Ukraine says it shot down 4 Russian missiles over sea near Odesa
From CNN's Maria Kostenko in Kyiv
The Ukrainian military said it destroyed four Russian missiles that were headed toward the Odesa region in southern Ukraine.
"The enemy conducted an airstrike in Odesa region using tactical aircraft ...The Su-24 aircraft fired four anti-radar missiles towards the coast, presumably X-31P," Operational Command South said.
"The missiles have been destroyed over the sea," the command said.
Several buildings were damaged, it added.
9:03 a.m. ET, March 14, 2023
It’s mid-afternoon in Kyiv. Here’s what you need to know
From CNN Staff
Russian strikes across the Donetsk region have killed at least three people, while continued fighting in Bakhmut is focused around an industrial plant in the north of the city.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin has said it does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court amid reports that the court is considering war crimes cases related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Here are the latest headlines:
Deadly strikes across Donetsk: Russian strikes on residential areas of the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk have killed one and injured two more. In Kostiantynivka, two people are confirmed dead with seven more wounded.
No confirmation of Xi and Zelensky virtual meeting: Ukrainian, Chinese and US officials all declined to confirm a potential virtual meeting between President Volodymyr Zelensky and President Xi Jinping in statements Monday and Tuesday, following a report that the two were planning to speak for the first time since Russia’s invasion.
Grain deal extension: Russia and the UN have agreed on a 60-day extension of the Ukraine grain deal after negotiations in Geneva, which the Kremlin is calling a "sort of goodwill gesture."
Nord Stream blast boat identified: German magazine Der Spiegel has identified the boat that was searched by authorities in connection with the explosions that knocked out the Nord Stream gas pipeline last September.
Here's the latest map of control:
8:36 a.m. ET, March 14, 2023
Lithuanian parliament declares Russian private military company Wagner a terrorist organization
From CNN's Stephanie Halasz and James Frater
The Lithuanian parliament has adopted a resolution labeling the private military company Wagner as a terrorist organization.
“Wagner is a terrorist organization, and its members and mercenaries pose a threat to the security of the state and society," according to the resolution, which was published on the parliament website.
"Since the start of the Russian Federation's military invasion of Ukraine in 2022 on February 24, soldiers of the Russian Federation and mercenaries of the private military company 'Wagner' of the Russian Federation, which actively participates in military actions on the side of the aggressor, commit systematic, serious crimes of aggression - killing and torturing the civilian population of Ukraine, bombing residential buildings and other civilian objects - which are equivalent to terrorism,” according the parliamentary document.
The parliament said that “the private military company 'Wagner,' founded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is a shadow tool of Russian power.”
The Lithuanian parliament said it was inviting other countries to follow suit and label Wagner a terrorist organization.
Lithuania and Russia share a border that is 297 kilometers (184 miles) long.
Some context: Wagner fighters have played an important role in Russia's invasion of Ukraine – with many involved now in the battle for the eastern city of Bakhmut.
Many were recruited from Russian prisons and offered pardons in return for a six-month tour of duty in Ukraine.
8:49 a.m. ET, March 14, 2023
Cross-border Russian shelling kills 1 woman in Ukraine's northern Kharkiv region, local official says
From CNN's Maria Kostenko in Kyiv
Russian forces have fired more shells across the border into Ukraine's northern Kharkiv region, according to a local official.
At least one person was killed in the town of Vovchansk, a few miles from the border with Russia, according to Oleh Syniehubov, head of the Kharkiv region military administration.
"The enemy [is] continuously shelling peaceful civilians as well as civilian infrastructure in Vovchansk," he said.
"An enemy projectile struck a civilian car during the shelling of the city fire and rescue unit. ... A 55-year old woman who was in the car has died," he continued.
More about Vovchansk: The town was occupied by Russian forces early in the invasion, but was taken back by Ukrainian forces in September. Russian forces regularly shell Vovchansk and other border towns in Kharkiv and Sumy regions.
Vovchansk, an important railway hub, has been shelled at least four times this month. Occasionally, it has also suffered air strikes.
7:53 a.m. ET, March 14, 2023
Kremlin calls 60-day grain deal extension a “kind of goodwill gesture”
“The deal cannot stand on one leg," Peskov said when asked why the deal had not been extended by 120 days.
"Of course, the conditions for the [deal] extension are relative. But this is a kind of goodwill gesture on the part of Russia,” he said.
Peskov added that Russia made this step “in the hope that, after such a long time, the conditions and obligations that were taken on by the known parties will be fulfilled.”
Russia and the United Nations agreed on a 60-day extension of the Ukraine grain deal after negotiations in Geneva, Russian state news agency RIA reported on Monday, citing Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko.
Grushko added that the condition was that all the promises given to Russia will be fulfilled, including the obligation to lift sanctions, direct and indirect, on the supply of agricultural products to international global markets.
Some context: In July last year, ministers from both Ukraine and Russia signed the agreement following months of negotiations brokered by the UN and Turkey.
Russia pledged to unblock ports on the Black Sea to allow the safe passage of grain and oilseeds – some of Ukraine’s most important exports.
8:29 a.m. ET, March 14, 2023
Fighting in Bakhmut focuses on industrial zone in north of city
From CNN's Tim Lister and Allegra Goodwin
Video and images appearing on social media Tuesday appear to confirm fighting in Bakhmut around the AZOM metallurgical plant, which is a sprawling complex in a northern neighborhood of the city.
