- Ukrainian forces retook several towns in the northeast Sumy region near the Russian border, and continue to make progress pushing back against Russia everywhere except in the east.
- Meanwhile, Russia appears to be trying to surround and cut off Ukrainian forces in the east. The Pentagon speculates that Russia plans to use the encircled troops as bargaining chips for negotiations.
- Pres. Biden seemingly accidentally divulged that the U.S. is actively training Ukrainian troops in Poland, contradicting NSA Sullivan’s remarks last week denying there’s “currently” any such training going on.
- The Economist interviewed Pres. Zelensky and printed a great article about the conversation—see below. In one zinger, Zelensky drew attention to mounting Russian casualties by calling Pres. Putin out for “throwing Russian soldiers like logs into a train’s furnace.”
- On a related note, Western officials say Russian troops in western Ukraine deliberately killed their own brigade commander—by running him over with an armored vehicle—out of frustration with the losses the brigade sustained under his leadership.
- Russia and Ukraine started new ceasefire talks in Turkey today. Neither side is very hopeful of a breakthrough, but both have signaled readiness to make minor concessions: Russia is prepared to give up on “de-Nazifying” Ukraine (i.e., forcing regime change), and Ukraine is open to promising neutrality if Russia withdraws.
- Russia says Roman Abramovich has stepped back from facilitating negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, and handed the talks over to official negotiating teams.
- Bellingcat revealed that Russian hardliners trying to sabotage early peace talks poisoned Abramovich and two Ukrainian negotiators when they met in Kyiv earlier this month. All three survived, and all three downplayed the incident to avoid rewarding those hardliners with the disruption they sought.
Biden appeared to reveal the US is training Ukrainian troops in Poland while trying to explain recent gaffes pic.twitter.com/HNuztlCI84
— Dave DeCamp (@DecampDave) March 29, 2022
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