US drone brought down by Russian aircraft over Black Sea. Russians hit the center of Kramatorsk, damaging six high-rise buildings: at least one civilian killed, and three injured. Lithuania declares Russia’s Wagner a terrorist organization.
Daily overview — Summary report, March 15
A map of the approximate situation on the ground in Ukraine as of 00:00 UTC 15/03/23. pic.twitter.com/KwIUSTHgjh
— War Mapper (@War_Mapper) March 15, 2023
The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 18.00 pm, March 14, 2023 is in the dropdown menu below:
Ukraine establishing “naval coalition” as UK, Netherlands join it – Ukrainian Defense Minister. Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov says that Ukraine will develop its fleet, and currently, three countries have joined the naval coalition: Ukraine, Great Britain, and the Netherlands. Reznikov stated this at a meeting with the head of the Ministry of Defense of the Netherlands. The meeting with the Minister of Defense of the Netherlands, Kaisa Ollongren is taking place in the south of Ukraine.
Poland may send Ukraine Soviet-era MiG-29 jets within 4-6 weeks, PM says – Bloomberg. Poland may deliver Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in the coming weeks, a move that would cross a threshold among NATO member states cautious about sending air power, Bloomberg reports. “This might happen within the next four to six weeks,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters on 14 March, not elaborating on other details, including the size of a contingent.
According to British Defence Intelligence, (last 48 hours):
The illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is continuing.
The map below is the latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 15 March 2023.
Find out more about Defence Intelligence: https://t.co/qi9pyI0NXr
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) March 15, 2023
Losses of the Russian army
Singer, volunteer for Ukraine's army & his music band Khoreya Kozatska win most prestigious national Shevchenko Award for Songs of the Ukrainian Revolution album
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) March 15, 2023
Singer serving in Ukraine’s army wins Shevchenko National Prize for Ukrainian Revolution Songs album. Taras Kompanichenko and members of his Khoreya music band Kozatska Maksym Berezhniuk, Severyn Danyleyko, Yaroslav Krysko, and Serhiy Okhrimchuk received the Ukrainian national annual award Shevchenko Prize — for the audio album titled “Songs of the Ukrainian Revolution.” The Shevchenko National Prize is Ukraine’s most prestigious state award for achievements in culture and arts, named after Taras Shevchenko, a prominent 19th-century poet and painter. It has been awarded annually since 1961.
95% of Kyiv high school students feel proud of their country
Acc to survey by Kyiv City Adm, comp to 2021, this indicator doubled & is highest since 2014
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) March 15, 2023
95% of Kyiv high school students feel proud of their country – poll. 95% of Kyiv high school students feel proud of their country, according to the regular survey of schoolchildren in grades 8-11 regarding the language environment conducted by Kyiv City Administration. Compared to 2021, this indicator has doubled and is the highest since 2014. 86% of students noted that the majority of their environment communicates in Ukrainian. 69% of teenagers consider the concept of “patriotism” to work for the well-being of their country. Half of the respondents emphasize that communication in the state language is an important component. 76% of students believe that Ukrainian should be the only state language.
“The nation of volunteers is invincible,” Ukraine Comm-in-Chief says on Day of Ukrainian Volunteer. The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi hightlighted the role of volunteers in the liberation war against the Russian invaders on the Day of the Ukrainian Volunteer “Dedication. Determination. And a sincere desire to protect the Motherland. Every day. Every second. Ukrainians demonstrate to the whole world what it means to be a volunteer. First of all, in heroic battles on the front lines. In 24-hour volunteer work. Help in the rear. At the call of the heart, for the sake of victory. The enemy wants to break us, but the nation of volunteers is invincible. Today, more than ever, we are all united and fighting for our independence,” Zaluzhnyi wrote.
Russians hit center of Kramatorsk, damaging 6 high-rise buildings: at least 1 civilian killed, 3 injured. In the morning, Russian invaders launched a missile attack on the center of the city of Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast. As a result, one person was killed, Head of Donetsk Administration Pavlo Kyrylenko reported.
Ukraine accuses Russian snipers of sexually assaulting 4-year-old girl, gang raping mother – Reuters. Ukraine has accused two Russian soldiers of sexually assaulting a four-year-old girl and gang raping her mother at gunpoint in front of her father, as part of widespread allegations of abuse during the more than one-year-long war, Reuters reports. According to Ukrainian prosecution files seen by Reuters, the incidents were among a spree of sex crimes Russian soldiers of the 15th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade committed in four homes of Brovary district near the capital Kyiv in March 2022.
