Here's a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week.

What to watch

Anticipation has been growing for Ukraine to launch a spring counteroffensive.

European countries are demanding answers after China's ambassador to France questioned whether former Soviet republics are sovereign nations under international law. Beijing tried to walk back the remarks saying it respects the sovereignty of former Soviet republics.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is in New York to chair debates at the U.N. Security Council, where Russia holds the rotating presidency. He's also expected to meet with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Elizabeth Whelan, the sister of Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia, is attending a Security Council meeting.

President Biden will host South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol for a state visit, following months of Western pressure on the Asian country, a growing weapons manufacturer, to help arm Ukraine.

The European Union is in talks with member states regarding their unilateral banning of grain imports from Ukraine.

What happened last week

A Moscow court denied Evan Gershkovich's appeal, upholding the pretrial detention of the American journalist on espionage charges. He and his employer, The Wall Street Journal, deny the accusation and the U.S. government has determined Gershkovich was "wrongfully detained." Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy attended part of the court hearing, after she was granted her first consular visit with him.

Russian activist Vladimir Kara-Murza was sentenced in Moscow to 25 years in prison for criticizing Russia's war in Ukraine. The United States, Britain and Canada condemned the ruling, considered the harshest since Russia's invasion last year.

Russia accidentally bombed its own city of Belgorod near the border of Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

American-made Patriot air defense systems arrived in Ukraine. The Ukrainian defense minister thanked the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands for providing the guided missile systems his country has long requested. Spain became the latest country to send Ukraine German-made Leopard tanks, providing six of them, with plans to send four more.

Ukraine passed laws banning Russian place names and requiring knowledge of Ukrainian language, laws and history for obtaining citizenship.

President Vladimir Putin and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy each visited different parts of the front line. Putin, on a rare trip, went to the southern Kherson and eastern Luhansk regions. Zelenskyy, who makes frequent trips to the battlefield, went to the eastern city of Avdiivka.

Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu visited Moscow, where he praised President Vladimir Putin for allegedly making "important contributions to promoting world peace."

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg visited Ukraine for the first time since last year's invasion, saying the country's "rightful place is in NATO" and the alliance will make that possible.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin visited Washington, where he met with U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and other officials. Garland announced the Justice Department will send an experienced prosecutor to The Hague to help international efforts to investigate Russian crimes in Ukraine.

South Korea is considering more than humanitarian and economic support for Ukraine, its president, Yoon Suk Yeol, told Reuters, signaling a possible future shift in the country's stance against arming Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Latin American countries Brazil, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, as well as meeting with his counterpart from Bolivia, nations whose governments mainly do not challenge the Kremlin's comments about Ukraine and the U.S. and in many cases they endorse them.


Russia says its air force accidentally bombed its own city near Ukraine.

Ukraine refugees face uncertainty and precarity as displacement persists.

This Ukrainian widower's superpower is repairing the home he shared with his wife.

Twitter once muzzled Russian and Chinese state propaganda. That's over now.

Putin attempts to show he's not isolated with visits to Russian troops.

Scott Simon's weekend essay: on the sentencing of the Russian opposition's Vladimir Kara-Murza.

A Moscow court has rejected WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich's detention appeal.

Journalist Evan Gershkovich tells family he's "not losing hope" in Russian detention.

On the State of Ukraine podcast: 6-year-old best friends, separated by war in Ukraine. And businesses find a Russian exit is complex.

USAID will invest millions to boost the oversight of Ukraine's management of aid.

Parents who sent kids to Russia to escape fighting have a hard time getting them back.

On Here & Now: Brazil reaches out to China and Russia — and the West is nervous.

Special report

Russia's war in Ukraine is changing the world: See our report on its ripple effects in all corners of the globe.

Earlier developments

You can read past recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR's coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

300x250 Ad

300x250 Ad

Support quality journalism, like the story above, with your gift right now.