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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 753: Ukrainian drone attacks reduce Russian refining capacity by 7% in Q1 2024

Ukrainian drone attacks deep into Russia targeting its oil industry have idled around 7% of Russian refining capacity in the first quarter of 2024. Meanwhile, the EU Council has finally agreed to allocate an additional €5 billion in military aid for Ukraine in 2024.
Russo-Ukrainian war, day 753: Ukrainian drone attacks reduce Russian refining capacity by 7% in Q1 2024

Exclusive

Western nations condemn Russian elections in occupied Ukraine as illegitimate. Western leaders reject Putin’s election in occupied areas of Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia as illegitimate, decrying the repression of opposition in Russia, lack of genuine competition.

Military

Military: Russian forces hold 7:1 artillery advantage along frontline since start of 2024. Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Havryliuk reports that Russia’s artillery advantage stands at 7:1 in 2024. Additionally, Russian aircraft have dropped over 3,500 air bombs, a 16-fold increase from the previous year.

Frontline report: Russians employ new tactics in offensive on Ivanivske but retreat with heavy losses. Despite initial gains in their new offensive south of Ivanivske, Russian forces were pushed back to their starting point after failing to breach Ukrainian defenses, suffering heavy losses in manpower and equipment.

As of 18 Mar 2024, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

      • Personnel: 431550 (+810)
      • Tanks: 6809 (+19)
      • APV: 13014 (+17)
      • Artillery systems: 10668 (+34)
      • MLRS: 1017
      • Anti-aircraft systems: 720
      • Aircraft: 347
      • Helicopters: 325
      • UAV: 8308 (+36)
      • Cruise missiles : 1922
      • Warships/boats: 26
      • Submarines: 1
      • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 14141 (+68)

Intelligence and technology

Ukraine allocates $128 million for procurement of attack drones. Ukraine’s Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko revealed that Ukraine has already signed UAV contracts worth UAH 30 billion ($769 million), with more in preparation.

North Korea ships “7,000 containers of military aid to Russia”. South Korea claims that North Korea has sent around 7,000 containers of munitions and military equipment to Russia since last year.

ISW: Ukraine unlikely to have hit Russian helicopter in Transnistria. According to the ISW, Ukraine is unlikely to have struck the Russian helicopter in Transnistria amid Russia’s hybrid operation to destabilize Moldova.

International

US Senator Graham calls for Russia to be designated as state sponsor of terrorism. Graham expressed skepticism about the legitimacy of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 87% approval rating in elections, deeming it “so astonishing that it lacks credibility.”

EU gives final approval to €5 billion in military aid for Ukraine. The Ukraine Assistance Fund aims to enhance the EU’s support for the Ukrainian Armed Forces by providing both lethal and non-lethal military equipment and training.

PM Shmyhal: Ukraine hopes to start EU membership talks in H1 2024. Ukrainian PM voices optimism Ukraine can initiate EU accession negotiations in first half of 2024 following expected European Council backing.

Humanitarian and social impact

Protest at Cadbury World denounces Mondelez’s financial contribution to Russiaʼs wartime budget. In February 2024, the СEO of Mondelez claimed that investors do not “morally care” about its continued operations in Russia

Ukraine downs 17/22 explosive drones as Russian attacks kill at least one civilian and injure six. Ukraine shoots down most Russian kamikaze drones as Moscow’s missile, artillery barrages kill one civilian, wound several others.

Ukraine’s MFA urges media not to call Russia’s “farce” as “elections”; over 55 countries condemn vote in occupied areas. Ukraine urged not using “elections” for Russia’s events, as Ukraine and over 55 countries denounced the voting in Russian-occupied Ukrainian areas as invalid and illegitimate.

New developments

Reuters: Russian refining capacity down by 7% in first quarter due to Ukrainian drone attacks. In response to refinery outages, Russia is set to increase its oil exports through Western ports by almost 200,000 barrels per day in March.

Read our earlier daily review here.

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