March 11, 2023 - Russia's war in Ukraine

By Joshua Berlinger, Adrienne Vogt, Matt Meyer and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 4:00 PM ET, Sat March 11, 2023
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4:00 p.m. ET, March 11, 2023

Our live coverage of the war in Ukraine has ended for the day. Catch up on the latest in the posts below.

3:39 p.m. ET, March 11, 2023

Here's the latest map of control in Ukraine

As the battle for the fiercely contested eastern city of Bakhmut remains a focus for both the Ukrainian and Russian militaries, this map shows the territory that each side controls:

2:43 p.m. ET, March 11, 2023

Over 40 missiles have hit the city of Kharkiv since the beginning of 2023, according to Zelensky

From CNN’s Mariya Knight

Rescue workers survey a residential building hit by a missile on January 29, in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Rescue workers survey a residential building hit by a missile on January 29, in Kharkiv, Ukraine. (Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Ukrinform/Future Publishing/Getty Images)

More than 40 missiles have hit the northeastern city of Kharkiv since the beginning of the year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Saturday.

"Only since the beginning of this year – in less than two-and-a-half months – over 40 enemy missiles have already struck Kharkiv," Zelensky said, calling the resulting “ruins, debris, shell holes in the ground” a self-portrait of Russia.

Oleh Synehubov, the head of the Kharkiv region military administration, said Saturday that engineers were working to restore power to thousands of customers in the region following Thursday's massive Russian attack.

Zelensky also talked about the shelling of other areas in Ukraine. He said three people who were killed in Russian shelling in the city of Kherson "simply went to a store to buy groceries."

The attack happened on the Mykolaiv highway, injuring two others, according to a Telegram post earlier on Saturday from Oleksandr Prokudin, the head of the Kherson region's military administration.

Zelensky said that "in Zaporizhzhia, a Russian missile hit the city's life support facility."

"In the border areas, the occupier fired at villages to intimidate people, to drive people away,” he added.

The Ukrainian president announced "a new sanctioning step against individuals and legal entities" associated with Russia.

"The relevant decree has been published," he said. "These are more than 280 companies and 120 people who, through gambling business schemes, worked against Ukraine, withdrew funds from our state and financed various Russian schemes."

The decree "closes schemes worth tens of billions," Zelensky said. 

1:56 p.m. ET, March 11, 2023

Ukrainian snipers set up ambush for Wagner fighters at industrial plant in Bakhmut, Border Guard says

From CNN's Radina Gigova

As battles grind on between Ukrainian and Russian forces for control of the eastern city of Bakhmut, Ukraine's Border Guard Service released details Saturday about some encounters between Ukrainian troops and fighters from the Russian private military company Wagner. 

Industrial plants in Bakhmut are shown in a video published on the Border Guard website. CNN was unable to specifically geolocate the video but doesn't have a reason to believe the footage is not from Bakhmut. 

"The other day, the border unit of the Luhansk detachment conducted a positional battle with enemy forces in the area of one of the industrial enterprises," the Border Guard said in a statement. "The day before, the Ukrainian defenders withstood several assault attacks of the invaders." 
"To continue the offensive, the Russian mercenaries entrenched themselves in one of the workshops and gathered strength," the Border Guard said, adding that at this point the guards launched a counterattack.

A Ukrainian grenade unit was able to take down the machine gunner who was covering the entrance to the building. Then, a ground reconnaissance group of border guards were able to move in and "eliminated the Wagnerites," the Border Guard said.

CNN is unable to independently verify how the events unfolded. The Border Guard doesn't say what day the video was recorded. 

"To destroy the enemy's reserve, the border guards set up an ambush. With the onset of darkness, a surprise awaited the attack squads who were approaching the front line. Border snipers neutralized six invaders," the Border Guard said. 

Part of the video appears to show the moment described in the statement. The video also features a few comments from one of the Ukrainian soldiers. 

"About the situation in Bakhmut — they have already entered the industrial zone. We try to kick them out of there. They strengthened their positions there last night. My reconnaissance group entered their location this morning and is trying to attack their positions," the soldier said. 

Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesperson for the eastern grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said on national television Saturday that over the last 24 hours, more than 20 combat engagements between Ukrainian and Russian forces have taken place within the territory of the city itself. 

Cherevatyi also said most of the Russian assault groups consist of Wagner fighters who are reinforced by Russian paratroopers.

1:00 p.m. ET, March 11, 2023

Spring brings hope in Kharkiv after a long, dark winter for Ukrainians

From CNN’s Saskya Vandoorne and Maria Avdeeva in Kharkiv

Miris. (Saskya Vandoorn/CNN)

Most of the power supply in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, was restored Saturday after a barrage of Russian drones and missiles targeted critical infrastructure and plunged the city into darkness yet again Thursday.

Miris, an 18-year-old resident of the city, says “spring brings hope” after a dark winter.

She smiled as she froths a cappuccino in a coffee shop with no generator.

“I was depressed because the blackouts meant I couldn’t do the things I normally do,” Miris told CNN. But she’s learned to adapt, and when there’s no electricity, she trades in her favorite TV show for a book.

