UKRAINE CONFLICT ASSESSMENT 13

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UKRAINE CONFLICT ASSESSMENT 13

Institute for the Study of War, Russia Team

with the Critical Threats Project, AEI

March 2, 2022

ISW published its most recent Russian campaign assessment at 4:30 pm EST on March 2.

This daily synthetic product covers key events related to renewed Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Key Takeaways March 2

  • Russian forces resumed offensive operations against Kyiv’s western outskirts on March 2 after pausing for resupply from February 27 to March 1 but failed to secure any additional territory.
  • Russian forces launched offensive operations in Zhytomyr Oblast, expanding their envelopment of Kyiv further west than ISW previously assessed—likely to outflank stronger-than-anticipated Ukrainian resistance and limited Ukrainian counterattacks in Kyiv’s outskirts.
  • Russian forces renewed advances toward northeastern Kyiv on March 2, reaching a line approximately 65km from the city center on that axis.
  • Russian forces assaulted central Kharkiv and continued to heavily bombard the city on March 2, likely increasing civilian casualties.
  • Russian forces fully encircled Mariupol as of March 2 and are conducting a deliberate campaign to destroy critical civilian infrastructure and residential areas in a likely attempt to force the city to surrender.
  • Russian forces continued to reduce pockets of Ukrainian resistance in Kherson on March 2 and will likely secure the city in the next 24 hours if they have not done so already.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense released implausibly low Russian fatality counts for the first time on March 2, preparing the Russian population for the arrival of injured and killed service members back to Russia.
  • The Kremlin made inconsistent statements regarding negotiations with Ukraine but agreed to a second round of talks scheduled for March 3.
  • The Kremlin continued trying to control the domestic and international narrative around the invasion by restricting Russian citizens’ freedom of speech and access to information while framing Ukraine and the West as aggressors.
  • The Kremlin continued to struggle with Western sanctions while it set conditions for longer-term domestic capabilities.
  • Ukrainian defense officials claimed Ukrainian forces thwarted an assassination attempt targeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after a tip from anti-war Russian intelligence officers on March 1.
  • Western states announced additional sanctions targeting Russia and Belarus while more private companies suspended operations in Russia.
  • NATO and EU countries continued delivering lethal military aid to Ukraine on March 2.
  • International organizations and Western leaders are increasingly concerned about Russia’s indiscriminate targeting of civilians and use of banned weapons as civilian casualties rise.
  • The UN General Assembly voted on March 2 overwhelmingly in favor of a motion demanding Russia stop military operations in Ukraine; China and India abstained.
  • Record-setting refugee flows began to strain the support structures in states neighboring Ukraine on March 2.
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Ukrainian officials urged caution as Russian forces advanced toward another Ukrainian nuclear power plant on March 1 and 2.
  • Global oil and gas prices continued to skyrocket despite Western efforts to avoid sanctioning Russia’s energy sector.
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