North Macedonia's government approves the supply of combat helicopters to Ukraine

The Macedonian government decided on Wednesday evening to supply a certain number of combat helicopters to Ukraine, as previously announced by Defence Minister Slavjanka Petrovska.

"The government has considered and taken note of the information about the need to conclude a protocol on the transfer of aircraft (helicopters) between the ministries of defense of North Macedonia and Ukraine and adopted the relevant protocol," the government in Skopje said.

Although the decision did not specify the types of helicopters, Defence Minister Slavjanka Petrovska has previously spoken about the intention to transfer Mi-24 helicopters to Ukraine, which Skopje purchased from Kyiv in 2001.

Only two of the 12 Mi-24 attack helicopters and four Mi-8/17 multi-role helicopters in the country are currently in use.

These four helicopters are currently in service, and four more Mi-24Bs have been modernized over the past decade in cooperation with the Israeli company Elbit Systems. They have been adapted for interaction with NATO forces. They are equipped with avionics for night vision goggles (NVG) and the Aviators Head-Up Display (ANVIS/HUD) night vision system.

Russia plans to use Moldova against Ukraine as it uses Belarus – Moldovan President

Moldovan President Maia Sandu has stated that Russia wants to use her country against Ukraine like the Kremlin uses Belarus.

Sandu said Russia is trying to undermine and overthrow the government in Chișinău, and the Moldovan authorities have evidence of such actions.

"It is clear that Russia is trying to install a pro-Russian government in Chișinău to use Moldova against Ukraine, as is the case, for example, with Belarus," the president said.

She recalled the recent statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding his intention to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

"This is exactly what Russia wants to do in the case of Moldova. However, today Moldova has an independent government, elected by its citizens, which works for the benefit of its people and Moldova, so it cannot be used in the way the pro-Russian leadership would use it," Sandu said.

Russian secret service seizes Wall Street Journal journalist who wrote about Wagner Group

The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) has detained Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, in Yekaterinburg. A criminal case has been opened against him for espionage.

Gershkovich had traveled there to write about the attitude of Russians to the war and the recruitment of residents to the Wagner Group Private Military Company (PMC). On the trip, he was accompanied by local activist Yaroslav Shirshikov.

On 29 March, the Yekaterinburg edition of Vechernye Vedomosti (Evening News) reported that people in civilian clothes had detained a man by pulling a sweater over his head near the Bukowski Grill restaurant, where Shirshikov and Gershkovich had previously met. Shirshikov suggested that this could have been the American reporter.

An unofficial Telegram channel of the Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor's office also wrote about Gershkovich: "Yesterday, Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich was detained in Yekaterinburg. The situation is dire."

A source among the Western journalists who work in Moscow told Meduza media outlet that in addition to Yekaterinburg, Gershkovich had visited Nizhniy Tagil, where Uralvagonzavod, a military industry company, is based.

Gershkovich has lived in Moscow for about six years, covering events in Russia and Ukraine for the Wall Street Journal.

He previously worked for Agence France-Presse, The Moscow Times, and the New York Times.

The Wall Street Journal posted its latest article by Gershkovich on 28 March.

Later, Dmitry Peskov, press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation, said that the journalist was caught red-handed. "The only thing I can say is that, as far as we know, he [the WSJ journalist – ed.] was caught red-handed," he said.