#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. Putin: stop US hegemony. Yes to the Near East. Kuleba: the counteroffensive will not be decisive for the war


‘Humanity is on the brink of a new Cold War, which is about to begin between the US and China and will prove more dangerous than the first one between the West and the USSR,’ said former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in an interview with the Spanish daily El Mundo. The fact, according to him, is that both countries have comparable economic resources, which was not the case during the first Cold War.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the Americans to leave Russia once again after the arrest of WSJ journalist Evan Gershkovich. The Lefortovo court in Moscow had previously issued an arrest warrant for the WSJ journalist detained in Yekaterinburg. According to the court decision, Gershkovich will be in custody until 29 May. The journalist is accused of espionage and faces up to 20 years in prison

According to the head of the office of the UN High Commissioner, about half of the Russian prisoners of war held in Ukraine have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment. The UN noted that Ukraine has not initiated criminal proceedings against its soldiers who shot Russian prisoners of war, although several executions are documented.

In response, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called Russia’s chairmanship of the UN Security Council a bad joke. Russia will chair the UN Security Council from 1 April. As chair of the UN Security Council, Russia will determine which issues should be placed on the agenda. The last time Russia chaired the Security Council was in February 2022.

Also Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba urged not to consider Kiev’s upcoming counteroffensive as a decisive moment in the war: ‘We absolutely must resist the perception of the counteroffensive as a decisive battle in the war,’ he wrote to the Financial Times in a commentary. The minister fears that if the counteroffensive does not lead to the liberation of the entire Ukrainian territory, the West will strengthen the position of those forces that are pushing Kiev to compromise with Moscow. “They (the supporters of a compromise position) are everywhere: in Washington, in Berlin, in Paris, in London. They will try to do something creative in the spirit of Minsk-3, Kuleba said.

Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, spoke on video and reported that: “Our goal is to make people live better, incomes, though modest, have begun to rise”. As have food prices, citizens complain. On 31 March, Vladimir Putin also dismissed the Russian ambassadors to Latvia and Estonia by decree and approved a new version of the Russian Federation’s Foreign Policy Concept.

Dimtrij Peskov asked about the proposed peacekeeping forces in Ukraine said: ‘The Kremlin considers the discussion on the possibility of deploying peacekeepers in Ukraine a potentially very dangerous topic. At the moment, ‘Special Operation is the only means to achieve the goals that the Russian Federation is facing,’ Peskov remarked. Next week, the leaders of Russia and Belarus will discuss declaring a truce in Ukraine.

“In the new foreign policy concept, the US is directly named as the main initiator and conductor of the anti-Russian line,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the press

Highlights of Putin’s new foreign policy concept: “Russia does not see itself as an enemy of the West and does not isolate itself from it, it has no hostile intentions.” “Moscow counts on a return to equal interaction with the West”. “The Kremlin sees the US exchange rate as the main source of risks to its security”. “The main goal will be to “remove the vestiges” of US dominance in the world. “Russia is committed to ensuring security equally for all countries.” “The deepening of ties with China and India is of particular importance.” “The main goal in the Near East is ‘to transform the region into an area of peace, good neighbourliness and prosperity'”.

Returning to military matters, Fedor Venislavsky, a member of the Committee for National Security, Defence and Intelligence of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada and Volodymyr Zelensky’s representative in parliament, said that the Ukrainian authorities are developing a mechanism to send summonses to military service officers via instant messaging and SMS. Later, Venislavsky said that there is currently no draft law on the distribution of summonses via instant messaging. According to him, the Rada deputies as a whole are working on improving the system of notification of subpoenas.

In Russia, on the other hand, the Ministry of Defence of the Federation will for the first time electronically notify conscription in the army. If there is no technical possibility to send a notification to the conscript, he will be given a summons. There was no mention of mobilisation, which is not on the agenda, but only of conscripts.

Social sources report that the US has so far trained about 7,000 Ukrainian soldiers, while 26 other countries have trained more than 11,000, the Pentagon said.

And while the prime ministers of Slovakia, Slovenia, and Croatia arrived in Kiev on 31 March to meet the Ukrainian premier and discuss the issue of aid to Ukraine. Alexander Lukascenko, president of Belarus, spoke to the Belarusian people and the National Assembly, a speech that comes after Moscow’s decision to install nuclear weapons in the country. Lukascenko said that a Third World War with ‘nuclear fires’ loomed on the horizon, and that negotiations without preconditions were needed. Russia, according to him, is obliged to use all the power of the defence industry and the army, if once again there is deception and preparations for an attack are noticed. Negotiations are the only viable solution.

