Good morning from Kyiv.

There’s a somber mood in the capital and across the country today as Friday marks one year since Russia withdrew from the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, leaving the bodies of executed civilians strewn in the streets. Bucha has since become a synecdoche for Russian atrocities.

Friday also got off to a noisy start with air raid sirens sounding at 10 p.m. last night and an alert lasting until just after midnight. Russia launched ten kamikaze drones at Ukrainian cities with nine being shot down. There are no reports yet about any casualties.

What’s happening today?

In huge news, Finland’s NATO membership was ratified last night by Turkey, paving the way for the country to join the world’s most powerful military bloc in the coming days.

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Finland and its neighbor Sweden ended decades of military nonalignment and decided to join NATO last May, prompted by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

You can read more about just how historic a moment this is here.

And the ongoing stand-off at the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra continues, with clergy from the pro-Moscow Orthodox Church yesterday trying to block the work of journalists covering their eviction.

More on that story here.

What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?

During his daily address on Thursday evening, President Zelensky marked “400 days of our defense against full-scale aggression,” highlighting the immense struggles and huge victories Ukraine has already been through.

Ukraine Frees First Prisoners to Bolster Frontline Forces
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Ukraine Frees First Prisoners to Bolster Frontline Forces

According to government sources, over 3,000 convicts have expressed their willingness to join the military following the recent enactment of a law facilitating this recruitment.

He said: “Ukraine went through the most terrifying days of that February. We survived this winter as well…

“We passed last spring, which turned the tide of this war in favor of our defense.

“Last summer and autumn, we proved that the spring liberation of our northern regions was no accident. The battle for Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions... The return of the territories of our Kharkiv region, the return of Kherson, the defense of Bakhmut and Donbas in general – this is the heroism of Ukrainians that the world will not forget.

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“We are preparing our next steps, our active actions. We are preparing the approach of our victory.”

What’s the latest military situation?

 

The Institute for the Study of War’s March 30 daily assessment covers a host of topics, most notably:

·      Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on March 30 authorizing Russia’s semiannual spring conscription which will induct 147,000 Russians between April 1 and July 15.

·      Putin remains unlikely to deploy newly conscripted troops to participate in combat in Ukraine due to concerns for the stability of his regime.

·      Western officials reported that Wagner Group and conventional Russian forces have likely lost a substantial amount of manpower in the Bakhmut area, which will further constrain Russia’s offensive on Bakhmut.

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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