Ukraine President and Iceland PM discussed Russia compensation mechanism and efforts to bring Russia to justice. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy had a meeting with Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir. Zelenskyy noted the active position of Iceland as the state holding the presidency of the Council of Europe. In this context, the parties discussed efforts to bring Russia to justice for war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression committed in Ukraine. Attention was also paid to the measures taken to create a register of damages caused by Russian aggression and a full-fledged compensation mechanism, in particular in the context of preparations for the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe in Reykjavik.
Lithuania declares Russia’s Wagner a terrorist organization. On March 14, the Lithuanian Seimas adopted a resolution stating that the Russian private military company “Wagner” is a terrorist organization, and its members and hires pose a threat to the security of the state and society, BNS reports. The Lithuanian parliament strongly condemned any such mercenary groups established with the support of the Russian government and their commission of aggressive crimes in Ukraine. The resolution was unanimously voted by 117 Seimas members.
Iceland PM and FM arrived in Ukraine to discuss Council of Europe summit focused on Ukraine’s issues. The Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrin Jakobsdóttir, and the head of the country’s Foreign Ministry, Tordis Kolbrun R. Gylfadóttir, arrived in Ukraine on March 14, Iceland Review announced. On Tuesday morning, both representatives of Iceland visited Bucha and Borodianka. According to Jakobsdottir, it is important to witness the consequences of the war and communicate with those who survived the Russian attacks.
Ukrainian defense enterprise started production of 125-mm shells for tanks with a NATO country. Ukraine’s state enterpise “Ukrobornprom” in partnership with one of the NATO countries launched the production of 125-mm projectiles for tanks, which are used by defenders, press service of “Ukroboronprom” reported.
Russia’s assets accumulation abroad hit records due to Europe’s delay with targeting Russia’s energy sector —Bloomberg. Russia built $80 billion offshore cash pile in year of sanctions, Bloomberg writes. Record current-account surplus provided lifeline for Kremlin, while these assets accumulated abroad may become target of Ukraine supporters. Russia was able to save abroad about a third of the $227 billion windfall earned last year from its commodity exports, creating a potential new flashpoint as the US and its allies look to tighten their sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.
Romania to build gunpowder and ammunition plant in collaboration with US and South Korea. Romania, in cooperation with the United States and South Korea, plans to build a plant for the production of gunpowder and ammunition, Romanian Economy Minister Florin Spataru said on the air of the Romanian TV channel TVR Info. He recalled that the last gunpowder plant in Romania was closed in 2004, after which the country imported ammunition and gunpowder for the needs of its armed forces.
- On the war.
The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of March 14, 2022:
Prominent Russian milbloggers are reamplifying a longstanding Russian information operation that seeks to weaponize religion to discredit Ukraine. The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture issued a decision on March 9 stipulating that the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Reserve will terminate its lease agreement with the Kremlin-affiliated Ukrainian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP), meaning that the UOC MP will need to vacate the premises of the lower Lavra by March 29. The Ukrainian government did not renew the UOC MP’s expired lease on the upper Lavra and allowed the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) to hold Christmas services at the Lavra on January 7, as ISW previously reported. Two prominent milbloggers responded on March 14 to the latest decision requiring the UOC MP to vacate the lower Lavra by March 29 and exploited the story to accuse Kyiv of repressing freedom of religion within Ukraine. Former Russian officer and convicted war criminal Igor Girkin claimed with no evidence that Kyiv will likely stage a military takeover of the Lavra because Ukrainian authorities are bent on “bloodily pitting the Russians on both sides of an artificial border” against one another. Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) commander and former DNR Security Minister Alexander Khodakovsky accused Ukraine of causing a “church frenzy” to divide the UOC MP and OCU dioceses and encouraged Ukrainian authorities to see past Ukrainian and Russian distinctions and exercise “restraint and Christian patience.” Khodakovsky’s comment is remarkable because it is Russia’s rejection of the validity of seeing any distinctions between Russians and Ukrainians that was one of the justifications for the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine in the first place.
Both Girkin’s and Khodakovsky’s renewed exploitations of the Lavra issue are based on a misrepresentation of events and disingenuously seek to portray Kyiv as attacking religious liberty in Ukraine. The UOC MP is the Kremlin-controlled Russian Orthodox Church’s subordinate element in Ukraine and provided material support for Russia’s illegal invasion of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine in 2014. The UOC MP is not an independent religious organization but rather an extension of the Russian state and an instrument of Russian hybrid warfare. By misrepresenting the Ukrainian government’s decision to reduce the Kremlin-controlled UOC MP’s influence in Ukraine, Russian milbloggers are amplifying a known information operation attempting to delegitimize the Ukrainian state and turn international public opinion against Ukraine.
