War in Ukraine, day 11: the defence aid from the West is having an effect

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun
After a particularly bad day for the Russian air force, the Russian offensive operations appear to have entered into a brief operational pause which may be seen as preparations for another offensive. A humanitarian disaster looms as Russians prevent beseiged citizens from leaving or obtaining essential goods. However, we are seeing that the defence aid from the West is having an effect. That’s reflected in the reported numbers of Russian losses, which is first of all a testimony of the Ukrainian resilience in the face of an overwhelming force.

Morning report day 11 – March 6

The report is based on media reports, expert analyses and official information posted online.

Situation

According to information from the General Staff of Ukraine as of Operational information on 06.00, 06.03.2022 and [midnight]:

War in Ukraine, day 11: the defence aid from the West is having an effect ~~

“The eleventh day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people against the Russian military invasion has begun.

[The enemy continues the offensive operation against Ukraine, concentrating its main efforts on encircling the cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Mykolayiv, reaching the administrative borders in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts and creating a land corridor with the temporarily occupied territories of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.]

The Armed Forces and units of the Security and Defence Forces of Ukraine are fighting fierce battles to maintain certain borders.

The enemy, suffering losses, makes constant attempts to avoid direct fire contact with our troops.

The [Ukrainian] Defence Forces are conducting a defense operation within the Southern, Eastern and Northern operational zones in order to repel the attack of the occupying forces, inflict maximum losses, prevent their invasion, maintain areas of the state and create favorable conditions for their defeat and regain control on the lost territories, repulses blows of means of air attack of the enemy.

In the Volyn direction, measures are being taken to prepare the entire defense zone in a certain operational zone along the state border of Ukraine.

[The concentration of units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus in the areas of the settlements of Hrushka (Maloritsky district) and Khotyslav has been established.]

In the Polissya direction, groups of troops from the Eastern Military District, the Pacific Fleet, and the Airborne Troops of the Russian Armed Forces operate with up to 18 [Batalion Tactical Groups] BTGs in the Polissya, Kukhari, Borodyanka, Byshiv, Gorenichi, and Demidiv settlements [NW and Western Kyiv]].

[According to the available data, after regrouping, units of the Eastern Military District and the Airborne Troops of the RF Armed Forces, which suffered significant losses near the Hostomel airport, are redeploying units of the 76th Airborne Assault Division in the direction of n.p. Belohorodka. The enemy does not abandon attempts to reach the southwestern outskirts of Kyiv.]

[The regrouping of enemy troops in the Brovary direction continues. The moving of units in the direction of settlement Peremoha. The occupiers are trying to approach the Brovary-Boryspil highway. [Eastern Kyiv]]

An operation to defend the city of Chernihiv is underway in the Siverskyi region. […A group of troops of the Central Military District with forces of up to 12 BTGs from units of the 41st and 2nd All-Military Armies and the 90th Tank Division is conducting an offensive operation in northeastern Ukraine.]

[Up to 100 weapons and military equipment, including the heavy flamethrower system TOS-1 Buratino (“Pinocchio”), were moved in the direction of Kozelets.]

[Units of the 6th All-Military Army and the 1st Panzer Army of the Western Military District are being moved to carry out the offensive on Chernihiv and Nizhyn [approximately 110 km NE of Kyiv]].

[In the Slobozhansk direction, a group of up to 23 BTGs from the 1st Tank Army and 20 all-military armies, the 14th Army Corps of the Northern Fleet of the Russian Armed Forces regrouped in order to resume the offensive in the directions of Lubny, Poltava and Kharkiv.]

[According to available information, the occupier intends to seize another important infrastructural object – the dam of Kaniv Hydro Power Plant.]

The [Ukrainian] Joint Forces are conducting a defence operation in the eastern part of the Donetsk operational district. The main efforts are focused on defending the city of Mariupol and inflicting fire damage on the overwhelming forces of the enemy.

[In the Donetsk direction, the enemy is trying to continue offensive operations in the direction of the Dnieper and Zaporizhzhia with forces up to 7 BTGr 1, 2 army corps and 150 motorized infantry divisions.]

