Ukraine Daily Summary - Saturday, March 30

Can new security agreements forge Ukraine's path to victory? -- Russia targets Kaniv, Dnister hydroelectric power plants overnight -- Zelensky defends Ukraine's strategy of targeting Russian oil refineries, emphasizes self-defense -- Belgium pledges $107 million to Ukraine for F-16 aircraft maintenance -- and more

Saturday, March 30

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Ukrainian servicemen partake in prayer with an army chaplain as the war continues in Donetsk Oblast on March 28, 2024. (Photo by Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Ukrainian Navy confirms Russia downed its own Su-27 aircraft over Crimea. Russian forces accidentally shot down their own Su-27 fighter jet over occupied Crimea due to “heightened combat readiness,” Ukraine’s Navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk said on air on March 29.

Syrskyi: 500,000 mobilization figure ‘significantly reduced.’ The number of people who need to be mobilized has been “significantly reduced” from the initially proposed 500,000, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief said on March 29.

Russian attack on Kharkiv cannot be ruled out, commander-in-chief says. Any attempt by the Russian army to take the city of Kharkiv would be “fatal” for Moscow’s forces, Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said on March 29.

Top US general says sending ATACMS to Ukraine not as risky as before. The risk of escalation related to the supply of long-range Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles to Ukraine is not as high as it used to be, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Charles Brown said on March 28, according to Defense One.

Lavrov dismisses Zelensky’s peace plan, says those pushing it are ‘not serious.’ Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has dismissed Ukraine’s peace plan, saying it is pointless to ask for Moscow to withdraw its troops from areas it currently occupies.

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Zelensky: Liberation of Ukraine’s territories occupied after 2022 may force Putin to negotiate. The liberation of Ukraine’s territories occupied by Moscow after a full-scale invasion in February 2022 could push Russian President Vladimir Putin to negotiate, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with CBS News published on March 28.

WP: Zelensky defends Ukraine’s strategy of targeting Russian oil refineries, emphasizes self-defense. In an interview with the Washington Post published on March 29, President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed disagreement with the United States’ response to Ukraine’s strikes on Russian oil refineries, emphasizing that Ukraine has the right to use its own weapons for self-defense.

Romania says it found possible drone fragments on its territory following Russian attack on Ukraine. It was not the first time that wreckage of drones, likely from Russia, has been found on Romanian territory.

Ukraine receives $1.5 billion in loans from World Bank. The loan, backed by guarantees from Japan and the U.K., was provided through the World Bank Trust Fund (Advance Ukraine).

Shmyhal: Ukraine to receive record budget financing from partners in March. Ukraine will receive more than $9 billion in financial aid in March, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.

Zelensky: Russia targets Kaniv, Dnister hydroelectric power plants overnight. Russian troops targeted the Kaniv Hydroelectric Power Plant in Cherkasy Oblast and the Dniester Hydroelectric Power Plant in Chernivtsi Oblast during an attack on March 29, President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

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Ukraine war latest: Russian assault on Kharkiv can’t be ruled out, chief commander says.

Russia’s attempt to take the city of Kharkiv can’t be ruled out, Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Oleksandr Syrskyi said on March 29.

Photo: Oleksandr Syrskyi/Telegram

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Can new security agreements forge Ukraine’s path to victory?

In early 2024, Ukraine signed seven agreements with allied countries that span for the next decade, aiming to guarantee Ukraine’s security while negotiating NATO membership.

Photo: Wojciech Grzedzinski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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Naftogaz CEO: Ukraine ‘has to become an energy-independent state.’

Despite Russia’s incessant attacks on Ukraine’s energy system throughout its now more than two-year-old invasion, the country’s oil and gas giant Naftogaz just celebrated its first heating system without any gas imports.

Photo: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Human cost of war

Ukraine retrieves bodies of 121 fallen soldiers. “After identification, the bodies of our defenders will be handed over to their families for a dignified burial,” the Coordination Headquarters wrote in a post on Telegram.

Update: Russian missile attack on Odesa injures 5, including 3 children. Russian troops attacked Odesa with two guided missiles on March 29, injuring three people, Odesa Oblast Governor Oleh Kiper said.

