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Russo-Ukraine War - 18 March 2023 - Day 388

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A number of claims and counterclaims are being made on the Ukraine-Russia conflict on the ground and online. While GlobalSecurity.org takes utmost care to accurately report this news story, we cannot independently verify the authenticity of all statements, photos and videos.

On 24 February 2022, Ukraine was suddenly and deliberately attacked by land, naval and air forces of Russia, igniting the largest European war since the Great Patriotic War. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" (SVO - spetsialnaya voennaya operatsiya) in Ukraine in response to the appeal of the leaders of the "Donbass republics" for help. That attack is a blatant violation of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. Putin stressed that Moscow's goal is the demilitarization and denazification of the country. The military buildup in preceeding months makes it obvious that the unprovoked and dastardly Russian attack was deliberately planned long in advance. During the intervening time, the Russian government had deliberately sought to deceive the world by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

"To initiate a war of aggression... is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." [Judgment of the International Military Tribunal]

The UK Ministry of Defence reported that the Russian authorities are likely preparing to facilitate wider military conscription to resource its military requirements. On 13 March 2023, Russian Duma deputies introduced a bill to change the age bracket for conscription to men aged 21-30 years, from the current 18-27. The law is likely to be passed, and would come into force in January 2024.

Russia has continued to run conscription call-up cycles twice a year since Soviet times. They are distinct from the exceptional 'partial mobilisation' of veterans carried out since September 2022. Russia continues to officially bar conscripts from operations in Ukraine, though at least hundreds have probably served through administrative mix ups or after being coerced to sign contracts.

Many 18-21 year old men currently claim exemption from the draft due to being in higher education. The authorities are highly likely changing the age bracket to bolster troop numbers by ensuring that students are eventually forced to serve. Even if Russia continues to refrain from deploying conscripts in the war, extra conscripts will free up a greater proportion of professional soldiers to fight.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that the Russian Federation's main focus is the offensive operations on Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Mar'inka, and Shakhtars'ke axes. Bakhmut remains the epicenter of the fighting.

Failing to achieve the desired result on the battlefield, the Russian Federation uses terror tactics against civilians. The Russian invaders are shelling towns and villages, as well as critical infrastructure, in violation of International Humanitarian Law.

During the day of March 18, Russian forces launched 5x missile attacks, 4x of which targeted civilian infrastructure facility in Zaporizhzhya. Russian forces also launched 16x air strikes and more than 20x MLRS attacks. The probability of Russian missile attacks across Ukraine remains high.

    Volyn, Polissya, Sivershchyna, and Slobozhanshchyna axes: the operational situation is stable. Russian units remain stationed near the state border of Ukraine, but no formation of offensive groups was found. The training of units of the territorial troops of the Russian Armed Forces continues at the training grounds of the Republic of Belarus. During the day of March 18, Russian forces shelled the vicinities of settlements of Oleksandrivka (Chernihiv oblast), Kharkivka, Starikove (Sumy oblast), Chervona Zorya, Veterynarne, Strilecha, Starytsya, Vovchans'k, and Velykyi Burluk (Kharkiv oblast).
    Kup'yans'k and Lyman axes: Russia continues its attempts to break through the defense of Ukrainian troops. Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations in the vicinities of settlements of Dibrova, Verkhn'okam'yans'ke, and Spirne. The Russian invaders fired artillery at the vicinities of settlements of Putnykove, Krasne Pershe, Dvorichna, Hryanykivka, Kup'yans'k, Krokhmal'ne, Berestove (Kharkiv oblast), Novoselivs'ke, Nevs'ke, Bilohorivka (Luhansk oblast), Spirne, and Fedorivka (Donetsk oblast).
    Bakhmut axis: Russia continues attempts to capture the city of Bakhmut. Ukrainian defenders repelled Russian attacks in the vicinities of settlements of Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Hryhorivka, and in the northern part of Bakhmut. Vasyukivka, Zaliznyans'ke, Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Hryhorivka, Bakhmut, Ivanivske, Chasiv Yar, Kurdyumivka, Ozarianivka, and Pivnichne (Donetsk oblast) came under Russian fire.
    Avdiivka, Mar'inka, Shakhtars'ke axes: Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations towards the settlements of Kam'yanka, Sjeverne, Pervomais'ke, and Mar'inka. Kam'yanka, Lastochkyne, Avdiivka, Tonen'ke, Heorhiivka, Nevel's'ke, Mar'inka, Vuhledar, and Velyka Novosilka (Donetsk oblast) came under Russian fire.
    Zaporizhzhia and Kherson axes: Russia is defending. In particular, Ol'hivs'ke, Chervone, Hulyaipole, Mala Tokmachka, Novodanylivka, Novoandriivka, and Kam'yans'ke (Zaporizhzhia oblast) came under fire. The city of Kherson was shelled yet again.

The Russian occupants continue to use civilian institutions in the temporarily occupied territory of Zaporizhzhia oblast for their own needs. In particular, Russia is using a school building in one of the settlements of Polohivs'kyi district as a field hospital with 50 beds. In this way, the Russian occupiers attempt to reduce the time for their sanitary losses personnel to return to active duty.

In Rubizhne (Luhansk oblast), the local so-called "authorities" put in office by the Russian occupation forces are forcing the residents to receive Russian citizenship. Ukrainian passports are not yet being taken away from people, however, a passport of a citizen of the Russian Federation is required for employment.

During the day of March 18, the Ukrainian Air Force launched 6x air strikes on the concentrations of the Russian invaders. During the day of March 18 also, the Ukrainian defends forces shot down 1x Russian Shahed-136 UAV, and missile and artillery units hit 7x concentrations of Russian personnel and military equipment.

Statements of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

The Russian Ministry of Defense reported that during the day, as a result of strikes on units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, about 330 Ukrainian servicemen and a large number of enemy military equipment were destroyed.

Operational-tactical and army aviation, missile forces and artillery hit 89 artillery units, manpower and equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in 107 districts. In the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), the command post of the 110th mechanized brigade of Ukrainian troops was hit.

Air defense systems intercepted 15 shells from HIMARS, Smerch and Uragan multiple launch rocket systems. 9 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed in the DPR, the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) and the Kharkiv region.

Kherson region

Since the beginning of the year, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have fired more than 5.6 thousand shells along the left bank of the Dnieper. Freelance adviser to the acting governor of the Kherson region Alexander Malkevich said that 43 settlements are regularly shelled.


During the day, Ukrainian troops opened fire on Donetsk, as well as on the settlements of Staromikhailivka, Khartsyzsk, Mineralnoe and Horlivka. In Staromikhaylovka, a civilian was injured. In Donetsk, a man was killed as a result of an explosion on a mine "Petal". Residential buildings were damaged in Gorlovka and Khartsyzsk.

The Commissioner for Human Rights in the DPR, Daria Morozova, said that the West is trying to hide from the world the truth about Kyiv's war crimes and the use of prohibited methods of warfare by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. For this reason, she noted, the United States did not allow her to speak at the UN Security Council.

Local residents reported strikes on Ukrainian targets in Kramatorsk and Konstantinovka. According to the Rybar Telegram channel, at least one object was hit.


The Ministry of Natural Resources of the LPR reported that over 9 years, fires and hostilities have destroyed about 50 thousand hectares of forest in the republic, while about 40% of the territory of the forest fund has been mined. The forests of the Kremensky district, where hostilities are still ongoing, have suffered the most in the region.

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Page last modified: 19-03-2023 19:30:01 ZULU