Accessibility links

Breaking News

Latest Developments in Ukraine: March 8

Ukrainian service members attend a training for using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine March 7, 2023.
Ukrainian service members attend a training for using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine March 7, 2023.

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

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

10 p.m.: Seoul approved export licenses last year for Poland to provide Ukraine with Krab howitzers, which are built with South Korean components, a South Korean defense official and a Polish industry representative told Reuters on Wednesday.

The comments are the first confirmation that South Korea officially acquiesced to at least indirectly providing weapons components to Ukraine as it fights off Russia's invasion.

Officials have previously declined to comment on the Krabs, fueling speculation over whether South Korea had formally agreed or was simply looking the other way.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration's (DAPA) technology control bureau reviewed and approved the transfer of the howitzer's South Korean-made chassis, said Kim Hyoung-cheol, director of the Europe-Asia division of the International Cooperation Bureau.

He later stressed that the government's stance is to not transfer weapons systems to Ukraine.

9:10 p.m.:

8:32 p.m.: A blacksmith in the Russian-controlled eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk is practically beating swords into ploughshares and turning one man’s trash into treasures. Viktor Mikhalev takes weapons and ammunition and produces what he calls the flowers of war, The Associated Press reported.

Mikhalev, who trained as a welder, lives and works in a house whose fence and door are decorated with forged flowers and grapes. In his workshop are piles of half-burnt machine guns and shells from the war’s front line. Friends and acquaintances bring them as raw material for his art.

Donetsk, the center of Ukraine’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, has been engulfed by fighting ever since the Moscow-backed separatist rebellion erupted in April 2014, weeks after Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

The Kremlin has made capturing the entire region a key goal of its invasion that began a year ago, and it illegally annexed Donetsk along with three other regions in eastern and southern Ukraine in September, declaring them part of Russia.

8 p.m.: The mother of Russian mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin won a legal bid on Wednesday to overturn European Union sanctions against her, as a court ruled there was no proof that she bore responsibility for his actions, Reuters reported.

The decision in favor of Violetta Prigozhina, 83, is a rare example of an individual successfully contesting EU sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The EU has imposed the measures on nearly 1,700 people and entities.

It came as her son, head of the Wagner mercenary group, claimed new advances for his men in a brutal battle for the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

7:19 p.m.: U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he has no plans to visit Ukraine after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy extended an invitation, CNN reported on Wednesday.

In an interview with CNN, Zelenskyy asked McCarthy, a Republican, to see the situation in Ukraine firsthand.

"Mr. McCarthy, he has to come here to see how we work, what’s happening here.... Then after that, make your assumptions," Zelenskyy said in the CNN interview.

The United States has extended nearly $32 billion in aid to Ukraine since Russian troops invaded on Feb. 24, 2022, but some far-right Republicans have balked at sending more.

Asked about Zelenskyy's invitation, McCarthy told CNN he did not need to travel to the country and would get information in other ways.

"I will continue to get my briefings and others, but I don’t have to go to Ukraine or Kyiv to see it," he said.

6:46 p.m.:

6 p.m.: The Kyiv Independent tweeted: Ukrenergo: No recorded energy deficits in past 25 days.

No energy deficits have been recorded in the last 25 days, according to the state electricity grid operator Ukrenergo.

5:33 p.m.: The Institute for the Study of War tweeted: #Russian occupation authorities in #Kherson Oblast are reportedly considering a local fall election campaign in both west and east bank Kherson Oblast despite the fact that Russian forces have not controlled west bank Kherson Oblast since November 2022.

5 p.m.: Leaders of nine Social Democratic parties in Europe have declared unwavering support for Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s invasion, The Associated Press reported.

Social Democrats from Germany, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Poland, Sweden, Slovenia, Finland and Croatia met in Warsaw on Wednesday for a conference about the war and how it has altered European politics.

Former Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven stressed that Europe must make sure Ukraine wins the war and that any peace agreement is struck on Kyiv’s terms.

The co-chairman of Germany’s Social Democratic Party stressed that Ukrainians were defending European values as well as their country. He said German-made Leopard 2 tanks would make it to the front lines in Ukraine this month.

4:20 p.m.:

3:40 p.m.: Kindergarten teacher Olena Naumova was struggling to breathe as she sat in the back seat of a car driving through the streets of her hometown of Kherson on the morning of Aug. 23, the Kyiv Independent reported Wednesday.

