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Russo-Ukraine War - 20 March 2023 - Day 390

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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 over the past three weeks, Russian forces have made creeping gains around the Ukrainian-held Donbas town of Avdiivka, immediately north of Donetsk city.

The Russian operation has largely been carried out by the 1st Army Corps of the Donetsk People's Republic; local personnel who will know the terrain well. Avdiivka has been on the front line of the Donbas conflict since 2014; the city is now largely destroyed. The sprawling Avdiivka Coke Plant complex is likely to be seen as particularly defendable key terrain as the battle progresses.

Tactically, the situation is similar to that in the larger town of Bakhmut, further north. Ukrainian forces continue organised defence, but their supply lines to the west are increasingly threatened by the Russian envelopment operation.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that during day of March 20, Russian forces launched 13x air and 4x missile strikes, as well as 7x MLRS attacks. The level of missile threat across Ukraine remains high.

    Volyn, Polissya, Sivershchyna, and Slobozhanshchyna axes: no significant changes. During the day of March 20, Russian forces shelled the vicinities of settlements of Seredyna-Buda, Sopych, Starykove, Atyns'ke, Kostyantynivka, Kindrativka, Volfyne, Oleksandrivka, Popivka (Sumy oblast), Kam'yans'ka Sloboda, Khrinivka (Chernihiv oblast), Hlyboke, Morokhovets', Vovchans'k, Zemlyanky, Krasne Pershe, Dvorichna, Zapadne, Kam'yanka, and Krasne (Kharkiv oblast).
    Kup'yans'k and Lyman axes: Kup'yans'k, Krokhmal'ne, Berestove (Kharkiv oblast), Nevs'ke, Pishchane, Bilohorivka, Dibrova (Luhansk oblast), Spirne, Tors'ke, and Novoselivka (Donetsk oblast) were shelled with artillery once again. Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensives towards Novoselivs'ke.
    Bakhmut axis: the Russian occupants continue their attempts to capture the city of Bakhmut. Positional fighting does not cease there. At the same time, Ukrainian defenders repelled Russian attacks in the vicinities of Bohdanivka and Ivanivske. Min'kivka, Vasyukivka, Zaliznyans'ke, Bakhmut, Hryhorivka, Ivanivske, Oleksandro-Shul'tyne, Dyliivka, and New York (Donetsk oblast) were shelled by Russian forces.
    Avdiivka, Mar'inka, Shakhtars'ke axes: Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations towards the settlements of Berdychi, Avdiivka, and Sjeverne. Novobakhmutivka, Kam'yanka, Avdiivka, Lastochkyne, Krasnohorivka, Hostre, Heorhiivka, Mar'inka, Vuhledar, and Velyka Novosilka (Donetsk oblast), among others, came under Russian fire.
    Zaporizhzhia and Kherson axes: Russia is defending. Vicinities of a number of settlements were shelled. Among them are Ol'hivs'ke, Malynivka, Hulyaipole, Huliaipilske, Bilohir'ya, Mala Tokmachka, Orikhiv, Novodanylivka, Novoandriivka, Kam'yans'ke (Zaporizhzhya oblast), Vremivka, Novopil', Novosilka (Donetsk oblast), Dudchany, Zmiivka, Kozats'ke, Ivanivka, Antonivka, Zelenivka, Blahovishchenske, Dniprovs'ke, Bilozerka, and Berehove (Kherson oblast).

The Russian invaders continue to suffer huge losses and increase the number of hospitals along the line of contact. Thus, one of the Russian occupiers' hospitals is located in the building of a local hospital in the settlement of Rozivka (temporarily occupied territory of Zaporizhzhia oblast). During the day of March 19, about 50x gravely wounded servicemen of the Russian army were brought there. Also, the occupiers set up a hospital in the building of a local school in the settlement of Vysoke (Zaporizhzhia oblast). A large number of the gravely wounded were brought there on March 19. To do this, Russian forces used 4x KAMAZ-based medical trucks.

During the day of March 20, the Ukrainian Air Force launched 9x air strikes on the concentrations of occupants. In the meantime, missile and artillery units hit 3x Russian concentrations of manpower, weapons, and military equipment.

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation reported that the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (RF Armed Forces) hit 82 enemy artillery positions and 112 points of accumulation of personnel and equipment during the day.

An enemy Mi-8 was shot down over Kolesnikovka, and five rockets and seven drones were also intercepted.

In the Kupyansk direction, units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) were hit in the areas of Dvurechnaya, Berestovoye and Artemovka, where up to 55 enemy soldiers, an armored car, 2 pickup trucks and a D-20 howitzer were liquidated.

Meanwhile, on the Kherson sector of the front, the Armed Forces of Ukraine lost 40 people, 2 armored vehicles, 3 cars, Gvozdika and Paladin self-propelled guns, as well as a D-30 howitzer.

In addition, today it became known about the liberation of Krasnogorovka north of Avdeevka and clashes for Stepovoye and Kamenka. There is also information about the battles for the southwestern part of the Donetsk suburbs. Thus, coverage of one of the most important fortified areas of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Donbass continues. The enemy is moving reserves here.

The situation in the Donbass

The Russian group in the Limansk direction destroyed more than 100 Ukrainian servicemen, an infantry fighting vehicle, 3 pickup trucks, a car and a Msta-B howitzer in a day.

At the same time, more than 245 enemy soldiers, a tank, 3 armored combat vehicles, 3 pickup trucks, a Grad rocket launcher and an Msta-B gun were liquidated in the Donetsk sector.

To the south-west, in the area of Vuhledar and Zaporozhye region, the Armed Forces of Ukraine lost more than 50 people, 3 tanks, 4 infantry fighting vehicles, 2 armored vehicles, 4 vehicles and a D-20 howitzer.

In the meantime, businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, whom some media outlets call the founder of the Wagner PMC, wrote a letter to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, in which he spoke about the preparation of a counterattack by the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Bakhmut (Artemovsk) region for late March - early April. The businessman warned that the success of the enemy would lead to dire consequences for the entire special operation and asked for assistance in repelling this offensive.

At the same time, Prigozhin said that at the moment the strategic settlement is controlled by the "Wagnerites" by about 70%.

Russian forces have made advances north of Bohdanivka. Russian forces made further gains in the south of Bakhmut.

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