Day 395 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Moscow’s Advance in Bakhmut is Slowing DownUkraine | March 25, 2023, Saturday // 11:06| views
Day 395 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Kyiv: Moscow's advance in the Bakhmut area is beginning to falter
- The UN has accused the Ukrainians and Russians of "summit executions" of prisoners of war
- Prigozhin refuted Putin's repeating statements
- Medvedev: If Crimea is invaded, we will use "absolutely any weapons”
- Volodin: Let's ban the International Court of Justice in The Hague
Kyiv: Moscow's advance in the Bakhmut area is beginning to falter
Russian troops continue attacks on the northern and southern sectors of the front line in Donbas, but Moscow's advance in the Bakhmut region is beginning to falter, Kyiv notes.
The battle for Bakhmut is "stabilizing", said the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian forces, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi. The situation on the front in the direction of Bakhmut is the most difficult, but thanks to the enormous efforts of our soldiers, we manage to stabilize it, noted Zaluzhnyi, and added that the Ukrainian army managed to ease the tension on one of its supply routes.
According to the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War, Russia's private "Wagner" army is superior in numbers, but so far the Ukrainian military has been able to wear down the mercenaries.
Kyiv also reported heavy fighting along the Lyman-Kupiansk line, as well as to the south in Avdiivka on the outskirts of Russian-held Donetsk.
At least nine civilians have been killed by Russian shelling over the past 24 hours. According to the Red Cross, ten thousand people are suffering in and around the besieged Bakhmut.
The UN has accused the Ukrainians and Russians of "summit executions" of prisoners of war
The United Nations has accused Ukrainian and Russian forces of carrying out dozens of executions of prisoners of war during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, AFP reported.
"We are deeply disturbed by the summary execution of 25 Russian prisoners of war and non-combatants," as well as "15 Ukrainian prisoners of war," said Matilda Bogner, head of the UN human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine.
According to Bogner, the UN has documented these executions of Russians by the Ukrainian armed forces, "often" carried out "immediately after their capture on the battlefield."
The UN is aware of five investigations by Kyiv involving 22 victims, but it is not yet aware of any prosecutions of the perpetrators of these crimes.
As for the executions of 15 Ukrainian prisoners of war "immediately after their capture" by the Russian armed forces, 11 of them were carried out by the Russian paramilitary group "Wagner", the official said.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of military performances, including prisoner abuse.
The "Wagner" group is on the front line of the fighting for the city of Bakhmut, the epicenter of hostilities in eastern Ukraine.
In early March, a video showing the alleged execution of a Ukrainian prisoner of war by Russian soldiers caused shockwaves in Ukraine.
In November, the Kremlin was outraged by two videos purportedly showing the execution of a dozen Russian soldiers who had just surrendered to Ukrainian forces.
Prigozhin refuted Putin's repeating statements
The rift between the owner of the Private Military Company (PMC) "Wagner" Yevgeny Prigozhin and the official Russian authorities seems to be becoming complete. In a 23-minute interview yesterday, Putin's former "chef" rejected practically all the arguments with which the head of state justified the "special military operation" in Ukraine, the Washington Institute for the Study of War (ISW) points out today.
First of all, Prigozhin denies the propaganda thesis that Russia is at war with NATO and "Nazis" in Ukraine. He stated that Russian forces were fighting "exclusively Ukrainians", "equipped with NATO-provided technology" and volunteers supporting Ukraine (he called them more accurately "Russophobic" mercenaries), but not NATO itself.
The head of Wagner also noted that it was "ridiculous" to plan a "special military operation" and not take into account that the countries of the Western alliance would help Ukraine.
Prigozhin questioned the goal of "denazification" of Ukraine, saying he did not know if there were "Nazis" there.
He also criticized the concept of "demilitarization" of Ukraine, pointing out that it requires something unrealistic - Russia to destroy the entire Ukrainian army.
Prigozhin called on the Russian military and the media to stop underestimating the Ukrainian armed forces. Thus, according to ISW, he actually rejects Kremlin prop #1, that with the war in Ukraine, Russia is defending itself against a threat from NATO.
Prigozhin: This is how the Ukrainians will attack
A video with Yevgeny Prigozhin was distributed on social networks, in which the head of "Wagner" "reveals" in what directions the Ukrainians will attack. According to him, the Ukrainians have gathered a total of 200,000 soldiers, of which 80,000 are deployed near Bakhmut - the city that the "musicians" have been persistently trying to capture for 8 months.
The main goal of Kyiv is to occupy as much territory as possible from the Belgorod region in order to then use it as a bargaining chip with Russia, Prigozhin points out.
Ukrainian forces will try to break through the Kreminna-Svatov line in Luhansk, from which they will have access to the eastern border with Russia (through the entire territory of the district).