[In the Mariupol direction, the enemy continues to block the city of Mariupol, to carry out artillery shelling of the city’s civilian infrastructure.]

[In the Sievierodonetsk direction, the enemy, with forces up to 2 BTGr, is trying to develop an offensive in the direction of Izium. Stopped on the river Siverskyi Donets. Accumulates manpower and equipment to resume the offensive.]

[On the Mykolayiv direction up to 3 BTGr of the 7th airborne assault division of Airborne Troops during the day carried out offensive actions in the direction of the city of Mykolayiv but suffered considerable losses. The enemy did not succeed.]

[In the Zaporizhzhia direction, the enemy with forces up to 3 BTGr, with the support of aircraft, is advancing on Zaporozhya, in the direction of settlements of Nova Odesa and Mykolayiv.]

Other [Ukrainian] groups are conducting a defensive operation and conducting defensive battles in Slobozhansk and the eastern part of the Tavriya directions.

In particular, units of the Ais-Assault Troops of the Armed Forces of Ukraine stopped enemy columns trying to advance towards the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast from Balakliya.

In the coastal direction – the defense of bases, seaports on the Black Sea. In the Mykolayiv area capture of a considerable quantity of armored and automobile equipment of the enemy was planned and realized.

[In the Pivdennyi Buh and Bessarabian areas, units of the task force of Russian troops in the security zone of the self-proclaimed Transnistrian region are on high alert. The moral and psychological state of personnel is at a low level. Most servicemen do not want to take part in hostilities on the territory of Ukraine. At the same time, the “chairman” of the self-proclaimed Transnistrian region, Krasnoselsky, has ruled out the possibility of involving units of the Transnistrian Armed Forces in Russia’s war against Ukraine.]

In other areas, units and subdivisions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine conduct a stabilization operation and perform territorial defense tasks in order to prevent offensive actions and activities of enemy sabotage and reconnaissance groups.

The Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has focused its efforts on repelling enemy missiles and airstrikes, air cover of important (critical) objects of Ukraine, and groups of troops.

[Su-35C, Su-34 and Su-25 aircraft from airfields in Belarus (Baranovichi, Luninets, Lida) were involved in airstrikes on military and civilian infrastructure in Kyiv and Zhytomyr oblasts. In addition, Su-34 bombers from Buturlinovka airfield carried out airstrikes on Ukrainian infrastructure near the city of Sumy.]

In total, as of now, the losses of aircraft of the Russian occupation forces are up to 88 aircraft and helicopters.

[During the day, significant losses were inflicted on the personnel and equipment of the occupying forces: 4 helicopters, 5 planes and 1 UAV were shot down, several air raids were made on columns of enemy equipment, and the losses are being clarified.]

Some enemy pilots who catapulted and survived were found by Ukrainian soldiers. They have received medical treatment and are already testifying about the Putin regime’s crimes against humanity.

The enemy is trying not to lose offensive potential but, in the current situation, has great losses in weapons, equipment, and personnel. Due to the resistance of the entire Ukrainian people, the enemy was demoralized. The reserves of the Russian occupiers, which are coming to replenish units, have an extremely low moral and psychological state, due to awareness of the real state of affairs.”

[The enemy continues to throw its equipment – only one of the brigades of the Armed Forces of Ukraine captured and uses for their needs about 30 units of various APV cars and tanks.]

War in Ukraine, day 11: the defence aid from the West is having an effect ~~

As of 06.03.2022 morning, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the enemy of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

  • personnel – more than 11.000 people (+1000),
  • tanks – 285 units (+16),
  • armored combat vehicles – 985 units (+40),
  • artillery systems – 109 (+4),
  • multiple rocket launchers – 50 (no change),
  • air defense means – 21 (+2),
  • aircraft – 44 (+5),
  • helicopters – 48 (+8);
  • automotive technology – 447 (+38),
  • light speedboats – 2 units (no change),
  • fuel and lubricant tanks – 60 (no change),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 4 (+1).

According to the Ukrainian General Staff, yesterday, more than 650 wounded members of the Russian occupation forces were taken to the central city hospital in the village of Bryanka, Luhansk region. Most of them are from the Popasna direction. All of them are mostly in serious condition: multiple shrapnel wounds, torn limbs or legs, etc.

