Moscow told Washington to keep well away from its air space after a U.S. drone intercepted by Russian jets crashed into the Black Sea, the first known direct confrontation between the superpowers since Russia invaded Ukraine.
* The Kremlin said its relations with the United States were in a “lamentable state” after Washington accused Russia of downing one of its reconnaissance drones over the Black Sea.
* The Pentagon said one of the Russian Su-27 jets struck the propeller of the military MQ-9 surveillance drone, making it inoperable.
* Russia’s defence ministry blamed “sharp maneuvering” by the drone for the crash and said that its jets did not make contact.
* The incident shows that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to expand the Ukraine-Russia conflict zone, a senior Ukrainian security official said.
* Turkey will continue discussions to extend a deal that allows grain shipments from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for 120 days rather than 60 days, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said.
* Ukraine’s grain exports for the 2022/23 season stood at 34.7 million tonnes as of March 15, hit by a smaller harvest and logistical difficulties caused by Russia’s invasion, agriculture ministry data showed.
* Indian companies are using the SWIFT global payment system to settle dollar payments with Russia, a top trade official said, even though many Russian banks are blocked from the network due to Western sanctions.
* Russia’s revenues from oil and oil product exports decreased in February to $11.6 billion from monthly averages of $18.7 and $14.9 billion in 2022 and 2021, respectively, the International Energy Agency estimated.
* Ukraine can defend a $3 billion Eurobond lawsuit brought by Russia on the basis it was forced to assume the debt in 2013 because of threats of force by Moscow, the United Kingdom’s top court ruled.
* Finnish President Sauli Niinisto will visit Turkey this week to discuss Finland’s bid to join NATO with President Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish presidency said.
* Denmark said it will establish a fund of 7 billion Danish crowns ($1.01 billion) for military, civilian and business aid to Ukraine this year.
* Ukraine’s top military command favours defending eastern Ukraine including the besieged city of Bakhmut, and inflicting maximum losses on the enemy, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.
* The 2024 U.S. Republican presidential race could become a contest between isolationists and foreign policy hawks after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent his strongest signal yet he does not believe support for Ukraine is in the U.S. national interest.
* “Since the beginning of February, they (the Russians) have conducted something like 40 to 50 attempted assaults,” 45-year-old Ukrainian commander Andrii “Tuman” told Reuters in a village near Kreminna, Luhansk.