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Russia intensifies attacks on civilians and infrastructure in late March

  • Key Message Update
  • Ukraine
  • March 2024
Russia intensifies attacks on civilians and infrastructure in late March

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • March 2024 marked a significant escalation in Russia’s attacks on populated cities and critical infrastructure across Ukraine, including the three largest attacks on energy infrastructure recorded in the past year. According to UN OCHA, populations in eastern and southern cities have been most affected by disruptions to essential services, including electricity, heat, and water, with particularly severe impacts in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. Additionally, according to WFP reporting, Russia’s use of hypersonic missiles is reportedly resulting in an increase in civilian impact, including casualties. According to data from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), 3,436 conflict events, including 830 armed clashes, were recorded across Ukraine in March 2024. Frontline areas in eastern Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts continue to experience the greatest number of armed clashes, as positional fighting continues to yield little change in territorial control, similar to patterns observed in recent months. 
    • The WFP scaled up its provision of humanitarian assistance during the winter (late 2023/early 2024) to meet seasonally increased needs. During March 2024, WFP provided humanitarian food assistance (in-kind and cash) to around 2.4 million beneficiaries, up from the around 1.4 million reached in September/October 2023. WFP also continues to respond to sudden increases in need due to the conflict and, in response to the late March attacks, has provided affected populations with food and non-food items, supported by emergency telecommunications systems. However, the humanitarian response remains challenged by security risks and the potential for rapid shifts in the ability to access populations in need. Given such unpredictable conditions, WFP distributed double 30-day rations in several frontline areas, including Donetsk and Kharkiv.
    • The spring planting period is underway in rural Ukraine. According to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine (MoAPF), as of March 21, farmers in 20 regions of the country have started sowing grain and legume crops. International forecasts as of March 2024 indicate that rainfall during Ukraine’s spring planting period will most likely be close to average and sufficient to support spring planting. Though Ukrainian farmers face persistent challenges—including the presence of landmines—the government and partners continue to implement programs to support agricultural livelihoods. For example, since the beginning of 2024, the MoAPF reports that 2,299 farms received nearly 10 billion UAH (Ukrainian hryvnia) in affordable loans, and the MoAPF and FAO plan to provide spring wheat seeds to small and medium-sized enterprises.
    • According to MoAPF data, Ukrainian agricultural exports remain stable at near pre-invasion levels, with nearly seven million tons of agricultural products (mostly maize and wheat) exported in March 2024. This is largely attributable to the successful functioning of the grain corridor established when Russia withdrew from the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July 2023. Government officials report that nearly 28 million tons of grain and other goods have been exported to at least 38 countries in seven months through the corridor. This includes cereals purchased by the UN for distribution as in-kind food aid in African and Middle Eastern countries under the Grain from Ukraine Initiative. To date, there has been no evidence of disruption to Ukrainian exports—including under the Grain from Ukraine initiative—due to ongoing military tensions in the Red Sea.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Ukraine Key Message Update March 2024: Russia intensifies attacks on civilians and infrastructure in late March, 2024.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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