Russia Ukraine news latest update: Kyiv troops ‘sent to death’ in Bakhmut as Putin suffers ‘heavy losses’

Ukrainian ‘kamikaze drone’ targets Russian tank in Kharkiv Oblast

Ukrainian troops have told of being “sent to their death” in Bakhmut – the small eastern city at the centre of Russia’s winter campaign.

Amid reports of heavy losses within Moscow’s ranks, Kyiv forces have spoken of their own desperate fight for survival against Russia’s “infinite” stocks of artillery and personnel.

It comes as Russian-US relations continue to deteriorate, after an American drone was downed after an incident with one of Moscow’s fighter jets.

And in a separate incident, a Russian aircraft was intercepted by RAF and German fighter jets near Estonian airspace in the first joint exercise between the two Nato allies.

Two British and German Typhoon jets were scrambled on Tuesday when a Russian air-to-air refuelling aircraft failed to communicate with Estonian air traffic control.

The UK Ministry of Defence stressed the “routine” nature of the mission, but it comes amid tensions between the West and Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.


The Ukrainian troops being ‘sent to death’ in Bakhmut

Ukrainian troops have told of being “sent to death” in Bakhmut – the small eastern city at the centre of Russia’s ever-intensifying winter campaign.

Amid reports of ”heavy losses” within Moscow’s ranks, Kyiv forces have spoken of their own desperate fight for survival against Russia’s “infinite” stocks of artillery and personnel.

“When they drive us to Bakhmut, I already know I’m being sent to death,” one Ukrainian soldier told The Kyiv Independent during a short stay in nearby Kramatorsk, some 25km west of the front line.


“(The Russians) keep firing at us, but we don’t have artillery – so we have nothing to attack them back with,” said Volodymyr, whose surname was withheld to protect his identity. “I don’t know if I will return or not. We are just getting killed.”

Russia’s advance has relied heavily on members of the Wagner group – often referred to as Vladimir Putin’s “private army” — who have made slow gains in Bakhmut, but at an immense cost.

Moscow first attempted to win the brutal conflict with a “human wave” of assaults using battalions of convicts, before sending in elite mercenary troops.

It comes after president Volodymyr Zelensky and his top military command agreed to continue to defend Bakhmut.


“It’s a pity that probably 90 per cent of our losses are from artillery – or tanks and aviation. And much less (casualties) from shooting battles,” Valeriy, another solider, told the news site a few hours after leaving Bakhmut.

He said “only a few” of the original 27 members of his platoon got out of the city with him, but explained that most of them were wounded, not killed.

“The Russians have so many weapons, and there are so many of them,” Valeriy said. “They are firing at us all the time. Sometimes, you hear an incoming (shell) every second.”

Emily Atkinson15 March 2023 15:21


Ransomware could impact Ukraine’s supply lines

Microsoft found that a particularly sophisticated Russian hacking team, known within the cyber security research community as Sandworm, was testing additional ransomware-style capabilities that could be used in destructive attacks on organizations outside Ukraine that serve key functions in Ukraine’s supply lines.

A ransomware attack typically involves hackers penetrating an organization, encrypting their data and extorting them for payment to regain access.

Historically, ransomware has also been used as cover for more malicious cyber activity, including so-called wipers that simply destroy data.

Since January 2022, Microsoft said it had discovered at least nine different wipers and two types of ransomware variants used against more than 100 Ukrainian organizations.

These developments have been paired with a growth in more stealthy Russian cyber operations designed to directly compromise organizations in countries allied to Ukraine, according to the report.

“In nations throughout the Americas and Europe, especially Ukraine’s neighbors, Russian threat actors have sought access to government and commercial organizations involved in efforts to support Ukraine,” said Clint Watts, general manager for Microsoft’s Digital Threat Analysis Center.

Sam Rkaina15 March 2023 21:50


Microsoft warns of new Russian cyber attack on Ukraine

Russian hackers appear to be preparing a renewed wave of cyber attacks against Ukraine, including a “ransomware-style” threat to organizations serving Ukraine’s supply lines, a research report by Microsoft said on Wednesday.

The report, authored by the tech giant’s cyber security research and analysis team, outlines a series of new discoveries about how Russian hackers have operated during the Ukraine conflict and what may come next.

“Since January 2023, Microsoft has observed Russian cyber threat activity adjusting to boost destructive and intelligence gathering capacity on Ukraine and its partners’ civilian and military assets,” the report reads. “One group appears to be preparing for a renewed destructive campaign.”

The findings come as Russia has been introducing new troops to the battlefield in eastern Ukraine, according to Western security officials. Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov last month warned that Russia could accelerate its military activities surrounding the February 24 anniversary of its invasion.

Experts say the tactic of combining physical military operations with cyber techniques mirrors prior Russian activity.

“Pairing kinetic attacks with efforts to disrupt or deny defenders’ ability to coordinate and to use cyber-dependent technology is not a new strategic approach,” said Emma Schroeder, associate director of the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative.

Sam Rkaina15 March 2023 20:55


Zelensky thanks British journalists for ‘vital support’ in Ukraine’s war against Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said the country “needs the world’s attention even more than before” as he thanked British journalists for their “vital support” in the war against Russia.

In a keynote address to the Society of Editors Media Freedom Conference in London on Wednesday, Mr Zelensky urged more reporters to travel to the country to “spread the truth about the Russian aggression, support our defence, and give Ukrainian life worth”.

He told representatives of the British media that the country had issued over 15,000 accreditations to foreign journalists since the beginning of the conflict.

Speaking in a pre-recorded address, Mr Zelensky said: “Now that Russia’s full-scale war has been going on more than a year, Ukraine needs the world’s attention even more than before.”

(Getty Images)

Sam Rkaina15 March 2023 20:00


Latest on US drone incident from today

* The U.S. military surveillance drone that crashed into the Black Sea after being intercepted by Russian fighter jets may never be recovered, White House spokesman John Kirby said. Russia said it would try to retrieve the remains of the drone.

* Russia’s ambassador to the United States said he had told Washington that Russia would “no longer allow anybody to violate our waters”, the TASS news agency reported.

* The incident shows that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to expand the Ukraine-Russia conflict zone, a senior Ukrainian security official said.

Sam Rkaina15 March 2023 19:15


Oscar stirs criticism of Navalny from Ukrainians

Kremlin critics were cheered this week when a Western documentary about jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny won an Oscar, but his political movement is in turmoil and some Ukrainian politicians say the award is undeserved.

Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most high-profile domestic critic, is serving 11-1/2 years in jail in Russia after being convicted of fraud in two cases he and the West say were trumped up to silence him, and his anti-corruption organisation has been banned as extremist.

His supporters cast him as a Russian version of Nelson Mandela who survived an assassination attempt and will one day be freed from unjust imprisonment to lead Russia. The lawyer-turned-activist remains a fierce Kremlin critic, releasing regular statements via his lawyers from behind bars.

But his Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF), which now operates outside Russia, is reeling after his Chief of Staff Leonid Volkov admitted he had – without his colleagues’ knowledge – lobbied the European Union to lift sanctions on Mikhail Fridman, one of Russia’s richest men.

Volkov apologised for what he said was “a big political mistake” and said he was taking a break from his role as chairman of the ACF.

Yet some fellow opposition members were furious, saying the ACF should be trying to hasten Putin’s political demise rather than helping wealthy businessmen.

Vladimir Milov, a Navalny ally and a former deputy energy minister, said some in the opposition had shown themselves to be “super-naive” in seeking the lifting of sanctions on Fridman, whom he described as Russia’s “champion corporate raider”.

“It inflicts colossal damage on the image of the Russian opposition,” said Milov. “After this it will be necessary to restore the reputation of the Russian opposition in the West.”

(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Sam Rkaina15 March 2023 18:30


Russia’s weekly consumer prices rise ahead of rates decision

Russia’s weekly consumer prices rose marginally, data from the state statistics service Rosstat showed on Wednesday, reinforcing analysts’ expectations for the central bank to hold rates at 7.5% Friday.

The Bank of Russia has become more hawkish this year, warning as it held its key rate at 7.5% last month that further widening of the budget deficit may compel it to raise the cost of borrowing. Analysts polled by Reuters expect a hold.

Consumer prices rose 0.02% in the week to March 13, Rosstat said, compared with no change in the previous week and a slight drop the week before.

Since the start of the year, prices have risen 1.32%, a slower pace than in the same period of 2022, Rosstat said.

Separately, the economy ministry said inflation was running at an annualised rate of 7.65% as of March 13, slowing from 9.43% a week earlier.

Inflationary pressure, though elevated, is showing signs of easing. Inflationary expectations for the year ahead among Russian households, an indicator the central bank watches closely, dropped to 10.7% in March, data showed on Wednesday, down from 12.2% in February.

“Such figures two days before the Bank of Russia’s board of directors meeting effectively remove the question of a possible rate hike from the agenda,” said CentroCreditBank economist Evgeny Suvorov. “The main intrigue now is – will the central bank soften its rhetoric?”

Russia’s annual inflation rate in 2022 was 11.9%, almost three times the government’s official 4% target. The central bank forecasts inflation will be 5%-7% this year, falling to the 4% target in 2024.

Russian households regularly cite inflation as a key concern, with many having no savings after a decade of economic crises. Rising prices have dragged living standards down.

Sam Rkaina15 March 2023 17:45


EU lawmakers ask UEFA to ban Belarus from Euro 2024

A group of more than 100 European Union lawmakers is urging European soccer’s governing body to ban Belarus from qualifying for the 2024 European Championship.

MEPs from across the political spectrum wrote in a letter sent to UEFA president Alexander Ceferin that the Belarusian national team should not be able to compete because of the country’s terrible human rights record.

“These are not only UEFA values at stake, but also UEFA’s reputation and image within democratic societies and international community,” they said.

Emily Atkinson15 March 2023 17:15


US drone may not be recovered from Black Sea

The US military surveillance drone that crashed into the Black Sea after being intercepted by Russian fighter jets may never be recovered, White House spokesman John Kirby has said.

In the first such incident since the Ukraine war began, Russian Su-27 jets struck the propeller of the unmanned drone, making it inoperable, the Pentagon said, worsening already tense relations between Washington and Moscow.


“It has not been recovered. And I’m not sure that we’re going to be able to recover it,” Kirby said in an interview with CNN. “Where it fell into the Black Sea — very, very deep water. So we’re still assessing whether there can be any kind of recovery effort. There may not be.”

If the Russians recover the craft, US authorities have taken precautions to ensure that their ability to draw useful intelligence from it will be limited, Kirby told ABC.

“That said, it’s our property,” Kirby added, and US authorities will continue to explore recovery options.

Emily Atkinson15 March 2023 16:51


Latest images from embattled eastern Ukraine

(AFP via Getty Images)

(AFP via Getty Images)

(AFP via Getty Images)

Emily Atkinson15 March 2023 16:26

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