War in Ukraine, Day 17: Another Russian general killed, covert mobilization in occupied Ukraine

War in Ukraine, Day 17: Another Russian general killed, covert mobilization in occupied Ukraine

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Middtun
Ukraine’s command reports that 31 Russian Battalion Tactical Groups have lost their combat capability in Ukraine, out of the 110 deployed on the eve of the invasion. Meanwhile, the Russian occupiers have killed more Ukrainian civilians than the military in all defense sectors, Ukraine’s Defense Minister said. Another Russian general is reported to have been killed as Russia launches a covert mobilization campaign in occupied Crimea and Donbas.

Morning report day 17 – March 12

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

BTG: Battalion Tactical Group, approximately 600–800 officers and soldiers, of whom roughly 200 are infantrymen, typically equipped with roughly 10 tanks and 40 infantry fighting vehicles.

Situation

According to information from the General Staff as of 06.00 12.03.2022, supplemented by its [midnight assessment]:

Russia's invasion of Ukraine

“The Armed Forces of Ukraine, in coordinated cooperation with other components of the security and defense sector of the state and the forces of national resistance, are restraining the massive offensive of the occupying forces

The enemy, in the Polissya, Siversky, and Pivdennyi Buh operational areas, has heavy losses in manpower and equipment, has been stopped, and is trying to gain a foothold on the previously captured frontiers.

[Russian troops bombed the border settlements of Kopany, Bukhlychi and Verkhniy Terebezh in Belarus. No one was injured in the bombings on Belarusian territory.]

[The insidious provocation was carried out in order to involve the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus in a military operation against Ukraine on the side of Russia.]

[No offensive by the occupiers was noted in the Polissya direction. The enemy continues to hold the border near the settlements of Poliske, Kukhari, Borodyanka, Andriyivka, Motyzhyn, Gorenichi, Bucha, Demidov. Conducted measures to restore combat capability and regrouped troops.]

[In the northern direction, the enemy is trying to conduct an offensive operation in the strip in the directions of settlements Zazymya and Vyshenky. In some areas, it is partially successful. In order to block Chernihiv from the south-western direction, trying to occupy settlements Mykhailo-Kotsyubynske and Shestovytsia.]

[In the Slobozhansky direction, the enemy concentrated forces in the areas of settlements Sievierodonetsk, Svatove, Kupyansk, Velyka Pisarivka, Moskovsky Bobryak, Lebedyn, but does not carry out active offensive operations. Carries out the transfer of reserves to Sumy.]

[In the Donetsk and Tavriya directions, the enemy focused its main efforts on capturing the Ukrainian cities of Mariupol and Sievierodonetsk.]

In the Donetsk direction, during the attempts to advance, the occupiers received a decent rebuff from the Ukrainian Defenders and were stopped in some directions, in the rest – the enemy significantly reduced the pace of advance.

[In the Pivdennyi Buh direction, the enemy holds the previously captured frontier.]

[Some units of the enemy were established in the areas of settlements Stepove, Scherbaki and continue to perform tasks in the area of settlement Hulay Pole.]

[Regarding the activities of the enemy’s air component. The Tu-95MS strategic bombers of the Russian Armed Forces used air-launched cruise missiles against facilities in Ukraine in the cities of Lutsk, Dnipro, and Ivano-Frankivsk. At least six Tu-95MS aircraft were involved in the missile strike, which launched at least 10 cruise missiles.]

[The enemy is trying unsuccessfully to restore the logistics of its units.]

[The Armed Forces of Ukraine, in cooperation with other components of the Defence Forces, are repelling them, inflicting losses on Russian invaders in manpower and military equipment, which significantly reduces their will to continue the confrontation.]

Since the beginning of hostilities, 31 battalion-tactical groups of the enemy operating on the territory of Ukraine have lost their combat capability. [There were 110 Russian BTGs deployed on the eve of the invasion on 24 February; the entire active Russian army comprises about 125 BTGs – Ed]

As a result of hostilities, most units of the Armed Forces of the Russian federation that had direct fire contact with units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are demoralized, the moral and psychological condition of personnel continues to decline, there are cases of capture by individual groups. During the last three days, small groups of enemy deserters have been moving towards the state border.

The enemy is experiencing a big problem with manning the reserve.

[Anti-Russian rallies are taking place in the temporarily occupied territories.]”

