fighting against Ukraine. DW investigates how these legal changes

zc/rt (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)


Read More: Ukraine updates: Zelenskyy says future depends on Bakhmut – DW – 03/14/2023

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