Russia-Ukraine War Newsletter – MARCH 13-19, 2023

The situation as of 8:00 a.m. on March 20, 2023  

  • The intensity of Russian attacks on the front line decreased due to significant losses in personnel and equipment.
  • On March 14, Russian planes shot down a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper UAV on a reconnaissance mission over the Black Sea near the Crimean peninsula. The United States announced that it will continue to fly over the Black Sea despite the drone incident.
  • At the tenth meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (also known as the Ramstein format), it was announced that Ukraine would strengthen its air defense, supply ammunition, train its military, and form an “armored fist” for a counteroffensive.
  • The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for the war crime of illegal deportation of the population (children) and illegal transfer of the population (children) from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.


Over the past week, the scale of Russian offensive actions has considerably reduced. The reason for this is the heavy losses of the Russian armed forces in personnel and military equipment. The Ukrainian military continues to strike at the military infrastructure of Russian troops in the temporarily occupied territories, undermining their potential to continue active attacks. At the same time, the situation for the Ukrainian Armed Forces remains tough in some areas of the frontline. The hottest area of the front is Bakhmut, where street fighting persists.

On March 14, Russian planes deliberately performed dangerous maneuvers and shot down an American MQ-9 Reaper UAV over the international waters of the Black Sea. The U.S. European Command reported that the incident was caused by a “dangerous and unprofessional interception” of the vehicle by Russian pilots.

On the night of March 18, Russian troops launched a large-scale attack on Ukrainian territory using kamikaze drones. The Ukrainian Air Force Command reported the destruction of 11 enemy UAVs. Nevertheless, other drones reached their targets, hitting a critical infrastructure facility in Dnipropetrovsk region and non-residential buildings in Lviv region.

Russian troops continue to strike civilian targets in the frontline and border regions of Ukraine. As a result of these attacks over the past week, civilian casualties amounted to at least: in Donetsk region – 11 people killed and 62 people wounded; in Kherson region – 1 person killed and 18 people wounded (1 more person was injured as a result of a mine explosion); in Kharkiv region – 2 people killed and 5 people wounded. In addition, on March 13, 1 person was killed and 4 civilians were injured in the Sumy region as a result of shelling. The shelling of Marhanets in Dnipropetrovsk region on March 15 killed 2 people and wounded 5 others. The shelling of Zaporizhzhia and Chernihiv regions is ongoing.


On March 17, the Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova. The decision was made by the court over suspicions that Putin and Lvova-Belova committed the war crime of illegal deportation and transfer of people, including Ukrainian children, from the occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia. The Kremlin has previously stated that it does not recognize the ICC or its jurisdiction.

Currently, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine is conducting proceedings to deport more than 16,000 children from Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, and Kherson regions (the actual number may be much higher).

According to Oleksandr Kubrakov, Vice Prime Minister for Recovery and Ministry of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development, the “grain deal” was extended for 120 days on March 18. In total, 25 million tons of grain have been delivered to world markets from Ukrainian ports during the initiative.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi enacted the decision of the National Security and Defense Council to impose sanctions on 300 individuals and 141 legal entities (including research and development, shipbuilding, and other companies from Russia, Iran, and the UAE). The list of sanctioned individuals includes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and several high-ranking officials, including Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnouf and Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mikdad.


On March 15, the tenth meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (Ramstein format) was held online. According to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin, as a result of the meeting, Sweden announced that it would provide Ukraine with 10 Leopard-2 tanks, 8 Archer artillery systems, and key air defense components. Spain agreed to increase the number of Leopard-2 tanks for Ukraine to 10.

International partners continue to provide military assistance to Ukraine. The Danish government allocates a new military aid package to Ukraine totaling 1 billion Danish kroner (over $140 million). Germany will provide 155 mm artillery shells, high-precision ammunition, and other weapons as part of the new aid package. Lithuania’s new military support package for Ukraine includes 155 mm ammunition, vehicles, and military rations. Canada will also provide 155-mm shells and air defense missiles to support Ukraine’s air defense systems. The Netherlands intends to provide Ukraine with two ships – Alkmaar mine detectors, radar systems for detecting drones, and M3 bridge and ferry systems. In turn, the formation of an “aviation coalition” continues. The Slovak government approved the delivery of 13 MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine, while Poland will hand over 4 aircraft of this type in the coming days.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi met with Prime Minister of Latvia Krišjānis Kariņš and Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who visited Kyiv this week. This week, the President had phone conversations with Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to discuss strengthening defense and economic support for Ukraine.

The information in the newsletter is collected from official sources—reports of state authorities of Ukraine, Ukrainian and international news agencies. The accuracy of the data is carefully checked by the project team and corrected in case of fake news.