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The latest developments in Russia's war on Ukraine. All times EDT.
10:07 p.m.: U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Sunday announced a £5 billion investment in defense as part of a review aimed at responding to emerging geopolitical threats from Russia and China, Agence France-Presse reported.
The investment comes after Sunak's defense minister, Ben Wallace, warned in January that the British armed forces were "hollowed out and underfunded."
The investment, part of the 2023 Integrated Review Refresh (IR23), will help to replenish ammunition stocks, modernize the U.K.'s nuclear enterprise and fund the next phase of the AUKUS submarine program, a statement from the prime minister's office said.
"As the world becomes more volatile and competition between states becomes more intense, the U.K. must be ready to stand our ground," Sunak said.
8:25 p.m.: In its latest report, the U.K. Defense Ministry said Sunday that the impact of heavy Russian military casualties in Ukraine varies dramatically across Russia, The Associated Press reported.
The British military's intelligence update said Moscow and St. Petersburg remained "relatively unscathed," particularly among members of Russia's elite.
In many of Russia's eastern regions, however, the death rate as a percentage of the population is "30-40 times higher than in Moscow," the U.K. ministry said. It added that ethnic minorities often take the biggest hit. In the southern Astrakhan region, for example, about "75% of casualties come from the minority Kazakh and Tartar populations."
Russia's mounting casualties are reflected in a loss of government control over the country's information sphere, the Institute for the Study of War said. The think tank said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova confirmed "infighting in the Kremlin inner circle" and that the Kremlin has effectively ceded control over the country's information space, with Putin unable to readily regain control.
6:54 p.m.: The first time that Vitaly Votanovsky was contacted to find out the fate of someone fighting in Ukraine for the notorious Wagner mercenary group was in November 2022, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
Votanovsky told RFE/RL's Caucasus.Realities, a regional news outlet of RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service, that since he began tracking the graves of those killed in Ukraine, he’s found relatives for families across southern Russia, such as cities like Stavropol and Volgograd, and even as far away as Belarus and Kazakhstan. In most cases, the families had not been informed of the deaths and only discovered that their relatives were no longer alive after someone had discovered one of Votanovsky’s photos on his Telegram channel.
6:01 p.m.: After fleeing his native region of Kherson, Ukrainian chef Pavlo Servetnyk ended up in New York. Now he's bringing a taste of his homeland to the Big Apple in his new life as a chef at a Ukrainian restaurant in the United States. During Russian occupation, he helped feed the people of Kherson with free bread from his bakery. Servetnyk claims Russian forces did not appreciate his humanitarian efforts and came looking for him. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this report.
4:16 p.m.: Russian attacks over the previous day killed at least five people and wounded another seven across Ukraine’s Donetsk and Kherson regions, local Ukrainian authorities said, according to The Associated Press.
Donetsk Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said that two people were killed in the region, one in the city of Kostyantynivka and one in the village of Tonenke. Four further civilians were wounded.
Also in the Donetsk province, Sloviansk Mayor Vadim Lyakh said the power grid and railway lines were damaged by Russian shelling on Sunday but didn't report any casualties.
3:28 p.m.: A leading think tank says Russia’s advance seems to have stalled in Moscow’s campaign to capture the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, The Associated Press reported.
The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said late Saturday in its assessment of the longest ground battle of the war that there were no confirmed advances by Russian forces in Bakhmut.
ISW said that Russian forces and units from the Kremlin-controlled paramilitary Wagner Group continued to launch ground attacks in the city but there was no evidence that they were able to make any progress. The report cited the spokesperson of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ Eastern Group.
2:55 p.m.: Russia's foreign ministry said on Sunday that Russian representatives had not yet taken part in negotiations on extending the Black Sea grain deal, Reuters reported.
"There have been no negotiations on this subject, especially with the participation of Russian representatives," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
The next round of talks on extending the deal will be held in Geneva on Monday between Russia's delegation and top United Nations trade official Rebeca Grynspan, Zakharova said.
1:40 p.m.: Flowers of War: Blacksmith Turns Guns and Ammo from the Russian Invasion into Art: A blacksmith in the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk is transforming wartime scraps into keepsakes. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has a photo gallery.
1:10 p.m.: The Institute for the Study of War reported Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova confirmed that there is infighting in the Kremlin inner circle, that the Kremlin has ceded centralized control over the Russian information space, and that Russian President Vladimir Putin apparently cannot fix it.
During a panel discussion Zakharova said that the Kremlin cannot replicate the Stalinist approach of establishing a modern equivalent to the Soviet Information Bureau to centrally control Russia’s internal information space due to fighting among unspecified Kremlin “elites,” ISW reported.
Zakharova’s statement is noteworthy and supports several of ISW’s longstanding assessments about deteriorating Kremlin regime and information space control dynamics.
It is unclear why Zakharova — a seasoned senior spokesperson — would have openly acknowledged these problems in a public setting.
Zakharova may have directly discussed these problems for the first time to temper Russian nationalist milbloggers’ expectations regarding the current capabilities of the Kremlin to cohere around a unified narrative — or possibly even a unified policy.
11:40 a.m.: Pope Francis reiterated his message for peace on Sunday and called on people to not forget those who were killed in Ukraine, The Associated Press reported. "Let's stay united in faith and solidarity with our brothers who are suffering because of the war," he added.
9:42 a.m.: Russia's defense ministry said on Sunday that 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, Reuters reported.
