Russo-Ukraine War - 22 March 2023 - Day 392
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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 over recent days Ukrainian forces initiated a local counterattack to the west of the Donetsk Oblast town of Bakhmut, which is likely to relieve pressure on the threatened H-32 supply route. Fighting continues around the town centre and the Ukrainian defence remains at risk from envelopment from the north and south.
However, there is a realistic possibility that the Russian assault on the town is losing the limited momentum it had obtained, partially because some Russian MoD units have been reallocated to other sectors.
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 completely capture the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts within the administrative borders. Russia continues to conduct offensive operations on the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Mar'yinka, and Shakhtars'k axes. The fiercest battles continue in the southern and northern parts of Bakhmut, and Russia also carried out offensive actions on the Avdiivka axis in order to establish control over Avdiivka and Mar'yinka.
The Russian aggressor continues to use his usual terror tactics against the civilian population, shelling populated areas and critical infrastructure facilities.
During the day, Russian forces launched a missile attack on Zaporizhzhia, as a result of which 2x russian rockets hit a residential multi-storey building, there were deaths and injuries among civilians. Russian forces also carried out 41x air strikes. In particular, the Russian occupiers used 21x UAVs of the Shahed-136 type from the Bryansk Oblast of the russian federation, 16x of these drones were shot down. As a result of Russian UAV strikes, the Russians hit the territory of a dormitory of a vocational college in Rzhyshchev in Kyiv Oblast, there were deaths and injuries among civilians, and a critical civilian infrastructure object in Zhytomyr Oblast was damaged. In addition, the Russian invaders launched more than 30x attacks from MLRS.
Volyn, Polissya, Sivershchyna and Slobozhanshchyna axes: the operational situation has not changed significantly, the formation of Russian offensive groups has not been detected. The Russian leadership continues to use the infrastructure of the Republic of Belarus to train its troops. Russia maintains a military presence in the border areas. During the day, Russian forces shelled the areas of the settlements of Khrinivka, Myhalchyna Sloboda, Chernihiv Oblast; Atynske, Volfine and Popivka in the Sumy Oblast and Basove, Strelecha, Hlyboke and Vovchansk in the Kharkiv Oblast.
Kupyansk and Lyman axes: Russia continues to try to break through Ukrainian defenses. They led unsuccessful offensive actions in the areas of Makiivka and Bilogorivka settlements. The Russian adversary carried out artillery shelling of the districts of Dvorichna, Kupyansk and Krokhmalne settlements of Kharkiv Oblast; Belogorivka - Luhansk, as well as Kolodyazi and Verkhnokamianske in Donetsk Oblast.
Bakhmut axis: Russia continues to conduct offensive actions, but its offensive potential is decreasing. Russia does not stop trying to capture the city, losing a significant amount of manpower, weapons and military equipment. Ukrainian defenders repel numerous Russian attacks around the clock in the areas of Bakhmut, Bohdanivka and Predtechine settlements. Settlements near the contact line, including Vasyukivka, Mynkivka, Hryhorivka, Bakhmut, Ivanovske, Bila Gora, Druzhba, Mayorsk, Zalizne and New York of the Donetsk Oblast, were hit by Russian shelling.
Avdiivka, Mar'yinka, and Shakhtars'k axes: Russian forces carried out offensive actions in the areas of Novokalynov, Stepove, Berdychi, Avdiivka, Lastochkine, Severna, Vodyane, Pervomaiske, Mar'yinka, and Pobieda settlements without any success. In particular, Avdiivka, Vodyane, Karlivka, Krasnohorivka, Mar'yinka, Vugledar and Velika Novosilka of the Donetsk Oblast were under Russian fire.
Zaporizhzhia and Kherson axes: Russia is conducting defensive operations. Areas of settlements near the contact line, in particular, Gulyaipole, Zaliznychne, Gulyaipilske, Biloghirya, Mala Tokmachka, Kamianske of the Zaporizhia Oblast, as well as Havrylivka, Beryslav, Vesele, Antonivka, Dniprovske, and the city of Kherson, were shelled.
In the settlement of Vesele in the temporarily occupied territory of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, on the territory of the kindergarten, the Russian occupying forces set up a military hospital.
The Russian criminal authorities continue measures for forced passporting of the population on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. Thus, in the settlements of the Kherson Oblast, the Russian occupying so-called "authorities" have been threatening local residents since April to stop paying pensions in case of absence of a russian passport.
At the same time, in the Starobil Vocational College of the Luhansk National Agrarian University, a meeting of teachers was held, who expressed dissatisfaction with the forced passporting of the teaching staff, due to the instruction of the occupying so-called "leadership" of the educational institution, that all employees of the college should receive a passport of a citizen of the Russian Federation by June 1. Teachers are not given the opportunity to resign at their own will. The Russian occupiers took measures to forcibly disperse and stop the meetings.
During the day, the aviation of the Defense Forces struck the Russian forces' anti-aircraft missile complex, as well as 12x strikes on the areas of concentration of Russian personnel and military equipment.
Statements of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
During the briefing, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that as a result of strikes against the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, a large number of equipment was destroyed, as well as about 500 enemy military personnel. Warehouses of ammunition and fuel of the Ukrainian territorial defense were hit in Kharkiv and Zaporozhye regions.
Operational-tactical and army aviation, missile forces and artillery hit 83 artillery units, manpower and equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in 112 districts. On the territory of the Shkolny airfield near Odessa, strikes were made on 2 hangars with weapons and military equipment of the enemy.
Fighter aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces shot down a Mi-8 helicopter of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Kharkiv region. Air defense systems destroyed 26 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles in the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. 3 HIMARS multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) shells were shot down.
In the Kyiv-controlled city of Zaporozhye, a series of explosions rocked during the day, Vladimir Rogov, a member of the main council of the administration of the Zaporozhye region, said. He also said that there were reports that a Ukrainian air defense missile had hit a residential building.
In Melitopol, a car was detained, which allegedly contained members of a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group. Machine guns, grenades and cartridges were found in the trunk of the car.
The defense line along the left bank of the Dnieper within the Kherson region has been tripled, Acting Governor of the region Volodymyr Saldo said. The official stressed that in the event of an attempt to attack the positions of Russian troops, the Armed Forces of Ukraine would receive a harsh rebuff.
From the beginning of the day, Ukrainian troops opened fire on Donetsk, as well as the settlements of Gorlovka, Shirokaya Balka, Ozeryanovka, Aleksandrovka. During the shelling of Donetsk, the Armed Forces of Ukraine used the Tochka-U missile system, the school building and the site of the Water of Donbass enterprise were damaged. In addition, during the attacks in the capital of the DPR, 5 people were injured, and another civilian was injured in Dokuchaevsk.
Acting head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, ordered the creation of a territorial defense headquarters in the republic, and the Minister for Civil Defense and Emergencies was appointed head.
The grouping of Ukrainian troops in the area of Chasov Yar could number tens of thousands of people, Pushilin's adviser Yan Gagin said.
The positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Bakhmut direction were visited by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. His office reported that he heard reports on the operational situation and the course of hostilities in this sector of the front.
Retired Lieutenant Colonel of the People's Militia of the LPR Andrei Marochko said that the UK is trying to provoke Russia by supplying shells with depleted uranium to Ukraine, forcing it to use nuclear weapons. He stressed that one should be attentive to the statements of Western politicians, since most of the promised weapons are already being delivered to Kyiv.
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