As the war between Russia and Ukraine enters its 388th day, we take a look at the main developments.
This is the state of affairs on Saturday, March 18, 2023:
International Criminal Court
- The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a war crimes warrant for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin, alleging Moscow forcibly deported Ukrainian children to Russia. Russian authorities have presented the deportations as a humanitarian campaign to protect orphans and children left behind in the conflict zone.
- The ICC has also issued an arrest warrant for Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, for the illegal deportation of children from Ukraine.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the deportations constituted a policy of “state evil” and that the ICC order would provide “historic accountability” for crimes committed against Ukraine by Russia.
- The ICC’s arrest warrant obliges the court’s 123 member states to arrest Putin and transfer him to The Hague for trial if he sets foot on their territory.
- Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to Russia next week at the invitation of Putin for a state visit.
- US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, and Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley spoke of their “unwavering support” for Ukraine during a phone call with their Ukrainian government on Friday. counterparts.
- The United Nations said it was “doing everything possible” to ensure that a deal with Russia that would allow the export of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports goes through.
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said its board of directors has authorized rule changes that would allow the IMF to approve new lending programs for countries facing “exceptionally high uncertainty”, which is expected to pave the way for a new loan program for Ukraine.
- Turkey’s parliament will begin ratifying Finland’s entry into NATO, though it has waited to approve Sweden’s bid to join the defense bloc. Finland and Sweden’s applications for NATO membership were prompted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday applauded Turkey’s decision and said he was confident Sweden would join soon as well.
- Moldova’s president Maia Sandu said she sees no danger of war in Moldova as Russia fights in Ukraine, despite what she said are Russian attempts to destabilize her country. “The Russian army cannot come here as long as Ukraine holds out… We are grateful to the Ukrainians for their courage and love of freedom,” she said.
- Ukrainian troops in the east of the country continue to resist Russian attacks on the now-devastated city of Bakhmut, which has become Europe’s bloodiest infantry battle since World War II. Russian forces have captured the eastern part of the city, but have so far failed to encircle Bakhmut and cut off supply lines for Ukrainian troops.
- The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said Russia carried out 19 airstrikes and 26 rocket attacks on Bakhmut on Friday. Russian forces also carried out four airstrikes on the frontline town of Avdiivka south of Bakhmut, the army said.
- The US has resumed surveillance drone flights over the Black Sea region just days after Russian fighter jets intercepted a US Reaper surveillance drone and engaged in actions that Washington said caused the unmanned aircraft to crash.
- Prime Minister Eduard Heger said Slovakia has agreed to send its fleet of 11 retired MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. Slovakia is the second country to send warplanes to Kiev after Poland announced it would do so.