The Ukrainian Army killed Russian Major General Andrei Kolesnikov, commander of 29th Army of Eastern Military District, command of the Land Troops reports. In 2021, Major General Andriy Kolesnikov became the commander of the 29th Army of the Eastern Military District. Prior to that, he served as Chief of Staff of the General Army stationed in the Moscow region.

According to the head of the Ukrainian Defence Intelligence, Kirill Budanov, Russia had begun covert mobilization in both Russia as well as the occupied territories of Donbas and Crimea, Ukrayinska Pravda reports.

Russia is transferring new units from the Eastern and Central military districts.

Many units have already been destroyed or lost their combat capability at this stage, and these reserves are being used to restore their combat capability. The offensive has stalled. In fact, there are not enough resources and forces to continue the offensive.”

The heads of the 5th service of the Russian FSB (Federal Security Service), which is responsible for foreign intelligence and specializes in Ukraine, have been put under house arrest, reported Meduza. The outlet claims Putin started purging his entourage in response to the failed military campaign in Ukraine  Quoting journalists Andrei Soldatov and I. Borohan, Meduza says heads of FSB Foreign Intelligence Sergey Beseda and deputy his Bolukh are arrested.  

The article claims Beseda and Bolukh were responsible for intelligence on Ukrainian territory, and it is likely that they led Putin to believe Ukraine would “welcome the Russian liberators.” Reportedly, Bolukh additionally led the direction of disinformation:

“Among the reasons for the arrest are the embezzlement of funds allocated for subversive and agent work in Ukraine, as well as providing deliberately false information about the political situation in Ukraine […] It seems that after two weeks of war, Putin finally realized that he had simply been misled: the 5th Service, fearing to irritate the leader, simply provided him with the information he wanted to hear.”

The Cabinet of Ministers has established a Coordination Headquarters for the treatment of Russian Prisoners of War, Ukrayinska Pravda reports. As of Friday 11 March, about 700 prisoners had already been registered. President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that

thousands of enemy soldiers who have been captured or surrendered receive from our state the treatment required by international conventions.

According to the Ukrainian Air Force Command, on Friday 11 March, Russian planes entered the territory of Ukraine, turned over the settlements of HORODISHCHE and TUMEN, and returned into Belarusian airspace to attack the settlement of KOPANI in Belarus. There was also information about the shelling of two other settlements in Belarus. This was believed to be a False Flag operation to trigger the involvement of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus in the war. As of this morning, Belarus has yet not attacked.

According to British Defence Intelligence, (last 24 hours):

  • Fighting north-west of Kyiv continues with the bulk of Russian ground forces now around 25 kilometers from the center of the city.
  • Elements of the large Russian column north of Kyiv have dispersed. This is likely to support a Russian attempt to encircle the city. It could also be an attempt by Russia to reduce its vulnerability to Ukrainian counterattacks, which have taken a significant toll on Russian forces.
  • Beyond Kyiv, the cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, and Mariupol remain encircled and continue to suffer heavy Russian shelling.
  • In the past 24 hours, Russian air and missile forces have conducted strikes against the western Ukrainian cities of Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk.
  • The staunch resistance of the Ukrainian air defense forces is compelling Russia to rely on ‘stand-off’ munitions to conduct attacks against targets deep inside Ukraine.
  • Russian tactical aircraft supporting the advance of Russian ground forces are relying primarily on unguided ‘dumb’ munitions. Such weapons are relatively inaccurate and indiscriminate and their use significantly increases the likelihood of civilian casualties.

As of 12.03.2022 morning, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

War in Ukraine, Day 17: Another Russian general killed, covert mobilization in occupied Ukraine ~~

  • personnel – more than 12.000 people (no significant change),
  • tanks – 362 units (+9),
  • armored combat vehicles – 1205 units (+40),
  • artillery systems – 135 (+10),
  • multiple rocket launchers – 62 (+4),
  • air defense means – 33 (+2),
  • aircraft – 58 (+1),
  • helicopters – 83 (no change);
  • automotive technology – 585 (+27),
  • light speedboats – 3 units (no change),
  • fuel and lubricant tanks – 60 (no change),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 7 (no change).

The website Oryx, which is based on open-source reports, has verified that

  • Russia has lost at least 1110 vehicles and equipment so far, of which 458 have been destroyed, 14 damaged, 171 abandoned, and 467 captured.
  • Ukraine has in the same period lost at least 303 vehicles and equipment until now, of which 115 have been destroyed, 5 damaged, 45 abandoned, and 138 captured.
While the Ukrainian numbers are significantly lower, the losses are no less severe due to the relative military strength of the two countries. Russia has a far bigger stockpile of both vehicles and equipment.

