North (assessed Russian Federation Armed Forces (RFAF) Main Effort).
- Ukrainian officials stated that its troops have encircled RFAF positions at Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin.
- However, clashes were still reported in Irpin and Hostomel overnight, including shelling of residential areas in Bucha and Fastiv districts.
- RFAF reported to be reinforcing defensive positions to the north-east of Kyiv, including mine emplacement operations.
- Ukrainian armed forces (UAF) repel an RFAF assault near Teterivs’ke, north-west of the current focus of hostilities.
- Ukrainian officials claim there was an ammonia leak at a food production warehouse in Chernihiv.
- RFAF reported to have destroyed a UAF controlled bridge near Desna, approximately 50km north of Kyiv. RFAF also reported to be building defensive positions across several villages, including Losynivka, Makiivka, and Berestovets in Chernihiv region.
- There have been no notable changes in Zhytomyr region.
Local Ukrainian officials reported that RFAF aerial bombardment has damaged pipeline in food production facility, causing an ammonia leak. Source: @EuromaidanPress
- No RFAF offensive operations observed in Kharkiv, but it remains under heavy bombardment. UAF reported to have shot down RFAF cruise missile.
- Russian officials claim RFAF have taken control of Izyum, this is not corroborated.
- UAF successfully defended RFAF attempts to make advances on Donetske, Topolske, and Kamianka.
- Trostyanets has been identified as a hotly contested area in Sumy region, with heavy clashes reported in the past 24-hours.
- RFAF airstrikes across Okhtyrka continue, targeting residential districts
FT journalist reporting on Russian claims that it has taken control of Izyum. Source: @polinaivanovva
- RFAF main effort across Donetsk and Luhansk continues to be Sievierodonetsk, Popasna, and Rubizhne. No notable advances, or operations noted.
- RFAF advance into Verkhniotoretske, situated north of Donetsk, continues. Reporting indicates however, that RFAF do not control the entirety of the city. UAF command function are speculated to have withdrawn.
- RFAF continue limited operations near Avdiivka, no changes noted.
- RFAF bombardment of Mariupol continues, with limited ground gains made in the urban centre.
- Up to 3,000 Mariupol citizens were reported to have been evacuated from Berdyansk, arriving in Zaporizhia.
- RFAF reported to be repositioning its forces to the south of Mykolaiv, following intense clashes with the UAF.
- No notable activity was observed in Kryvyi Rih, and Zaporizhia.
- RFAF naval vessel (possible BDK-69 Orsk) destroyed at Berdyansk port.
- Ukrainian officials reported that RFAF naval elements shelled the Odessa coastline.
Media report detailing the UAF attack on a RFAF naval vessel in Berdyansk port. Source: @WSJ
- Anatoly Chubais, an adviser to Vladimir Putin, has resigned and left Russia following his reported opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The resignation was confirmed by senior Russian officials but did not detail the reasons for his departure. Chubais is now reported to be in Turkey.
- Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, followed-up on Dmitry Peskov’s comments to CNN, stating that Russia would consider the nuclear option if it was provoked by NATO. This interview follows Jens Stoltenberg’s comments, stating that Russia “must stop its nuclear sabre-rattling”. The Secretary-General of NATO added that “Russia must understand that it can never win a nuclear war”.
- There have been limited reflections evaluating the success of the reported UAF counteroffensive into Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin. If confirmed, this would increase the likelihood of RFAF isolation in the short-term, where an intensification of the RFAF aerial campaign is highly likely to safeguard against further isolation of its dispositions.
- Chubais’ resignation marks the biggest Kremlin defection since the start of the invasion. Whilst Chubais isn’t regarded to be a key figure within the Putin government, his name is reported be well known across a domestic audience. Therefore, his resignation is likely to generate some Russian media attention; however, further resignations from senior Kremlin figures are unlikely to occur in the medium term.
- NATO leaders are scheduled to meet in Brussels on 24 Mar 22. The Russian nuclear threat is likely to be discussed, alongside the planned discussion on strategic deterrence across the alliance. Russia’s rhetoric on the issue, which has been predominantly aimed at NATO’s actions, will likely continue in the medium term – with its public facing position unlikely to change.
RFAF’s period of reorganisation is likely to continue in the next reporting period, whilst it continues to defend against UAF counterattacks on the western axis of Kyiv. Solidification of its defensive positions is also likely to occur across its other axes, concentrating on its bombardment campaigns. Mariupol will continue to be a focus in this effort, as RFAF ground forces will likely look to make gains within the city centre. Sporadic aerial attacks by air, missile and artillery are also a possibility across other locations on the southern axis – including against Kryvyi Rih, Mykolaiv and Odessa.