Russia-Ukraine war live: multiple drones downed over Kyiv after blasts, mayor says

Key events

The UK Ministry of Defence says Russia’s 10th tank regiment has borne the brunt of the assault of Avdiivka and has likely lost a “large portion of its tanks” while attempting to surround the town from the south.

It said the regiment belonged to the 3rd Army Corps, the first major new formation Russia stood up to support its invasion since August 2022 and despite a period of training in Belarus, the formation “appears to display limited combat effectiveness.”

The claims have not been independently verified.

Russian forces launched 24 air strikes, 12 missile strikes and carried out 55 attacks from rocket salvo systems in the last 24 hours, according the latest update from the general staff of the armed forces of Ukraine.

A missile strike in the city of Slovyansk damaged high rise buildings and private houses, causing deaths and injuries among civilians – although numbers were not immediately available. A separate airstrike in the city of Bersyslav also caused damaged to civilian infrastructure.

According to the update, Russian forces also carried out attacks with 15 Shahed-136 type strike UAVs. 14 of them were destroyed by our defenders.

In the same period, the Ukrainian air force carried out nine strikes against Russian forces and one attack on an anti-aircraft missile complex. Ukrainian solders also shot down five reconnaissance drones of various types.

Rocket forces and artillery also struck three control points and areas of concentration, an artillery unit in firing position, an ammunition warehouse, a fuel warehouse and “two more important targets”.

The claims have not been independently verified.

The German defence minister, Boris Pistorius, confirmed the arrival of 18 Leopard 2 battle tanks in Ukraine on Monday.

In a post to Twitter, Pistorius said he believed the tanks would make a “crucial difference at the front”.

The arrival of the tanks follow the delivery of 18 Leopard 2 battle tanks provided by Germany on Monday along with 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles.

Defence Min. Pistorius: “I am sure that the #Leopard2 A6 battle tanks will make a crucial difference at the front. Along with 🇸🇪&🇵🇹, we promised to supply enough tanks for a battlegroup. To keep this promise, 🇩🇪supplied 4 more tanks than originally promised. You can count on us!”

— Germany at NATO (@GermanyNATO) March 27, 2023

Britain’s Challenger tanks have arrived in Ukraine, a spokesperson for the defence ministry in Kyiv said on Monday.

Spokesperson for the Ukrainian ministry of defence, Iryna Zolotar, told the AFP that the tanks had been received.

They are in Ukraine already.

No further details were provided.

The tanks are expected to be involved in any spring counter-offensive launched by Ukraine.

Ukraine’s defence minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, said earlier on Monday he inspected a “new addition” to the country’s forces – Challenger tanks as well as Germany’s Marder infantry fighting vehicles, plus Cougar armoured trucks and Stryker armoured personnel carriers from the US.

A year ago, no one would have thought that our partners’ support would be so strong.

Ukrainian soldiers of the 80th brigade on a tank near Bakhmut.
Ukrainian soldiers of the 80th brigade on a tank, in the direction of Bakhmut. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Soldiers of the 80th brigade outside their trench.
Soldiers of the 80th brigade outside their trench. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Ukrainian soldier organises his kit.
Ukrainian soldier organises his kit. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Ukraine’s groundforces commander says soldiers continue to repel Russian offences near Bakhmut.
Ukraine’s groundforces commander says soldiers continue to repel Russian offences near Bakhmut. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Ukraine has signalled its intention to continue holding Bakhmut in an effort to attrit Russian forces.
Ukraine has signalled its intention to continue holding Bakhmut in an effort to attrit Russian forces. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The ISW also said higher quality Wagner units have likely been committed to fighting around Avdiivka “potentially to reinforce recent limited tactical successes in the area”.

The ISW said the deployments appear intended to help support weaker units from the Donetsk People’s Republic and that if confirmed, their involvement may help “explain the limited tactical gains made in the area over the past week”.

The Institute for Study of War (ISW) says it has been monitoring chattering among Russian military bloggers about the dismissal of Russian military commanders overseeing troops in combat zones.

Rumours have been circulating that Rusam Muradov has been dismissed as Eastern Military District Commander, and Yevgeny Nikiforov has been replaced as Western Military District Commander.

The ISW could not confirm either change in leadership but said it was, “noteworthy that Russian millbloggers are discussing potential dismissals of commanders associated with areas of operation in which Russian forces have been largelyunable to secure substantial gains or have suffered major losses”.

The UN security council on Monday declined a Russian request to investigate the blasts on the pipelines that move natural gas from Russia to Europe under the Baltic Sea.