Humanitarian

Figures released today by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) show that to date 1.37 million people have fled Ukraine since 24 February in what the United Nations is now calling Europe’s fastest-moving refugee crisis since the end of the second world war.

According to Ukrainska Pravda:

  • People cannot be evacuated from Bucha and Gostomel. According to locals, the occupiers are even shooting civilians.
  • Kharkiv is again shaken by powerful explosions
  • Due to enemy shelling in the Sumy Oblast, soldiers and civilians were killed and wounded.
  • Mariupol is under blockade. The occupiers, who thwarted the evacuation of Mariupol, captured the entire city – 400 thousand inhabitants.
  • In the Kherson Oblast, the Russians do not allow residents to deliver Ukrainian humanitarian aid: 30 trucks with food, hygiene products and baby food.

Legal

NATO officials on Friday accused Russia of using cluster bombs in its invasion. The anti-personnel cluster bombs kill so indiscriminately that they are banned under international law.

Environmental

Conflict and Environment Observatory (CEOBS) reports that Russia’s indiscriminate use of heavy weapons in urban areas is increasing the risks from damaged energy, industrial and commercial sites.

CEOBS assess that

as Russian military progress has slowed, we have seen a shift to urban siege warfare, involving the use of indiscriminate heavy explosive weapons and airstrikes in order to subdue towns and cities. This is changing the pollution risks that we are seeing, from predominantly military sites, to those from industrial and commercial properties, which in places are sited close to residential areas.

There is growing concern over the environmental threats that this highly destructive warfare in a heavily industrialised country is creating. Russia’s track record on the protection of civilians, its conduct thus far, and its views around the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts mean that those concerns are justified. At the UN Environment Assembly, which concluded this week, 108 NGOs backed a statement deploring Russia’s actions and calling for support to monitor and address the environmental harm being caused. Meanwhile, an open letter addressing environmental concerns attracted more than 1,000 expert and organisational signatories from the field of environmental peacebuilding. The conflict’s environmental narrative is being picked up by the media, particularly in the wake of Russian military actions around nuclear sites.”

Support

The New York Times reported on Friday that some

“14 wide-bodied aircraft transported a bristling array of Javelin antitank missiles, rocket launchers, guns and ammunition to an airfield near Ukraine’s border on Friday, as the United States and European allies ramped up their efforts to give the Ukrainian military a leg up in battling a foreign enemy that far outguns it.” “What began as a trickle — with only two or three planes arriving a day — is now a steady flow, the official said, with 14 loads from one airfield alone.”

“The shipment of weapons — which also includes Stinger antiaircraft missiles from US military stockpiles, mostly in Germany — represents the largest single authorized transfer of arms from US military warehouses to another country,” the Pentagon official said. US officials said the weaponry, equipment and other war matériel were being flown to neighbouring countries like Poland and Romania and then shipped over land into western Ukraine to commanders for distribution across the country.

On Thursday, Mr. Zelensky claimed in a video on Telegram that 16,000 volunteers had joined the international brigade, though it is unclear what the true number is. The New York Times was not able to identify any veterans actively fighting in Ukraine. On Thursday Military Times quoted a defence official at the Ukrainian embassy in Washington, D.C., telling that they have already received more than 3,000 applications for US citizens wanting to fight.

According to reports, many Europeans and US citizens are responding the president Zelensky’s call for volunteers for Ukraine’s voluntary International Legion of Territorial Defense. This includes army veterans from Great Britain, the US and Europe.

Some believe that the Legion can become the largest band of volunteers to fight in Europe since the Spanish civil war.

“One Reddit page for those volunteering to fight for Ukraine has more than 32,000 members according to the site. While the forums do have people claiming to be combat veterans, many seem to be young people who have never seen combat or even picked up a gun, heading to Ukraine in search of adventure in the name of a good cause.”

