Good morning from Kyiv. It was a very noisy day yesterday with no less than five air raid alerts throughout the day.

While none of them developed into actual attacks, the endless cycle of sirens remains highly disruptive to everyday life, as evidenced by this video from Washington Post reporter journalist Christian Caryl.

What’s happening today?

There’s a blame game afoot after a U.S. spy drone was forced to crash into the Black Sea on Tuesday when a Russian fighter jet dumped fuel on the unmanned aircraft and then collided with it.

Describing the incident as “reckless,” U.S. European Command said two Russian Su-27 fighters intercepted the unmanned MQ-9 Reaper over international waters and one clipped its propeller.

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“Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner,” it said.

You can read more about that story and find out Russia’s reaction, here.

Elsewhere, Russian President Vladimir Putin is to hold talks with Syria’s leader Bashar al-Assad in Moscow on Wednesday, as relations between Middle East states undergo a realignment.

Russia has been one of Syria’s few allies during its years of war and political isolation.

“Topical issues of further development of Russian-Syrian cooperation in the political, trade, economic and humanitarian spheres, as well as prospects for a comprehensive settlement of the situation in and around Syria will be discussed,” the Kremlin said in a statement on Tuesday.

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What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?

Tuesday was “quite an emotional day” for President Zelensky, much of it spent “presenting state awards to our warriors and the families of our warriors on the occasion of the Day of the Ukrainian Volunteer.”

He added: “Hundreds of thousands of our people have become Ukrainian volunteers since Feb. 24 and since 2014, defending Ukraine from Russian aggression. Millions are helping! They are searching for everything necessary for defense, healing and rehabilitating the wounded, rescuing after Russian strikes, and working for Ukraine and Ukrainians. The strength of our defense and security forces is in the strength of our people.”

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Zelensky also paid tribute to Alina Mykhailova, wife of the deceased “Da Vinci,” who yesterday gave his personal chevron to the president.

“I would like to express special gratitude for this chevron, Da Vinci chevron of Hero of Ukraine Dmytro Kotsiubailo, which was handed over to me today by Ms. Alina Mykhailova,” he said.

What’s the latest military situation?

The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on March 15 focuses on how “Russian public officials and workers have been subject to increasingly severe foreign travel restrictions.”

The MoD adds: “Employees closer to the center of power face more severe restrictions; Kremlin officials are banned from all international leisure travel. The measures are likely designed to prevent the flight or defection of increasingly disaffected officials.

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“There is a realistic possibility that as the securitization of the Russian state continues, travel restrictions will be tightened for an increasing number of public sector employees.”

The Institute for the Study of War’s March 14 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:

·      Prominent Russian milbloggers are reamplifying a longstanding Russian information operation that seeks to weaponize religion to discredit Ukraine.

·      Russian authorities continue measures to mobilize the struggling Russian defense industrial base (DIB) for a protracted war effort, including measures that will force the Kremlin to choose between having skilled workers in the DIB and skilled military personnel fighting in Ukraine.

·      Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated on March 14 that Poland could supply MiG-29 multirole fighters to Ukraine within four to six weeks

And that’s it for today’s Morning Memo.

Kyiv Post will bring you the latest news throughout the day and we’ll be back with another edition tomorrow.

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