Main comments of the key events. War Crimes of Russian Federation
More civilians were killed today as a result of uncontrolled bombings and missile strikes on urban areas and civilian infrastructure. In particular, on March 2nd, an attack was carried out on buildings in the central part of Kharkiv, which caused casualties. Educational and administrative buildings were hit by Russian aircraft as well. A missile strike was also carried out on residential buildings and civilian infrastructure in Zhytomyr near the location of 95 airborne brigades, which today successfully stormed and entered the city of Horlivka, Donetsk region, occupied by Russia since 2014. The strike is commented by many as a revenge attempt for advancing into Horlivka. The maternity hospital was also damaged by the explosion.
In the morning hours, a residential area in Kyiv with no military objects around suffered a powerful missile strike (formerly "Kalibr" rocket), which caused significant damage to homes and resulted in casualties. Mariupol has been withstanding hostile strikes for seven days, critical infrastructure has been destroyed. With the severe siege of the city, the Russian occupation forces have already created a humanitarian catastrophe that is getting worse with every hour. Despite this, the defenders of the city are fiercely resisting the attackers. Other Ukrainian cities also suffered attacks by Russian aircraft on civilian infrastructure during the day. Since the beginning of the “new war” (February 24), more than 2,000 civilian Ukrainians have died from Russian weapons. Regular looting by the occupiers in various regions of Ukraine continues.
Volnovakha is still blocked by battle activities with Ukrainian government trying to make humanitarian corridors, so far still in negotiation process with Russians.
The moral and psychological state of the troops of the Russian Federation
This is a very strange phenomena of this war so far. Many reports are confirming that Russian soldiers are surrendering as prisoners both alone and as a whole subdivision. Their personnel moved towards the border leaving weapons and combat vehicles. It seems that the actions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine caused mental and physical exhaustion of Russian personnel in addition to their significant losses.
The key factors contributing to the low effectiveness of Russian units are the lack of adequate logistics, including fuel and food (only three daily provisions were given), and the absence of clearly defined plans for further actions in the event of resistance by the Ukrainian Armed Forces (no knowledge of the mission). Such facts and approaches of the Russian army raise doubts about the quality and effectiveness of training of the Russian Armed Forces as a whole and the command and control processes.
The most often situation as it happens: the groups of the vehicles are sent to various locations, with then they are not supported by key knowledge of the mission, communication with commanding officers and supplies. Then they stop and get lost. A typical situation with hundreds of documented facts.
Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine – the second round
The Russian Federation began to actively prepare for the next meeting with the Ukrainian side, which is scheduled for the 3rd of March in Belarus. There are no expectations that there will be much progress on solving the issues of stopping the war by diplomatic means during these negotiations.
Lukashenko’s further public distancing from the opportunity of direct participation of the Belarusian Armed Forces in the war against Ukraine does not reduce the threat of entering Ukrainian land by the army and other troops to support the aggressor. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are ready for such acts, but the Ukrainian side and Belarusian activists are trying to prevent this through possible channels of communication.
The status of the Strategic Restraint Forces of the Russian Federation
Despite the lack of real threats to Russia since February 27, on Putin's orders, the Strategic Restraint Forces of the Russian Federation continue to be in a special mode of service. This is a continuation of nuclear blackmail in preparation for peace negotiations with Ukrainian officials.
The enemy is trying to create around the capital a circle from a powerful group of troops (about 30 sabotage-reconnaissance groups). Now the biggest danger remains in the north and northwest of Kyiv (Ivankiv, Vorzel, Bucha, Irpin, Gostomel). At a distance of 20-40 km to Kyiv continues intense fighting. There the enemy loses equipment and personnel. To the west of Kyiv, the Armed Forces of Ukraine liberated the Makariv city and took the defensive positions. Further enemy attempts to enter the capital with the support of aircraft and missile strikes are expected soon. Also Ukrainian security and defence council has announced that the column of Chechen military has been destroyed around Kyiv. Interestingly, it has been announced that those troops were brought to attack Office of President.
The main direction of the Russian troops’ advance remains to be major southern cities of Ukraine and Kharkiv. There are Russian troops in Kherson that are trying to control main roads and city facilities. In Mykolaiv, the armed forces of Ukraine hold back the enemy offensive with occasional attempts to break through the defence by airborne or heavy weaponry. Many military equipment and prisoners of war were destroyed and captured. A Russian landing force is expected in Odessa again on the coast near the city. Odessa is constantly under fire, including from Russian navy ships. Russian occupants continue to storm Mariupol and destroy civilian infrastructure with MLRS. Mariupol still stands.
Estimated losses of the enemy as of 20:00 02.03
Tanks - more than 200 units,
Armored combat vehicles of various types - more than 800 units,
Helicopters - more than 30,
Aircraft - more than 30,
Personnel - more than 6,000 people.
Martial law in the Russian Federation
Given the Kremlin's limited ability to cover up the crimes against Ukraine and the disastrous failure of the military operation, which resulted in the deaths of over 6,000 Russian servicemen, the Russian authorities are going to impose martial law throughout Russia. This will allow the authorities to control anti-war and anti-Putin people demonstrations and strengthen censorship measures. Also, the imposition of martial law may help Russia mobilize civilians to create the necessary reserve of troops to continue the war with Ukraine.
“No real occupation”
A very important element of this war, its phenomena, it that even if Russians have managed to gain control over some towns around Ukraine, and put their troops in some areas, they do not attempt to occupy those areas in a full sense of the word. They do not put any occupational administrations and do not try to participate in any life of the areas where they stand. Partly this is due to a complete rejection of Russians around all towns, even in south of Ukraine there were protests against occupants (most well-known today in Melitopol, yesterday - Berdyansk). Also the proper occupation seems never has been a plan – Russians did not bring the stabilization units with them. They also do not control the areas between their positions, which lets Ukrainian forces move freely between the Russian positions. This is quite a weak tactic for a prolonged war and can be only explained by the total numbers of Russian forces and their inability to control a vast and diverse Ukraine territory. Thus the Russian campaign can be more explained as a multidirectional raid. It did make sense subject to a realization of the main goal – Kyiv capture and seizing power. But since that has failed the whole tactic does not work. A map below gives a better understanding of how Russian presence in Ukraine truly looks like if to scale it with the size of the country’s territory:
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