Day 376 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Some Ukrainian Troops are Withdrawing from Bakhmut
Day 376 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Ukrainian generals want the defense of Bakhmut to be continued
- Ukrainian forces continue to hold Bakhmut
- Prigozhin: If "Wagner" withdraws from Bakhmut, the whole front will fall apart
- ISW: The Ukrainian Armed Forces conducts a tactical withdrawal of troops from Bakhmut
- Germany has spent 14 billion euros to help Ukraine
- The Russian Minister of Defense visited Mariupol
- Scholz: China has promised not to send weapons to Russia
- Zaporizhzhia NPP is the focus of a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna
- "Wagner" begins to recruit fighters in sports clubs in Russia
- Russian MP: If our neo-Nazis are fighting against Ukraine, then they are good
- Intelligence in London: Russia sends 60-year-old tanks and 70-year-old armored personnel carriers to the front
- Censorship in Russia has reached joke sites
Ukrainian generals want the defense of Bakhmut to be continued
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed the situation in besieged Bakhmut with senior commanders and two senior generals backed the continuation of the defense of the eastern city against Russian forces, Zelensky's office said on Friday.
Valery Zaluzhniy, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and Oleksandr Syrsky, commander of Ukraine's ground forces, "spoke in favor of continuing the defensive operation and further strengthening Ukrainian positions in Bakhmut," according to a statement on the presidential website.
Earlier in the day, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin noted that the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut is more symbolic than operational, and it does not necessarily mean that Moscow has regained the initiative in the military effort.
"I think it has more symbolic value than strategic and operational value," Austin told reporters during a visit to Jordan, adding that he would not predict if and when Bakhmut would be captured by Russian forces, Reuters reported.
"The fall of Bakhmut will not necessarily mean that the Russians have changed the course of this battle," Austin added.
"If the Ukrainians decide to reposition some of the positions on this terrain, which is west of Bakhmut, I would not look at that as an operational or strategic failure," said Austin.
Earlier, the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that the military command of Ukraine is likely to undertake a tactical withdrawal from the city. Ukrainian forces are likely conducting a limited tactical withdrawal in the Bakhmut area, although it is still too early to assess Ukrainian intentions for a full withdrawal from the city, according to the latest ISW report.
Ukrainian forces continue to hold Bakhmut
An air alert was declared in Kyiv around 1 after midnight. Sirens were also activated in the Cherkasy region, and several explosions were registered in the Kharkiv and Sumy regions.
Around 02:00 a.m. the air alert was canceled. Ukrainian forces continue to hold Bakhmut, announced the spokesman of the eastern Ukrainian front. According to him, the losses of the Russians in the battle for the city, which has been going on for months, are huge.
According to the founder of the Russian private army "Wagner" Yevgeny Prigozhin, if his fighters withdraw from Bakhmut, the entire front will collapse. Prigozhin also complained about the lack of ammunition for his group. A highlight of President Zelensky's midnight address was gratitude to the defenders of Donbas. He added that preparations for the next heating season are underway.
"The world is strong enough to punish Russia for the war. And we will provide the world with enough courage and tools to do so. Our confidence in this grows with each passing week. I thank our partners who help us build a legislative network, with the help of which appropriate sentences will be implemented and will monitor their implementation," said Volodymyr Zelensky.
Prigozhin: If "Wagner" withdraws from Bakhmut, the whole front will fall apart
In Ukraine, fierce fighting continues for the city of Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region. The founder of the Russian private military group Wagner has complained that his forces are running short of ammunition. In a video released over the weekend, Yevgeny Prigozhin warned that if his fighters were forced to retreat, the entire Russian front would collapse. It is not known when and where the video was recorded, but Prigozhin is apparently in a bunker.
“If ‘Wagner’ retreats now, then the following situation will occur: It is clear that the front will break up - it will break up to the Russian borders, maybe even further. In general, the situation will not be pleasant for all paramilitary formations that protect the interests of Russia", stressed the head of PMC "Wagner".
On Friday, the founder of the mercenary army said his group had surrounded Bakhmut, where fighting has intensified over the past week. On Sunday, however, Prigozhin complained that most of the ammunition promised to his forces by Moscow had still not been delivered.
ISW: The Ukrainian Armed Forces conducts a tactical withdrawal of troops from Bakhmut
The Ukrainian military command probably decided on a limited tactical withdrawal of troops in the hottest section of the front in Bakhmut due to the destruction of the local railway bridge that spans the river in the northeastern part of the city (as seen in the latest geolocation footage). At the same time, it is too early to claim that VSU has decided to leave Bakhmut for good. That's according to a new report by the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
Analysts indicate that as of March 5, PMC "Wagner" forces have advanced in the northeastern part of Bakhmut near the Stupka railway station.
"A Ukrainian soldier reports that as of March 4, Russian troops have not yet crossed the Bakhmutka River in central Bakhmut, while Russian bloggers claim that Wagner has pushed back Ukrainian positions into central Bakhmut. It is not yet clear whether Ukrainian troops plan to to hold positions on the west bank of the Bakhmutka River," the report said.