A Reuters/Ipsos poll completed on Friday shows that 80% of Americans think the United States should stop buying Russian oil and gas and 74% that the US should work with NATO to set up “no-fly zones” to protect Ukraine from Russian airstrikes. According to Reuters, it “was not clear if respondents who supported a no-fly zone were fully aware of the risk of conflict, and majorities opposed the idea of sending American troops to Ukraine or conducting airstrikes to support the Ukrainian army.”

New developments

According to the Centre for Defence Strategies:

  • The White House is considering a possibility of banning Russian oil imports, a move that has wide support in Congress. Biden administration seeks to synchronize its actions with Europe and secure supplies from alternative sources in order to mitigate the negative effects on households and the economy. Adopting a synchronized decision with Europe will be a powerful blow to Russia’s key foreign currency source.).
  • Foreign media are leaving Russia en masse after the country began enforcing a law that prohibits calling the war in Ukraine a war (CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, ABC, CBS, and NBC).

According to Reuters:

  • Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on Saturday to discuss the war in Ukraine and later spoke by phone with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Bennett’s spokesperson said.
  • Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will hold a phone call with President Putin today. Ankara has opposed sanctions on Moscow, but also described its invasion of Ukraine as unacceptable, called for a ceasefire and offered to host peace talks.

Assessments

According to the Institute for the Study of War:

“Russian forces are engaged in four primary efforts at this time:

  • Main effort—Kyiv (comprised of three subordinate supporting efforts);
  • Supporting effort 1—Kharkiv;
  • Supporting effort 1a—Luhansk Oblast;
  • Supporting effort 2—Mariupol; and
  • Supporting effort 3—Kherson and advances westward.

Russian forces in Ukraine may have entered a possibly brief operational pause on March 5 as they prepare to resume operations against Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mykolayiv, and possibly Odesa in the next 24-48 hours. Russian troops did not launch major ground offensive operations against Kyiv, Kharkiv, or Mykolayiv in the last 24 hours. Ukrainian forces near Kharkiv, on the other hand, conducted a counter-offensive that reportedly penetrated to the Ukrainian-Russian border.

Main effort—Kyiv axis: Russian operations on the Kyiv axis consist of a main effort aimed at enveloping and ultimately encircling the city from the west and supporting efforts along the Chernihiv and Sumy axes to encircle it from the northeast and east.

Russian operations against Kyiv made little progress in the past 24 hours. ISW has tentatively concluded that Russian movements to the eastern outskirts of the city reported in our March 4 update were likely raids or forward elements that did not hold ground much beyond the towns of Nizhyn and Priluky on the Sumy axis; we have updated our control of terrain map accordingly. Russian troops made no significant advances around Kyiv in the past 24 hours.”

The defence aid from the West is having an effect. That’s reflected in the reported numbers of Russian losses, which is first of all a testimony of the Ukrainian resilience in the face of an overwhelming force.

We have also seen more detailed reports on the Russian losses.

The Drive reports that, while

“it remains difficult to independently verify losses of any kind, personnel or materiel, on either side of Russia’s war in Ukraine, it’s fairly clear that the Russian military has lost numerous combat jets, helicopters, and at least one small drone since yesterday. The team of researchers at the Oryx blog are confident based on the open-source information available that the past day or so has seen Russia lose a number of combat jets – one Su-30SM Flanker, two Su-34 Fullbacks, two Su-25 Frogfoots – as well as two Mi-24/Mi-35 Hind and two Mi-8 Hip helicopters, and an Orlan unmanned aircraft. There could be more, of course, and these are on top of already steady reported losses. Even if these numbers are off a bit one way or the other, it’s clear Russia is rapidly shedding its air combat force over Ukraine.”

 

“There are unconfirmed reports that one of the pilots of one of the downed Su-34s was an individual with combat experience from the conflict in Syria.” “It’s not clear how Ukrainian forces have been shooting these aircraft down in each instance, but shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, also known as man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS), appear to have been a major factor.” 

That said, the US has delivered nearly 70% of the $350 million package to Ukraine’s military. It expects to complete the entire shipment in the next couple of weeks.

The West need to start deciding on the deliverance of the next batch of weapons and ammunition. This should include more advanced Air Defence systems in order to help Ukraine establish an Anti-Access/Area Denial capability.

 

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