North (assessed RFAF Main Effort).
- Russian Federation Armed Forces (RFAF) continue to amass in vicinity of (IVO) Irpin and Hotomel, these areas remain the likely staging area for the encirclement of Kyiv. Unconfirmed reports have suggested that Chechen units have arrived in Irpin.
- RFAF are increasing efforts to advance south towards Brovary, a likely second axis for the encirclement of Kyiv from east of the river. Other key areas along this axis are Sytnyaky, which has been taken, and Boryspil airport.
- Ukrainian Territorial Defence units have claimed some successes in Chernihiv; however, RFAF are likely to consolidate their position within the next 48 hours.
- Bombardment of Sumy has yet to conclude and there are indications that the next stage of action in the city has begun. Efforts to besiege the city will increase in the next 24 hours.
- Similarly, bombardment of Kharkiv continues as RFAF forces regroup around the city.
- The assault of Izium has concluded with reports of RFAF successfully capturing the city. Resistance forces are likely to remain in situ which will hamper further consolidation. Izium is situated between the northeast axis and the eastern, it is possible that the city will be used as the Line of Control (LoC) between the two.
- Russian forces are reportedly moving towards Slovyansk from Svatove. This is now the most advanced position within the eastern axis. To the northwest is Izium, and to the rear is Severodonetsk where the Ukrainian defensive line continues to hold.
- Russian proxy forces hold Met’olkine and Oleksandrivka on the outskirts of Severodonetsk.
- The southern aspect of the axis is less assured, particularly at Mariupol, which has witnessed a counter-attack conducted by the Ukrainian Azov Regiment after the failure of RFAF to uphold a ceasefire for humanitarian aid.
- RFAF have reportedly suffered a significant loss at Kherson airbase. Ukrainian military stated that they had destroyed around 30 rotary wing assets, but open-source reporting has mixed content regarding the method of attack - some suggesting artillery was used and others suggesting special forces. The reports are likely partially true, but the numbers of destroyed assets cannot be confirmed as yet.
- Further north RFAF continue the assault of Mykolaiv, with particular focus on the airport. Only 2 of the 17 Battalion Tactical Groups (BTGs) deployed on the southern axis are utilised for Mykolaiv which currently appears insufficient as Ukrainian forces continue to hold.
- Meanwhile the main force is well in advance and continues to move towards Voznesensk. This rate of advance may see them isolated if Ukrainian defence forces continue to deplete second echelon and supporting elements.
- The regional capital Zaporizhia is preparing for an attack in the next 24 hours.
Putin has released a video on International Women’s Day stating that conscripts and reservists are not being called up to fight on the frontline. It is possible that this is misdirection, but also highlights the domestic pressure he faces as conflict continues and awareness of it permeates in to Russian public consciousness.
Russia has now overtaken Iran and Syria to become the most sanctioned country in the world. Sanctions are having an effect, although Putin anticipated sanctions, and is ultimately prepared to sacrifice internal stability for international “security”, he will have to continue to weigh up operational activity with increasing domestic strains.
The United States (US) administration is considering backfilling Poland if Warsaw sends its fighter jets to Kyiv.
The World Bank has approved emergency financing of $723 million (£552 million) to help Ukraine’s government pay public-sector wages, welfare, and pensions.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has stated that the nuclear research facility in Kharkiv has been damaged by shelling. There has been no increase in radiation levels at the facility.
The initial stages of an assault on Kyiv is likely within the next 48-96 hours, but could be delayed if resistance in the north and northeast remains effective. Further ceasefires will be requested by Ukraine and the international community in order to relieve the evacuation strain, these may be accepted by Russia but ultimately will fail to hold. It remains the case that although Russian progress is relatively slow, progress is still being made; where gaps in the rear of the main advance exist time will be afforded to reorganise, dismantle the resistance with artillery, and re-assault. It remains a realistic possibility that Russia will cut off Ukrainian Forces fighting along the former LoC with Donbass/Luhansk by securing major crossings and towns along the east bank of the Dnieper. RFAF on the southern axis will continue to push north, but the resistance particularly in Mykolaiv will deny attempts to consolidate in the short term. Odessa is yet to face significant attack and will likely be more problematic than initially planned.
In each axis of advance the next 24-48 hours will see RFAF efforts to consolidate territory. Although this is unlikely to be wholly successful, air strikes and sieges suffocating the resistance will eventually prove decisive. As the Forward Line of Enemy Troops (FLET) advances it will create new targets for RFAF encirclement; including suburbs of Kyiv, and key infrastructure such as airfields and power supplies. The next 24 hours will see more fighting in Chernihiv, Sumy, Mariupol and Mykolaiv, most of which will be penetrated successfully within 48 hours. The attack on Zaporizhia will begin, but will take at least 48 hours to successfully siege, and longer to remove resistance to a workable level.