"In the Donetsk direction... more than 220 Ukrainian servicemen, an infantry fighting vehicle, 3 armored fighting vehicles, 7 vehicles, as well as a D-30 howitzer were destroyed during the day," the defense ministry said.
Reuters was not able to independently verify the defense ministry's claim.
8:55 a.m.: After fleeing his native region of Kherson, Ukrainian chef Pavlo Servetnyk ended up in New York. Now he's bringing a taste of his homeland to the Big Apple in his new life as a chef at a Ukrainian restaurant in the United States. During Russian occupation, he helped feed the people of Kherson with free bread from his bakery. Servetnyk claims Russian forces did not appreciate his humanitarian efforts and came looking for him. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has this report.
8:06 a.m.: Oil giant Saudi Aramco says it earned $161 billion last year, claiming the highest-ever recorded annual profit by a publicly listed company and drawing immediate criticism from activists, The Associated Press reported.
The monster profit by the firm, known formally as the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., came off the back of energy prices rising after Russia launched its war on Ukraine in February 2022.
Sanctions have limited the sale of Moscow’s oil and natural gas in Western markets. That profit, however, comes amid growing international concerns over the burning of fossil fuels accelerating climate change. Amnesty International criticized Aramco's profit due to that.
7:15 a.m.: Moldovan police say they have foiled a plot by groups of Russia-backed actors who were specially trained to cause mass unrest during a protest the same day in the capital against the country’s new pro-Western government, The Associated Press reported.
The head of Moldova’s police said at a news conference on Sunday that an undercover agent had infiltrated groups of “diversionists.”
The police official said that some had Russian citizenship and were promised $10,000 to organize “mass disorder” to destabilize Moldova during a protest held in the capital. Seven people were detained.
Several bomb threats Sunday were also reported.
6:36 a.m.: The Ukrainian military asserted on March 12 that the Russian side lost more than 1,000 troops in 24 hours as Moscow's push for the eastern city of Bakhmut continued, and Kyiv said it was determined to defend Bakhmut in part to help prepare for a Ukrainian counteroffensive, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
The fight for Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region, has been one of the most sustained battles of Russia's year-old invasion of Ukraine despite its questionable strategic — as opposed to symbolic — worth in the eyes of many Western military observers.
6 a.m.: In early November, the administration of the Volga River city of Ulyanovsk, some 700 kilometers southeast of Moscow, announced that local middle school No. 52 had been named in honor of Major Aleksandr Shishkov, a 34-year-old graduate of the school who died on May 21, 2022, of injuries suffered in the war in Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
According to the report from the mayor’s office, Shishkov’s mother, after laying flowers at a memorial plaque honoring her son by the entrance to the school at a ceremony on October 22, said the soldiers under her son’s command “unanimously” considered him “a commander from God.” He was posthumously decorated as a Hero of Russia by presidential decree.
It was one of thousands of similar government initiatives aimed at boosting support for authoritarian President Vladimir Putin and his unprovoked, massive invasion of neighboring Ukraine at the grassroots level. But the Ulyanovsk decision dismayed many of the school’s former teachers and students, who had long associated school No. 52 with educator Radi Sharkayev, who served as its director for more than five decades.
5:22 a.m.: The latest intelligence update from the U.K. defense ministry said that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has left the Russian elite largely unscathed.
A Feb. 21 photograph of Russian President Vladimir Putin's state of the nation speech shows the front two rows of the audience filled with Russian senior officials. "None of these are known to have children serving in the military," the update noted.
In many Eastern regions, however, it's a different story. There, deaths are running at a rate more than 30 times higher than in Moscow. And in some places ethnic minorities make up as much as 75% of the casualties.
4:01 a.m.: The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank, said in its latest Ukraine assessment that Wagner financier Yevgeny Prigozhin said that he would transform the Wagner Group into a hardline ideological elite parallel military organization after the Battle of Bakhmut.
Meanwhile, Russian forces continue to establish fortifications in Zaporizhia Oblast and Russian mobilized soldiers continue to publicize complaints that commanders treat them poorly and used them as expendable manpower.
2:07 a.m.: Ukraine's foreign minister 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 in an interview published on Sunday 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, according to Reuters.
Kuleba made clear he did not expect Western allies to give Ukraine the fighter jets it has been asking for any time soon.
But he said Ukrainian pilots should be trained anyway, so they would be ready once that decision was taken, the paper wrote.
If Germany were to train Ukrainian pilots, that would be a "clear message of its political engagement," he said.
1:06 a.m.: The Kyiv Independent reported that two children in Zaporizhzhia Oblast were hurt Saturday when the antitank grenade they were playing with exploded.
The boys, 3 and 11, found the object on the street and brought it home, where it detonated as they played with it.
12:02 a.m.: The first time that Vitaly Votanovsky was contacted to find out the fate of someone fighting in Ukraine for the notorious Wagner mercenary company was in November 2022.
He received a Telegram message from the aunt of 22-year-old Andrei Kargin saying that she hadn’t heard from her nephew for months since he deployed to Ukraine as part of the Russian group, and she was beginning to wonder what fate he had met.
She had filled out all the necessary paperwork to be contacted in the event of his death, but had received no word from Wagner.
Since then, Votanovsky has been contacted by numerous families about the fate of their relatives fighting as mercenaries for Wagner in Ukraine.
Since he began began tracking the graves of those killed in Ukraine, he’s found relatives for families across southern Russia and even as far away as Belarus and Kazakhstan. In most cases, the families had not been informed of the deaths and only discovered that their relatives were no longer alive after someone came across one of Votanovsky’s photos on his Telegram channel.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has his story.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.