Russian authorities continue measures to mobilize the struggling Russian defense industrial base (DIB) for a protracted war effort, including measures that will force the Kremlin to choose between having skilled workers in the DIB and skilled military personnel fighting in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed during a March 14 visit to an aviation production plant in Ulan-Ude, Buryatia, that the DIB suffers from a lack of adequately trained personnel and announced a series of reforms to attract more specialists to work at military production plants, including the reallocation of federal assets to housing and increasing pay. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Tactical Missile Corporation in Moscow Oblast and called on the plant to double production even after announcing that the plant had met the requirements of the state defense order. Putin also announced that the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade has prepared a list of unspecified specialties to defer from military service, which may suggest that the Kremlin is prioritizing using skilled workers in the production of Russian weapons over having skilled soldiers fight in Russia’s military. Russian news outlets Interfax and RBK, the latter citing a Russian federal official, reported that the Russian Ministry of Finance is also considering issuing war bonds. The United Kingdom Ministry of Defense (UK MoD) assessed that Putin’s March 3 presidential decree on government oversight of the DIB sets conditions for the Russian Ministry of Trade and Industry to bypass DIB managers at enterprises that fail to meet Russia’s production standards. The Ukrainian Foreign Intelligence Service reported that Russian defense enterprises significantly decreased their hiring standards and now accept workers without experience and with histories of drug use, criminal records, and bankruptcy. ISW has previously reported on Russia’s struggle to rejuvenate its DIB amid labor shortages and Western sanctions and its ensuing lack of success in this endeavor.
Two Russian Su-27 aircraft forced down a US MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea in international airspace. US General James B. Hecker stated that two Russian aircraft hit the drone nearly causing both aircraft to crash and resulting in the loss of the drone. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that the drone crashed due to “sharp maneuvering.” The incident will not cause an escalation to direct conflict between Russia and the US. Russian forces have used coercive signaling against US and allied flights and naval vessels for decades in multiple theaters without triggering conflict. The US and Russian presidents retain full freedom to choose how to respond to such incidents, and there is nothing automatic about escalation in such situations. Given President Joe Biden’s repeated commitments to avoid committing US forces to direct conflict with Russia and the Kremlin’s clear and repeatedly demonstrated reluctance to get into a war with NATO, there is no reason for incidents such as these to cause dangerous escalations.
Poland may send Soviet-era MiG-29 jets to Ukraine in coming weeks, PM says – Bloomberg
MiG deliveries would cross threshold on air power. US, Germany have ruled out sending Western-made fighter jets, for now.https://t.co/D5nko8uKen
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) March 14, 2023
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated on March 14 that Poland could supply MiG-29 multirole fighters to Ukraine within four-to-six weeks. Morawiecki stated that Poland is ready to give Ukraine an unspecified proportion of its total fleet of 28 MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine as part of an international coalition. Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad previously signaled Slovakia’s support for providing Ukraine MiG-29 aircraft on March 9. The Ukrainian Air Force operates MiG-29s and would be able to use them in counteroffensive operations if Ukraine receives them with enough time in advance of its next counteroffensive.
- Prominent Russian milbloggers are reamplifying a longstanding Russian information operation that seeks to weaponize religion to discredit Ukraine.
- Russian authorities continue measures to mobilize the struggling Russian defense industrial base (DIB) for a protracted war effort.
- Russian Su-27 jets forced down a US MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea in international airspace.
- Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated on March 14 that Poland could supply MiG-29 multirole fighters to Ukraine within four-to-six weeks.
- Ukrainian sources reported that Russian forces continue building defenses along Russia’s border with Ukraine in order to pin Ukrainian troops to northern border areas.
- Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks northeast of Kupiansk and along the Svatove-Kreminna line.
- Russian forces advanced within Bakhmut and continued ground attacks along the Avdiivka–Donetsk City frontline and in western Donetsk Oblast.
- Russian forces continue fortifying rear areas in Russian occupied Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
- United Russia Secretary Andrey Turchak announced on March 14 that the Russian State Duma will consider a law simplifying the legal recognition of missing Russian soldiers as dead.
- Ukrainian partisans injured the Deputy Head of the Nova Kakhovka Occupation Military Administration in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack.