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Live blog: Russia continues to mount attacks in eastern Donetsk – Moscow

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Russia’s defence ministry has said its forces continued to conduct military operations in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, claiming to have killed more than 220 Ukrainian servicemen over the past 24 hours. 

“In the Donetsk direction… more than 220 Ukrainian servicemen, an infantry fighting vehicle, 3 armoured fighting vehicles, 7 vehicles, as well as a D-30 howitzer were destroyed during the day,” the defence ministry said. 

However, the claim by the Russian defence ministry could not be independently verified. 

Both sides claim to have inflicted significant losses and the exact numbers are difficult to verify.

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1424 GMT — Swiss president defends neutrality, Ukraine arms ban 

Swiss neutrality is more important than ever, President Alain Berset has said in an interview, defending the controversial ban on transferring Swiss-made arms to Ukraine. 

“Swiss weapons must not be used in wars,” he told the NZZ am Sonntag weekly. 

The long tradition of neutrality has been hotly debated since Russia’s full-scale military offensive against Ukraine in February 2022. 

While the wealthy Alpine country, which is not a member of the European Union, has followed the bloc’s lead on sanctions targeting Moscow, it has so far shown less flexibility on its military neutrality.

1022 GMT —
Russian advance stalls in Ukraine’s Bakhmut: Think tank

Russia’s advance seems to have stalled in Moscow’s campaign to capture the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, a leading think tank has said in an assessment of the longest ground battle of the war.

The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said there were no confirmed advances by Russian forces in Bakhmut.

Russian forces and units from the pro-Kremlin paramilitary Wagner Group continued to launch ground attacks in the city, but there was no evidence that they were able to make any progress, ISW said.

The report cited the spokesperson of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ Eastern Group, Serhii Cherevaty, who said that fighting in the Bakhmut area had been more intense this week than the previous one.

0620 GMT — Most Russian casualties are soldiers drafted from peripheries: British Defence Ministry

The British Defence Ministry has published a new intelligence update saying in Russia, the impact of the ongoing war is not evenly distributed, with wealthier cities and families of the country’s elite being relatively unscathed while other regions and ethnic minorities suffer greatly.

“In many of the Eastern regions, deaths are likely running, as a percentage of population, at a rate 30+ times higher than in Moscow” according to the update. 

0200 GMT — Ukraine, Russia say hundreds of troops killed in Bakhmut battle

Ukraine and Russia have claimed that hundreds of enemy troops were killed over the previous 24 hours in the fight for Bakhmut, with Kiev fending off unabating attacks and a small river that bisects the town now marking the new front line.

Serhiy Cherevatyi, a Ukrainian military spokesperson, said that 221 pro-Moscow troops were killed and more than 300 wounded in Bakhmut. 

Russia’s Defence Ministry said that up to 210 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the broader Donetsk part of the frontline.

While Moscow did not specify Bakhmut casualties, the eastern Donetsk town, now nearly deserted, has been the site of one of the bloodiest and longest battles of the year-long war.

Both sides have admitted to suffering and inflicting significant losses in Bakhmut, while the exact number of casualties is difficult to independently verify.

2300 GMT — Ukraine’s Kuleba urges Germany to send more ammunition and train up pilots

Ukraine’s foreign minister has urged Germany to speed up supplies of ammunition and to start training Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter jets.

Dmytro Kuleba told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that ammunition shortages were the “number one” problem in Ukraine’s attempt to repel Russia’s invasion.

He said German weapons manufacturers had told him at the Munich Security Conference last month they were ready to deliver but were waiting for the government to sign contracts.

“So the problem lies with the government,” Kuleba was quoted as saying.

2000 GMT — Ukraine slams ‘terrorist attacks’ after shelling in Kherson

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has denounced what he called “brutal terrorist attacks” by pro-Moscow units after Russian shelling killed three civilians in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson. 

Ukraine recaptured Kherson in November after nearly eight
months of occupation by Russian forces who seized it soon after
the start of the large-scale invasion. The area is now under
almost constant bombardment from Russian forces on the opposite
side of the Dnipro River.

Zelenskyy said the three people killed in Kherson had gone
to a store to buy groceries.

“I would like to support all our cities and communities that
are subjected to brutal terrorist attacks,” he said in his new address.

“The evil state uses a variety of weapons … to destroy
life and leave nothing human behind. Ruins, debris, shell holes
in the ground are a self-portrait of Russia.”

For our live updates from Saturday (March 11), click here.

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