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What we know on day 397 of the Russian invasion

Troops return home after Challenger 2 tank training in UK

Troops return home after Challenger 2 tank training in UK

Crews spent several weeks learning how to operate tanks expected to be used in a Ukraine counteroffensive

The UK defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said the Ukrainian soldiers “return to their homeland better equipped, but to no less danger”.

Wallace who visited the Ukrainian troops during their training at Bovington Camp in Dorset last month, said: “It is truly inspiring to witness the determination of Ukrainian soldiers having completed their training on British Challenger 2 tanks on British soil. We will continue to stand by them and do all we can to support Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

At a glance

What we know on day 397 of the Russian invasion

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy has visited the partially occupied region of Zaporizhzhia, where he meet with UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi. The head of the UN’s nuclear agency said they had “a rich exchange on the protection of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant”. In a message on Telegram, Ukraine’s president said “I visited the command post of the “Zaporizhzhia” operational group of troops. I presented orders and medals to employees of the security service of Ukraine, the national guard, the national police, the state border guard service, and the state emergency service of Ukraine.”
  • Ukraine’s ground forces commander said on Monday his troops were continuing to repel heavy Russian attacks on the eastern city of Bakhmut and that defending it was a “military necessity”. Ukraine’s military said Col Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi had acted during a visit to the eastern frontline to solve “problematic issues that prevent effective execution of combat tasks” and taken “operational decisions aimed at strengthening our capabilities to deter and inflict damage on the enemy”. It gave no details, and did not say when the visit took place, but Syrskyi’s comments signalled again Ukraine’s intention to keep fighting in Bakhmut despite the heavy death toll there.
  • Ukraine has accused Russia of destabilising Belarus and making its smaller neighbour into “a nuclear hostage”, after Vladimir Putin’s announcement that Moscow has made a deal to station tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory. The country’s opposition leader in exile, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, said the move “grossly contradicts the will of the Belarusian people” and reflected the further subjugation of Belarus under Russian control.

Russia accused of taking country ‘nuclear hostage’ with deal to station missiles there

Vladimir Putin

Timeline for storing tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus is hard to believe

Like a lot of what Vladimir Putin says about nuclear weapons, his suggestion that Russia would start storing its bombs in Belarus may add up to less than it appears.

What Putin is threatening this time is to take another couple of steps along that road, starting the training of Belarus aircrews in early April to pilot aircraft carrying nuclear bombs, and to finish storage facilities for tactical nuclear weapons by 1 July.

Nuclear experts are sceptical of such ambitious timelines, and point out that Russia has been working on a nuclear weapon storage facility in Kaliningrad for at least seven years and it is still not clear whether the bombs have actually arrived there.

Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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