Vladimir Putin with Russia’s “Commissioner for Children’s Rights” Maria Lvova-Belova, March 2022 — Both may face war crimes charges by the International Criminal Court
Monday’s Coverage: Zelenskiy — 1,100+ Russian Troops Killed Within Days in Battle for Bakhmut
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1721 GMT:
Lithuania has designated Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries as a terrorist group.
The Lithuanian Parliament unanimously said Wagner had committed “systematic, serious crimes of aggression” in Ukraine. The mercenaries are a “shadow tool of the Russian power, using military equipment provided by the Russian government”.
UPDATE 1715 GMT:
Poland continues to take the lead in pushing for an international coalition to supply Ukraine with fighter jets.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, said can supply Ukraine with Soviet-era fighter jets in the coming four to six weeks.
Morawiecki has previously suggested that other countries supply Poland with jets, allowing Warsaw to release MiG-29s.
UPDATE 1707 GMT:
A Russian fighter jet has downed a US Air Force drone over the Black Sea.
The MQ-9 Reaper drone was operating over international waters when one of two SU-27 Flanker jets in the area intentionally flew in front of it and dumped fuel.
One of the Su-27s then damaged the propeller of the Reaper. That forced the US military to bring down the Reaper in international waters in the Black Sea.
US Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said the Russian jets “flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless and unprofessional manner: “This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional.”
The US State Department has summoned the Russian Ambassador over the incident.
Russia’s Defense Ministry insisted that its fighter jets “did not use airborne weapons and did not come into contact” with the drone —- points which did not address the dumping of fuel to interrupt the operation of the UAV.
UPDATE 0928 GMT:
Russian shelling has killed a civilian in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine on Tuesday morning.
A 55-year-old woman died immediately when a car was hit in Vovchansk.
A Russian strike has killed one civilian and injured three in Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region on Tuesday morning.
Six high-rise buildings were damaged.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy reported the casualties.
The evil state continues to fight against the civilian population. Destroying life and leaving nothing human. Every strike that takes an innocent life must result in a lawful and just sentence that punishes murder.
President #Zelenskyy has reported one death as a result of the strike on #Kramatorsk.
At least three people were injured. pic.twitter.com/1INi9LQyJG
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) March 14, 2023
UPDATE 0802 GMT:
UK military intelligence assesses that Russia’s offensive capability is limited by a shortage of artillery shells.
The analysts find that “extremely punitive shell-rationing is in force on many parts of the front” and that Russia is “almost certainly” resorting to the use of old munitions which had classified as unfit for use.
They noted a March 3 decree by Vladimir Putin empowering the Trade and Industry Ministry to bypass the authority of defense industry managers who fail to meet their goals.
UPDATE 0751 GMT:
Ukrainian partisans claim they have assassinated the deputy head of the military administration in Russian-occupied Nova Kakhova in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine.
The partisan faction Atesh said it detonated a bomb killing the official as he approached his car outside a cafe. It added that no civilians were injured.
The group has also claimed other attacks on Russian personnel in occupied Ukraine, including a car bomb in the Nova Kakhovka area on February 10 that killed two Russian soldiers and injured two.
Ukrainian partisan underground group Atesh shared footage of reportedly blowing up a rail track in Kherson Oblast to disrupt Russian logistics
The rails were reportedl damaged on mar 11 between the settlements of Radensk and Abrikosivka, Kherson Oblasthttps://t.co/3NH7TVxYR4 pic.twitter.com/qIzDhI2elX
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) March 14, 2023
UPDATE 0740 GMT:
The Italian government says Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries are sending boats of migrants across the Mediterranean, retaliating against the support of Italy and other countries for Ukraine’s resistance to Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said:
I think it is now safe to say that the exponential increase in the migratory phenomenon departing from African shores is also, to a not insignificant extent, part of a clear strategy of hybrid warfare that the Wagner division is implementing, using its considerable weight in some African countries.
About 20,000 migrants and refugees have reached Italy so far this year, compared to 6,100 in the same period of 2022.
In an obscenity-laden message, Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin insisted, “We have no idea what’s happening with the migrant crisis, we don’t concern ourselves with it.”
ORIGINAL ENTRY: The International Criminal Court is planning to open the first cases over Russia’s war crimes in Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Court will seek arrest warrants for several people, according to “current and former officials with knowledge of the decision”. The cases are connected with Russia’s deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure, and abduction and deportation of Ukrainian juveniles to Russian re-education camps.
Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan will first present the charges to a panel of pre-trial judges who will decide whether legal standards have been met for arrest warrants.
Even Vladimir Putin could be charged as the ICC does not recognize immunity for a head of state in cases involving war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide. However, the chance of a trial for senior Russian officials is slim, as the court cannot hear cases in absentia.
The first case involves the Kremlin-sponsored program forcibly transferring Ukrainian minors, from toddlers to teenagers, to Russia. Some are moved from the re-education camps and orphanages to “adoption” by Russian citizens.
Ukrainian officials have said that at least 16,207 children have been deported, while a report from Yale University confirmed more than 6,000.
Russian officials have spoken openly about the program. Maria Lvova-Belova, the Presidential commissioner for “children’s rights”, has boasted that 350 children have been adopted by Russian families — including an infant which she has taken into her family — and more than 1,000 are awaiting adoption.
See also Ukraine War, Day 357: Russia’s “Re-Education” of 1000s of Ukrainian Children
The second case highlights the Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure, including sites for energy and water.
Moscow has carried out 18 waves of missile and drone assaults since October 10.
See also Ukraine War, Day 380: Zelenskiy on Russia’s Missile Strikes — “Our State and People Will Not Be in Chains”
Responding to the news, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov snapped that Russia does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC.
Keep up the good work.