Liveblog: ++ Ukraine reports slight ground gains ++


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live blog

Status: 07/03/2023 10:42 a.m

Ukrainian forces report retaking around 37 square kilometers on the eastern and southern fronts. Russia has said it has brought around 700,000 children from Ukraine to Russian territory. The developments in the live blog.

According to official information, Russian President Vladimir Putin has received an invitation from the communist leadership in Cuba. However, it is still too early to talk about the preparations for such a trip, the Russian ambassador to Cuba, Viktor Koronelli, told the state news agency RIA. Especially since Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel only visited Putin in Moscow in November. Cuba has condemned sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine war. The long-standing allies have expanded their economic ties, also to ease US sanctions on both sides. Not far from the US state of Florida, Cuba is a popular destination for vacationers from Russia. This year, 66,000 Russian tourists have already visited the Caribbean island state.

Russia’s FSB secret service claims it foiled an assassination attempt on Sergei Axyonov, the Russian-backed Crimean chief. This was reported by the Interfax news agency. The FSB said it had arrested a Russian who had been hired and trained by the Ukrainian security services. The man was supposed to kill Axyonov with a car bomb.

There was initially no comment from Ukraine. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. The Russian Black Sea Fleet is stationed there.

According to a Japanese media report, China has been delivering drones to Russia for months. Part of it is apparently intended specifically for use in the war against Ukraine, reports Benjamin Eyssel.

According to government information, the Ukrainian armed forces made slight gains in terrain last week in their counter-offensive on the eastern and southern fronts and recaptured around 37 square kilometers. There is heavy fighting, especially in the east, said Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljar via Telegram. In the east, Ukrainian troops advanced towards Bakhmut.

The Russian army is attacking in the direction of Lyman, Avdiivka and Maryinka in the Donetsk region. Thanks to a better tactical position and a more favorable orientation of the front, the Ukrainian army has recaptured nine square kilometers in the east. In the south it is an area of ​​28.4 square kilometers. This means that Ukraine has recaptured a total of 158 square kilometers on this front.

Shaded: territories occupied by Russia

According to its own statements, the Ukrainian military intercepted most of the Russian drones over the south and east of the country during the night. The Ukrainian Air Force announced on its Telegram channel that 13 of the 17 drones launched by Russia were shot down by anti-aircraft defenses. “The rest didn’t reach their goal.” This information could not initially be confirmed independently.

According to Ukrainian information, the drones were again Shahed missiles of Iranian design. Moscow has been using this for months to shell the neighboring country.

conflicting parties as a source

Information on the course of the war, shelling and casualties provided by official bodies of the Russian and Ukrainian conflict parties cannot be directly checked by an independent body in the current situation.

As Russia’s extended arm, the Wagner troops have been involved in Africa for years – militarily, politically and economically. What happens to them after mercenary boss Prigozhin falls out of favor in the Kremlin?

According to a newspaper report, the European Union could allow Russia to be partially reintegrated into the global financial network in order to save the agreement to export grain from Ukraine across the Black Sea. The EU is considering a corresponding Russian demand as a concession, reports the Financial Times, citing insiders. Accordingly, it is being examined whether the Russian agricultural bank Rosselkhosbank should be reconnected to the international payment system SWIFT via a new subsidiary in order to process payments in connection with grain exports.

In the course of the sanctions because of the Ukraine war, the big Russian banks were decoupled from the SWIFT system. In order to extend the grain agreement beyond July 17, Russia is also demanding that deliveries of agricultural machinery and components be permitted and that restrictions on insurance and reinsurance be lifted.

According to a media report, the Russian envoy to the United Nations in Geneva sees no reason to extend the grain agreement, which expires on July 18. The implementation of the Russian conditions for the agreement has stalled, Gennady Gatilov told the Russian newspaper “Izvestia”. Among other things, Russia is demanding a reconnection of the Russian agricultural bank Rosselkhozbank to the international SWIFT bank payment system.

According to the chairman of the defense committee of the Russian lower house, the withdrawal of the Wagner mercenaries from Ukraine has no impact on the combat effectiveness of the Russian military. Colonel-General Andrei Kartapolov told the Russian state news agency “Tass” that the regular Russian army was able to repel the Ukrainian offensive without the Wagner fighters. A new mobilization is not necessary.

Russia has said it has brought around 700,000 children from war zones in Ukraine onto Russian territory. This was announced on Telegram by Grigory Karasin, Chairman of the International Committee of the Russian Federation Council. According to Ukraine, 19,492 Ukrainian children were illegally deported to Russia.

With regard to the ongoing counter-offensive, Ukraine has spoken of heavy fighting on several front areas, especially in the east. Russian troops attacked at Avdiivka, Mariinka and Lyman in Donetsk region, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar wrote on Telegram on Sunday.

The occupiers also advanced further near Swatowe in the adjacent Luhansk region. “Fierce fighting is raging there. (…) The situation is quite complicated.” On the other hand, not far from Bakhmut, the Ukrainian army is advancing and has achieved partial success, she added.

In the south of Ukraine, too, their own troops were advancing in the direction of the cities of Berdyansk and Melitopol “in heavy fighting, but gradually,” Maljar wrote. She spoke of “violent enemy resistance”.

Western states want to ensure that Russian crimes in the war of aggression against Ukraine are prosecuted. A center for the prosecution of Russian aggression in Ukraine will be opened today at the EU judicial authority Eurojust. Evidence is to be collected in the center at the authority’s headquarters in The Hague, but targeted charges against suspected perpetrators are also to be prepared. The judicial authorities involved do not rule out criminal prosecution of the Russian state leadership.

Ukraine, several EU countries and the International Criminal Court are involved in the center. A senior representative of the US judiciary is also expected at the opening. A centralized database of evidence relating to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide has already been established at Eurojust.

Western countries have been looking for ways to prosecute Russia, possibly at a special tribunal. The International Criminal Court, also based in The Hague, had already issued international arrest warrants against President Vladimir Putin on suspicion of war crimes such as the alleged kidnapping of minors from Ukraine to Russia. However, the court may not initiate proceedings for aggression itself.

During a visit to Odessa, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy confirmed the planned liberation of occupied areas in the south of the country. Poland wants to send 500 additional police forces to the border with Belarus. Sunday’s live blog to read.

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