As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 391st day, we take a look at the main developments.
Here is the situation as it stands on Tuesday, March 21, 2023:
- Fierce fighting continues for control of the centre of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.
- The eastern town of Avdiivka could soon become a “second Bakhmut”, with the risk of being encircled, the Ukrainian military said on Monday.
- The head of Russia’s Wagner Group of mercenaries, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has said his forces control 70 percent of Bakhmut.
- Ukraine’s 2023 grain harvest is likely to fall to 44.3 million tonnes from 53.1 million in 2022 as fewer crops are sown due to the Russian invasion, according to a forecast by the Ukrainian agriculture ministry.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted his Chinese counterpart and “dear friend” Xi Jinping for dinner at the Kremlin on Monday, with the two men holding several hours of informal talks.
- China has offered a 12-point Ukraine peace proposal, and Putin told Xi that Russia was ‘open to negotiations’ about Ukraine.
- Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko has said Kyiv expected China to use its influence on Russia to end the war,
- Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States have urged Xi to press Putin on ending the war.
- Russia has said it had opened a case against the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor and judges who issued the arrest warrant against Putin, saying it was a sign of the “clear hostility” for Russia and Putin.
- Officials say an international conference in London raised $4.9m to support the ICC in its investigations into alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
- ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan told the conference that the issue of the arrest warrants was “very sad” and “very sombre,” noting it was the first time such action had been taken against a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
- European Union countries have agreed to give 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine over the next year, the Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur said.
- Norway said it had delivered eight Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US had authorised an extra $350m in military aid for Ukraine.
- Beijing said it was the US rather than China that was supplying weapons to the Ukrainian battlefield, responding to reports that Russia had used Chinese ammunition in Ukraine.