For 11 days, Naumova, 57, who had participated in protests against the Russian occupation of Kherson, was locked in a tiny basement cell. She was threatened and interrogated multiple times, she told the Kyiv Independent.

As she was released under house arrest, Naumova went into hiding.

On Nov. 11, Naumova and numerous other Khersonians came out of hiding when the Ukrainian Armed Forces entered the city, the news agency reported.

3:05 p.m.: The Institute for the Study of War tweeted: Russian authorities are reportedly requiring those traveling from occupied #Luhansk Obl. to #Russia to fill out “foreign migration” cards suggesting Russian officials continue to struggle with the full integration of occupied areas of #Ukraine into Russia.

2:15 p.m.: Ukrainian forces continued to hold their ground in Bakhmut, the military said on March 8, despite claims by Russian mercenaries they were holding the eastern part of the city in the Donetsk region, as the European Union was readying plans to supply much needed ammunition to Ukraine. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has the report.

The EU defense ministers agreed at the meeting to speed up supplies of artillery rounds and to purchase more shells to aid the Ukrainian war effort. Under a plan proposed by foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, EU member states would receive $1.6 billion in incentives to send ammunition from their own stockpiles to Ukraine, and 1 billion euros more would be allocated to fund the joint purchase of more artillery shells.

1:40 p.m.: Ukraine has again said it was not involved in the sabotaging of the Nord Stream gas pipeline amid media reports that intelligence reviewed by U.S. officials indicates that a pro-Ukrainian group was behind last year's attacks, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

The New York Times reported on March 7 that according to U.S. intelligence, a "pro-Ukrainian group" was behind the attacks on the pipelines in September that ruptured them and leaked gas into the Baltic Sea.

Sweden and Denmark, in whose exclusive economic zones the explosions occurred, have said the pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia to Germany were blown up intentionally, though questions remain as to who sabotaged the pipelines and who may have ordered the attacks.

"This is not our activity," Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told reporters in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, ahead of a meeting with EU defense ministers on Wednesday.

1:10 p.m.: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the seizure of Bakhmut would allow Moscow's forces to mount further offensive operations deeper inside Ukraine. Kyiv has vowed to keep defending the town, Reuters reported.

12:25 p.m.: The German government reported it has supplied Ukraine with two additional Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, according to The Kyiv Independent.

Berlin also has delivered two more border protection vehicles and six mobile antenna systems, according to the government's update.

Additionally, the German government announced that 13 bridge-laying tanks BEAVER and 500 SFP9 pistols were being prepared for shipment to Ukraine.

In total, Germany has provided Ukraine with 34 Gepard anti-aircraft systems, including about 6,000 rounds of ammunition, since the beginning of Russia's war in February of 2022.

11:35 a.m.: Four former bankers with the now-closed Swiss affiliate of a major Russian bank have gone on trial over allegations they didn’t properly vet accounts opened in the name of a Russian cellist with longtime ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Associated Press reported.

The one-day trial in Zurich district court Wednesday stems from information about secretive financial flows revealed in the Panama Papers leaks in 2016 that implicated musician and Putin’s childhood friend Sergei Roldugin.

The four former bankers are charged with failing to adequately check whether Roldugin actually owned assets in the accounts. Putin has denied the accusations, and the Kremlin didn't comment on the trial Wednesday.

10:50 a.m.: Ukraine is saying it will not withdraw from the city, The Kyiv Independent reported. Russian forces will have an "open road" to seize other critical settlements in eastern Ukraine if they capture Bakhmut, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told CNN, reiterating his bid to continue the city's defense.

On March 6, Zelenskyy stated that a decision was made not to withdraw from Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast.

"This is tactical for us… after Bakhmut, they could go further. They could go to Kramatorsk, they could go to Sloviansk," Zelenskyy said in an interview from Kyiv. "That's why our guys are standing there."

Ukraine has reinforced the troops currently defending the eastern city from Russia's relentless attacks.

10:07 a.m.: For military experts and close watchers of the Ukrainian battlefields, Bakhmut's symbolic importance far outweighs its strategic importance. Straddling the Bakhmutka River, just 20 kilometers west of the Luhansk region administrative border, the city, with a prewar population of about 70,000, used to be known mostly for its sparkling wines and salt mines, RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty reported.

