Ukraine: Conflict Update

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The military situation on the ground has not changed significantly in the past 24 hours. Russian forces continue to mass for renewed offensive operations east and west of Kyiv, west of Kharkiv, and toward Mykolayiv-Odesa but have not yet initiated new large-scale ground attacks. Russia has increased aerial and artillery/rocket attacks on civilian positions and infrastructure, including known evacuation corridors. Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted their second counterattack in two days, this time near Mariupol. The Ukrainian air force and air defense forces continue to operate, inflicting damage on Russian ground forces and disrupting Russian air and missile operations.
The military situation on the ground has not changed significantly in the past 24 hours. Russian forces continue to mass for renewed offensive operations east and west of Kyiv, west of Kharkiv, and toward Mykolayiv-Odesa but have not yet initiated new large-scale ground attacks. Russia has increased aerial and artillery/rocket attacks on civilian positions and infrastructure, including known evacuation corridors. Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted their second counterattack in two days, this time near Mariupol. The Ukrainian air force and air defense forces continue to operate, inflicting damage on Russian ground forces and disrupting Russian air and missile operations.
Russian forces are engaged in four primary efforts at this time:
  1. Main effort—Kyiv: Russian operations on the Kyiv axis consist of a main effort aimed at enveloping and ultimately encircling the city from the west and supporting efforts along the Chernihiv and Sumy axes to encircle it from the northeast and east. Russian forces near Kyiv have continued to concentrate in preparation for resuming offensive operations both east and west of the city. They have conducted limited movements to advance the western envelopment but have not gained much ground.
  2. Supporting effort 1—Kharkiv: The Ukrainian General Staff assessed on March 5 that as many as 23 BTGs are concentrated likely west and northwest of Kharkiv and are preparing to resume offensive operations toward Lubny, Poltava, and Kharkiv itself.
  3. Supporting effort 2—Mariupol: The Russian encirclement of Mariupol continues and Russian forces continued to shell the city on March 5.
  4. Supporting effort 3—Kherson and advances westward: The Ukrainian General Staff reports that three Russian BTGs of the 7th Airborne Division attacked toward Mykolayiv on March 5 but were repulsed. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed on March 6 that Russia was preparing to bomb Odesa, although he offered no evidence for that claim and ISW has found no independent confirmation of it. Zelensky is almost certainly right that Russia will begin bombing Odesa in advance of ground or amphibious operations against the city, but the timing of such operations remains unclear.
Russia violated two Russian-Ukrainian ceasefire agreements, collapsing efforts to establish a humanitarian corridor to help evacuate civilians from Mariupol and Volnovakha on March 5 and 6. Russia and Ukraine agreed to a March 5 ceasefire to create a humanitarian corridor for evacuating civilians and the wounded from Mariupol and nearby Volnovakha. Russia likely continued to target Ukrainian forces on March 5 in violation of the ceasefire. Russia and Ukraine agreed upon a subsequent ceasefire on March 6 starting at 10:00 am local time. The International Committee of the Red Cross (IRCR) reported that evacuation attempts in Mariupol and Volnovakha again failed and Ukrainian officials claimed Russia again violated the ceasefire. Russia denied that its forces violated the ceasefire and blamed the Ukrainian government for the failure of the humanitarian corridor.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization. ISW advances an informed understanding of military affairs through reliable research, trusted analysis, and innovative education. We are committed to improving the nation’s ability to execute military operations and respond to emerging threats in order to achieve US strategic objectives.
ISW
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