Home World Four infographics to know where the war in Ukraine stands

Four infographics to know where the war in Ukraine stands

The war in Ukraine continues, despite diplomatic attempts to silence the guns. The Russian army is trying to encircle kyiv, shelling Kharkiv and Mikolaiv, but the heaviest fighting this week has been in Mariupol. In this city besieged for several days, where electricity has been cut and where food is lacking, a theater housing “several hundred” civilians was bombed. At the same time, under Western sanctions, Russia finds itself on the brink of default. 20 minutes provides an update on the conflict in Ukraine and its challenges in four infographics.

Russian troops made little progress

Map of the situation in Ukraine on March 18 at 8:30 GMT.
Map of the situation in Ukraine on March 18 at 8:30 GMT. – Simon MALFATTO, Paz PIZARRO, Cléa PÉCULIER, Kenan AUGEARD / AFP

Russian troops stall. Despite the assertions of Vladimir Putin, evoking a “success”, progress has been minimal on the ground. After bitter fighting in Irpin, kyiv is still not completely surrounded, to the point that the Polish, Czech and Slovenian Prime Ministers were able to go back and forth to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Bombardments regularly affect Dnipro and Lviv, while the Russian troops are far from it.

The situation is more precarious for Kharkiv, disputed since the beginning of the war, and Mykolaiv, whose control would open the way to Russian tanks towards Odessa. Hundreds of civilians are fleeing to Odessa every day. On Sunday, nine people queuing outside a store were killed in an airstrike. But this week, the strikes and fighting have focused on another key city: Mariupol.

A bombed theater in Mariupol

The latest developments in the war in Ukraine, including the bombed theater in Mariupol. – Sabrina BLANCHARD, Gal ROMA / AFP

“It’s no longer Mariupol, it’s hell. Tamara Kanunenko, a resident, has finally managed to flee her city, besieged for more than two weeks. Mariupol, a strategic port that would allow the Russians to make the connection between its troops in Crimea and those of Donbass, is no longer supplied with electricity. Its inhabitants, who hide where they can, drink water from radiators or the river. According to kyiv, more than 2,000 people have died so far in Mariupol.

The toll could rise dramatically after the city’s theater was bombed on Wednesday. The clearing of the rubble is still in progress, but “several hundred people” had taken refuge there, indicates the town hall. At the front and back of the building, the word “Diéti” (“Children” in Russian) was written on the ground in giant letters. The Russian air force seems to have ignored the warning. This Friday, fighting was reported in the city center, where the corpses of civilians have littered the streets for several days.

US delivers ‘kamikaze’ drones to Ukraine

Some elements on the – Gal ROMA, Valentin RAKOVSKY, Anibal MAIZ CACERES / AFP

Joe Biden announced the sending of anti-aircraft defenses to Ukraine, including Soviet-made S-300 missiles, more practical for the Ukrainian army to use, but also 100 drones. According to an American military source, these are “Switchblade”, so-called “kamikaze” drones which explode on contact with the target and whose smaller model can destroy light armored vehicles. Enough to allow the Ukrainians to target Russian convoys trying to encircle kyiv, or more distant strategic targets.

Russia on the brink of default

The next repayment dates for Russian sovereign debt securities. – Sophie RAMIS, Gal ROMA / AFP

Russia came very close to defaulting, when it was due to pay $117 million on March 16 for two bonds. After fears about the impossibility of making the payment, due to Western sanctions, particularly on Russian banks, everything is back to normal… for this time. The Russian Ministry of Finance said it had disbursed the necessary money, saying in a statement that “the payment order on the payment of interest on bonds (…) with a total value of 117.2 million dollars ( …) was executed”. The American bank JPMorgan has received a payment from the Russian Central Bank to this effect, according to a source familiar with the matter.

After consultation with the American authorities not to infringe the sanctions, JPMorgan then transmitted the money to Citigroup, responsible for distributing the sums required by the holders of the various bonds within thirty days. But this payment at the last moment only temporarily removes the specter of a default. Several other deadlines are coming, and the sanctions have caused the ruble to fall sharply.

However, Russian reserves abroad being blocked, Moscow can only count on its own currency to pay its debts owed in foreign currency. Despite his threats, this week’s payment was made in dollars. But how long can the Kremlin hold out? Rating agencies further downgraded Russia’s rating, considering the risk of an “imminent” Russian default.

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