Friday, March 24, 2023

Ukraine: Bakhmut ‘difficult’, no signs Ukraine is withdrawing – Usky News

A Russian-installed commander said on Thursday there were no signs Ukraine was withdrawing troops from the eastern Ukrainian city of BakhmutA day earlier top Russian and US officials held a rare phone conversation over a US drone that crashed in the Black Sea
fighting, politics
* The situation is “difficult” for Russian forces trying to recapture the ruined city, as there are no signs Kiev is ready to order the withdrawal of its troops, the Russian-installed leader of Ukraine’s Donetsk region said .
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday that Ukraine’s top military command is in favor of defending eastern Ukraine, including the besieged city of Bakhmut, and inflicting maximum damage on the enemy.
* Chief of the private militia Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhinhas said that his forces control practically half the city and that only one exit route to Ukraine is available.
US drone incident
* Washington’s top general said the crash of a US surveillance drone after it was intercepted by a Russian jet showed Moscow’s increasingly aggressive behaviour, while Russia warned Washington that flying drones near Crimea poses an increased risk.
* Russia said the conduct of US drone flights near Crimea was provocative and could escalate tensions. The top US general said there is a pattern to Russia’s increasing aggression.
* Top US general said US surveillance drone may have broken down and it would be difficult to recover given the depth of water in the area.
* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the United States was “ignoring” the fact that Russia had established airspace restrictions in the region.
* The crash of a US military surveillance drone in the Black Sea is under investigation, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, declining to speak on the motive or motivation behind the incident.
* The MQ-9 “Reaper” unmanned aerial vehicle can hover at 50,000 feet for more than 27 hours, gathering intelligence with sophisticated cameras, sensors and radar.
economy, diplomacy
* Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit soon Putin and, according to media, hold a virtual meeting with Zelensky weeks after China proposed a 12-point plan for peace in Ukraine.
* Turkey’s parliament is “highly likely” to ratify Finland’s NATO accession bid before mid-April, two Turkish officials told Reuters. Sweden and Finland applied last year to join the defense pact after Russia invaded Ukraine but faced objections from Turkey.
Turkey said Turkey would continue discussions to extend a deal allowing grain shipments from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for 120 days instead of 60 days. Berlin said it should continue indefinitely.
* Ukraine’s grain exports for the 2022/23 season stood at 34.7 million tonnes as of March 15, hit by a smaller harvest and logistical difficulties due to Russia’s aggression.


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