Fighting in Bakhmut is “getting more and more challenging,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday. Meanwhile, a Ukrainian commander said the situation in the eastern city was “extremely difficult” due to non-stop Russian assaults.
Here are the latest headlines:
- Yellen’s unannounced trip to Kyiv: While the Russian economy has not yet buckled under the wide array of sanctions from the United States and other Western countries, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Monday she expects it to grow weaker over time as the country loses foreign investment and runs through its reserves and rainy-day funds. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal says the country’s budget deficit this year is expected to amount to $38 billion, but that the US is committing to provide more than $10 billion in budget support by September.
- Fighter jets push: The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said he spoke to the top US general on Monday and reiterated the need to strengthen Kyiv’s air defense through the F-16 multi-role fighter aircraft. The United States has consistently said that it has no plans to send F-16s to Ukraine.
- Nuclear treaty remains in force … for now: Russia’s suspension of its participation in a key nuclear arms control treaty — known as New START — “hasn’t been officially affected yet in the sense that we’re still receiving notifications, as recently as today, under the treaty, regular notifications,” said Mallory Stewart, assistant secretary for the US Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, at an event at Brookings Institution. The bureau is within the State Department. Stewart later added when the suspension is formalized, notifications will stop.
- Nordic NATO bid: Turkey’s talks with Sweden and Finland on the Nordic countries’ NATO accession bid will resume on March 9, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday. Cavusoglu told a televised news conference that “there are commitments [Sweden made] for NATO membership. It is not possible for us to say yes to Sweden’s NATO membership without seeing these steps.”
- Moldova flights paused: European low-cost carrier Wizz Air is suspending all its flights to the Moldovan capital of Chisinau from March 14 due to some “recent developments” in the country, the airline said. The company didn’t specify the recent developments it was referring to. Tensions have been mounting in Moldova after its president accused Russia of plotting to destabilize the country, which borders Ukraine. The Kremlin denies the accusations.
- Refugees keep culture alive: While Russia’s war in Ukraine rages on, a group of refugees in The Hague, Netherlands, have used their talents to help preserve Ukrainian culture and raise awareness of the dire situation in their country. The United Ukrainian Ballet was formed soon after Russia invaded Ukraine just over one year ago, when two Ukrainian dancers were touring with Dutch prima ballerina Igone de Jongh and the pair sought refuge in The Hague. The company has since grown to more than 60 dancers who tour the world.