The list only includes destroyed vehicles and equipment of which photo or video evidence is available. Therefore, the amount of equipment destroyed is significantly higher.”

Humanitarian

According to UNHCR 2,504,893 refugees have been registered as of 11 March.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1502532432339288072

According to Ukrayinska Pravda the situation in the regions are as follows:

  • Kyiv Oblast: The situation is tense in Bucha and Brovary districts. In Irpin, near Gostomel – fighting. Nemishayevo, Borodyanka – a movement of equipment. Brovary district – shelling of settlements. In the Vyshhorod district – shelling. Slavutych is left without light. In the Fastiv district, hitting the oil depot in the village of Kryachki
  • Chernihiv Oblast: Evening and night shelling of Chernihiv tornadoes, airstrikes. The shelling is chaotic, in the city center, in the sleeping areas. Work is underway to restore water supply (absent throughout the city), electricity (part of the city without electricity for 2 days). Defensive battles on the outskirts of Chernihiv, in the south, in the direction of Kyiv.
  • Sumy Oblast: Around 5 am there was an air raid on Sumy, several hits. Information on injuries and victims is being clarified. At night it also became known about the approval of green corridors from Sumy, Lebedyn, Krasnopillya, Trostyanets, Velyka Pisarivka, Konotop. All – to Poltava.
  • Zhytomyr Oblast: Three air raids at night. There is no preliminary information on the destruction and loss.
  • Kirovograd Oblast. From 5 am air alarm. There have just been several explosions. According to preliminary information, the airport in Kropyvnytskyi and Kanatovo was bombed.
  • Dnipropetrovsk Oblast: Several hours of alarm. Air defense worked.
  • Kharkiv Oblast. Kharkiv – several air raids during the night. Fighting continues in some areas in the region, yesterday the Armed Forces destroyed a column of Russian equipment in the Chuguiv district.
  • Zaporizhzhia Oblast. There were sirens all night, but there were no explosions. Yesterday 880 residents of Energodar, Dniprorudny, and Vasylivka were met. The humanitarian convoy, which moved to Mariupol, once again failed to reach its destination.
  • Rivne Oblast, Volyn, Vinnytsia, Transcarpathia, Khmelnytsky Oblast, Ternopil Oblast, Cherkasy Oblast, Lviv Oblast, Poltava Oblast, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk and Odesa. Air alarms but otherwise relatively quiet
  • Luhansk Oblast. The shelling of Sievierodonetsk and Rubizhne from yesterday until now. Too many fires due to shelling. Almost 100,000 subscribers in the region without electricity. Restoration work continues around the clock. The SES supplies technical water to Popasna and Lysychansk.
  • Donetsk Oblast. In Kramatorsk, the night passed quietly. Across the line of contact: fire of varying intensity. Volnovakha is under the control of Russian troops. Mariupol is under siege. The humanitarian column did not leave Zaporizhzhia

  • Mykolayiv Oblast. In Mykolaiv all there was shelling by grenades and tornadoes. Explosions were also heard in the morning. The shelling was chaotic. Sleeping areas and the private sector, which lacks military and important infrastructure, were affected. The extent of the damage is being determined. Work on the supply of light and heat is underway
  • Kherson Oblast. Kherson – the night passed relatively calmly. Explosions were heard near the airport.

Legal

As civilian deaths and injuries in Ukraine grow, United Nations aid agencies warn indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure may amount to war crimes, VOA News reports.

The U.N. human rights office so far has recorded 1,564 civilian casualties, including 564 killed and 982 injured since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. […] Besides airstrikes, it says Russian combatants have been hitting residential areas and civilian infrastructure with missiles, heavy artillery shells and rockets.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman Liz Throssel says there are credible reports of Russian forces having used cluster munitions in several cases, including in populated areas. Such attacks, she notes, violate the rules of war.

“We remind the Russian authorities that directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects, as well as so-called bombardment in towns and villages and other forms of indiscriminate attacks, are prohibited under international law and may amount to war crimes.”

The World Health Organization so far has verified 26 attacks on hospitals and other health facilities resulting in 12 deaths and 34 injuries. […]

“We really condemn all attacks on health care facilities, health care personnel and patients. This is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. It deprives people of access to health care. It puts in danger lives of patients and health care workers,” [WHO spokesman] Jasarevic expressed.

