Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy with troops near the frontline city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, March 22, 2023

Wednesday’s Coverage: Japan’s Prime Minister Visits Kyiv

Map: Institute for the Study of War


The General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces has withdrawn its report that Russian troops withdrew from the key town of Nova Kakhova on the east bank of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region (see 1710 GMT).

The Staff said the initial report had been issued “as a result of incorrect use of available data”.


Spain’s Defense Ministry says the country will send the first six German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine by the end of next week.

Defense Minister Margarita Robles said four more Leopards due for Ukraine will arrive soon in a factory near Seville for inspection and testing.


Russian occupiers have withdrawn from the city of Nova Kakhova in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, say the General Staff of Ukrainian armed forces.

Nova Kakhova is a vital position on the Dnipro River, particularly after Russia withdrew from the west (right) bank — including Kherson city — in November. The area has one of Ukraine’s largest dams and hydroelectric plants.

Russia had dug into positions such as Nova Kakhova along the east and south (left) bank of the Dnipro after its pullback from Kherson city and other territory.

Vladimir Saldo, the Russian proxy “governor” of the Kherson region, insisted, “All Russian military personnel in Nova Kakhovka, as well as in other locations on the left (eastern) bank of the Dnipro remain in their place.”


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has renewed his appeal from more long-range weapons in an address via video link to a summit of European Union leaders in Brussels.

Zelenskiy spoke as he travelled by train amid a visit to the Kherson region in southern Ukraine today and to the frontline near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday. He recounted the “devastating scenes” that he encountered.

The President said Russia’s invasion would be prolonged by delays in the delivery of long-range missiles, by a lack of modern warplanes, and by weaknesses in international sanctions on Moscow.


Slovakia Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad has confirmed the handover of the first four Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine.

Ukrainian pilots flew the jets out of Slovakia. They are the first of 13 approved for transfer by Bratislava.


Amid its losses in Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia cannot fulfil promised supplies to India’s military.

The Indian Air Force confirmed to a Parliamentary committee on Thursday that a “major delivery” for this year that will not take place.

Russia is India’s primary source of military equipment.


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has visited areas of the Kherson region, liberated by Ukrainian forces last autumn, in the south of the country.

Zelenskiy wrote on Telegram, “I spoke with local residents about their current issues and needs. We will restore everything, we will rebuild everything. Just like with every city and village that suffered because of the occupiers.”

Inspecting energy infrastructure, he said, “We have to ensure full restoration and protection of our energy sector. I am grateful to everyone who works for this and returns the light to our people.”


Video of the Ukrainian national flag flying from a communication mast in Russian-occupied Crimea….


The death toll has risen to nine from Russia’s strike, using Iran-made drones, on dormitories and college facilities in Rzhyshchiv in the Kyiv region on Wednesday.

Another nine people, including a child, were wounded.

Two were killed and four wounded in Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine by Russian shelling of residential buildings, a boiler house, and garages.


International Atomic Energy Agency head Rafael Grossi says the situation at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant “remains perilous” and “in a precarious state”.

On March 9 a Russian missile strike disconnected the plant from the power grid, forcing the complex to switch to backup generators running on diesel fuel.

The plant is relying on a single backup power line that remains “disconnected and under repair”, Grossi said on Wednesday.

“I once again call for a commitment from all sides to secure nuclear safety and security protection at the plant,” he urged.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has visited the frontline near Bakhmut in the east of the country, as Russia’s 10-month offensive to seize all of the city slows.

Zelenskiy heard reports on the battlefield situation, met troops, and held a moment of silence in memory of those slain by the Russian invasion. He said:

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.

The President also drew attention with a stop for coffee at a gasoline station en route, meeting the staff.

Ukrainian, US, and UK analysts all assessed on Wednesday that the assault by Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries and conventional forces is struggling.

While Wagner mercenaries occupy the eastern part of Bakhmut, they have been stalled for weeks at the Bakhmutka River which runs through the city of town. Analysts say open ground along the river has created a “killing zone”, making it difficult for even Russia’s “human wave” assaults to advance further.

Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, fighting the Russian Defense Ministry for influence, has complained about a lack of supplies and accused the “monstrous bureaucracy” of being “traitorous”. His fighters have turned to attacks on villages outside Bakhmut, in an effort — unsuccessful so far — to cut off access to the city.

The US-based Institute for the Study of War has assessed since early this month that the effort to seize Bakhmut is “nearing culmination”. It reiterated on Wednesday that the pace of Russian operations “appears to be slowing” with attempts to “launch offensives in other directions”.

In recent days, Russian forces appeared to have shifted focus to the town of Avdiivka, about 90 km (56 miles) south of Bakhmut, “at the expense of their operations” to the north.

UK military intelligence posted on Wednesday, “There is a realistic possibility that the Russian assault on [Bakhmut] is losing the limited momentum it had obtained, partially because some Russian MoD [Ministry of Defense] units have been reallocated to other sectors”.

The analysts cautioned that the Ukrainian defense still “remains at risk of envelopment from the north and south”.

The commander of the Ukrainian ground forces, Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, warned on Thursday, “The aggressor does not give up hope of taking Bakhmut at any cost, despite the losses in manpower and equipment.”

But he confidently said that, as Russia is losing “considerable strength”, Ukraine would repeat its counter-offensive successes last summer and autumn after Moscow weakened itself with costly assaults.

“Very soon we will take advantage of this opportunity, as we once did near Kyiv, Kharkiv, [Balakliia], and Kupyansk,” he assured.

“Russia Will Lose This War”

Zelenskiy also posted on Wednesday about Russia’s latest destruction of high-rise residential buildings, killing at least one person and wounding 33 in Zaporizhzhia city in southern Ukraine.

Two nine-story apartment blocks were struck by missiles.

The President emphasized that areas “where ordinary people and children live are being fired at”, displaying video of the attacks.

In his nightly address to the nation, Zelenskiy concluded:

Russia will lose this war. There is no subject in the world who does not feel this already. Everyone understands all this.

And every Russian murderer should understand that an arrest warrant is the best thing that can happen to them.