Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, shared positive developments regarding artillery and air defense supplies following discussions with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in Bucharest. While he didn’t provide specifics, Zelenskiy emphasized the importance of air defense and appreciated Romania’s responsiveness to Ukraine’s concerns. He also expressed his determination to prevent Russia from transforming parts of the Black Sea or the Danube region into a maritime “dead zone.”
On a less optimistic note, Ukraine revealed that two senior defense ministry officials were under suspicion for embezzling $7 million allocated for purchasing bulletproof vests. The officials, whose identities were not disclosed, were accused of procuring “low-quality body armor” from abroad. Additionally, investigators in Finland raised concerns about deliberate damage to a subsea gas pipeline connecting Finland and Estonia, with NATO offering support to the affected allies.
In a troubling revelation, the National Police of Ukraine documented nearly 100,000 war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine. This evidence, highlighted by Ivan Vyhovsky, the head of the National Police, will serve as the foundation for future attempts to prosecute the perpetrators.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence indicated that Russia was unlikely to launch an additional mobilization drive before the upcoming presidential election. It was widely expected that Vladimir Putin would run for re-election in the vote scheduled for 17 March. Meanwhile, Russia announced plans to revoke the ratification of a global nuclear test ban, intending to mirror the actions of the US. Moscow clarified that it would resume nuclear tests only if Washington did so first.
In a legal development, a Russian court dismissed a complaint by Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who had been held on spying charges for over six months. This marked a significant incident, as Gershkovich was the first American journalist to face such charges in Russia since the end of the Cold War. Additionally, a pro-Russia Japanese politician faced criticism and resigned from his opposition party after openly supporting Russia’s war efforts in Ukraine.
On the international stage, UEFA abandoned plans to reintegrate Russian U17 teams into next year’s youth football European Championships, indicating the ongoing repercussions of Russia’s actions. Zelenskiy highlighted Russia’s vested interest in perpetuating conflict in the Middle East, aiming to create divisions and weaken global unity, as evidenced by Russian propagandists’ reactions to recent events.
Lastly, top UN trade official Rebeca Grynspan engaged in talks with Russian officials in Moscow, focusing on facilitating unimpeded access to global markets for grain and fertilizer from both Russia and Ukraine. These discussions sought to ensure essential supplies amid the ongoing regional tensions.