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Latest Developments in Ukraine: March 14

A local resident looks for his belongings after a shelling in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, March 14, 2023.
A local resident looks for his belongings after a shelling in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, March 14, 2023.

For full coverage of the crisis in Ukraine, visit Flashpoint Ukraine.

The latest developments in Russia's war on Ukraine. All times EDT.

10:05 p.m.:

8:42 p.m.:

8:03 p.m.: There are sandbags around the statues and anti-tank obstacles by the side of the streets, trenches in the nearby forests and land mine warnings in the woods. Signs painted on walls point to the nearest shelter, while air raid sirens occasionally wail across the city, which still sometimes comes under missile attack.

The Associated Press has this photo gallery showing how residents of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, are living their lives as normally as they can while Russia’s invasion of their country continues into its second year.

7:00 p.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that last year's blasts on the Nord Stream gas pipelines had been carried out on a "state level", dismissing the idea an autonomous pro-Ukraine group was responsible as "complete nonsense" Reuters reports.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines connecting Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea were hit by a series of unexplained explosions last September, in what Moscow has called an act of "international terrorism".

Intelligence reviewed by U.S. officials suggests that a pro-Ukraine group - likely comprised of Ukrainians or Russians - attacked the Nord Stream gas pipelines in September, but there are no firm conclusions, the New York Times reported last week.

There was no evidence that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy or other Ukrainian government officials were behind the attacks which spewed natural gas into the Baltic Sea, the newspaper said, citing U.S. officials.

"One should always look for those who are interested. And who is interested? Theoretically, of course, the United States is interested," Putin said.

The United States strongly denies any involvement in the Nord Stream blasts, Reuters said. The White House in February dismissed a blog post by a U.S. investigative journalist alleging Washington was behind explosions as "utterly false and complete fiction."

5:00 p.m.: Poland’s prime minister said Tuesday that his government may hand its Soviet-made MiG-29 fighters jets over to Ukraine “within the next four to six weeks,” according to the Associated Press.

Poland’s leaders said last week that sending the warplanes would be only done within a larger international coalition. Slovakia has also declared readiness to provide its MiG-29 planes to Kyiv and the two NATO nations have urged others to join in.

1:50 p.m.: Ukrainians paid tribute to fallen soldiers at the Wall of Remembrance in Kyiv on March 14 to commemorate Volunteer Day. This photo gallery on Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty tells the story.

1:00 p.m.:

11:35 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his military chiefs agreed on Tuesday to keep defending Bakhmut, which the country's top general said was vital to the defense of the whole eastern front, Reuters reported.

Zelenskyy's office said the president, top government officials and military commanders had discussed the situation in the small eastern city, where Russian and Ukraine forces are taking heavy casualties.

"After considering the defensive operation in the Bakhmut direction, all ... expressed a common position to continue holding and defending the city of Bakhmut," it said in a statement.

General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said the defense of Bakhmut was of "paramount strategic importance".

Ukrainian forces are surrounded on three sides in Bakhmut but show no signs of fall back to a new defensive line. Russia sees taking Bakhmut as a stepping stone for its troops to advance on two bigger cities in the Donetsk region: Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.

9:47 a.m.: President Vladimir Putin said that what was at stake in Ukraine was Russia's very existence as a state, Reuters reported.

In comments to workers at an aviation factory Tuesday, Putin repeated his claim that the West was bent on pulling Russia apart.

"So for us this is not a geopolitical task, but a task of the survival of Russian statehood, creating conditions for the future development of the country and our children," he said.

Putin has accused the West of using Ukraine as a tool to wage war against Russia and inflict on it a "strategic defeat."

The United States and its allies say they are helping Ukraine to defend itself from an imperial-style invasion that has destroyed Ukrainian cities, killed thousands of civilians and forced millions to flee their homes.

8:00 a.m.: Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, voted on Tuesday to approve an amendment that would punish those found guilty of discrediting "volunteer" groups fighting in Ukraine, extending a law that censors criticism of Russia's armed forces, Reuters reported.

The amendment is seen as a move to "protect" fighters working for the private Wagner Group, a mercenary force, which is leading Russia's campaign for the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin has welcomed the proposals - an expansion of Russia's wartime censorship measures introduced after Moscow invaded Ukraine.

