Update 45: Russia's war with Ukraine

12 March 2023

As the war enters its 55th week both Kyiv and Moscow appear to be struggling with ammunition shortages and mounting casualties. Both sides claim hundreds of each other’s troops were killed over recent days in the fight for Bakhmut. The prospects for peace talks remain low.

The city of Bakhmut in the Donbas region has remained the focus of fierce fighting, and over the past four days, Wagner group forces had taken control of most of the eastern part of the city, while Ukrainian forces held its west. The battle is said by Ukraine to be pinning down Russia’s best units and degrading them ahead of a planned Ukrainian spring counter-offensive. But NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has warned that the city may fall to Russian forces in the coming days. But the US director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, said that Russia is unlikely to capture significantly more territory this year, even with the possible capture of Bakhmut.

On 9 March Russia unleashed its largest missile attack against Ukraine in three weeks, including six hypersonic missiles able to evade air defences. At least nine civilians were reported killed and critical infrastructure and residential buildings in 10 regions were hit. Russia has launched 821 cruise and ballistic missiles against Ukraine since 10 October 2022, Ukraine’s Defence Minister said.

Read more in the attached pdf on: the stalled diplomacy; military and financial assistance to Ukraine and Russia; the humanitarian consequences of the armed conflict; concerns about Ukrainian nuclear facilities; the risk of nuclear weapon use; investigations into alleged war crimes; sanctions against Russia; global food security; energy security in Europe; China’s position on the war; and developments in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and NATO, including tensions between Turkey and Sweden over the latter’s stalled NATO accession.

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