Monday, March 6, 2023
Ukraine has pledged to bolster its defences in the frontline of Bakhmut, after reports that Kiev was withdrawing from the city that has become a symbolic prize in the war.
But Ukrainian forces fighting to retain control of the salt-mining town told AFP news agency that Russia’s capture was inevitable and that some units had already begun to pull back.
The eastern Ukrainian city has been badly destroyed during the longest and bloodiest battle since Russia’s more than year-long offensive.
Kiev says the fighting is becoming increasingly difficult and analysts say its forces may have initiated a strategic retreat.
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1822 GMT — ‘Consensus’ in Ukraine military to ‘continue defending’ Bakhmut
Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak has said there was a “consensus” within the Ukraine army to continue defending the embattled city of Bakhmut in the country’s east.
“There is a consensus among the military on the need to continue defending the city and the attrition of enemy forces, while building… new lines of defence in case the situation changes,” Podolyak told AFP news agency.
1758 GMT — Moscow says it thwarts alleged Kiev-backed murder plot against Russian tycoon
Russia’s FSB security service has said it thwarted an alleged Ukraine-backed car bomb attack against a prominent nationalist businessman who has been a cheerleader for Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.
The FSB, Russia’s main domestic intelligence agency, said it had intervened to stop the plot, which it said involved attaching a remote-controlled homemade bomb to the underside of a car used by Russian tycoon Konstantin Malofeyev.
Russia’s Zvezda TV channel shared a video from the FSB that appeared to show a man approaching a parked car and momentarily reaching under it. It later published a video of a robot appearing to remove an object from under a car.
1707 GMT — Ukraine urges probe over footage of alleged POW killing
Ukraine’s foreign minister has urged the International Criminal Court to probe footage circulating on social media that he said showed Russian forces killing a Ukrainian prisoner of war.
“Horrific video of an unarmed Ukrainian POW executed by Russian forces merely for saying ‘Glory to Ukraine’. Another (piece of) proof this war is genocidal,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on social media.
Kuleba said it was “imperative” that International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan “launches an immediate ICC investigation into this heinous war crime”.
1534 GMT — Ukraine needs ‘incredible amount of drones,’ says defence chief
Ukraine’s Defence Chief Oleksii Reznikov has said that his country needed “an incredible amount of drones” that would be “a game changer” in the country’s war with Russia.
“Both drones for reconnaissance and adjustment, shock drones from 3 to 1,000 kilometres, and marine drones. This makes it possible to strike the enemy and it keeps our military alive by providing situational awareness,” Reznikov said in an interview with local news site Liga.
Reznikov said the ministry held a meeting with 80 domestic drone manufacturers to procure the drones it needs with a budget of $542.7 million.
1148 GMT — Wagner chief warns of collapse if forced to retreat from Bakhmut
The founder of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force has said his troops now tightening their grip on the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut were being deprived of ammunition and if they were forced to retreat the entire front would collapse.
“If Wagner retreats from Bakhmut now, the whole front will collapse,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a video published over the weekend. “The situation will not be sweet for all military formations protecting Russian interests.”
The footage was published on a Telegram channel that has been disseminating Prigozhin news and has associated itself with the Wagner Group.
“If we retreat, then we will go down in history forever as people who have taken the main step towards losing the war,” Prigozhin said.
1241 GMT — Ukraine military backs ‘strengthening’ Bakhmut defence
Top Ukrainian military commanders are in favour of holding defensive positions in the embattled eastern town of Bakhmut and strengthening defensive lines there, the presidency has said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a meeting with top military commanders, who “spoke in favour of continuing the defensive operation and further strengthening our positions in Bakhmut,” the presidency said in a statement.
0850 GMT — Russian defence minister visits Ukraine city Mariupol
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has visited the war-battered city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine, his ministry has announced.
The ministry said Shoigu, one of the highest-ranking officials to visit east Ukraine, had toured the destroyed port city to oversee reconstruction efforts.
0827 GMT — Talks between Ukraine and Russia on nuclear plant at standstill
Ukraine has said that diplomatic talks between Kiev and Moscow on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) have reached a “dead end”.
“Currently, the situation has reached a dead end. Our position, which we voice on all international platforms, boils down to the fact that any negotiations regarding the (Zaporizhzhia) NPP should be based on: firstly, the plant’s demilitarisation, and secondly, the exit of Rosatom employees from the ZNPP,” Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko said on Ukraine’s national telethon United News.
0807 GMT — Most of Ukraine’s grain crops in good condition: scientists
Ukraine’s academy of agricultural science has said that most of Ukraine’s winter grain crops – wheat and barley – could produce a good harvest.
“The analysis of the viability of winter wheat… showed that the vast majority of plants – 92 percent to 97 percent, depending on the predecessor and sowing date – were in relatively good condition,” the APK-Inform consultancy quoted a report by the academy as saying, despite Russia’s offensive in Ukraine.
Ukraine is a traditional grower of winter wheat which accounts for around 95 percent of the country’s overall wheat output, and key for both local consumption and exports.
0556 GMT — Ukraine destroys several kamikaze drones launched by Russians: Ignat
The spokesman of the Ukrainian Air Force Command, Yuriy Ignat, has said that Russia launched 15 Shahed kamikaze drones over Ukraine late Sunday night, according to Ukraine’s state broadcaster Suspilne.
“Iranian-made Shahed-136/131 kamikaze drones were launched from the northern direction. Previously, 15 of these UAVs were launched. Thirteen of them were destroyed by air defense using various fire means,” Ignat said.
Russians attacked the central and eastern regions of Ukraine with drones from the north, Ignat added.
0315 GMT — Ukraine may be conducting a ‘limited fighting withdrawal’ in Bakhmut
According to the he US-based Institute for the Study of War, Ukrainian forces may be conducting a limited fighting withdrawal in eastern Bakhmut.
The institute says Ukrainian forces continuing to inflict high casualties against advancing Russian forces, but that it is still too early to assess Ukrainian intentions concerning a complete withdrawal from the city.
20:48 GMT — Zelenskyy pays tribute to troops amid battle to defend Bakhmut
Ukraine’s Zelenskyy has paid tribute to his soldiers fighting in the “painful and difficult” battle for the country’s frontline eastern Donbass region.
“I would like to pay special tribute to the bravery, strength and resilience of the soldiers fighting in the Donbas,” Zelenskyy said.
“This is one of the hardest battles. Painful and difficult.”
Ukraine’s troops, said Zelenskyy, had “repelled assaults, destroyed the occupier, undermined enemy positions and logistics, and protected our borders and cities”.
Kiev this week reported an increasingly difficult situation around the city of Bakhmut that Russia is determined to seize as part of its wider aim of capturing the entire Donbass.
20:03 GMT — No evidence yet China mulling arms deliveries to Russia: EU
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have reiterated that there is no evidence yet that China is planning to send lethal arms to Russia for its war on Ukraine.
“We all agree that there must be no arms deliveries and the Chinese government has also announced that it will not deliver any. That’s what we demand and that’s what we observe,” Scholz told a press conference with von der Leyen in the east German town of Meseberg.
Scholz’s remarks were backed by the European Commission president. “So far we have no evidence of this, but you have to watch it every day,” she said.
Asked about sanctions against China in the event of such deliveries, von der Leyen said this was a “hypothetical question” at the moment.
For our live updates from Sunday (March 5), click here.
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