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Kyiv Post Daily Thread – The Latest News From and About Ukraine on March 15

All the latest updates and news from Ukraine today.

Kyiv Post Daily Thread – The Latest News From and About Ukraine on March 15
A woman holds a candle and a portrait of her husband who was captured during the siege of the port city of Mariupol during a rally in tribute to defenders of Ukraine of the Russian-Ukrainian War, as part of Volunteer Day, in Kyiv, on March 14. PHOTO: AFP

Good day, here are all the latest stories from the Kyiv Post news team..

Russia Moves to End Tax Deal With 'Unfriendly' Countries

Russia moved Wednesday to suspend double tax agreements with "unfriendly" countries in response to sanctions imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine conflict.

Double tax treaties prevent people or companies who receive income abroad also being taxed by their home countries.

Russia's foreign and finance ministries said they had proposed that President Vladimir Putin "issue a decree suspending double taxation agreements with all countries that have imposed unilateral economic restrictive measures against Russia".

The ministries said this was a "retaliatory measure" against sanctions taken by unfriendly countries since 2022.

Their statement follows an EU decision this week to add Russia to its tax-haven blacklist. 

The ministries said it supported the suspension of the agreements "until Russia's infringed rights are restored".

Russia has signed taxation agreements with 80 countries, according to a list on the Russian taxation ministry. 

This includes most EU countries, Britain and the United States.

UK Supreme Court Backs Ukraine Over Russian 'Duress' Loan

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky declared a "decisive victory" over Russia in a UK court after judges ruled Wednesday that a long-running financial dispute can go to a full trial.

The Supreme Court in London rejected a bid by a Russian-backed investment trust to throw out the case, which concerns a $3 billion loan taken out in 2013, without a trial.

"Today Ukraine secured another decisive victory against the aggressor, this time in the UK Supreme Court in the $3bn bonds case," Zelensky tweeted.

He said the court had ruled that Ukraine's defence based on Russia's "threats of aggression will have a full public trial".

"Justice will be ours," he added.

Ukraine's finance ministry called the decision "a great victory of justice and the rule of law".

Ukraine argues that it was forced to issue the Eurobonds to Russia under duress, shortly before Moscow invaded Crimea in 2014. 

The bonds were meant to be repaid in December 2015. 

But Ukraine refused, contending that Russia had sought to deflect it from closer engagement with the European Union by binding it into an unfair arrangement. 

Russia brought the case in February 2016, arguing it was only suing "after repeated unsuccessful attempts to engage Ukraine in constructive dialogue about restructuring the debt". 

A lower court in the UK had endorsed Russia's attempt to throw out the Ukrainian defence. 

But that was overturned on appeal, and a panel of five judges on the Supreme Court unanimously sided with Kyiv, agreeing with the appeals court that Ukraine has "an arguable and justiciable defence of duress".

Their judgement concerns only the circumstances of the loan at the time, and not Russia's invasion of the rest of Ukraine last year.

There was no immediate response from Moscow. No trial date has been set yet.

Planned Terrorist Attacks in Kharkiv Prevented by Arrest of Alleged Russian Agent, Say Security Services

Ukrainian counter-intelligence officers have arrested a man on suspicion of transferring intelligence information on targets in Kharkiv to the Russian security services.

According to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the man had been spying on Ukrainian military pilots, commanders of special forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and SBU officers within the city.

Read the full story here.

Russian Warplane Reportedly Downed Near Bakhmut

Ukrainian forces have reportedly shot down a Russian warplane near Bakhmut.

Read more at Ukrinform.

Ukraine Says Putin Wants to 'Expand' War After US Drone Crash

Kyiv accused Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Wednesday of trying to widen the conflict in Ukraine after Washington said Russian fighter jets intercepted a US drone over the Black Sea, causing it to crash.

"The incident with the American MQ-9 Reaper UAV – provoked by Russia over the Black Sea – is Putin's way of signalling his readiness to expand the conflict to involve other parties. The purpose of this all-in tactic is to always be raising the stakes," Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council secretary Oleksiy Danilov said on social media.

Russia's Oil Revenue Sinks as Sanctions Bite: IEA

Russia's oil export revenue sank 42 percent in February as Western powers tightened sanctions on the country in the wake of the Ukraine war, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

The country earned $11.6 billion from its oil exports last month after the European Union imposed a ban on Russian petroleum products alongside a price cap agreed with the Group of Seven and Australia, according to the IEA.

This was down from $14.3 billion in January and a 42 percent drop from $20 billion in February last year.

White Phosphorus Munitions Fired in Eastern Ukraine

White Phosphorus Munitions Fired in Eastern Ukraine

White phosphorus munitions were fired on Tuesday, March 14, from Russian positions on an uninhabited area by the town of Chasiv Yar in eastern Ukraine, AFP journalists saw.

Two projectiles were fired five minutes apart at around 4:45 pm (1445 GMT) on a road at the southern edge of Chasiv Yar leading to nearby Bakhmut, the centre of the longest and bloodiest battle of Russia's year-long invasion.

The whistling sound from the projectiles was followed by explosions caused by munitions that released small, burning balls of white phosphorus that slowly fell to the ground.

Read the full report here.

Reuters Exclusive: Ukraine accuses Russian snipers of abusing child, gang raping mother

Ukraine has accused two Russian soldiers of sexually assaulting a four-year-old girl and gang raping her mother at gunpoint in front of her father, as part of widespread allegations of abuse during the more than one-year-long invasion.

Read the full story at Reuters here.

Kyiv Post Morning Memo – Everything You Need to Know on Wednesday, March 15

Kyiv Post Morning Memo – Everything You Need to Know on Wednesday, March 15

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.

Read the full Morning Memo here.


EXPLAINED: Russian Jet Collides with US Spy Drone – How Big a Deal is it?

EXPLAINED: Russian Jet Collides with US Spy Drone – How Big a Deal is it?

U.S. spy drone was forced to crash into the Black Sea on Tuesday after a Russian fighter jet dumped fuel on the unmanned aircraft and then collided with it, officials in Washington have announced.

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

 "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.

Read the full story here.