Alexander Lukashenko addressed Zelensky from the podium: ‘Innocent people are dying. After all, I told him, your children are not dying, not your relatives – they might be enjoying themselves somewhere on the French Riviera. Time will pass – and people will ask you. Why don’t you stop the war? “And when it started, why didn’t you stop it?” According to Lukashenko, the West is preparing to invade the territory of Belarus to destroy the country. Lukashenko also said that Belarus is the heir of ancient Rus’, ‘the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was Russian, ours’. Just as Zelensky said that Kiev is the heir to the ancient Rus’.

On the front the fighting continues, ‘very soon it will be possible to talk about the actual encirclement of Artemovsk (Bachmut),’ said deputy prime minister DPR Pushilin.

Since the new year, since January, PMC “Wagner” does not take prisoners from correctional institutions in its ranks, if anyone enters anywhere, then this will definitely not be part of the Wagner PMC said its number one, Evgeny Prigozhin who returning to talk about the fronts explained that the battle for Bachmut practically destroyed the Ukrainian army and severely affected the fighters of the Wagner group .

Although at the moment the Ukrainians do not seem to have much hope on the Bachmut front, the head of Ukraine’s Defence Ministry Reznikov justified the Ukrainian command’s decision to hold the military on that front line by the fact that the Russian Federation suffers ‘insane losses’ there, source Gazeta Wyborcza.

On 31 March, in an update to the losses on the Bachmut front, the pro-Russian social sphere wrote, reporting RIA Novosti that ‘Mercenaries from Poland and Georgia defended the southern outskirts of Bachmut’.

We also learn via social media that the Polish company PZL Mielec has completed the production of the first two designs for the latest version of the F-16 fighter aircraft – Block 70/72. PZL Mielec manufactured the rear and front parts of the aircraft’s central fuselage. These parts will be used on the F-16 final assembly line in Greenville, South Carolina, USA.

Work on the introduction and preparation for production of structural elements of the F-16 began in 2022. This included the modernisation and preparation of surfaces as well as the launch of the production line. At the same time, a group of 46 PZL Mielec employees travelled to Greenville for six months to familiarise themselves with the F-16 production process and prepare for operations at Mielec. “The timely completion of the construction of the first F-16 structures is a very important moment for PZL Mielec. The structures produced by PZL Mielec strengthen Poland’s position in the global F-16 production programme. This event marks the return of our factory to the production of military aircraft and the beginning of our participation in the production of the F-16,’ emphasises Janusz Zakręcki, President and CEO of PZL Mielec. PZL Mielec is the largest aircraft factory in Poland, opened in 1938. It is 100 per cent owned by Lockheed Martin. The F-16 fighter is operated by the Air Force of 26 countries. Poland is armed with 48 vehicles of the C/D Block 52+ version. According to some rumours, it is possible that Washington is now considering producing the F-16 in Poland. The same via social media write that: ‘Poles expect to repair NATO aircraft shot down over Ukraine, which will sooner or later be handed over to the Kiev junta’.

Sparking the idea to the social sphere were the words of the US administration: ‘NATO intends to provide Kyiv necessary for a possible counteroffensive, the allies will discuss this at a ministerial meeting in Brussels’.

The morning of 31 March began with a shelling against the Kiev district of Donetsk by the Ukrainian armed forces. This was said by the mayor of the city Alexei Kulemzin. 21 bullets of 155 mm calibre and 10 MLRS rockets were fired at civilian quarters.

And now an account of the frontline highlights as of 30 March at 24:00.

Ukrainian forces fired at least four HIMARS missiles at the village of Troitske in the Luhansk People’s Republic. Residential houses, the central district hospital and a shop were hit. Fourteen civilians were injured and one person was killed.

Northern Bachmut, Wagner PMC assault groups are expanding their zone of control around the Artemivsk non-ferrous metal processing plant. Clashes are currently taking place in the Selyshche area near the football stadium, as well as in the residential area near the industrial zone. Heavy fighting continues near the Central Market and the Bachmut district administration.

In the last few days, the Wagner PMC assault groups have considerably intensified their attacks, apparently based on a direct assault on urban blocks. In the south, the city districts of Sobachevka and Budonnivka are under full control. The line of contact has moved northwards to the area of Vodokanal, Shyroka and Mariupolska streets.

Kiev continues its massive shelling of Donbass towns and villages. Artillery attacks damaged a machinery plant in Yasynuvata, an administration building in Horlivka and several civilian objects in Donetsk.

Despite the rapidly deteriorating weather conditions, Russian forces continue their positional offensive north of Avdiivka. The immediate task, we learn from the Russian social sphere is to destroy the AFU strongholds in the forest belt south of Novobakhmutivka.

In Marinka, the Russian motorised rifle division occupied the district administration building, whose fighting had been going on for several months. At the same time, west of Druzhba Avenue, the control zone was extended, which greatly complicated the Ukrainian defence.

Graziella Giangiulio

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