Here is the situation as of Thursday, March 9, 2023:
- Near Orekhovo-Vasilievka, 19 kilometers (12 miles) northwest of the eastern Ukrainian city of Pakhmut, Russian forces launched more than 30 failed attacks on Wednesday, according to the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces.
- The head of the Russian Wagner Mercenary Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said that his fighters had captured all the eastern parts of Bakhmut. Prigozhin has previously made premature claims of unverifiable successes.
- Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Irina Vereshuk, said fewer than 4,000 civilians – including 38 children – remained in embattled Bakhmut out of a pre-war population of around 70,000.
- It is possible that the Russian military will be unable to maintain its current level of fighting in Ukraine and will not seize more territory this year, according to US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.
- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev and stressed that the Black Sea Grain Initiative is “absolutely necessary” for the world.
- Rebecca Greenspan, a UN trade official, will meet with senior Russian officials in Geneva next week to discuss the continuation of the deal that allowed Kiev to export grain through Black Sea ports.
- US intelligence agencies have said that China will maintain cooperation with Russia despite the “global backlash”.
- Zelensky called for “democratic success” in Georgia, where thousands of demonstrators were protesting against a controversial “foreign agents” bill.
- Germany’s defense minister, Boris Pistorius, has warned against drawing premature conclusions about who was responsible for blowing up Nord Stream pipelines, suggesting the attack could also be a “false flag” operation to pin the blame on Ukraine.
- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said it was still not clear who was responsible for the pipeline attack last year.
- Prigozhin’s mother, who belongs to Wagner, won an appeal against European Union sanctions imposed on her last year for her alleged support of the mercenary group, which is now fighting in Ukraine.
- Zelensky invited US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to visit Ukraine to see “what is happening” on the ground.
- A cellist linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin moved millions of francs through Swiss bank accounts without any proper cheques, according to Swiss prosecutors.
- A security source told British Sky News that Iran has secretly supplied Russia with large quantities of bullets, missiles and mortars for the war in Ukraine, and plans to send more.
- European Union nations have agreed to speed up supplies of artillery shells and buy more shells to help Ukraine but have yet to work out the details of how to turn the plan into reality.
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