As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 353rd day, we take a look at the main developments.
Here is the situation as it stands on Saturday, February 11, 2023:
- Ukrainian officials said Moscow had started a new offensive ahead of the February 24 anniversary of its invasion. Britain said Russian forces were making gains north of the city of Bakhmut which they are trying to surround, but are having a more difficult time attacking Vuhledar further south, where they abandoned more than 30 armoured vehicles in a failed assault.
- Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, said Russian forces must capture Bakhmut to proceed with their campaign but faced fierce resistance from Ukrainian defenders.
- Reuters could not verify the battlefield accounts.
- Moody’s downgraded Ukraine’s sovereign debt to “Ca” from “Caa3”, meaning it is “highly speculative and … likely in, or very near, default, with some prospect of recovery of principal and interest”. The firm said the war will likely create long-lasting challenges for the country.
- US President Joe Biden will travel to Poland from February 20 to 22 to meet allies and speak about Ukraine, the White House said.
- French President Emmanuel Macron did not rule out sending fighter jets to Ukraine at some point but said Kyiv needed more immediate military firepower.
- Thirty-five countries backed calls by Ukraine for Russian and Belarusian athletes to be barred from participating in the summer Olympics next year. The International Olympic Committee wants to allow them to compete under a neutral flag.
- Russia put popular singer Zemfira on a list of foreign agents on grounds that she supported Ukraine and criticised Russia’s “special military operation” there.
- Russia said it would cut oil production by about 5 percent in March, a decision that the White House said showed Russian President Vladimir Putin was willing to weaponise energy.
- Putin said Russia’s economy had overcome the worst effects of sanctions and was expected to show modest growth this year.