Here is the situation as it stands on Friday, March 17, 2023:
US drone incident
- The Pentagon released a video of Tuesday’s intercept with its drone over the Black Sea, which shows a Russian Su-27 fighter jet coming very close to the United States drone.
- Russia has denied any collision took place, saying the drone crashed after making “sharp manoeuvres”, having “provocatively” flown close to Russian air space near Crimea.
- The Kremlin said its military would decide whether to try and retrieve the drone debris.
- Kyiv’s forces continued to withstand Russian assaults on the now-ruined salt-mining town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.
- Russian attempts to capture Bakhmut are “difficult” with no signs Ukraine is ready to withdraw, said the Russian-installed leader of Ukraine’s semi-occupied Donetsk region.
- Ukraine revealed it shot down a Chinese-built drone near Sloviansk in eastern Ukraine.
- Russia has committed a “wide range” of war crimes in Ukraine, according to the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, a United Nations-mandated investigative body. Russia dismissed the report.
- China hopes Russia and Ukraine will hold peace talks, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang told his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in a phone call on Thursday. According to a statement from China’s foreign ministry, Beijing hopes “all parties will remain calm, rational and restrained”.
- Kuleba said the discussions covered “the significance of the principle of territorial integrity” and that he had reiterated Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy’s formula for restoring peace.
- The UN has backed Turkey and Ukraine’s calls for a 120-day extension to the Black Sea grain deal after Russia said it would only extend the deal for 60 days.
- Poland said it detained nine people from a suspected Russian spy ring who were planning to disrupt weapons supplies to Ukraine.
- Poland will send four MIG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in the coming days, Polish President Andrzej Duda said.
- Poland’s decision to hand over the MIGs is a “sovereign decision” that will not prompt US President Joe Biden to supply Kyiv with US F-16 aircraft, the White House said.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES