Ukraine Daily Summary - Friday, March 29

Poland investigating pro-Kremlin propaganda network linked to Russian intelligence -- Security measures to be increased in Kyiv following missile strikes, threats of Russian saboteurs -- Czech-led initiative concludes deals for 1 million shells for Ukraine -- Belgian PM says MEPs, MPs paid by Russian propaganda network -- and more

Friday, March 29

Russia’s war against Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelensky in his office on March 28, 2024. (Volodymyr Zelensky / Telegram)

Zelensky, Speaker Johnson hold call. President Volodymyr Zelensky and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson held a phone call on March 28, Zelensky announced on social media.

Zelensky: New Russian offensive may come in May or June. Ukraine needs more help from its allies to face an expected major Russian offensive, which may come at the end of May or in June, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with CBS News published on March 28.

Russian proxy: Russian warplane ‘crashes’ off Crimean coast. A Russian military plane crashed into the sea near occupied Crimea, the Russian-installed head of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, claimed on March 28.

Ukraine, Poland ready to conclude agreement on joint border control. In the document published following the talks, the parties “confirmed their readiness to conclude an Agreement on providing control at joint border checkpoints and cooperation of control bodies” and, once approved by the European Commission, “to launch logistical data exchange at selected road border crossing points.”

Deputy PM: Ukraine to continue pushing for embargo on Russian grain imports to EU. Kyiv will continue promoting a decision to implement a complete ban on imports of Russian grain into the European Union and has reasons to believe Hungary will not block such a move, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna said in an interview with European Pravda.

Security measures to be increased in Kyiv following missile strikes, threats of Russian saboteurs. The decision had been made at an emergency meeting of the Kyiv Defense Council, and was largely influenced by Russia’s usage of missiles that strike only minutes after being fired, said Serhii Popko, head of the Kyiv City Military Administration.

Kyiv dismisses reports about Russia’s preparations for Kharkiv offensive. Ukraine’s Center for Countering Disinformation dismissed reports on March 28 about Russia’s preparations to launch a new offensive against Kharkiv, saying that Moscow currently “does not have the resources” for such an operation.

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Media: Rosatom’s top manager arrested over suspicion of bribery. The Basmanny court in Moscow arrested on March 28 Gennadiy Sakharov, Russian state nuclear energy company Rosatom’s construction project director, due to the accusations of receiving a bribe in “a particularly large amount,” Russian media outlet Kommersant reported.

Zelensky meets European parliamentary leaders to discuss assistance for Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelensky held meetings with the European Parliament’s Renew Europe political group and the French National Assembly delegations on March 28, the Presidential Office reported.

Shmyhal, Duda meet in Warsaw. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal met with Polish President Andrzej Duda on March 28, as part of his official visit to Warsaw.

Poland investigating pro-Kremlin propaganda network linked to Russian intelligence. Poland is investigating a Russian propaganda network linked to Russian intelligence after Czechia uncovered the operations of a pro-Kremlin network that spread anti-Ukraine and anti-EU disinformation, the Polish Internal Security Agency (ABW) announced on March 28.

PM Shmyhal arrives in Poland to meet Tusk, other Polish officials. The talks are expected to focus on Poland’s military aid for Ukraine, the situation at the Polish-Ukrainian border, and “development of trade and infrastructure,” Shmyhal said in a post on X.

Kuleba begins first trip to India. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he was in the Indian capital New Delhi at the invitation of Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and that the two would “pay specific attention to the peace formula” in their talks.

National Resistance Center: Over 10,000 households in occupied Donetsk Oblast remain without power supply ‘for weeks’. “Because of the war, many energy workers left the temporarily occupied territories, so the Russians cannot overcome the destruction of the (energy) infrastructure as a result of hostilities,” the center, run by Ukraine’s special forces, said in a report.

Read our exclusives

Ukraine war latest: Kyiv says new Russian offensive could come in May or June

Ukraine needs more help from its allies to face an expected major Russian offensive, which may come at the end of May or in June, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with CBS News published on March 28.

Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba /AFP via Getty Images

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Who were the Ukrainian Cossacks?

The latest addition to our Explaining Ukraine series is a history of Ukraine’s Cossacks — a historic group of semi-nomadic warriors whose legacy continues to shape Ukrainian identity today.

llustration by Mari Kinovych/The Kyiv Independent

Learn more

Russia intensifies attacks on Kharkiv, draining Ukraine’s air defense and civilian morale.

This was the first time since 2022 that Russian troops used a glide air bomb, reportedly a new-type UMPB D-30 munition, to kill residents of Ukraine’s second-largest city.

Photo: Oleh Syniehubov/Telegram

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Human cost of war

Russian attack on Donetsk Oblast village injures man. Russian forces attacked Novooleksandrivka in Donetsk Oblast’s Pokrovsk district on March 28, injuring a 49-year-old man, Suspilne reported, citing a spokesperson of the regional prosecutor’s office.

Russian attacks on Donetsk, Kherson oblasts kill 2, injure at least 3. Russian troops attacked the village of Drobysheve, the city of Mykolaivka in Donetsk Oblast, and the regional center of Kherson, causing casualties among civilians, local authorities reported on March 28.

Governor: Russian attack on Kharkiv Oblast village kills woman, injures her husband. Russian forces struck the village of Monachynivka near Kupiansk in Kharkiv Oblast, killing a 57-year-old woman and wounding her husband, Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported on March 28.

Almost 1,800 Ukrainian children made orphans by Russia’s war. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has led to almost 1,800 Ukrainian children becoming orphans, the National Social Service of Ukraine said in a comment to the Kyiv Independent.

Russian attacks against 3 Ukrainian regions kill 4, injure 9 over past day. Russian attacks against Ukraine’s Donetsk, Kherson, and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts over the past day killed four people and wounded another nine, regional officials reported early on March 28.

Mine explosions kill civilian, injure another in Kherson Oblast. Explosions in Kherson Oblast caused by mines killed one man and injured another, regional officials reported on March 27.

Russia launches 28 drones at Ukraine overnight, at least 2 injured. Ukraine shot down 26 of 28 Shahed-type drones Russia launched overnight on March 28 from Kursk region and Cape Chauda in occupied Crimea, the Air Force said in its morning update. Two women were reportedly injured in Zaporizhzhia.

General Staff: Russia has lost 439,970 troops in Ukraine since Feb 24, 2022. Russia has also reportedly lost 6,914 tanks, 13,237 armored fighting vehicles, 14,595 vehicles and fuel tanks, 10,963 artillery systems, 1,021 multiple launch rocket systems, 729 air defense systems, 347 airplanes, 325 helicopters, 8,600 drones, 26 ships and boats, and one submarine.

Opinions and insights

Opinion: Defeatists will be on the wrong side of history

Over two years into Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the mood among Ukraine’s supporters is dropping. There are several reasons for this, including Ukraine’s unsuccessful counteroffensive last year, the replacement of the popular Valerii Zaluzhnyi as commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, tension among Ukraine’s leadership,

Photo: Celestino Arce/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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Portrait of the Invader: 2 years of Russian soldiering in Ukraine

“When Russian security forces apprehended one of the terror suspects, they cut off his ear and reportedly forced him to eat it. The suspect’s mutilation was celebrated on Russian social media,” writes Daniil Ukhorskiy,

litigation officer at Legal Action Worldwide.

Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

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International response

Media: Armenian exports to Russia rise despite political tensions. Bilateral trade between Russia and Armenia has flourished since 2022, providing ground for the accusations of alleged sanctions circumvention, media outlet Euroactiv reported on March 28.

Belgian PM says MEPs, MPs paid by Russian propaganda network. The Russian propaganda network recently uncovered by Czech intelligence paid European and Belgian lawmakers to spread pro-Kremlin disinformation, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said in Brussels on March 28.

Border Guard: Polish protesters temporarily suspend blockade at Uhryniv-Dolhobychuv crossing. Polish protesters have temporarily suspended the blockade of the Uhryniv-Dolhobychuv crossing on the Polish-Ukrainian border in both directions, Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service said on March 28, citing information from the Polish side.

Reuters: UK company developing EW-proof drones for Ukraine. The British company Evolve Dynamics is focusing on developing drones for the Ukrainian military that are able to withstand electronic warfare, Reuters reported on March 28.

Media: Czech-led initiative concludes deals for 1 million shells for Ukraine. A Czech-led initiative had concluded contracts for 1 million artillery shells for Ukraine, with shipments expected already in April, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on March 28, citing undisclosed sources.

Russia uses UN veto to block renewal of North Korea sanctions monitors. Russia on March 28 vetoed the annual renewal of the panel of experts monitoring U.N. sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Swedish defense minister: ‘Deliberations ongoing’ for transfer of Gripen fighters to Ukraine. “The deliberations are ongoing, and they take place within the fighter jet coalition,” Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson said in an interview with the Kyiv Independent in Stockholm on March 28.

Germany delivers tank ammunition, shells, drones, armored vehicles to Ukraine. Berlin announced on March 28 military delivery to Ukraine, which contains armored vehicles, ammunition, and drones, among others, the Federal Government’s press office reported.

NATO-Ukraine Council convenes due to Russia’s attacks on energy infrastructure. The NATO-Ukraine Council held an extraordinary meeting on March 28 at Kyiv’s request in response to Russia’s missile attacks on critical infrastructure, Ukraine’s Mission to NATO said.

Reuters: Losses of foreign firms who exited Russia surpass $107 billion. The exit measures implemented by the Russian government, combined with writedowns, lost revenue, and other factors, account for the staggering figure, Reuters found.

US, South Korea announce joint sanctions targeting financers of North Korea’s weapons program. North Korea has been shaping up to be Russia’s leading weapons supplier, reportedly providing Moscow with extensive military packages, including ballistic missiles and over 3 million artillery shells.

Speaker Johnson likely to face hurdles upon introducing Ukraine aid bill. U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson is likely introducing a Ukraine aid bill after Easter, facing potential challenges due to internal party dynamics.

In other news

Russia claims another suspect detained in connection with Moscow terrorist attack. Another suspect has been detained in connection with the March 22 terrorist attack in Moscow, Russia’s investigative committee said on March 28.

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