Dispatches from Ukraine. Day 373.
As Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues and the war rages on, reliable sources of information are critical. Forbes gathers information and provides updates on the situation.
On Mar. 2, Ukraine’s military successfully repelled 85 Russian attacks, according to a report issued by the General Staff of the Armed Forces. These battles took place in the country’s East at Kupiansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Shakhtarsk. Ukraine called Russia’s 31 air strikes and three missile attacks targeting civilian infrastructure in the Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions in a single day a violation of international humanitarian laws. Furthermore, Russian forces reportedly bombarded the areas with multiple rocket launch system (MLRS) rounds a total of 88 times.
Ukraine’s Armed Forces General Staff also reports that local populations in occupied territories are under persistent pressure from the Russian occupation administration to give up their land. As of Mar. 1, around 200 individuals have been forcibly taken from a village in the Kherson region and transported to an unknown location under the guise of “screening operations.” Russian fighters are said to have already begun occupying the homes of those who were deported.
On Mar. 3, Ukraine achieved a significant milestone, as the bodies of 17 fallen soldiers were successfully returned to their homeland, according to the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories. The transfer of the bodies from temporarily occupied areas was carried out in strict adherence to the rules of the Geneva Convention, underscoring Ukraine’s commitment to upholding international law. The total number of soldiers killed in action who have been repatriated since the start of the full-scale invasion has now surpassed 1,426.
Russian S-300 missiles destroyed the town hall and a health care facility in the town of Kupiansk, Kharkiv region, on the night of Mar. 2, regional governor Oleh Synehubov said in a statement on social media. The nearby village of Podoly was also hit, with private residences sustaining heavy damage. Tragically, a 73-year-old woman lost her life in the attack.
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European officials have announced that Ukraine will receive crucial artillery ammunition in the coming weeks, as the EU has agreed to reimburse member states for donating shells from their stockpiles. According to reporting by the Financial Times, all EU states except Denmark have joined the project. An anonymous source close to the matter commented, “I think this will go fast, very fast. And I think we’re talking about a matter of days, weeks, rather than a matter of months.” The move comes as Ukraine braces itself for an anticipated Russian offensive, with Kyiv repeatedly calling on its allies for assistance with ammunition shortages. The cost of the ammunition will be covered by an existing EU fund, with an expected total allocation of 1 billion euros ($1.06 billion).
Ukraine is set to receive the first batch of solar panels from the Italian energy company ENEL, announced Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, who spearheaded the initiative. “We are working with Ukraine to restore electricity supplies by repairing and restoring the damaged infrastructure and by developing and deploying renewable energy,” she said. “ENEL is donating 5700 solar panels for Ukraine. Solar panels produced in Europe, in Catania, with the support of the European innovation fund.” These panels will cover more than 11 thousand square meters of public buildings and provide electricity to schools, hospitals, and fire departments in Ukraine.
The foundation established by Ukrainian television personality Serhii Prytula to help with Ukraine’s war effort has purchased 101 armored vehicles, 24 of which are already in the country. The purchase was made possible by a massive outpouring of donations from Ukrainians, raising more than 236 million hryvnas ($6.4 million) in less 36 hours in early fall 2022. The foundation purchased eight different models of British armored vehicles, including the FV103 Spartan, Samaritan, Sultan, Stormer, Shielder, FV432 Bulldog, FV434, and Samson. They will be delivered in stages due to the complex logistics involved. “Thank you to everyone for donating: hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, Ukrainian businesses, children and caring people from abroad,” Prytula said.
On The Culture Front.
Around 3,000 tickets will be made available for displaced Ukrainians to attend the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool in May. Ukrainian rap-folk band Kalush Orchestra won last year’s Eurovision contest and, traditionally, the winning country hosts the following year’s competition, but due to the Russian war on Ukraine, the song contest will not take place there. This year, Liverpool, United Kingdom, will host the 67th Eurovision Song Contest on Ukraine’s behalf.
A fundraising campaign to support undergraduate students who have been forced to leave Ukraine and seek to continue their education in exile has been launched by Tamizdar project, a NYC-based scholarship organization. The campaign brings together prominent writers and academics: director of Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute Serhii Plokhy, Nobel Prize Laureate Svetlana Alexievich, writer and critic Alexander Genis, rap singer Noize MC. Two online charity book auctions and a donation campaign are open to the public through Mar. 31. Proceeds will fund scholarships covering tuition and room and board for qualified recipients: Ukrainian students displaced by Russia’s full-scale invasion and young people from Belarus and Russia that fled their home countries due to persecution for their anti-war stance.
By Daria Dzysiuk, Karina L. Tahiliani