Russo-Ukraine War - 21 March 2023 - Day 391
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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 in the coming weeks, thousands of Russian convicts who have fought for Wagner Group are likely to be pardoned and released. Wagner prisoner recruitment peaked in autumn 2022, with inmates being offered commutation of their sentences after six months of service.
Although approximately half of the prisoners recruited have likely been killed or wounded, evidence from Russia suggests the group is following through on its promise to free survivors. The certificates issued to freed Wagner veterans claim to have been endorsed by the decree of President Putin.
With Wagner now likely banned from recruiting more prisoners, this exodus will worsen its personnel problems. In addition, the sudden influx of often violent offenders with recent and often traumatic combat experience will likely present a significant challenge for Russia's war-time society.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that the Russian Federation continues its armed aggression against Ukraine, focusing its main efforts on attempts to fully occupy Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts within their administrative borders. Russia continues its offensive operations on Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Mar'inka, and Shakhtars'ke axes. The fiercest fighting is for Bakhmut and on Avdiivka axis.
The Russian aggressor continues to use its usual tactics of terrorizing the civilians, shells residential areas and critical infrastructure. During the day of March 21, the Russian adversary launched 4x missile and 24x air strikes, more than 30x MLRS attacks.
Volyn, Polissya, Sivershchyna, and Slobozhanshchyna axes: no significant changes in the operational situation, no formation of Russian offensive groups were found. The Russian leadership continues to use the infrastructure of the Republic of Belarus to train its troops. The Russian adversary maintains its military presence in the border areas. During the day of March 21, Russian forces shelled the vicinities of settlements of Khrinivka, Mykhal'chyna Sloboda (Chernihiv oblast), Atyns'ke, Iskryskivshchyna, Volfyne, Pavlivka, Popivka (Sumy oblast), Basove, Kozacha Lopan', Strilecha, Hlyboke, Vovchans'k, and Velykyi Burluk (Kharkiv oblast).
Kup'yans'k and Lyman axes: Russia continues its attempts to break through the Ukrainian defense. Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations towards the settlements of Masyutivka, Novoselivs'ke, Bilohorivka, and Verkhn'okam'yans'ke. The Russian invaders fired artillery at the vicinities of settlements of Krasne Pershe, Dvorichna, Kup'yans'k, Krokhmal'ne, Berestove (Kharkiv oblast), Nevs'ke, Bilohorivka (Luhansk oblast), Tors'ke, Spirne, and Fedorivka (Donetsk oblast).
Bakhmut axis: Russia continues its offensive operations, but is losing its offensive potential. The Russian adversary keeps trying to capture the city, suffering major casualties, losing significant amount of weapons and military equipment. Ukrainian defenders are repelling numerous round-the-clock attacks of the Russian occupiers in the vicinities of settlements of Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Hryhorivka, and in the northern part of Bakhmut. Vasyukivka, Min'kivka, Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Hryhorivka, Bakhmut, Ivanivske, Stupochky, Predtechyne, Chasiv Yar, Kurdyumivka, Ozarianivka, and Pivnichne (Donetsk oblast), among others, came under Russian fire.
Avdiivka, Mar'inka, and Shakhtars'ke axes: the Russian adversary conducted offensive operations in the vicinities of settlements Novobakhmutivka, Krasnohorivka, Avdiivka, Sjeverne, Pervomais'ke, Mar'inka, and Pobjeda. To no success. The vicinities of Lastochkyne, Berdychi, Avdiivka, Tonen'ke, Heorhiivka, Nevel's'ke, Krasnohorivka, Mar'inka, and Vuhledar (Donetsk oblast) came under Russian fire.
Zaporizhzhia and Kherson axes: the Russian adversary is defending. Russian forces shelled the vicinities of settlements near the line of contact, including: Novopil' (Donetsk oblast), Ol'hivs'ke, Malynivka, Chervone, Charivne, Hulyaipole, Mala Tokmachka, Novodanylivka, Novoandriivka (Zaporizhzhia oblast), as well as Antonivka and the city of Kherson.
The Russian Federation does not give up its war of aggression, despite the numerous casualties. It is constantly taking actions to replenish its losses in manpower. For example, one of the military units stationed in Krasnodar Krai (Russia) is actively working with its conscripts to get them to sign contracts. The servicemen who agree to sign the contracts are expected to be deployed to Ukraine in August 2023.
During the day of March 21, the Ukrainian Air Force launched 5x air strikes on Russian forces concentrations, while Ukrainian missile and artillery units hit 1x ammunition depot, 2x anti-aircraft missile systems, 1x radar station, and 1x other important Russian target.
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 the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, about 405 Ukrainian servicemen and a large number of enemy military equipment were destroyed.
Operational-tactical and army aviation, missile forces and artillery hit 95 artillery units, manpower and equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in 107 districts. 3 US-made AN/TPQ-37 counter-battery radar stations were destroyed in the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.
Fighter aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces in the DPR shot down a Su-25 of the Ukrainian Air Force. Air defense means destroyed 31 unmanned aerial vehicles of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the DPR, the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), Kharkiv, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. In addition, 3 HIMARS multiple rocket launchers were intercepted.
The Security Service of Ukraine said that it suspects the director of the Zaporizhzhya NPP, Yuriy Chernychuk, of cooperation with Russia. The investigation claims that Chernichuk allegedly puts pressure on employees and facilitates the connection of the facility to the energy system of the Russian Federation.
The Ukrainian command throws its soldiers to certain death, ordering them to go on the attack in order to probe the Russian line of defense. This was stated by Vladimir Rogov, a member of the main council of the administration of the Zaporozhye region. The official said that all reconnaissance in combat recently ended for the Armed Forces of Ukraine with large losses of personnel and military equipment.
Rogov also said that a loud explosion was heard in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporozhye, after which electricity was lost in several areas.
Ukrainian troops shelled the village of Aleshki during the day. As a result of the attack, several residential buildings were damaged, there were no dead or wounded.
During the day, the Armed Forces of Ukraine opened fire on Donetsk, as well as the settlements of Gorlovka, Golmovsky, Makeevka. As a result of the attacks in Makiivka, a civilian was wounded, and another civilian was injured in an explosion on an explosive object. In Donetsk, damage was recorded to residential buildings, in Horlivka, damage was caused to the building of a correctional colony.
Acting head of the DPR Denis Pushilin said that Kyiv has 5 supply routes for the group of troops in Avdiivka, the allied forces are doing everything possible to cut them.
Ukrainian troops launched an artillery strike on Nizhnyaya Duvanka. As a result of the shelling, the fire and rescue post of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the LPR was destroyed.
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