ISW emphasizes that the Ukrainian armed forces have chosen the correct tactical strategy for the defense of the city so far, because in this way the Ukrainian forces continue to destroy Russian manpower and equipment, while at the same time they themselves do not suffer excessive losses.
The Military Institute believes that even if a final withdrawal from Bakhmut is decided, the VSU are unlikely to withdraw from the city immediately: they will use attrition tactics against Russian forces, delaying the withdrawal as much as possible with urban fighting. This will most likely lead to a sufficient dilution of Russian forces, as happened after the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the Sieverodonetsk-Lysychansk line. Then, in the summer of 2022, the occupiers were no longer able to conduct any offensive operations in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions due to personnel losses.
"Russian forces are unlikely to make significant territorial gains quickly while waging war in the city, which typically benefits those on the defensive and could allow Ukrainian forces to inflict significant losses on advancing Russian units, even if Ukrainian troops are actively retreating," notes the institute.
ISW also argued that the urban conditions of Bakhmut and the peculiarities of the local territory could benefit the Ukrainian forces if they managed to gain a foothold in the northwestern edge of the city (near the village of Khromovoye next to the T0504 Bakhmut-Konstantinivka road).
Germany has spent 14 billion euros to help Ukraine
Germany has allocated 14 billion euros in aid to Ukraine in 2022, said Chancellor Olaf Scholz. According to him, this makes the Federal Republic of Germany the largest donor of aid to Kyiv in continental Europe.
"We are supplying Ukraine with weapons and the necessary financial assistance. We have become the largest donor to Ukraine in continental Europe. In one way or another, last year we provided 14 billion euros to Ukraine and we will continue to do so," said Mr. Scholz in front of CNN.
Germany is training Ukrainian servicemen to operate Leopard 2 tanks: they are being trained at the military training ground in the city of Münster. On January 25, German authorities announced the delivery of 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and allowed other countries to re-export them.
The Russian Minister of Defense visited Mariupol
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Mariupol. He is inspecting the work on the reconstruction activities in Donbas, reports the relevant ministry. After visiting already completed sites and those still under construction, Shoigu gave a high assessment of the military construction complex.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has visited the occupied city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine, according to footage published by the Russian Defense Ministry on Monday.https://t.co/hIx1x0btB0 pic.twitter.com/d4fKOAN1KZ— The Moscow Times (@MoscowTimes) March 6, 2023
Scholz: China has promised not to send weapons to Russia
"China has promised not to send weapons to Russia."
This was announced by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. He hinted that Berlin had received a personal assurance from Beijing on the matter.
Scholz was speaking at a news conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who told reporters that the EU has so far received "no evidence" from the US that Beijing plans to provide military support to Moscow.
Senior US officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have expressed deep concern in recent weeks that the communist country is considering providing weapons such as kamikaze drones to Russia, prompting warnings to Beijing from EU politicians.
Scholz himself urged Beijing last week to refrain from such actions and instead use its influence to persuade Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine.
"We all agree that there should be no arms deliveries, and the Chinese government has announced that it will not deliver either," the chancellor told a news conference on Sunday. "We're keeping an eye on it and we're watching," he added.
Scholz later assured that if China does supply weapons to Russia "there will be consequences."
The EU's foreign affairs and security chief, Josep Borrell, told reporters that China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, had promised in a private conversation at the Munich Security Conference in mid-February that China "will not provide weapons to Russia".
"However, we must remain vigilant," Borrell warned.
Von der Leyen told reporters that the EU had not yet received any evidence that China was considering sending arms to Russia.
"So far we don't have evidence of that, but we have to watch every day."
She did not respond to a question about whether the EU would support sanctions against China if the communist country made arms deliveries.
Zaporizhzhia NPP is the focus of a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna
The meeting of the board of directors of the International Atomic Energy Agency begins in Vienna. Until March 9, the experts will talk about the agency's activities related to nuclear security, science and technology. Iran's nuclear program and North Korea's escalation are high on the agenda.
Special attention will be given to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia NPP, which is currently controlled by Russia. On the initiative of the International Atomic Energy Agency, a security zone should be built around the facility. More than a month ago, Moscow declared that it was ready for concrete steps in this direction.
Another topic that the experts will discuss is the discharge of water from the damaged Japanese nuclear power plant "Fukushima" into the ocean. There are fears that the liquid, which still contains traces of radioactive isotopes, could prove dangerous to ocean flora and fauna.
"Wagner" begins to recruit fighters in sports clubs in Russia
The most famous Russian private military company (PMC) "Wagner" has opened points for recruiting fighters in sports clubs throughout Russia. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) drew attention to this, referring to Russian media. ISW describes this channel as a new one for PMC Wagner, since it was deprived of the ability to recruit prisoners; this was announced by its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin. According to Russian publications, only the Ministry of Defense currently has the right to recruit prisoners (the process began back in the fall).
Since the beginning of the month, Prigozhin has at least once expressed his dissatisfaction not only with the shortage of ammunition, but also with the impossibility of replenishing the "personnel".
