March 31, 2023

On the 388th day of a full-scale military Russian invasion of Ukraine, on Saturday, March 18, Russian troops continue their attempts to keep the captured settlements of the neighboring country under control. The armed forces and units of the territorial defense of Ukraine resist aggression. It is impossible to verify the statements of representatives of both sides from independent sources. According to the UN, about 16 million Ukrainians have already left their homes.

Extension of the term of the grain deal

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, which expired on March 18, has been extended by 120 days. This statement was made by the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov, pointing out that since August 1, within the framework of agreements, 25 million tons of grain have been exported from Ukraine to world markets.

At the same time, he expressed gratitude to UN Secretary General António Guterres, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip ErdoganTurkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and all Ukraine’s partners for “sticking to the agreements.”

The fact of the extension of the agreement was also confirmed by the United Nations, thanking Turkey for its diplomatic support. At the same time, the UN did not indicate the exact date for the extension of the grain deal.

Meanwhile, after a message from the Ukrainian side, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow “notified all participants” of the extension of the deal for 60 days, not 120. agricultural bloc of this agreement”.

Russia will consider extending the deal after 60 days only if there is “tangible progress” in the execution of the Russian part, according to a copy of the letter from Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzi, obtained by Russian state media.

International Criminal Court warrant for Putin’s arrest

prosecutor International Criminal Court (ICC) Karim Khan believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin could stand trial for alleged crimes in Russia’s war in Ukraine – despite statements by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who previously called the issuance of an ICC warrant for the arrest of the Russian head of state “legally void” step.

“Article 27 of the Rome Statute states very clearly that the official position of (the suspect. – Red.) the person does not play a role for the jurisdiction of the court,” Khan said in an interview with CNN. The court’s independent judges also “deemed it appropriate” to issue a warrant, Karim Khan added. The court does not conduct trials in the absence of suspects, so the accused must either be transferred by Moscow, or arrested outside of Russia.However, ICC judges can allow pre-trial evidence assessment hearings to be held without the presence of the defendants, Khan said.

Earlier, according to the German media, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed the extradition of the ICC Arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin. “No one can stand above the law and the law,” – said Scholz during a visit to Tokyo.

For his part, the President of the United States Joe Bidencommenting on the decision of the ICC, said that Vladimir Putin “clearly committed war crimes” and the issuance of a warrant for his arrest by the International Criminal Court in The Hague was justified.

Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) António Guterres saidthat will continue communication and meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite the issuance of an ICC warrant for his arrest. According to the representative of the office of the UN Secretary General Stephane Dujarric, the International Criminal Court is not legally connected with the UN Secretariat in the context of such issues. “We take the position that the Secretary General will talk to whom he needs to talk to in order to resolve the issues that are before him,” Dujarric said.

On March 17, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrant for the Russian president in connection with suspicions of committing a war crime – the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia.

The course of hostilities

Over the past 24 hours, the RF Armed Forces have concentrated their main efforts on conducting offensive operations in the Limansky, Avdeevsky, Maryinsky and Shakhtyorsky directions. Bakhmut remains the epicenter of hostilities, they say in the evening summary of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

According to the Ukrainian side, during the day on March 18, the RF Armed Forces launched 5 missile strikes, 4 of which were aimed at civilian infrastructure in Zaporozhye. Also, the enemy launched 16 air strikes and carried out more than 20 attacks from the MLRS, according to the summary.

In the Kupyansk and Limansk directions, the Russian army continues its attempts to break through the defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Russian attacks on Bakhmut also continue. The defenders of the city, however, managed to repel them near the settlements of Orekhovo-Vasilyevka and Grigorovka and in the northern part of the city, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine notes.

The Ukrainian Air Force carried out 6 airstrikes in a day on the places of concentration of enemy forces, follows from the report. The Ukrainian Defense Forces shot down a Shahed-136 drone. Rocket and artillery units delivered seven strikes at places of concentration of enemy personnel and military equipment, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reports.

In turn, the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports that Russian troops conducted limited offensive operations in the Luhansk region along the Kupyansk-Svatovo-Kremennaya line, including in the area of ​​Gryanikovka, Kremennaya, Verkhnekamensky and Disputed, but were not successful.

At the same time, judging by the pictures with geolocation, the Russians have achieved minimal success in the northern part of Bakhmutalso notes ISW, adding that the Ukrainians are building up forces for a counteroffensive.

New laws in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law providing for up to 12 years in prison for illegal export from Russia or the transfer of military goods, technologies or weapons to foreigners. The law also provides for imprisonment from five to 10 years with a fine of up to one million rubles if weapons were exported or illegally transferred abroad by a group of persons by prior agreement.

Another law, signed by Vladimir Putin on the same day, imprisonment for “discrediting” all participants in the war in Ukraine – including volunteers and individuals helping the RF Armed Forces. Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code, which provides for up to 15 years in prison if “false information” caused serious consequences, added a clause on the prohibition of “fakes” about volunteer formations, organizations or individuals who assist in the performance of tasks “assigned to the RF Armed Forces.”

Purchase of drones by Ukraine

The Ukrainian State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection will allocate 31.6 billion hryvnias (807 thousand euros) from its budget for the purchase of drones for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This was announced to RADA TV channel by the head of the service Yuriy Shchigol. “We will mainly buy Ukrainian-made drones,” he said. Shchigol added that the Ukrainian military loses an average of 10-15 drones at the front per day.

See also:

The court in The Hague issued a warrant for the arrest of Putin: what will happen next?

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