Key developments on March 27:
- Russian missile strike on Sloviansk in Donetsk Oblast kills 2, injures 32
- Zelensky meets with UN nuclear watchdog chief in Zaporizhzhia
- Fierce battles ongoing for three cities in Donetsk Oblast
- Ukraine considering every option in Bakhmut, will 'act adequately,' military commander says
- Der Spiegel: Germany transfers 18 Leopard 2 tanks pledged to Ukraine.
On March 27, President Volodymyr Zelensky traveled to the southeastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast, a region still partially under Russian occupation.
The trip marks his third visit to front-line regions within the past week. While there, Zelensky met with Ukrainian service members and Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Zelensky and Grossi discussed the protection of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant — Europe's largest nuclear power plant, located in Enerhodar along the southern bank of the Dnipro River, which has been under Russian control since March last year.
The plant was disconnected from the Ukrainian power grid several times due to Russian attacks. Investigations using satellite imagery and other resources have revealed that Russia had positioned armored vehicles and additional military equipment near the plant's six reactors.
"I met President Volodymyr Zelensky today and had a rich exchange on the protection of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and its staff. I reiterated the full support of the IAEA to Ukraine's nuclear facilities," Grossi wrote on Twitter following the meeting.
Despite not being fully occupied, Zaporizhzhia Oblast is among the four Ukrainian regions that Russia claimed to have annexed following sham referendums in September 2022.
Fierce battles ongoing for three cities in Donetsk Oblast
In eastern Donetsk Oblast, Russian forces maintain their aggressive campaign, seeking to occupy the entirety of the Donbas area, comprised of both Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
The fiercest battles are ongoing for the cities of Avdiivka, Marinka, and Bakhmut, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces reported in its regular evening update on March 27.
The Ukrainian military repelled 41 Russian attacks in the region, according to the report.
In the battle for Bakhmut that has been raging for the past eight months, Ukraine is considering "all possible options," Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of the Ground Forces of Ukraine, said during his visit to the front line.
"We are considering all possible options for the development of events and will act adequately to the current situation," Syrskyi empathized, as quoted by the Defense Ministry media center on March 27.
He described the battlefield situation in the area as "consistently difficult," praising Ukraine's military for "heroically restraining the enemy's onslaught" in extremely difficult conditions and "leaving no chance for the enemy to realize its plans."
The commander further explained that the defense of Bakhmut is driven by "military necessity" and relies on the strategic use of the city's defensive capabilities, established fortifications, and equipped fire structures.
On the previous day, Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesperson for Ukraine's Eastern Military Command, reported that the Armed Forces had managed to "stabilize the situation" around the embattled Bakhmut, saying that while fighting persists in the area, it has lessened in intensity.
Meanwhile, the German magazine der Spiegel reported, citing sources familiar with the matter, that Berlin has transferred 18 Leopard 2 tanks pledged to Ukraine, as well as around 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles.
Ukraine has been pleading for the Western-made battle tanks for months, saying it could significantly influence the situation on the battlefield. Germany finally agreed to transfer Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and allowed the re-export of the same models from other countries in late January.
Russian missile strike on Sloviansk kills 2, injures 29
Russia keeps attacking residential areas in Ukraine. On the morning of March 27, Russian forces hit the city of Sloviansk in Donetsk Oblast. The oblast governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said the strike had killed at least two and injured 32 people.
Two Russian S-300 missiles hit the city center, damaging offices, apartment buildings, and houses, according to Kyrylenko.
Zelensky shared a video showing the aftermath of the Russian attack, promising that Ukraine would not forgive the tragedies inflicted on its people.
"All Russian terrorists will be defeated. Everyone involved in this aggression will be held responsible," Zelensky said.