International response

Belgium pledges $107 million to Ukraine for F-16 aircraft maintenance. Belgian Ministers Council approved the 25th assistance package for Ukraine, including 100 million euros ($107 million) for F-16 service through the international “fighter jet coalition,” Belgian Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder announced on March 29.

US warns American companies to stop shipping products that may end up in Russian weapons. Despite wide-reaching import bans and sanctions, the U.S. and its allies have struggled to prevent Western components from ending up in Russian weapons used to attack Ukraine.

Lavrov accuses Armenia of trying to ‘break off’ relations with Russia. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has accused Armenia of “distorting history” in an attempt to “break off” relations with Moscow, he said in an interview on March 28. Armenia has further sought to distance itself from Russia - repeatedly accusing Moscow of being an unreliable partner.

Polish FM: Transport of shells under Czech initiative ‘already being organized.’ The transport of artillery shells for Ukraine secured through the Czech-led initiative is already “being organized,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said on March 29, according to media outlet.

Ukraine puts Transnistria’s chief negotiator on wanted list. Interior Ministry put Vitaly Ignatiev, the chief negotiator for Moldova’s Russian-occupied Transnistria region, on the wanted list in Ukraine. The corresponding publication appeared on the Interior Ministry’s database tracing non March 29.

NATO official: No imminent threat of Russian attack on NATO, urges alliance to ‘become more prepared.’ Lieutenant Admiral Rob Bauer, chair of the NATO Military Committee, told reporters on March 29 that there are currently no signs that Russia is planning an attack on a NATO member, warning instead that the alliance must be prepared for future escalation.

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The LGBTQ+ lives caught in the grip of wartime Russia.

In the vast expanse of Russia, a country where the rigid chill of societal norms and legal strictures often bites more painful than the harshest winter frost, unfolds the poignant story of Ada Blakewell, a 23-year-old trans woman.

Photo: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images

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Ukraine’s popular ‘Drunken Cherry’ opens in London as company expands westward.

In March 2024, !Fest brought the ruby liquor to an entirely new market and opened a Piana Vyshnia in London’s Soho district.

Photo: Piana Vyshnia/Facebook

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In other news

Russian media: FSB claims to foil ‘terrorist attack in crowded place’ in Russia. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) claims to have prevented “a terrorist attack in a crowded place” in Stavropol Krai in southern Russia, the Russian state-owned news agency TASS wrote on March 29.

Defense committee considers all parliamentary amendments to mobilization bill. The parliament’s National Security and Defense Committee reviewed all the 4,269 amendments of a mobilization bill, lawmaker Yaroslav Zhelezniak said on March 29.

Zelensky outlines Security Council priorities after Danilov’s dismissal. President Volodymyr Zelensky said the council’s priorities would be “paying particular attention to our state’s sanctions policy.” Cybersecurity and the implementation of security and war-related decisions were also listed.

Zelensky appoints eх-security council secretary Danilov as ambassador to Moldova. President Volodymyr Zelensky approved on March 29 Oleksiy Danilov, the former National Security and Defense Council secretary, as the next Ukrainian ambassador to Moldova.

Zelensky replaces two Presidential Office deputy heads. President Volodymyr Zelensky on March 29 dismissed Andrii Smirnov and Oleksii Dniprov from their posts as deputy heads of the Presidential Office.

Military officer charged with negligent homicide over death of Zaluzhnyi’s aide. An officer of the commander-in-chief’s assistants’ department has been charged with negligent homicide, misappropriation of arms, and related charges over the death of former Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi’s aide last November, the State Bureau of Investigation said on March 29.

Zelensky tasks authorities to find solution to online gambling following petition. President Volodymyr Zelensky tasked Ukrainian authorities to propose a solution to online gambling after a petition demanding restrictions on their operation passes the threshold for presidential consideration in a few hours on March 29.

Zelensky publishes declaration of $317,000 in family income in 2023. President Volodymyr Zelensky made public his 2023 declaration of assets, income, expenses, and financial obligations as a person who performs office duties in the state or local government authorities, the Presidential Office reported on March 29.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Chris York, Oleksiy Sorokin, Martin Fornusek, Nate Ostiller, Kateryna Hodunova, Katya Denisova, Sonya Bandouil, and Dmytro Basmat.

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