Here is the situation as it stands on Friday, March 31, 2023:
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Russian President Vladimir Putin may visit Turkey in April to inaugurate the first nuclear power reactor built by Russia’s state atomic energy company, Rosatom.
- The United States White House said it had new evidence that Russia is looking again to North Korea for weapons to use in its war in Ukraine, this time in a deal that would see Pyongyang receive much-needed food and other commodities.
- The Turkish parliament has ratified Finland’s NATO accession but has not yet cleared Sweden’s bid. Finland and Sweden asked to join the military alliance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Sweden’s foreign minister also said he was no longer sure his country would be able to join NATO by July after signs of objections from Hungary.
- A Moscow court has formally arrested Evan Gershkovich, a United States reporter with the Wall Street Journal who is suspected of espionage, according to Russian media. The 31-year-old told the court he was not guilty and the White House described the accusations as “ridiculous”.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will chair a United Nations Security Council meeting in April when Moscow holds the rotating presidency of the international body.
- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommendation to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutral individuals is not binding for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, French Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said. The IOC’s recommendations were “a step which does not pre-judge what we will do” for Paris 2024, Oudea-Castera told reporters on a visit near Paris.
- The governor of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, Oleh Synyehubov, said that at least six Russian missiles hit the capital city of Kharkiv and officials are gathering details about damage and casualties.
- The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces admitted that Russian forces had a “degree of success” in storming Bakhmut as both sides continued fighting for the destroyed city.
- Ukrainian troops overcame 47 Russian attacks on different sections of the eastern front, the Ukrainian military claimed.
- Scuffles broke out outside a Kyiv monastery after the Ukrainian branch of the Orthodox Church defied an eviction order. Tensions over the presence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) have risen since Russia’s invasion. Kyiv has accused the UOC of maintaining ties with the Russian Orthodox Church, which has supported Moscow’s invasion, but the UOC has said it broke all links with the Russian Church in May 2022.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES