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Kyiv Post Daily Thread – The Latest News From and About Ukraine on March 27

All the latest updates and news from Ukraine today.

Kyiv Post Daily Thread – The Latest News From and About Ukraine on March 27
Ukrainian servicemen (L and R) look on with binoculars next to another (C) sitting on an anti-air gun near Bakhmut, on March 24, 2023. Aris Messinis / AFP

Grain Deal Bribes Uncovered in Odesa

Representatives of the Odesa regional Administration of the State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection extorted bribes from grain exporters within the international “grain agreement.”

The corrupt officials offered to “guarantee” the timely delivery of phytosanitary certificates for money, threatening long bureaucratic delays for grain shipment clearance if the “tribute” was not paid.

The scheme was uncovered by the State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

During investigations, one intermediary was detained with bribes reaching almost 400,000 Hr. (about $11,000). Public officials had extorted at a “tribute” rate of  $0.40 per ton of exported grain.

You can read more here. 

Zelensky Party Chief: Ukraine May Increase Mobilization if Russia Deploys Tactical Nukes in Belarus

Speaking in an interview with Sky News on Monday, Mar. 27, David Arakhamia, the leader of Zelensky's "Servant of the People" party in the Ukrainian parliament, warned that Ukraine should be prepared for an increased mobilization if Russia hands over nuclear weapons to Belarus.


"While we don't believe that this will happen, the events of the past year have shown that anything is possible. No one believed, for instance, that Russia would invade on such scale," Arakhamia said.


If Belarus acquires nuclear weapons from Russia, it could lead to the opening of a second front.


You can read more here.

Ukraine Withdraws City Workers From Frontline Town Avdiivka

A Ukrainian official in the battered frontline town of Avdiivka in the eastern Donetsk region said Monday, Mar. 27, municipal workers were being withdrawn, as Russian forces claim incremental gains nearby.

"It's a shame to admit, but Avdiivka looks more and more like a scene from post-apocalyptic movies," the head of the town's administration Vitalii Barabash said on social media.

"Therefore, a difficult decision was made to evacuate... municipal workers, who at least somehow tried to maintain the cleanliness and vitality of the city."

You can read more here.

Mercenary Unit Formed by Kremlin’s “Head of Crimea”

Ukrainian, Russian and international media have reported that close cooperation between Sergey Aksyonov, the “Head of Crimea” and Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner  private military company (PMC) has led to the formation of Crimea’s own mercenary forces, known as “Convoy”.

Using the Wagner model, Aksyonov decided to create his own mercenary groups, and has reportedly recruited a former Wagner commander in Africa to lead his mercenary unit of around 300 fighters, which he claims has already deployed to occupied parts of the Kherson region in southern Ukraine.

The relationship between the two has developed rapidly since the autumn. Aksyonov openly sided with Prigozhin in his public quarrels with the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, and Russian Chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov. It is also reported that Progozhin has provided vehicles to his ally.

You can read more here.

Shelling Kills Two, Wounds Dozens in Ukraine's Sloviansk

Russian shelling of the eastern Ukraine town of Sloviansk on Monday, Mar. 27, killed at least two people and wounded more than two dozen others, authorities said.

"As of 13:00, there are two dead and 29 wounded in Sloviansk," Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Facebook.

He added that "administrative and office buildings, five high-rise buildings and seven private houses were damaged" in the attack.

"(Russian forces) struck the city centre around 10:30 (0730 GMT) with two S-300 missiles," he added.

You an read more here.

Ukraine Urges UN to Remain Balanced on Issue of Russian-backed Church’s Eviction

The spokesperson for Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Oleh Nikolenko on Monday, March 27, claimed the UN’s allusion to the “discriminatory” nature of the searches at the Pechersk Lavra and other monasteries was unbalanced.


The Kyiv Perchersk Lavra (or Monastery of the Caves) is an 11th century monastery complex in the heart of Kyiv. It is one of the holiest religious sites for both Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox Christians. Today it is owned by the Ukrainian government and most of compound is occupied by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP).


On March 24 the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published a “Report on the Human Rights Situation in Ukraine,” which expressed concern that official actions targeting the UOC-MP could be discriminatory.”


You can read more here.

Ukraine Reconstruction Platform Launched in Berlin

The German Federal Government launches a platform to support and strengthen Germany's commitment to the recovery of Ukraine and unite state and non-state actors in the process.


The platform was launched officially at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development on Monday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.


"Ukraine's reconstruction is a huge task...that cannot be tackled by governments alone. This requires the involvement of entire societies. We in Germany have a great desire to participate in the reconstruction of Ukraine," said Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development.


You can read more here.

Andriy Yermak, Orlando Bloom Discuss Deportation of Ukrainian Children by Russia

Andriy Yermak, Orlando Bloom Discuss Deportation of Ukrainian Children by Russia
Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak discussed assistance in the return of Ukrainian children illegally deported by Russia with British theater and film actor, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom.

Yermak thanked Bloom for his continuous long-term support for Ukraine. He noted that the actor's current visit is another signal to the world of support for Ukraine, which is resisting full-scale Russian aggression.

You can read more here. 

Ukraine Introduces Mandatory Language Exams for Acquiring Citizenship

On Friday, Mar. 24, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed draft law No. 7606, which requires mandatory testing on the basics of the Constitution of Ukraine, the history of Ukraine, and proficiency in the official Ukrainian language for individuals seeking citizenship. The draft law received support from 281 members of the parliament and was sent to President Volodymyr Zelenskyi for approval. 

You can read more here.

OPINION: Recovery of Ukraine – Analysis and Financing

For more than a year, Ukraine has suffered large-scale destruction as a result of Russian aggression. Since the beginning of the war, the country's economy has shrunk by almost a third. At present, Ukraine’s own funds are sufficient to finance military expenses, while social outlays are primarily provided by financial receipts from international partners.

In light of this, there is a need to form the clearest possible vision and a strong, predictable financial basis for the future post-war reconstruction of Ukraine.

A joint assessment released on March 23, 2023, by the government of Ukraine, the World Bank Group, the European Commission, and the United Nations estimates that the cost of reconstruction and recovery in Ukraine has grown to $411 billion (the equivalent of €383 billion).

You can read more here.

OPINION: US to Retire 310 Aircraft – Does Ukraine Need Them?

The leadership of the U.S. Air Force has taken the confident course of upgrading its military air fleet. To make room, the U.S. military plans to retire about 310 of its current military aircraft through to 2024.

Most of these aircraft are in good working order and have not exhausted their flight capacity. Such aircraft are typically kept in special storage facilities in the desert where the lack of precipitation contributes to longer-term preservation. They are also used as donors of spare parts to repair those aircraft that remain in service. The retirement of a significant number will free up funds for modernization, maintenance, and the purchase of new aircraft. 

You can read more here.

EXPLAINED: Has Russia Moved Tactical Nukes to Belarus Yet?

Vladimir Putin on Saturday announced he would deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, a neighbor and ally, partially in response to a suggestion from the United Kingdom that it could supply Kyiv with depleted uranium ammunition.

Has he followed through with the threat?

The United States has seen no indication that Russia has yet moved any nuclear weapons, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Sunday.

“We have not seen any indication that he (Putin) has made good on this pledge or moved any nuclear weapons around,” Kirby told CBS’s Face the Nation.

You can read more here.

Biden Widens Net in New Democracy Summit as Russia, China Concerns Grow

The United States on Tuesday, March 28, opens its second Summit for Democracy with its eyes firmly on the rest of the world, seeking a united front against authoritarianism as Russia attacks Ukraine and as China launches a diplomatic offensive.

President Joe Biden took office pledging to champion democracy, and in his first year made good with the inaugural summit, which sought to reaffirm US leadership after his predecessor Donald Trump eroded democratic norms and the attack on the Capitol.

This time round, in a nod to concerns that the first edition was too much about US navel-gazing, Biden has tapped co-hosts on each continent -- the presidents of Zambia, Costa Rica and South Korea and prime minister of The Netherlands.

You can read more here.

Russian Town Shocked by Case of Child's Ukraine Drawing

In the Russian town of Yefremov, residents say they are shocked by the case of a father separated from his 13-year-old daughter because of her drawing criticizing Moscow's offensive.

Located around 300 kilometers (186 miles) from the Russian capital, the town of 37,000 people has all the outward signs of patriotic support for the year-long campaign seen across the country.

"For A World Without Nazism" reads a billboard on the main street -- alongside the letters "Z" and "V" used by Russian forces in Ukraine.

You can read more here.

Kyiv Post Morning Memo – Everything You Need to Know on Monday, March 27

Kyiv Post Morning Memo – Everything You Need to Know on Monday, March 27

Good morning from Kyiv.

Spring is finally in the air and the weekend in the capital passed without a single air raid alert, two things people took full advantage of.

What do people do on warm spring days in Kyiv? They visit the sea, just like President of the Kyiv School of Economics, Tymofiy Mylovanov, did on Sunday.

You can read more here.