Friday 11 March, Ukrainian Minister of Defense, Oleksii Reznikov, stated that

“Russian troops kill and take hostage civilians, women and children. As of March 10, Russian interventionists had killed more Ukrainian civilians than the military in all defence sectors. I want this to be heard not only in Ukraine. And all over the world. The Kremlin is bombing schools, hospitals, and maternity hospitals. Moscow does not protect anyone. It destroys. They are not able to fight our army, guards, defence. Therefore, attack the most vulnerable.”

As a result of the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops, infrastructure, buildings, and other material assets worth at least $100 billion have been destroyed to date. This was stated by President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Adviser on Economic Affairs Oleh Ustenko. The war caused a complete shutdown of 50% of Ukrainian enterprises, and the other half are working to the limit.

Environmental

The High Representative of Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, has

highlighted concerns about nuclear power plant safety and security in Ukraine, warning that the possibility of an accident…is growing by the day. Expressing extreme concern that four of seven International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) safety provisions are reportedly not being implemented at Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia, she said the forces in control of these facilities must ensure their safe and secure operation, communications must be restored, and operating staff must be allowed to carry out duties free of undue pressure.”

According to the head of the Ukrainian Defence Intelligence, Kirill Budanov, Russia is preparing two options for nuclear blackmail, Ukrinform reports.

We have information about the development of two options. The first is a large-scale burning of radioactive forests, a radioactive cloud will rise immediately and go in the direction of the wind. The second is the use of artillery on nuclear storage.”

Being False Flag operations, Russia will of course blame Ukraine.

Support

EU leaders on Friday pledged to double financing for military aid to Ukraine with a proposal for an extra €500m, EUobserver reports.

“The bloc’s 27 leaders also agreed to redouble efforts to decrease dependency on Russian energy resources, and they tasked the EU Commission to come up with a plan for the phase-out. That plan should be forthcoming by mid-May and it would lay out how to diminish the use of Russian gas, oil, and coal by 2027, said EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

At the close of a two-day summit in Versailles, von der Leyen also said a fourth set of sanctions was being prepared against Russia. “We will be determined and forceful in our answer,” she said.”

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1502395786541285378

Earlier in the day, Joe Biden had announced an additional set of sanctions against Russia, banning imports of Russian diamonds, seafood, and vodka, as well as exports of luxury goods, and announcing further sanctions on oligarchs. He also said Western allies plan to revoke Russia’s status as an equal trade partner.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1502331028270161924

As the war between Ukraine and Russia drags on, it is clear that Ukraine has mounted a far better resistance to Russian forces than many expected, CNBC reports.

“But to continue to do so, it will need more help from the West. This continued support, defence experts and strategists argue, could make or break Ukraine’s resistance and even tilt the war’s outcome in Ukraine’s favour, something that seemed unimaginable when Russia invaded two weeks ago. There can be a point where this balance [in the war] is shifted in favour of Ukraine,” Wojciech Lorenz, a senior analyst at the International Security Programme at The Polish Institute of International Affairs, told CNBC Thursday.

Additional support from NATO’s individual members in the form of arms shipments, intelligence, and other forms of aid “really makes a difference and is why Russia is doing so badly,” he said.

There could even come a point, he added, where Ukraine is able to not only resist Russian forces but can launch counter-offensives against them and reclaim lost territory.

However, [Ian Lesser, vice president of the German Marshall Fund of the United States] questioned how long such support could be sustained. There is already a shift in the discussion towards energy security, the cost to Western publics and economies, the stability of the international financial system.

New developments

  1. The United Nations is not aware of any biological weapons programs in Ukraine, the High Representative of Disarmament Affairs told the UN Security Council at an emergency meeting this morning to address related concerns in Ukraine.
  2. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday some progress had been made in Moscow’s talks with Ukraine, while the Kremlin said the conflict would end when the West took action to address Moscow concerns, Reuters reports.
  3. President Biden said the US and its allies would strip Russia of routine trade benefits, adding to the financial pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine, Washington Post reports. The Group of 7 nations and the European Union also will take the first step toward implementing similar measures, which would have a more dramatic impact upon the Russian economy.
  4. Israel is not doing enough to support Ukraine by providing defensive aid, absorbing refugees, and taking a clear stance against Russia, Ukrainian envoy to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk said Friday, accusing Israel of being “afraid” of Moscow, the Times of Israel reports.
  5. According to TASS, Russia should soon launch official procedures of leaving the Council of Europe this year, the chairman of the State Duma’s international affairs committee, Leonid Slutsky, said on Friday.

 

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