Here is the situation as it stands on Wednesday, March 29, 2023:
- The United States and Russia have stopped sharing biannual nuclear weapons data under the faltering New START arms control treaty.
- The US says it had not seen any indications that Russian President Vladimir Putin was preparing to use tactical nuclear weapons in the Russian war on Ukraine, days after Putin said he was moving such weapons into Belarus.
- Russia has redirected all crude oil exports affected by Western sanctions to “friendly” countries, Russian Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov said.
- The International Olympic Committee has recommended the gradual return to international competitions for Russian and Belarusian athletes who participate as “individual neutral” competitors.
- Russia-backed separatist leader Denis Pushilin has said Russian troops are advancing in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut and have almost taken full control of the city’s metals plant.
- Russian soldiers continue to prioritise encircling the town of Avdiivka, despite heavy losses, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence said.
- Ukrainian authorities said air defences shot down Russian drones near Kyiv and falling debris set a non-residential site ablaze, but no casualties were reported.
- Ukrainian forces killed two civilians when they shelled an apartment building in the Russian-held city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, a member of the Russian-installed police force has claimed.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnkyy has visited the Sumy region in northern Ukraine on a continuing tour of the country’s front-line areas.
- Russia’s navy has fired supersonic antiship missiles at a mock target ship in the Sea of Japan, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation said. Japan said it had witnessed an increase in Russian military activities in the Sea of Japan region.
Aid and sanctions
- Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has suggested Belarus should face further sanctions for allowing Russia to deploy nuclear weapons on its soil. Belarus says it was forced to house Russian nuclear weapons, claiming NATO aggression had threatened its national security, Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency reported.
- The UK and Poland will build two temporary villages in western and central Ukraine to provide housing for people forced from their homes due to Russia’s invasion and war.
- Germany is planning to increase its military aid spending on Ukraine with about 12 billion euros ($13bn) more in spending earmarked for Kyiv.