The city is also located on relatively open flatland, surrounded by slightly higher elevations and sitting at the junction of several major roads. The elevation difference makes it vulnerable to mortar rocket fire; the crossroads make it more important for running troops and equipment to nearby positions.

8:55 a.m.: U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres meets in Kyiv with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and says during his third visit to the war-torn nation in less than a year that “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a violation of the U.N. Charter and international law.

“The sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine must be upheld, within its internationally recognized borders.

“Our ultimate objective is equally clear: a just peace based on the UN Charter, international law and the recent General Assembly resolution marking one year since the start of the war.

“Until that just peace can be secured, we continue working hard to mitigate the impacts of the conflict which has caused enormous suffering for the Ukrainian people – with profound global implications.

“The United Nations has stayed on the ground delivering desperately needed humanitarian aid to millions here in Ukraine.

“I want to express my deep solidarity with all the victims of the war.”

8:20 a.m.: Ukraine’s first lady has provided strong support to her nation’s people while visiting the United Arab Emirates, a country that still remains open to Russia despite Western sanctions, The Associated Press reported.

Olena Zelenska on Wednesday described her role and that of other first ladies and gentlemen in the world as a real power while speaking before a packed ballroom on International Women’s Day. She also applauded the work of the average Ukrainian amid the ongoing war. She added, to cheers, that “Ukrainian women and men have been adapting so fast that our enemies have not been able to come up with new challenges for us.”

7:30 a.m.: In Stockholm, Ukraine's defense minister said Kyiv is in desperate need of large supplies of artillery shells to mount a general counter-offensive against Russia's invasion army, urging EU members to support an Estonian plan for joint procurement of munitions, Reuters reported.

"We need to move forward as soon as possible," Oleksii Reznikov told reporters before an EU defense ministers' meeting.

The General Staff of the Ukraine's Armed Forces said in its Wednesday morning report: "The enemy, despite significant losses ... continues to storm the town of Bakhmut."

7 a.m.: The head of Russia's Wagner mercenary group said Wednesday his forces had taken full control of the eastern part of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, as one of the bloodiest battles of the war grinded on amid the ruins, Reuters reported..

If the claim is true, it would mean Russian forces control nearly half the city in their costly push to secure their first big victory in several months.

Ukrainian defenders remained defiant, though, and last week they appeared to be preparing for a tactical retreat from Bakhmut. But military and political leaders are now speaking of hanging on to positions and inflicting as many casualties as possible on the Russian assault force.

6:10 a.m.: German investigators probing the Nord Stream gas pipeline blasts searched a ship suspected of having transported explosives used in the incident, Agence France-Presse cited federal prosecutors as saying on Wednesday.

The searches took place from January 18 to 20 over the "suspicion that the ship in question could have been used to transport explosive devices that exploded on 26 September 2022 at the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea", they said.

Investigators are still trying to determine the identity of the perpetrators and their motive, they added.

5:55 a.m.: According to Reuters, a top European Union court on Wednesday granted a challenge to annul sanctions against the mother of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin and the head of Russia's Wagner mercenary group fighting in Ukraine.

The EU blacklisted Violetta Prigozhina saying business links with her son made her complicit in Russia's aggression against its neighbor, a former Soviet republic that now wants to integrate with the West.

"The General Court annuls the restrictive measures applied to Ms Violetta Prigozhina, mother of Mr Yevgeniy Prigozhin, in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine," the bloc's second highest court said.

5:05 a.m.:

4:35 a.m.: The United Nations said Wednesday it believes that a viral video showing the apparent execution of a captured Ukrainian soldier by Russian troops may be authentic.

The footage appears to show a detained Ukrainian combatant standing in a shallow trench being shot to death with multiple automatic weapons after saying "Glory to Ukraine".

"We are aware of this video posted on social media that shows a Ukrainian soldier hors de combat (not in combat) apparently being executed by Russian armed forces. Based on a preliminary examination, we believe that the video may be authentic," a spokeswoman for the UN Human Rights Office told Agence France-Presse.

"Since Russia's armed attack on Ukraine over a year ago, the UN Human Rights Office has documented numerous violations of international humanitarian law against prisoners of war, including cases of summary execution of both Russian and Ukrainian POWs," she said.

"Impartial and effective investigations must be carried out into all these allegations and those responsible held to account."

Ukraine has vowed to take revenge for the apparent killing, which AFP could not independently verify.

