The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has now entered its 385th day, and tensions continue to escalate. Here are the latest developments as of Wednesday, March 15, 2023:
A US military drone, an MQ-9, was intercepted by Russian fighter jets and subsequently crashed into the Black Sea. The United States has condemned this as a “brazen violation of international law,” while Russia claims that the drone crashed due to “sharp manoeuvring.” Russia’s ambassador to the United States has called the incident a provocation, and the US has announced that it will be summoning the Russian ambassador over the matter.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced that the country’s top military command is in unanimous agreement to defend eastern Ukraine, including the besieged town of Bakhmut, and inflict maximum losses on Russian forces. A missile strike in the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk has resulted in at least one death and three injuries. The Russian-installed acting governor of the occupied Zaporizhia region has stated that while the front line in the region is stable, Russian forces are anticipating an attack.
A coalition of 32 countries has come together to support the creation of a special tribunal against Russia for the crime of aggression against Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has alleged that last year’s blasts on the Nord Stream gas pipelines were carried out at a “state level.” Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, has approved an amendment that would punish those found guilty of discrediting “volunteer” groups fighting in Ukraine. The Kremlin spokesperson has stated that a peaceful resolution in Ukraine will not be possible without taking into account the “new realities” on the ground. Lithuania’s parliament has voted unanimously to designate Russia’s Wagner mercenary force as a terrorist organization, accusing it of “systematic, serious crimes of aggression” in Ukraine. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has described the war in Ukraine as a “territorial dispute” that is not a top national security interest of the US.
Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has ordered a top Russian arms manufacturer to double its production of high-precision rockets. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has announced that Poland could supply Ukraine with MIG fighter jets within the next four to six weeks. UK intelligence reports that Russia is running out of artillery ammunition to such an extent that “punitive shell-rationing” is taking place in many areas of Ukraine’s front line. The Netherlands has announced that it will give Ukraine two minesweepers, drone radars, and an M3 amphibious bridge-building system.
As tensions continue to rise between Russia and Ukraine, it remains to be seen what further developments will occur in this ongoing conflict.