Fighters from the Wagner private military company posed for photographs in what appears to be one of the plant's workshops. In a video, one of them said that they were being hit by Ukrainian artillery persistently.
"Tens of projectiles are striking here every single day. They have an enormous amount of ammunition and it is restocked on a daily basis. They are not letting our fighters raise their heads," the soldier said.
On Monday, Russian military bloggers claimed that Wagner fighters had begun assaults on underground sections of the AZOM complex.
Wagner units appear to be making limited advances around Bakhmut, according to independent analysis of the battlefield, but remain well short of its encirclement, and may be vulnerable to a Ukrainian counter-attack.
The Ukrainian military's spokesperson in the east, Serhiy Cherevatyi, reported on Monday that there had been about 40 clashes within Bakhmut over the previous 24 hours.
In an update Tuesday, the Ukrainian General Staff said Russian forces were trying to advance in several parts of the Donetsk region, "despite heavy losses."
It also said that Russian units had tried to break through Ukrainian defensive lines further north in the Kupyansk direction. Kupyansk is a town in the Kharkiv region that was recaptured by Ukrainian forces in September but remains only a few miles from the front lines.
6:15 a.m. ET, March 14, 2023
German magazine identifies boat searched in connection with Nord Stream pipeline explosions
From CNN's Stephanie Halasz and Chris Stern
German magazine Der Spiegel has identified the boat that was searched by authorities in connection with the explosions that knocked out the Nordstream gas pipeline in September.
The sailing vessel “Andromeda” was searched in January, according to Der Spiegel. The German general prosecutors’ office said last week that it had searched an unnamed boat that month.
Der Spiegel says that the “Andromeda” was the vessel in which an unidentified six-man crew allegedly sailed to the explosion area in the Baltic Sea.
According to the marine websites vesselfinder.com and marinetraffic.com, the "Andromeda" is German-flagged and measures 13 meters (42.6 feet) in length and 4 meters (13.1 feet) wide.
CNN contacted the company that rents out the "Andromeda," but got no comment.
Last Friday, a German government spokesman was asked about the “Andromeda,” but referred any questions to the German general prosecutors’ office.
The investigation into the explosions, which targeted pipelines delivering Russian gas to Europe, has also reached Denmark.
Søren Thiim Andersen, a local official on the island of Christiansø, told CNN that investigators had searched his harbor mooring online booking system.
They also asked him to post an appeal for photos of boats that had visited the island from 16-18 September last year on a local Facebook page.
“We were contacted by Danish police in December about boats coming to the harbour, if we had any information locally here on Christiansø, about which boats that have been here in the harbour,” he said.
“I don’t know if the police found what they were looking for on the island,” he said.
Christiansø is 20 kilometers (12 miles) northeast of the Danish island of Bornholm, near where the explosions happened.
Some context: Mystery has surrounded who might be responsible for the brazen sabotage last September, which damaged two pipes transporting Russian gas into the European Union and targeted a crucial source of revenue for Moscow. Both pipelines were closed at the time of the attack.
A report by the New York Times cited new intelligence that a "pro-Ukrainian group" may have been behind the attack. Ukraine has denied any involvement.
6:17 a.m. ET, March 14, 2023
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says war in Ukraine is not a "vital national interest"
From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Kristen Holmes
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said that “becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia” is not a “vital national interest.”
The US presidential hopeful revealed some of his clearest views yet on US involvement in Ukraine in a written statement to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
“While the U.S. has many vital national interests – securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party – becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” DeSantis told Carlson.
The view puts DeSantis more in line with former President Donald Trump’s views on Ukraine and puts him at odds with other Republicans including Mike Pence and Nikki Haley.
“We cannot prioritize intervention in an escalating foreign war over the defense of our own homeland, especially as tens of thousands of Americans are dying every year from narcotics smuggled across our open border and our weapons arsenals critical for our own security are rapidly being depleted,” DeSantis writes.
Carlson had asked 2024 Republican Party presidential candidates to provide their views on the war in Ukraine.
“Without question, peace should be the objective. The U.S. should not provide assistance that could require the deployment of American troops or enable Ukraine to engage in offensive operations beyond its borders. F-16s and long-range missiles should therefore be off the table," write DeSantis.
"These moves would risk explicitly drawing the United States into the conflict and drawing us closer to a hot war between the world’s two largest nuclear powers. That risk is unacceptable,” he adds.
9:34 a.m. ET, March 14, 2023
Kremlin says it doesn't recognize International Criminal Court amid reports of war crimes cases
From CNN’s Anna Chernova
The Russian government does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday, according to state news agency TASS.
"We do not recognize this court, we do not recognize the jurisdiction of this court. This is how we treat this," Peskov said as quoted by TASS.
The ICC is planning to open two war crimes cases tied to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and issue arrest warrants against “several people,” according to the New York Times (NYT) and Reuters, citing current and former officials with knowledge of the decision who were not authorized to speak publicly.
According to the NYT, the cases would represent the first international charges to be brought since the start of Russia’s war and come after months of work by special ICC investigation teams.
The first case the ICC is set to open is about Russia’s alleged abduction of Ukrainian children. The second is on Russia’s “unrelentingly” targeting civilian infrastructure, including water supplies and gas tanks, according to the NYT.
What is the ICC? The ICC is the “court of last resort” and is located in The Hague, Netherlands.
It tries four types of crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression and war crimes.
Russia withdrew from the ICC treaty under a directive signed by President Vladimir Putin in 2016.