The focus of the Ukrainian attacks, according to the businessman, will be Bakhmut. That is where the "musicians" from "Wagner" are focused. Prigozhin suggested that Ukrainian troops would surround the Russian forces positioned in the city and, after driving them out, would attack Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk. If they manage to capture them, DPR and LPR will be practically separated.
From there, Prigozhin expects the Ukrainians to focus on Zaporizhzhia Oblast, specifically Mariupol and Melitopol, to block Russia's access to Crimea. Kyiv’s final goal will be to restore the 1991 borders, the Wagner boss said, and to that end it will try to completely separate the territory annexed in 2014 by bombing the Kerch bridge.
Prigozhin claims that he knows about the Ukrainian plan to deal 3 blows and liberate the territory to the 1991 borders. He states that Ukraine concentrated 200,000 of reserves in the Donbas, with 80k of them being near Bakhmut. Plans include invading the Belgorod region to be… pic.twitter.com/tylrPk6yKl— Dmitri (@wartranslated) March 23, 2023
Medvedev: If Crimea is invaded, we will use "absolutely any weapons”
The weapons supplied to Kyiv and the foreign specialists accompanying them are a "legitimate target" for the Russian military in Ukraine. This was stated by the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council and former President of the country Dmitry Medvedev in an interview with Russian media, including TASS and the social network VKontakte, reported the official state agency, quoted by BTA. He said Russia preferred to resolve the crisis in Ukraine through negotiations, but warned that his country was ready to use "absolutely any weapons" if Kyiv tried to retake the Crimean peninsula, which it occupied in 2014.
These specialists are enemies of Russia and "must be destroyed. And they must understand that as soon as an American or Polish soldier appears there, “he must be destroyed. There is no other way,” Medvedev said.
Through its sanctions, the West is fighting not the leadership of Russia, but the ordinary citizens of the country, which it "hates (. . .), they hate all of us, and there should be no forgiveness here," said the Russian politician.
Russia is fighting today in Ukraine "for its people and for its land", while the US in Vietnam "was fighting on foreign land and exterminated Vietnamese people who had nothing to do with this conflict", stated Medvedev.
"Which army is the first (in the world), which is the second, which is the twenty-second - this can be understood only in a real conflict. (. . .) To say that the American army is the first and ours is the second, not is correct for one simple reason. If these armies go to war, how will we determine the winner? It is quite obvious that in this case there will be no winner," he said. In a real clash between the strongest armies in the world, "the consequences will be monstrous", the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council pointed out.
He urged Ukrainians to think about whether they want to "open Pandora's box" by allowing their Western allies to supply Kyiv with depleted uranium munitions.
Asked when the "special military operation" announced by the Kremlin in Ukraine will end, Medvedev replied: "I hope you are not waiting for an answer to this question from me, because that would be incorrect. Let's not rush." He emphasized that "the Supreme Commander-in-Chief - President Vladimir Putin, can give assessments of progress and deadlines."
The world has changed, "there is no going back", therefore changes are needed in the structure of institutions related to global security. "What will happen next - I don't know, but it is obvious that the era of regional agreements such as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) is coming", specified the Russian ex-president.
"All kinds of weapons" Medvedev answered in the negative to a question "whether it is worth moving from a proxy war" with the West to a direct conflict and finally clarifying who will win.
"We are interested in resolving all of this peacefully through negotiations. Another issue is that for now the other side, at least publicly, is telling us that they are not interested." According to him, the reason for this answer is that "overseas they are not allowed to do it" because they seek to "inflict maximum damage to the Russian Federation".
According to Medvedev, the threat of nuclear conflict has not gone away, but has grown and continues to grow with the supply of more powerful weapons to Ukraine.
He warned that any attempt by Kyiv to regain the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Moscow in 2014, would be a reason for Russia to use "absolutely any weapons" against Ukraine, noted Reuters.
Volodin: Let's ban the International Court of Justice in The Hague
The Speaker of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, suggested drafting amendments to the legislation that would prohibit any activity of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the territory of Russia, TASS reported, quoted by BTA.
"It is necessary to draft amendments to the legislation prohibiting any activity of the ICC on the territory of our country, and to introduce responsibility for facilitating and assisting the ICC," he wrote on his Telegram channel.
Also, according to Volodin, it is important to organize the work on the conclusion of bilateral agreements with friendly countries, which provide for mutual refusal of cooperation and assistance to the ICC.
"The Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Federation must have the right to take any action to protect our citizens in case of decisions made by international structures that contradict the norms of the Russian constitution," he wrote.
Volodin recalled that in 2002, the US passed a special law to protect military personnel, according to which no American citizen or ally can be arrested or detained with an ICC warrant. What's more, it allows Washington to launch a military intervention if American servicemen, officials and politicians are in the dock, Volodin said.
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