“I’ve had a whole year to get used to this kind of living. You simply try not to think about where the strike was and who was harmed,” Miris said.
Natalia, left, and Svetlana.
Natalia, left, and Svetlana. (Saskya Vandoorn/CNN)

Natalia Abramova, 53, lost her father two days ago but was unable to call her siblings or relatives with the news because of the power outage.

“His heart gave way,” Abramova told CNN. “Not just because of the disease he was fighting, but all the worrying weighed it down.”  

Despite the pain, Abramova remains defiant.

“The Russians failed because these strikes have only made people angrier, and we are now waiting for victory,” she said.

12:08 p.m. ET, March 11, 2023

Watch: Ukrainian drone hunters shoot down Russian missiles

Day and night, Ukrainian drone hunters are scanning the sky to spot and shoot down Russian missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

CNN's Melissa Bell visited a team of Ukrainian servicemen who knock down the Russian attacks using a machine gun mounted on an armored vehicle, maximizing their agility at the expense of the comfort of more permanent setups.

An influx of Western equipment to aid in Ukraine's defense has been making an impact. When Russia launched one of its biggest aerial assaults of the conflict this week, Ukraine's military was able to intercept around a third of the 95 missiles fired.

11:34 a.m. ET, March 11, 2023

Ukraine is implementing extra security measures after this week's massive attack, interior minister says

From CNN's Dennis Lapin and Radina Gigova

Officials are putting extra security and defense measures in place across Ukraine to protect critical infrastructure and residential areas from another potential country-wide Russian attack, Ukraine's Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said on national television Saturday.

"I can say that we are always ready for the so-called 'retaliatory strikes' (missile attacks) when the enemy insidiously destroys not only critical infrastructure facilities but also residential buildings," he said. 

"I would like to remind you that since the beginning of the large-scale invasion, more than 40,500 such strikes have been carried out on the territory of our country. About 152,000 residential buildings and about 400,000 public infrastructure facilities have been destroyed," he added.

Klymenko said he could not elaborate on the details of the extra security measures but said authorities are trying to help residents feel safe, especially in the cities where the biggest attacks occurred. Officials are securing the centers where people can find shelter, warm up and charge their devices, and are conducting "intensified patrols," he said.  

On Thursday, Russia launched a widespread attack on Ukraine using an array of 95 missiles, including six Kinzhal ballistic missiles that have the ability to elude Kyiv’s air defenses, the Ukrainian military said.

This map shows the regions that were affected:

11:09 a.m. ET, March 11, 2023

Wagner chief claims further advancements toward center of Bakhmut

From CNN's Radina Gigova, Uliana Pavlova and Dennis Lapin 

Wagner private military company chief Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed his fighters have made further advancements toward the embattled city of Bakhmut, posting a video Saturday in which he claims to be standing about 1.2 kilometers (less than a mile) away from the administrative center of the city.

"That's about a five-story building where the smoke comes from — the building of the city administration, the administrative center of the city. It's one kilometer and 200 meters away," Prigozhin said in the video as he pointed in that direction. 

CNN has geolocated the video, and it appears to show the area where Prigozhin said he was at the time. 

"This is the place where the Armed Forces of Ukraine will conduct a counteroffensive from the north, it is important for us that the warriors cover our flanks," he said. 
"If the flanks are covered, then everything is in order, if not, then PMC Wagner will be surrounded, along with the Ukrainians who are inside Bakhmut," he added. 

The eastern city, located in Donetsk region, continues to be the site of some of the fiercest fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces. 

What Ukraine says: Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesperson for the eastern grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said on national television Saturday that over the last 24 hours, more than 20 combat engagements between Ukrainian and Russian forces have taken place within the territory of the city itself. 

Cherevatyi also said most of the Russian assault groups consist of Wagner fighters who are reinforced by Russian paratroopers. 

According to the UK Defence Ministry, forces fighting for the Russian government have now taken control of most of the eastern part of the city, and the river in the city center now marks the front line. But it added that Ukrainian forces still hold the west of Bakhmut and have made it difficult for Russian-aligned troops to move forward — even turning one strip of open ground into a "killing zone."

9:31 a.m. ET, March 11, 2023

Russian paratroopers are reinforcing Wagner fighters in Bakhmut attacks, Ukrainian military spokesperson says

From CNN's Radina Gigova and Kostan Nechyporenko

As Russian attacks on the eastern city of Bakhmut continue, there have been more than 50 combat engagements between Ukrainian and Russian forces over the last 24 hours in the area, according to a Ukrainian military spokesperson.

"The enemy was actively conducting combat operations all week, just like the previous week. Yesterday was no exception," said Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesperson for the eastern grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, on national television Saturday. "Over the last 24 hours, the enemy attacked our positions in the Bakhmut sector 157 times with artillery and multiple rocket launchers."

Cherevatyi said Bakhmut itself was attacked 16 times, and 23 combat engagements took place within the city itself.

When asked which Russian units are leading the attacks on Bakhmut, and whether the tactics of the Russian forces have changed, Cherevatyi said most of the assault groups consist of Wagner fighters who are reinforced by Russian paratroopers. 

"The Wagner PMC has not been destroyed, we are only on the way to (achieving that)," he said. 

On Friday, Cherevatyi said a third wave of fighters from the Wagner private military company fighting in the area are being replaced by Russia's regular army.