Russian media wrote some time ago about "Wagner's" bases in various points - Rostov-on-Don, Samara and elsewhere, and "Wagner" (and Prigozhin himself) reported already working points in eight sports clubs in Moscow.
Russian MP: If our neo-Nazis are fighting against Ukraine, then they are good
If Russian neo-Nazis are fighting against Ukraine as part of Russian forces, it means that they have "already reformed". This was stated to "Fontanka" by Andrey Kartapolov, deputy of the Russian Duma and chairman of the Defense Committee.
He was asked about the neo-Nazis among the "volunteers" and, in particular, about the sabotage-assault intelligence group "Rusich".
"You can't just baselessly claim that these people support the fascists. We have no grounds for that," answers Kartapolov.
However, the journalist objects that there are many reasons for this.
"There are many interviews in which the founder of 'Rusich' Alexey Milchakov says in plain text that he is a Nazi. There are photos of them raising their hands in a Nazi salute. There are also photos of their swastika tattoos," the reporter recalls.
To which the Russian MP replies:
"I think they've gotten their tattoos off and they're not yelling 'sieg heil' anymore."
Intelligence in London: Russia sends 60-year-old tanks and 70-year-old armored personnel carriers to the front
Russia is trying to compensate for the loss of equipment with increasingly old models of combat equipment. Recently, BTR-50s, which entered service in 1954, were identified at the front. And the 60-year-old T-62 tanks will even be used in the main tank army of Russia.
This was announced by British intelligence in its new report on the war in Ukraine.
"Due to heavy losses of armored vehicles, the Russian army is forced to use the 60-year-old T-62 main battle tanks. There is a real possibility that even units of the 1st Guards Tank Army, which is supposed to be Russia's main tank division, be rearmed with the T-62. It was previously assumed that the First Guards Tank Army would be the first to receive the new-generation T-14 Armata tanks from 2021."
According to intelligence experts in London, Russia has rearmed 800 T-62 tanks since the summer of 2022. Some of them were equipped with upgraded aiming systems, which could improve the effectiveness of the machines at night. And Ukraine recently managed to identify the BTR-50 used by the occupiers. This armored personnel carrier was first accepted into service in 1954.
"However, both retro types of vehicles will have many weaknesses on the modern battlefield, including lacking modern anti-missile armor," added the British intelligence service.
Serhiy Cherevaty, a spokesman for the eastern grouping of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said the Russians still had sufficient weaponry, although a shortage of more advanced equipment was already noticeable.
"Now there are many divisions that are being formed from scratch. They move without equipment, in Ural and Kamaz trucks. They no longer have BMPs and APCs in service. All the equipment has been taken out of the deep reserve. So far, they have already taken out over 60%, they only have about 35% left. The production is sporadic and does not cover the needs. They can produce 800 tanks a year, not only in wartime, but also in their best years," said the head of intelligence in Kyiv, Kyrylo Budanov said at the end of February.
Photos of MT-LB light armored personnel carriers, on which the occupiers have mounted 2M-3 anti-aircraft guns, have recently appeared. Analysts believe that such a move testifies to an acute shortage of equipment in Putin's army.
Censorship in Russia has reached joke sites
Censorship imposed by the authorities in Moscow on how Vladimir Putin's aggression against Ukraine is reflected has also reached joke sites. One of the most popular among them is Anekdot.ru, and on Saturday its owners announced new rules about what and how should be published on it.
They refer to Law 207.3 adopted by the State Duma exactly one year earlier, on March 4, 2022, called "Public dissemination of intentionally false information about the use of the armed forces of the Russian Federation." On its basis, "special conditions for publication" are introduced:
- The principle "everything sent is published" is temporarily dropped.
- In all sections, the posting of "any topic" is canceled.
- Individual meme sections are being canceled.
- Discussions on breaking news are closed.
- Discussion of the military conflict in comments and guest chats (including private guest chats) is not permitted, regardless of position. Violators will be warned, if they do it again, their access will be banned.
The General Rules also include the fact that "everything that is sent is published" on the site, with the exception of spam, advertisements, very long texts and materials that violate the laws of the Russian Federation. One of the first restrictions after the February 24, 2022 invasion was to ban the "special military operation" from being called a "war" and disseminating information about it that is not from official sources. Both are being prosecuted, including up to 15 years in prison.
It is curious that the content of Anekdot.ru first goes through an editor who decides which of the submitted by users will be published every day at 12 o'clock. In this sense, the new instructions sound more like a signal to readers not to bombard the editors on duty with jokes and memes about the war or Russia, which will not appear on the site anyway.
In the first 24 hours after the invasion of the Russian army, the site was literally drowned by nearly three thousand jokes, memes, pictures and poems, many of which were directed against the authorities. On the second day, only about 30 of them remained politically correct.
Novinite is still the only Bulgarian media that publishes a summary of events and highlights related to the conflict, every single day. Our coverage began on day one - 24.02.2022 and will not stop until the war has concluded. Despite the pressure, our independent media will continue to provide its readers with accurate and up-to-date information. Thank you for your support! #stayinformed
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