3:50 a.m.: Agence France-Presse reported that EU defense ministers will discuss Wednesday plans to raid their stockpiles to rush one billion euros' worth of ammunition to Ukraine and place joint orders for more to ensure supplies keep flowing.

Ukraine's Western backers warn that Kyiv is facing a critical shortage of 155-millimetre howitzer shells as it fires thousands each day in its fight against a grinding Russian offensive.

Ministers meeting with their Ukrainian counterpart Oleksiy Reznikov in Stockholm will debate a three-pronged push to meet Kyiv's immediate needs and bolster Europe's defense industry for the longer term.

Agence France-Presse had the full report.

3 a.m.: A concert cellist linked to Vladimir Putin moved millions through Swiss bank accounts without any proper checks, prosecutors will allege on Wednesday according to Reuters, in a case that highlights the murky financial dealings of Russia's ruling elite.

Four bankers are accused of helping Sergey Roldugin, a close friend of the Russian president according to the indictment, deposit millions of Swiss francs in Switzerland.

They are due to appear at Zurich District Court on Wednesday accused of lacking diligence in financial transactions.

Roldugin has already been targeted by U.S. sanctions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. Treasury Department has described him as part of a system that manages Putin's offshore wealth.

He has also been sanctioned in Switzerland, whose government referred to him as "Putin's wallet" in its list of blocked people.

The prosecutor is seeking suspended sentences of seven months for each of the bankers. The trial is expected to last one day.

2:30 a.m.: One of Australia's top government bureaucrats on Wednesday demanded Russia crack down on the large number of cyber criminals operating in the country, saying their actions posed a threat to national security, Reuters reported.

The comments come as Canberra reforms its cybersecurity policy following a raft of cyberattacks on some of the country's largest companies.

"The greatest density of cyber criminals, particularly those with ransomware, are in Russia," Michael Pezzullo, Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs, told the AFR Business Summit in Sydney.

"They are not a rule of law country and the thought that you can apply conventional law enforcement disciplines ... is completely naïve,” Pezzullo said. “We call on the Russian government to bring those hackers to heel."

A spokesperson for the Russian embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

1:45 a.m.:

1 a.m.: European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, addressing Canada's parliament yesterday during a visit to bolster support for Ukraine, said Europe would never accept Russian threats to its security, Agence France-Presse reported.

"We will never accept that a military power with fantasies of empire rolls its tanks across an international border," she said in a speech more than one year after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The 27-nation bloc, she added, "will never accept this threat to European security and to the very foundation of our international community," she added.

Von der Leyen urged "steadfast military and economic support" for Ukraine while also renewing calls for Russia to "pay for its crime of aggression" after proposing in November to set up a specialized court to prosecute such crimes.

12:30 a.m.: World Athletics will once again help fund Ukrainian athletes' as they prepare for the August 19 to 27 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, the sport's global governing body said, according to Reuters.

World Athletics announced it was renewing the Ukraine Solidarity Fund, plus several steps planned towards achieving gender equity as part of its #WeGrowAthletics campaign in celebration of Wednesday's International Women's Day.

World Athletics distributed over $220,000 to more than 100 Ukrainian athletes in 2022. Female athletes, including hurdler Anna Ryzhykova, comprised 70% of fund beneficiaries.

Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year in what Moscow calls a "special operation" since when 343 sport facilities have been destroyed, leaving an estimated 140,000 young athletes without facilities, while 40,000 athletes are training abroad.

12:01 a.m.: Hurdler Anna Ryzhykova, one of an estimated 40,000 athletes across all sports forced to flee Ukraine to train abroad after Russia's invasion, says she is fighting for her homeland in the best way she can — with her results on the track, Reuters reported.

The Olympic bronze medalist has already qualified for the World Athletics Championships in August and the renewal of the Ukraine Solidarity Fund, announced by the sport's global governing body on Wednesday, will help ease her road there.

The World Athletics backed fund distributed $220,000 to more than 100 Ukraine athletes in 2022.

Ryzhykova fled her eastern Ukraine home of Dnipro within weeks of Russia invading the country in February last year in what Moscow calls a "special operation." Her coach Volodymyr Kravchenko joined Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces.

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

  • 16x9 Image

    VOA News

    The Voice of America provides news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of over 326 million people. Stories with the VOA News byline are the work of multiple VOA journalists and may contain information from wire service reports.