As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 388th day, we look at key developments.
Here is the situation on Saturday, March 18, 2023:
International Criminal Court
- The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a war crimes arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who says Moscow has forcibly deported Ukrainian children to Russia. Russian authorities presented the deportations as a humanitarian campaign to protect orphans and children abandoned in conflict zones.
- The ICC also issued a warrant for Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, for the illegal deportation of children from Ukraine.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the deportations constituted a policy of “state evil” and that the ICC warrant would provide “historical accountability” for crimes committed against Ukraine by Russia.
- The ICC warrant of arrest is mandatory The court’s 123 member states would arrest Putin and transfer him to The Hague for trial if he ever set foot on their territory.
- President of China Xi Jinping is going to Russia next week for a state visit after an invitation from Putin.
- US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, White House National Security adviser Jake Sullivan and Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley spoke of their “unwavering support” for Ukraine in a call to their Ukrainian counterparts on Friday.
- The United Nations said it was “doing everything possible” to ensure a deal with Russia allowing the export of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports goes ahead.
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said its executive board had approved rule changes that would allow the IMF to approve new loan programs for countries facing “extreme uncertainty”, which is expected to pave the way for in a new loan program in Ukraine.
- Turkey’s parliament begins to ratify Finland’s accession to NATO, though it withheld approval of Sweden’s bid to join the defense bloc. Finland and Sweden’s applications for NATO membership were prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg praised Turkey’s decision on Friday and said he was confident Sweden would join soon.
- Moldovan President Maia Sandu says she doesn’t see it risk of war in Moldova while Russia is at war with Ukraine, despite what he says is Russia’s efforts to destroy his country. “The Russian army cannot come here while Ukraine remains … We thank the Ukrainians for their courage and love of freedom,” he said.
- Ukrainian forces in the east of the country continue to endure The Russian attacks on the now devastated city of Bakhmut, became the bloodiest infantry battle in Europe since World War II. Russian forces have captured the eastern part of the city but have so far failed to encircle Bakhmut and cut Ukrainian troop supply lines.
- The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said Russia carried out 19 air attacks and 26 rocket attacks against Bakhmut on Friday. Russian forces also carried out four air strikes on the front-line town of Avdiivka south of Bakhmut, the army said.
- The US resumed surveillance drone flights in the Black Sea region just days after Russian fighter jets intercepted a US Reaper surveillance drone and took actions that Washington said caused the uncrewed aircraft to crash.
- Prime Minister Eduard Heger said Approved by Slovakia is sending its fleet of 11 retired MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. Slovakia was the second country to send warplanes to Kyiv afterwards Poland said it would Do it.