US President Joe Biden hosts German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the White House, Washington, DC, March 3, 2023
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1848 GMT:
The death toll from Russia’s missile demolition of an apartment block in Zaporzhzhia city in southern Ukraine has risen to 11, including a child (see also 0710 GMT).
A woman’s body was found in the rubble on Saturday.
UPDATE 1356 GMT:
Russian shelling has killed a woman and wounded two men who were trying cross a makeshift bridge out of Bakhmut on Saturday.
A Ukrainian army representative said it is now too dangerous for civilians to leave the city by vehicle, so people have to flee on foot.
Ukrainian soldiers had set up a pontoon bridge to help remaining Bakhmut residents — estimated at 4,000 to 4,500 — reach the nearby village of Khromove. Russian forces responded by shelling Khromove, setting at least five houses on fire.
UPDATE 1338 GMT:
Amid mounting Russian losses — the Ukraine military says more than 150,000 of Moscow’s troops have been killed — Russian cadets sing about the honor of returning in a coffin aboard a cargo jet.
This is surely a new low for Russian "patriotic" culture
At a festival in Krasnodar Territory, some cadets performed a song about flying home as Cargo 200 (Russian military code for the transport of troops killed in action) https://t.co/d2whpAWHkU pic.twitter.com/V57Xybg0kO
— Francis Scarr (@francis_scarr) March 4, 2023
UPDATE 1123 GMT:
The German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall is in talks about the construction of a tank factory in Ukraine.
Rhienmetall CEO Armin Papperger said a plant can be set up for about 200 million euros, producing up to 400 Panther-type main battle tanks per year.
He said talks are “promising” and is hoping for a decision within two months.
UPDATE 1113 GMT:
The deputy mayor of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, Oleksandr Marchenko, has told the BBC, “There is fighting in the city and there are also street fights, but thanks to the Ukrainian armed forces they still haven’t taken control over the city.”
Marchenko said there are 4,000 or 4,500 civilians still in the city. They are in shelters which no water, gas, or electricity,” but do have heaters.
He said, “The city is almost destroyed and there’s not a single building that has remained untouched in this war. There are completely detroyed, districts, buildings and apartment blocks.”
[The Russians’] only goal is killing people and the genocide of the Ukrainian people….the tactic that the Russians are using is the tactic of parched land.
They want to destroy Bakhmut…and I honestly can’t understand why they’re doing this.
UPDATE 0742 GMT:
Ukrainian forces are facing the loss of their resupply routes to Bakhmut in the Donestk region.
Russian forces have assaulted the city, with a pre-invasion population of about 70,000, for nine months. Desperate for a first significant victory since July, the attacks have escalated since the autumn by Wagner Group mercenaries, conventional troops, and newly-mobilized men.
In the past two days, two key bridges have been destroyed, including the last major link between Bakhmut and Chasiv Yar to the west. Other routes are under intensive Russian shelling, and Moscow’s forces have made gains to the north.
The Ukraine military is despatching elite units to the city, indicating that it is not yet pursuing a controlled withdrawal to defense lines to the west.
UPDATE 0717 GMT:
In an appearance in New Delhi, India on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared, “We are trying to stop the war that was started against us, which was launched against us using the Ukrainian people.”
The audience responded with laughter and exclamations of disbelief.
Watch from 28:55:
UPDATE 0710 GMT:
The death toll has risen to 10 from Thursday’s Russian missile strike on an apartment block in Zaporizhzhia city in southern Ukraine.
Rescuers retrieved the bodies of three more people from the ruins of the destroyed building, emergency services said early Saturday.
UPDATE 0659 GMT:
Russia will seal up and mothball three of its four Nord Stream gas pipelines to Germany, say “sources familiar with the plans”.
Both Nord Stream 1 and one of the two Nord Stream 2 pipelines were struck by explosions in September in the Baltic Sea.
The pipelines were built by Russian State firm Gazprom to pump 110 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year to Germany, with the Nord Stream 2s completed in September 2021. But Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine prevented the Nord Stream 2s from starting operations, and halted deliveries through Nord Stream 1.
Gazprom says it is technically possible to repair the three pipelines, but “two sources familiar with plans” said the Kremlin sees little prospect of resumption of supply.
Gazprom’s exports outside the former Soviet Union almost halved in 2022 to reach a post-1991 low of 101 billion cubic meters (see 0645 GMT).
UPDATE 0655 GMT:
Anticipating a Ukrainian counter-offensive, occupying Russian forces construct trenches on the western coast of Crimea.
Meanwhile, in temporarily occupied #Yevpatoria, they are digging trenches on the coast.
Preparing for the tourist season? pic.twitter.com/dZFnzaF1Hw
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) March 3, 2023
UPDATE 0645 GMT:
Russia’s oil and gas revenue almost halved in February amid the imposition of Western restrictions on Moscow’s gas exports to Europe.
The Russian Finance Ministry said tax revenue from oil and gas dropped 46% in February, compared to a year ago, to 521 billion rubles ($6.91 billion).
Returns from crude oil and petroleum products, accounting for more than 2/3rd of energy revenue, fell by 48% to 361 billion rubles.
In December, the European Union banned most seaborne imports of crude and petroleum products from Russia. The EU, US, and the other G7 nations imposed a price cap on Russian oil of $60 per barrel.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Meeting in Washington, US President Joe Biden and Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz have pledged unending support for Ukraine’s resistance against the Russian invasion.
At a press appearance before their discussion, Biden referred to their last meeting, just before the invasion on February 24, 2022:
We made it clear that if [Vladimir Putin] moved, we would both respond, and together we made good on that promise.
And I want to thank you, Olaf, for your strong and steady leadership. I mean that sincerely. It’s made a world of difference.
You stepped up to provide critical military support, and I would argue, beyond the military support, the moral support you’ve given Ukrainians has been profound.
Scholz responded, “At this time I think it’s very important that we give the message that we will continue to do so as long as it takes.”
The Chancellor added that US-German relations are “a consequential partnership that is really in a very good shape today”.
Some have criticized the Scholz Government throughout the invasion for acting too hesitantly and slowly in the defense of Ukraine. But in January, detailed negotiations — including between Berlin and Washington — led to the multi-national commitment to provide German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks to Kyiv.
Biden also noted Germany’s reduced dependence on Russian gas, from 5.2 million metric tons in January 2022 to 1.3 million in December.
On Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed another $400 million military aid package to Ukraine.
[This] includes more ammunition for US-provided HIMARS [medium-range rocket systems] and howitzers, which Ukraine is using so effectively to defend itself, as well as ammunition for Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, armored vehicle launched bridges, demolitions munitions and equipment, and other maintenance, training and support.
Russia alone could end its war today. Until Russia does so, for as long as it takes, we will stand united with Ukraine and strengthen its military on the battlefield so that Ukraine will be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.