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Russo-Ukrainian War, day 767: Russia’s errant bombings at home as MEPs urge probe into Russia’s bribing of EU politicians

Russian aircraft accidentally dropped more bombs on Russia’s Belgorod region, totaling 14 incidents in March. France will send the Aster 30 surface-to-air missile system, the European equivalent of the Patriot system, to Ukraine. Members of the European Parliament are calling for an investigation into a Russian scheme to bribe European politicians.
Russo-Ukrainian War, day 767: Russia’s errant bombings at home as MEPs urge probe into Russia’s bribing of EU politicians

Exclusives

Russia suspected of funneling funds to Germany’s AfD party for pro-Russian messaging. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is being investigated for potential involvement in a Russian influence operation. Reports suggest that hundreds of thousands of euros from a pro-Putin network were directed to European politicians, including AfD members.

Military

Media: Russian aircraft accidentally dropped two more bombs on Russia’s Belgorod Oblast. The latest report by an independent news Telegram channel indicates that Russian aircraft have accidentally discharged two more bombs in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast, making a total of 14 such incidents in the region reported in March.

France to send European equivalent of American Patriot Aster 30 missiles to Ukraine. The military aid France is to send to Ukraine is not new, but “still operational.” According to French Defense Minister Lecornu “transfer of weapons to Ukraine does not affect France’s national security, as they are decommissioned.”

Ukraine destroys 9 out of 16 Russian missiles, 9 out of 11 drones overnight. Russian night attack killed a man in Lviv Oblast, targeting the same energy infrastructure it had targeted in the attacks on the 24 & 29 March, Governor Maksym Kozytskyi said. There may still be people under the rubble.

Intelligence and technology

British Defense Ministry: Russia enhances defense of Novorossiysk Sea Port in Black Sea Fleet from Ukrainian strikes. Russian 4 barges positioned at Novorossiysk port entrance to protect Black Sea Fleet assets after increased risk of Ukrainian strikes in Sevastopol.

Budanov: Russia may resume Kalibr attacks as Kh-101 stocks dwindle. Ukraine’s Military Intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov says Russia has been accumulating Kalibr cruise missiles, which could be used to strike Ukraine soon as their Kh-101 missile stocks decrease.

Spain provides first NASAMS maintenance training to Ukrainian military personnel. As part of its commitments to Ukraine, Spain has initiated training for Ukrainian troops on the maintenance of the NASAMS air defense system.

International

Finland doesn’t rule out sending troops to Ukraine in the future. Finnish Foreign Minister Valtonen supports Macron’s strategy of keeping Russia uncertain about Western support for Ukraine, by suggesting troop deployment, while ruling out immediate action but keeping long-term options open.

Ukraine’s SBU helped Czech BIS counterintelligence agency reveal pro-Russian MEP influence scheme. Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) reportedly helped Czech counterintelligence to uncover a scheme where European politicians were paid to promote Russia’s interests in the EU.

Media: US urges companies to halt shipments to 600 entities over concerns of supporting Kremlin’s war machine. A US official has revealed that the US has asked American companies to halt shipments to over 600 foreign entities amid concerns that the goods might be redirected to Russia and used in its war against Ukraine, as per Reuters.

MEPs call to investigate Russia’s bribery of EU politicians. Czech authorities have disclosed a scheme involving Russian bribery of European politicians through the Voice of Europe network. Members of the European Parliament are demanding an investigation.

Ukraine’s budget shortfall in March due to Polish border blockade amounts to $160 million. Polish farmers’ blockade of Ukraine’s state border has led to a loss of $160 million for the state budget in March. This blockade, initiated in February, has disrupted truck movement, impacting Ukraine’s economy and benefiting Russia.

Elon Musk claims Odesa could fall if Russo-Ukrainian war drags on. However, the entrepreneur spreading the Russian narrative about the need for separate peace negotiations believes that there is no chance of Russia taking control of the entire Ukraine.

Humanitarian and social impact

Orban’s gambit: why Russia and Hungary secretly moved Ukrainian POWs to Budapest. In a murky 2023 episode, Russia transferred 11 Ukrainian POWs to Hungary, saying they had Hungarian roots, without telling Kyiv.

Ukrainian police: Many still missing, Bucha civilian death toll not final two years on. Ukrainian police report that after the liberation of Bucha from Russian forces, 422 slain civilians were found, with 1190 bodies discovered in the region, while many are still missing: 514 residents of Kyiv Oblast are missing, with 180 bodies of Ukrainian citizens remaining unidentified.

Swedish volunteer Jonas Ohman delivers aid to Ukraine’s intelligence. Jonas Ohman’s Lithuania-based NGO has raised over $54 mn for Ukraine’s defense since Russia’s full-scale invasion began.

Hill: Ukraine aid to have “overwhelming support” in Congress after recess – US House Intel chair. US House Intelligence Chair Mike Turner anticipates overwhelming congressional support for additional Ukraine funding, despite internal divisions delaying aid, after 9 April when Congress reconvenes from the Easter recess.

Pope calls for prisoner exchange “all for all”; Ukraine responds: Russia doesn’t want it. Pope Francis calls for an “all for all” prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine in his traditional Easter address. Ukraine’s Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War responds that while they are ready, Russia is unwilling to repatriate its own people.

New developments

Parisian Mayor: ‘Russian, Belarusian athletes will not be welcomed in Paris’. Parisian Mayor Anne Hidalgo has spoken out against the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the 2024 Olympic Games. She added, “Paris will support Ukrainian athletes as heroes; you will feel at home in Paris.”

Russian losses

As of 31 Mar 2024, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

  • Personnel: 442170 (+650)
  • Tanks: 6966 (+15)
  • APV: 13304 (+20)
  • Artillery systems: 11050 (+44)
  • MLRS: 1023
  • Anti-aircraft systems: 743 (+7)
  • Aircraft: 347
  • Helicopters: 325
  • UAV: 8731 (+30)
  • Cruise missiles: 2048 (+2)
  • Warships/boats: 26
  • Submarines: 1
  • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 14717 (+47)

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