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Ukraine updates: Russia suffers tank losses in Donetsk

March 28, 2023

Russia has lost tanks in the town of Avdiivka due to "tactically flawed" assaults, according to British intelligence. Meanwhile, the first Challenger 2 tank has arrived in Ukraine. DW has the latest.

A destroyed apartment block in Avdiivka, Donetsk region
Both sides have suffered casualties in AvdiivkaImage: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images

Russia has suffered heavy losses in its assault on Avdiivka, in the Donetsk region, the British Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

"Russia’s 10th Tank Regiment has likely lost a large proportion of its tanks while attempting to surround Avdiivka from the south," the British Defense Ministry said in its daily intelligence update.

The ministry said the losses were likely due "tactically flawed frontal assaults" similar to Russia’s failed attack on nearby Vuhledar.

The 10th Tank Regiment is part of Russia’s 3rd Army Corps, which was formed last year after the invasion of Ukraine.

"Numerous open-source accounts suggested that 3rd Army Corps has been particularly dogged by problems with ill-discipline and poor morale," the British intelligence update said.

"Despite a likely period of training in Belarus, the formation still appears to display limited combat effectiveness."

Eastern Ukraine's Avdiivka could be next flashpoint

Here are some of the other notable developments concerning the war in Ukraine on Tuesday, March 28:

IOC recommends Russians to compete as neutral athletes in international games

The International Olympic Committee issued a set of guidelines to address matters of Russian participation in international sporting events, saying that it recommends Russians and Belarusians to compete as individuals or under "neutral" flags only.

It advised sports organizations against considering teams of athletes with a Russian or a Belarusian passport, as well as those who actively supported the war.  

Stanislav Pozdnyakov, the head of Russia's Olympic Committee, said the recommendations were "absolutely unacceptable" saying "this is discrimination on the basis of nationality, as repeatedly noted by international human rights specialists."

Russia says intercepted advanced US bomb in Ukraine

Moscow on Tuesday said it downed a guided smart bomb, or Ground-launched Small Diameter Bomb, fired by the Ukrainian military. 

If true, it would mark the first time Russian forces shot down the weapon that could significantly expand the range of Ukrainian battlefield attacks. Guided by a GPS, the GLSDB has a range of about 150 kilometers (93 miles). 

Ukraine had long requested the weapons so that its forces could hit Russian command centers and supply lines further from the front line. Washington is thought to have begun supplying them this year.

How can Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bombs help Ukraine?

Belarus hosts nuclear weapons after years of 'unpredecented' pressure from West

Belarus's Foreign Ministry said it agreed to host tactical nuclear weapons in order to protect itself after years of "unprecedented pressure" from the West. The ministry added the move did not contravene international non-proliferation agreements.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin announced his intention to station weapons in neighboring Belarus last week, drawing condemnation from Ukraine and Western allies.

NATO said Western allies act with full respect for their international commitment and rejected Russian claims saying they're only doing what the US has done for many decades.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Belarus would face further sanctions over the plan.

Nuclear weapons in Belarus "another attempt to frighten the West": nuclear policy researcher Liviu Horovitz

UK and Poland to build temporary villages in Ukraine

The UK and Poland will build two major temporary villages in western and eastern Ukraine to provide housing to Ukrainians forced to flee the war, the UK government said in a statement.

The UK announced up to £10 million ($12 million, €11 million) to build temporary shelters and provide energy supplies.

The accommodation villages in Lviv in western Ukraine and Poltava in eastern Ukraine will offer accomodation for more than 700 Ukrainians, according to the statement.

More than 17.6 million people are thought to be in humanitarian need in Ukraine, with more than eight million having registered as refugees in Europe —  the largest movement in Europe since World War II.

Zelenskyy visits northern Sumy region

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy visited Sumy in northern Ukraine, continuing his tour of Ukraine's front line regions.

He met officials and local people in two cities in the region, which borders Russia. Sumy was partially occupied after Russia invaded Ukraine last year, but the Kremlin's foces withdrew from the region early April.

"Ukrainians will live here, on their land, in their cities and villages, which we have to rebuild after the war. And I'm sure it will definitely happen," Zelenskyy said in a speech.

He recalled the shelling of kindergarten in the region, noting that one of the cities he visited, Okhtyrka, experienced heavy losses and "brutal enemy strikes."

British Challenger 2 tanks arrive in Ukraine

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov thanked the United Kingdom on Tuesday after the first Challenger 2 tank arrived in Ukraine.

The UK pledged to send 14 of the main battle tanks to Ukraine in January.

"These fantastic machines will soon begin their combat missions,” Reznikov said in a video posted on social media.

On Monday, Ukrainian troops in the UK completed their training to operate the Challenger 2.

Russian oil sales to India soar amid Ukraine war

Russia's oil sales to India increased 22-fold in the past year, Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov said on Tuesday.

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said energy exports were "redirected” to "the markets of friendly countries” after Moscow was hit by sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

He said energy revenues accounted for 42% of Russia's budget in 2022.

Russia test-fires supersonic missile in Sea of Japan

Russia test-fired anti-ship missiles in the Sea of Japan, Russia's Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

The Moskit supersonic cruise missiles were fired at a mock enemy warship around 100 kilometers (60 miles) away.

Japan did not lodge a protest to Russia over the naval exercise because it was conducted in the Peter the Great Gulf near Vladivostok, away from Japan.

"On the whole, Japan is concerned about Russia's increasing military activities around the Japanese coasts and watching them with great interest," said Tasuku Matsuki, Japanese Foreign Ministry official in charge of Russia.

More DW coverage on the war in Ukraine

The city of Bakhmut has been under siege for months. DW's Max Zander spoke to some of the soldiers holding the line.

More than 20 foreign firms that fled Russia after its invasion of Ukraine relocated to Kazakhstan, authorities in Astana claim. DW reached out to some of those companies to determine the truth.

zc,rm/jcg (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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