Good morning from Kyiv where the weather is, well, confusing. Yesterday, which was ‘Verbna Nedilya’ (or Palm Sunday) for most Ukrainian believers, had us sweating one minute and freezing the next.
Ukraine isn’t known for its palms, so people use willow tree (“verby”) branches, with buds about to bloom, as part of local customs. Being the diverse city it is, Kyiv yesterday saw many people lined up outside ancient churches waiting for their branches to be blessed, while others lined up outside hipster bars waiting to be served their prosecco.
People continue to seek a sense of normality, but, on day 411 of Russia’s full-scale invasion, the brutality of war is never far away.
Over the 24 hours to 7 a.m. today, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) reported 26 airborne attacks and four rocket attacks against Ukraine, resulting in civilian casualties. Fighting remains concentrated and intense in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka areas with the AFU reporting nearly 60 assaults in the last 24 hours. It also undertook six airborne strikes against Russian equipment and personnel.
Indeed, during his nightly address last night, President Volodymyr Zelensky shared tragic news from the country’s south – covered below.
What’s Happening Today?
Today, there is likely to be further discussion and fresh developments regarding apparent intelligence leaks from the US Department of Defense, including on Ukraine’s military strategies. The Pentagon has now confirmed that a formal investigation has been launched by the US Department of Justice.
One Ukrainian Presidential spokesperson has officially described the leaks as “fake”, but an unnamed source allegedly close to the President told CNN yesterday that Ukraine “has already altered some of its military plans because of the leak.”
In his Twitter string last night, Australian Major General (Ret.) Mick Ryan, who recently sat down with Kyiv Post, explained the potential impact of such leaks, including on Ukraine’s possible counter-offensive.
Exclusive interviews with Wagner POWs
If you haven’t seen it already, check out Kyiv Post’s exclusive video interview with six Russian Wagner Group POWs conducted by our defense expert, Stefan Korshak. Interviews and contact with POWs are rare, especially those from the notorious Wagner Group. Several of those interviewed by Korshak are ex-convicts– a topic that has fueled much discussion around recruitment methods for Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The interviews offer a powerful insight into the mentality of Wagner fighters. In response to Korshak’s hard questions, the Wagnerites claim that they were sent to kill Nazis and that propaganda is responsible. You can decide about their veracity.
What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?
For the second night in a row, Present Zelensky made his daily address from an unfamiliar location. More importantly, he shared a somber – and all-too-familiar – item of news:
“The Russian army [has] shelled Zaporizhzhia with S-300 missiles. They hit a house, an apartment building. Three people were inside. A man, a woman and a child. The girl, her name was Iryna, would have turned 11 this year. She died. The man died too. My condolences... The woman is in a critical condition in hospital and is being provided with medical care. This is how the terrorist state spends this Palm Sunday. This is how Russia places itself in even greater isolation from the world, from humanity.”
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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