Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ordered a strengthening of air defenses during a visit to the front in the Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia regions. The background is increased attacks by the Russian military with combat drones and missiles on this central section of the front, which is located in southeastern Ukraine.
"The danger is constantly high, and Russia sees the region as one of the main targets for its terrorist attacks," Zelensky said of his visit to the region. Air defense there is also being massively expanded to protect economic activities. "We are working on expanding the capabilities to launch missiles and drones."
During his trip to the region, Zelensky also visited Zaporizhzhia and the fronts in front of it. Zelensky demanded that air defense and electronic warfare resources also need to be strengthened there and in Kryvyi Rih. This is necessary to protect the critical infrastructure, i.e. the electricity and water supply.
In recent weeks, as in the previous winter, Russia has repeatedly attacked civilian infrastructure targets in Ukraine with drones and missiles. These attacks are primarily intended to wear down the civilian population and put additional pressure on the country's leadership.
Minister of the occupying authorities killed in shelling
According to media reports, a minister of the occupation authorities was killed when a bakery was shelled in the city of Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine, which was annexed by Russian forces.
The body of the Minister of Civil Defense in the Luhansk Region, Alexei Poteleshchenko, was found under the rubble of the collapsed building, said the Moscow-appointed head of government of the Luhansk Region, Sergei Kozlov. According to Russian reports, a total of 28 people were killed in the attack on Saturday, including a child.
Russian saboteurs suspected in Kyiv
Police and military have begun a large-scale search for possible Russian sabotage groups in the north of the Ukrainian capital Kiev. According to media reports, roadblocks were set up in several sections of the Obolonsky district. The operation was carried out "to identify enemy sabotage and reconnaissance groups," Ukrainska Pravda quoted an official statement as saying.
Most recently, Russian sabotage groups were suspected in Kiev immediately after the attack by Russian troops on Ukraine in February 2022. According to the official reading, their goal was to eliminate Ukraine's political and military leadership. The results of the searches at that time were never published.
Dead after Russian shelling of Kherson
At least four people were killed in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson as a result of Russian artillery fire. Another was injured, the regional administration said on Telegram. The city, which is only separated from Russian positions by the Dnipro River, was shelled several times throughout the day.
Kherson, which once had a population of almost 300,000, was occupied by Russian troops for several months in 2022. Since the Russian withdrawal across the Dnipro River, the city has been under artillery fire almost daily.
Access to Kherson is temporarily blocked for foreigners
The Ukrainian authorities have initially closed the city of Kherson and its surroundings in the south of the country to foreigners. The trigger was the death of two French employees of a non-governmental organization due to Russian attacks. The regional military administration announced on Telegram that this measure applies to both members of diplomatic missions and employees of international aid organizations. "In time of war, no one can guarantee security, but we must clearly establish the presence of people in places of active hostilities."
London: 1000 mercenaries in Belarus
According to British intelligence estimates, there are still around 1,000 fighters from the Russian Wagner private army in Belarus. The British Ministry of Defense said they trained Belarusian soldiers and security forces there.
The Wagner soldiers came into the country after mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin failed in an uprising against the Russian military leadership. Originally there were said to be 8,000 private army fighters in Belarus. Prigozhin died in a mysterious plane crash shortly after the failed uprising in August last year.
Kyiv: Russia's army helps Putin's election campaign
According to Ukrainian military officials, the recently increased attacks by Russian troops along the fronts in Ukraine will continue until the presidential elections in Russia.
"The fighting will continue until the election results are published," Ivan Timochko, chairman of the Army Reserve Association of Ukraine, speculated on Sunday about possible plans by Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin. "For Putin it is currently extremely important to divert people's attention from the problems at home."
Until the elections from March 15th to 17th, Putin will continue to encourage his troops in Ukraine to carry out new attacks and demand further conquests. For Putin, the fronts therefore served “not only a military purpose, but also a political purpose,” said Timochko. This would allow him to show in the election campaign that he is in control of the situation and that the Russian army is capable of launching attacks.
According to Kiev's findings, up to 500,000 Russian soldiers are currently deployed in Ukraine and they are constantly setting new focal points of attack. Losses would be replaced by “quiet mobilization.” Even migrants are being sent to the fronts. This information could not be independently verified.
Bundeswehr general: Ukraine must continue to recruit
According to Bundeswehr Major General Christian Freuding, Ukraine must recruit more soldiers in order to be successful in repelling the Russian attack.
"Ukraine will certainly have to mobilize more soldiers - simply because of the casualty numbers, as far as we can see," said the head of the Ukraine Situation Center in the Ministry of Defense to the Germany editorial network. Another reason Freuding cited was the need to regenerate troops, some of whom had been at the front for 24 months. The type and extent of mobilization is currently being discussed in Ukraine.
Serbia expels Russian Putin critic
Serbia continues to take action against politically undesirable foreigners. The Russian Elena Koposova, who has been living in Serbia for four years, has to leave the country within 30 days, as she and Serbian human rights activists announced. Her application for permanent residence in Serbia was rejected. Serbia's Interior Ministry told Koposowa that she posed a security risk.
The Russian is a translator by profession. In March 2022, she co-signed a call for a demonstration against the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine in Belgrade.
“This decision is the latest in a series of measures recently taken by the Interior Ministry (Serbia),” wrote the Belgrade Center for Security Policy (BCBP), which is supported by Western sponsors.