Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Kyiv, Ukraine, March 21, 2023
Tuesday’s Coverage: Crimea Explosion Destroys Trainload of Russia’s Cruise Missiles
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1158 GMT:
Local officials say 18 people, including two children aged 7 and 9, have been injured by a Russian strike on a high-rise building in Zaporizhzhia city in southern Ukraine.
Eleven of the wounded are in hospital.
UPDATE 1148 GMT:
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has visited military positions near the frontline city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.
His office said the President heard “reports on the operational situation and the course of hostilities on the frontline”, met troops, and held a moment of silence in memory of those slain by the Russian invasion.
I am honored to be here today, in the east of our country, in Donbas, and to award our heroes, to thank you, to shake hands. Thank you for protecting the state, sovereignty, the east of Ukraine.
.@ZelenskyyUa near Bakhmut pic.twitter.com/iVKRDZRwcD
— Iuliia Mendel (@IuliiaMendel) March 22, 2023
See also Ukraine War, Day 386: Russia Offensive “Slowing” as Up to 30,000 Troops Lost in Battle for Bakhmut
UPDATE 1036 GMT:
The latest Russian attacks on the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine have killed four civilians and injured five.
A married couple were killed in Chasiv Yar. One person was killed in Krasnohorivka and one in Bakhmut.
UPDATE 1021 GMT:
Russian forces are now striking Zaporizhzhia city and the largest island in the Dnieper River, Khortytsia.
Russians are barraging Zaporizhzhia.
Residential buildings and Khortytsia island are under enemy fire.
— Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) March 22, 2023
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy reacted on Twitter:
Zaporizhzhia. Right now, residential areas where ordinary people and children live are being fired at.
This must not become "just another day" in 🇺🇦 or anywhere else in the world. The world needs greater unity and determination to defeat Russian terror faster and protect lives. pic.twitter.com/YnocW2yVaU
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) March 22, 2023
UPDATE 0932 GMT:
Russian strikes with Iran-made attack drones have killed four people and wounded seven, including a child, in Rzhyshchiv in the Kyiv region overnight.
The Ukrainian military said it shot down 16 of 21 Shahed drones.
However, two dormitories and college facilities were partially destroyed in Rzhyshchv. Four people are still believed to be under the rubble.
One of the slain was an ambulance driver.
A body of a 40-year-old man was found in the rubble in the hostel of the city of #Rzhyshchiv. The number of victims of the drone attack has risen to four. pic.twitter.com/QGFxDb2pHu
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) March 22, 2023
Three drones were also downed in the Zhytomyr region. There were no casualties.
UPDATE 0927 GMT:
The US has reportedly offered to sell Slovakia 12 new Bell AH-1Z Viper helicopters at a 2/3rds discount, follow the Slovakian delivery of retired MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine.
Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said the Slovakian Government has to approve the deal, paying $340 million for helicopters worth more than $1 billion.
UPDATE 0916 GMT:
The Russian proxy administration in Sevastopol in occupied Crimea has suspended ferry routes from the port city.
Sevastopol proxy head Mikhail Razvozhaev claimed air defenses had destroyed three “objects” with no casualties or damage to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
On Tuesday, an explosion in Dzhankoi in northern Crimea reportedly destroyed a trainload of Russian cruise missiles.
UPDATE 0852 GMT:
The International Monetary Fund says it had reached a staff-level agreement with Ukraine for a four-year financing package of about $15.6 billion.
The IMF’s executive board is expected to discuss approval in coming weeks.
IMF official Gavin Gray said, “The overarching goals of the authorities’ program are to sustain economic and financial stability in circumstances of exceptionally high uncertainty, restore debt sustainability, and support Ukraine’s recovery on the path toward EU accession in the post-war period.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: On Tuesday, an Asian leader made a historic visit to a foreign capital during wartime.
While most attention was on China’s Xi Jinping in Moscow, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida travelled to Kyiv to honor Ukrainians killed during the Russian invasion and to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
The journey was the first by a Japanese Prime Minister to a country at war since 1945. It was timed to show international support for Ukraine, as Vladimir Putin tried to boost his struggling invasion by hosting China’s Xi.
Kishida laid a wreath for the dead outside a church in Bucha, the town near Kyiv where Russian forces carried out mass killings of civilians last March. He said:
The world was astonished to see innocent civilians in Bucha killed one year ago. I really feel great anger at the atrocity upon visiting that very place here.
I would like to give condolence to the all victims and the wounded on behalf of the Japanese nationals. Japan will keep aiding Ukraine with the greatest effort to regain peace.
He reinforced the message by going to the Wall of Remembrance in Kyiv.
In contrast to counterparts in China and India, Kishida has firmly denounced Putin’s attempt to conquer Ukraine as a “disgrace that undermines the foundations of the international legal order”. Japan has been a significant part of the international sanctions against Moscow, and has provided economic and humanitarian assistance to Kyiv.
The Japanese public praised Kishida’s historic trip. The Asahi Shimbun newspaper “applauded” the Prime Minister for the initiative despite the security risks and challenges, saying Japan should continue to provide non-lethal support to Ukraine “as a peace-loving nation”.
Kenta Izumi, the head of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party, added his endorsement while calling on the Prime Minister to report to Parliament soon.
The support is likely to be reinforced when Japan hosts the G7 summit in Hiroshima in May — a marker of the damage of nuclear weapons as Putin has threatened to use them if his invasion is countered. President Zelenskiy is expected to join by video link.
Zelenskiy posted footage of his greeting of Kishida on Tuesday, hailing “a truly powerful defender of the international order and a longtime friend of Ukraine”.
Russia had a different response: it flew two of its strategic bombers over the Sea of Japan.