7:27 a.m.: Ukrainian officials said Tuesday a Russian missile struck the city of Kramatorsk, killing at least one person and three others.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted on Telegram that the missile hit the center of the city and damaged six high-rise buildings.

“The evil state continues to fight against the civilian population,” Zelenskyy said. “Destroying life and leaving nothing human. Every strike that takes an innocent life must result in a lawful and just sentence that punishes murder. It will definitely be that way.”

The attack came as Russia pointed to what it said was Ukraine’s refusal to engage in peace talks.

6:15 a.m.:

5:55 a.m.: Reuters reported that Lithuania's parliament voted unanimously on Tuesday to designate Russia's Wagner mercenary force "a terrorist organization," accusing it of "systematic, serious crimes of aggression" in Ukraine.

5:30 a.m.: Russia does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the TASS news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Tuesday.

Reuters reported that Peskov was asked about reports the ICC was expected to seek its first arrest warrants against Russian individuals in relation to the conflict in Ukraine shortly.

"We do not recognize this court, we do not recognize its jurisdiction," TASS quoted Peskov as saying.

The prosecutor of the ICC is expected to ask a pre-trial judge to approve issuing warrants against several Russians for the abduction of children from Ukraine to Russia and the targeting of civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Monday.

4:45 a.m.: Turkey's defense ministry said on Tuesday that talks over the extension of a deal that allows the export of Ukrainian grain on the Black Sea is still continuing.

Reuters reported that, in a statement, the ministry cited Russia as agreeing to back a 60-day extension to the deal, brokered between Moscow and Kyiv in July by Turkey and the United Nations.

Russia said the deal had been extended for 60 days, but Ukraine said the agreement allows only a 120-day extension.

4:10 a.m.: Ukraine will stick to the terms of the previously signed agreement on a 120-day extension of the Black Sea grain export initiative, Reuters cited a senior Ukrainian government official as saying on Tuesday.

"We will follow the agreement strictly," the official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

Russia's TASS news agency cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko as saying on Tuesday that the deal that facilitates Ukrainian agricultural exports had been extended on the previous conditions.

3:40 a.m.:

3 a.m.:

2:20 a.m.: Moscow has not been informed about the progress of an investigation into last year's Nord Stream pipeline blasts and has handed in a report to prove this to the United Nations, a senior diplomat said on Tuesday according to Reuters.

Russia has prepared an "official document" based on its correspondence with Denmark, Sweden and Germany and has given copies of it to the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. General Assembly, said Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador.

"The documents allow our colleagues at the U.N. to verify that the allegations that these countries have informed us of the progress of their investigations are not true," Polyanskiy said on the Telegram messaging platform.

The Sept. 26 explosions on the pipelines connecting Russia and Germany occurred in the exclusive economic zones of Sweden and Denmark.

Denmark, Germany and Sweden told the Security Council in a joint letter in February that the "Russian authorities have been informed regarding the ongoing investigations" by their national authorities.

1:30 a.m.: The European Commission is set to propose a revamp of Europe's electricity market rules on Tuesday, aimed at expanding the use of fixed-price power contracts to shield consumers from severe price spikes like those experienced last year.

The European Union vowed to overhaul its electricity market after cuts to Russian gas after its invasion of Ukraine last year sent European power prices soaring to record highs, forcing industries to close and hiking households' bills.

Draft versions of the EU proposal, seen by Reuters, outline measures designed to make consumers less exposed to short-term swings in fossil fuel prices — by nudging countries to use more contracts that lock in stable, long-term electricity prices.

Reuters had the full report.

12:45 a.m.: Agence France-Presse reported that Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko said Monday her abrupt withdrawal from the Indian Wells hard court tournament was due to a panic attack shortly before she was to take on Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Tsurenko told the Big Tennis of Ukraine portal that the overwhelming emotions came days after she was "shocked" by a conversation with WTA chief executive Steve Simon in which they discussed ongoing tensions in the game as a result of the Russian invasion of her country.

"The reason for the refusal was a panic attack," Tsurenko said of her failure to take the court for her third-round match.

"Officially, it will be written as "personal reasons," but in fact it was breathing problems and, one might say, hysteria."

12:01 a.m.:

Some information in this report came from Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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