Russia, China and Brazil voted in favour of the Russian request, but other security council members abstained or said another investigation was unnecessary.

For a resolution to be adopted by the security council, it needs a minimum of nine “yes” votes in the 15-member council, and no veto by one of the permanent members – the US, Russia, China, Britain and France.

The US deputy ambassador, Robert Wood, said there was no need for a UN investigation when inquiries by Sweden, Denmark and Germany “are proceeding in a comprehensive, transparent and impartial manner”.

It was an attempt to discredit the work of ongoing national investigations and prejudice any conclusions they reached that do not comport to Russia’s predetermined and political narrative. It was not an attempt to seek the truth.

The pipelines, known as Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2, are majority-owned by Russia’s state-run energy giant Gazprom.

Nord Stream 1 carried Russian gas to Germany until Moscow cut off supplies at the end of August 2022. Nord Stream 2 never entered service as Germany suspended its certification process shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022. The explosions on both occurred on 26 September.

The investigations by European nations have yet to yield conclusive results, at least none made public.


Opening summary

Hello and welcome back to our live coverage of Russia’s war in Ukraine – this is Royce Kurmelovs bringing you the latest developments.

Multiple explosions were reported in Kyiv on Monday night following a drone attack, according to the mayor, Vitaliy Klitschko. Klitschko said a shop caught fire in the west but there were no immediate reports of casualties with Kyiv air defence reporting it had shot down all 13 Russian drones involved in the attack.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s president has told IAEA head, Rafael Grossi, that safety at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility could not be guaranteed until Russian troops left. Zelenskiy also “visited advanced positions” in the Zaporizhzhia region on Monday. The pair met to discuss the management of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant where Zelenskiy told him he could not guarantee the security of the facility so long as the area remained occupied by Russian troops.

British challenger tanks are “in Ukraine already” according to Ukrainian defence minister Iryna Zolotar, no further details provided AFP reports. The arrival of the tanks follow the delivery of 18 Leopard 2 battle tanks provided by Germany on Monday along with 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles.

In other developments:

  • Zelenskiy also spoke with the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda to discuss the ongoing war and “current defense needs of Ukraine and joint diplomatic efforts for the near future”.

  • Russian navy vessels have fired supersonic anti-ship missiles at a mock target in the Sea of Japan. The Russian defence ministry reported the exercises on Tuesday, saying “the target, located at a distance of about 100 kilometres, was successfully hit by a direct hit from two Moskit cruise missiles.”

  • Ukraine’s ground forces commander said his troops were continuing to repel heavy Russian attacks on the eastern city of Bakhmut and that defending it was a “military necessity”. Col Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi’s comments signalled again Ukraine’s intention to keep fighting in Bakhmut despite the heavy death toll.

  • At least two people were killed in a Russian missile strike in the eastern city of Sloviansk on Monday, according to the regional governor. The attack left 29 others wounded, Pavlo Kyrylenko said, adding that a number of high-rise buildings and offices were damaged or destroyed. Volodymyr Zelenskiy posted a video clip that showed vehicles on fire and debris strewn across the road.

  • Western companies selling their Russian businesses and leaving face a compulsory 10% direct donation to the government, the Financial Times has reported, after a ruling by Russia’s foreign investments commission.

  • The chair of Ukraine’s parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, has told British lawmakers that Kyiv is ready to send its pilots to be trained in the use of western fighter jets. Stefanchuk, speaking during a visit to the UK, said Kyiv could bring “joint victory for Ukraine and the world” once it “gets the wings”, in language echoing that of Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s speech to the British parliament in February.

  • A leaked phone conversation allegedly between prominent Russian music producer Iosif Prigozhin and billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov, in which the two men give a far-ranging criticism of the war in Ukraine and Russia’s leadership, has been published by Ukrainian media. If genuine, the audio would provide a rare insight into the mood within the Russian elites.

  • Russian and Belarusian athletes should be banned from the 2024 Olympics in Paris unless Moscow pulls its forces out of Ukraine, Poland has said, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it planned to let them compete as neutrals.

  • Poland has detained a foreign citizen on charges of spying for Russia, prosecutors have said. The arrest comes after Poland dismantled a Russian espionage network that had been preparing acts of sabotage and monitoring rail routes to Ukraine. If found guilty, the suspect could face up to 10 years in prison.

  • Hungary’s parliament has approved a bill to allow Finland to join Nato, bringing it one step closer to becoming a full member of the alliance. Hungarian lawmakers voted 182 for and six against with no abstentions. Turkey is the only one of Nato’s 30 members not to have ratified Finland’s accession.