Good morning from a very foggy Kyiv.

The air raid sirens have just sounded once again across the entire country, but it looks like it is a cautionary alert due to the take-off of a Russian MiG-31 jet.

Here’s a video from this morning that sets the foggy scene very nicely.

What’s happening today?

There’s some positive news in the air today with both the Institute for the Study of War and the British Ministry of Defense reporting that the pace of Russian operations appears to be slowing, including in the Bakhmut region.

Kyiv Post recently visited the area and saw a high level of confidence among Ukrainian soldiers, which bodes well for a planned counteroffensive. You can read the full report here.

Elsewhere, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has called for Russia to be removed from the UN Security Council.

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In an interview with The Hill, he said: “What is the purpose of having an array of rather costly international organizations and fora when they do not fulfill their two key tasks – preventing wars and stopping them once they erupt?

“It’s not the first time the world is asking these questions.”

Today also marks one year since Russians dropped two bombs on Mariupol Drama Theater, killing hundreds.

What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?

Alongside reports that Russia’s pace of operations has slowed in recent days (see below), President Zelensky’s daily address on Wednesday evening was rather positive in tone, saying “we feel that the Russian aggression is approaching the point where it can break.”

A Silent World War – Russia’s Cyberwar Against the West
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A Silent World War – Russia’s Cyberwar Against the West

As bombs continue to fall on Ukraine, Moscow has waged a silent war against the West – with real-world casualties and ramifications – that might have been largely overlooked.

He added: “There is no terrorist that can build up its potential in confronting the free world. Russia is no exception.

“We must constantly increase the pressure for terror. Pressure in our defense, in sanctions against Russia, in destroying the ways the Russian state and its companies circumvent sanctions, in political and legal pressure.

“The more pressure we put on them, the faster we will move towards restoring our territorial integrity and international legal order. We are doing everything for our partners to feel this. This necessity to continue pressure. Step by step. Without ceasing.”

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What’s the latest military situation?

The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on March 16 focuses on Ukraine’s “successful adoption of Remote Anti-Armor Mine systems (RAAM)… a specialist artillery shell which scatters anti-armor mines up to 17 kilometer away from the firing unit.”

The MoD states that the effective use of this weapon is at least part of the reason why Russian advances have slowed in recent days.

“In some instances, Ukraine has launched the mines over and behind advancing Russian units, causing disarray when Russian vehicles attempt to withdraw,” it says.

The MoD adds: “Russia’s only notable recent tactical success has been in the Bakhmut sector, which is dominated by Wagner Group mercenary forces, currently engaged in a public feud with the Russian Ministry of Defense.”

The Institute for the Study of War’s March 15 daily assessment covers a number of topics, most notably:

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·      The overall pace of Russian operations in Ukraine appears to have decreased compared to previous weeks.

·      The overall Wagner Group offensive on Bakhmut additionally appears to be nearing culmination.

·      The Russian State Duma adopted the law on punishment for “discreditation” of all participants of the “special military operation” in Ukraine on March 14 to foster self-censorship within Russian society.

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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