Day 399 of the Invasion of Ukraine: VSU hit Russian Occupied Melitopol multiple times
Day 399 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Kremlin: The hybrid war with the West will last a long time
- Spain starts sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine in two weeks
- The director of the UN nuclear regulator visited the Zaporizhzhia NPP
- Zelensky on the train to Kyiv: If we lose Bakhmut, the people will pressure me to compromise with Russia
- UA Air Force attacked Melitopol at dawn, 10 strikes against critical infrastructure
- Fierce battles are fought in Bakhmut and Avdiivka without an advantage
- The VSU hit a substation near Melitopol, cutting off power to the station and disrupting Russian logistics
- Zelensky invited the Chinese president to visit Kyiv
- In a special video, Moscow explains what to do in the event of a nuclear accident
- Peter Stano: All EU decisions to support Ukraine were taken unanimously
- Gunmen attacked the police in Gudermes, Chechnya, Kadyrov announced that two were killed
- The French Parliament recognized the Holodomor as genocide
Kremlin: The hybrid war with the West will last a long time
Russia's confrontation with the West is likely to continue for a long time as Moscow's military intervention in Ukraine enters its second year, the Kremlin said.
"If we talk about the war in a broad sense: a confrontation with Western countries, a hybrid war... it will last a long time," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by AFP.
Western intelligence has indicated that Russia had hoped to achieve its goals in Ukraine within days of launching its "special military operation" last February, but that did not happen.
Peskov said Russians have rallied around President Vladimir Putin in an "unprecedented" way and that most want his goals in Ukraine to be achieved.
Spain starts sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine in two weeks
Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles has confirmed that her country will send six Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine after the Catholic Easter or after April 9 as part of European efforts to help the country in its war with Russia.
Robles commented on the subject following a publication by Spain's El Pais, which cited sources with the same information. According to her, these are the first tanks of the repaired ones that had to go through repair, as they have not been used since the 90s of the last century. Their combat readiness remains to be tested.
"By sending the Leopards, we will continue to help the Ukrainian people ... defend themselves against an absolutely unjust attack," she said. Madrid also engaged some time ago in training Ukrainian military personnel to work with these tanks at a training center in Zaragoza.
According to her, "in the near future" the repair of four more machines, promised by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez before his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in February, is due. According to El Pais, the best preserved are being prepared for shipment; the next four will require more funds and time to repair.
Earlier this week, 18 Leopard 2 tanks promised by Germany and three from Portugal arrived in Ukraine. Earlier, others were handed over from Poland and Norway. Kyiv has confirmed that it has also received the first British "Challenger".
Last week, Robles also said that her country would send 20 more M-113 armored personnel carriers, after already providing 20. This Western combat equipment is needed by Ukraine to carry out a counteroffensive, which some observers (and part of Kyiv's mixed signals) could begin in the coming weeks.
The director of the UN nuclear regulator visited the Zaporizhzhia NPP
The director of the International Atomic Energy Agency visited the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia. Rafael Grossi said that after lengthy negotiations with Ukraine and Russia separately, he was proposing a new plan to reduce the risk.
Zaporizhia NPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. It is very close to the front in Ukraine and since it was taken over by Russian soldiers a year ago, it has been without power six times. After the latest case, Grossi addressed both parties with an emotional plea. He called for a halt to the shelling in the area to prevent the release of radiation.
"We are making some changes to the agreement and putting it on the table. I am convinced that there is an opportunity to achieve some form of critical point protection. Not so much a safe zone around the plant as what can and can't be done. I have not given up on reaching an agreement. On the contrary, we need to increase efforts in this direction", Grossi pointed out.
The agency removed from the agreement the point that defined the safety radius around the plant. The reason is that it is unenforceable. Rather, the plan is a detailed explanation of which systems are key and what the military should not do.
Zelensky on the train to Kyiv: If we lose Bakhmut, the people will pressure me to compromise with Russia
The loss of Bakhmut could have extremely negative consequences for Ukrainian society and the general state of the war in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with The Associated Press on a train en route from northern Ukraine to Kyiv.
While most analysts point out that Bakhmut is of no strategic importance, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that a loss anywhere at this stage of the war could jeopardize the momentum Ukraine has gained.
“We can't waste moves because war is like a cake - every piece is a victory. Small successes, small victories,” Zelensky explains. His words confirm that defeat in the battle for Bakhmut would be a costly political rather than a tactical failure, AP commented.
"If Bakhmut falls, the president of Russia will sell this victory to the West, to his society, to China, to Iran," Zelensky reasoned in an interview. "If he feels blood, he (Putin) will feel that we are weak, he will push, push, push," the president adds.
In this interview, Volodymyr Zelensky says something sincere and important: a failure in Bakhmut would quickly put pressure on the international community and also inside the country.
"Our society will feel tired. Our society will pressure me to agree to a compromise," says Zelensky, adding that he does not feel such pressure for now.
In our interview with Zelenskyy, he warned if Russia takes Bakhmut, it will “sell” it to the international community and seek concessions from Ukraine.— Julie Pace (@JuliePace) March 29, 2023
“If (Putin) will feel some blood — smell that we are weak — he will push, push, push,” Zelenskyy said https://t.co/9JmEkqk9u8
Over the past week, Russian forces have captured another 5 percent of Bakhmut's territory and currently control about 65 percent of the city, members of the international think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in their latest analysis. From the south, the parts of PMC "Wagner" approach the very center, the central square and the Palace of Culture, located right next to the local administration.
Wagner forces may have captured the AZOM industrial complex in northern Bakhmut and are continuing to advance, ISW said. On March 28, Russian military bloggers loudly announced that Wagner fighters had captured the AZOM complex and were working to clear the area of remaining Ukrainian forces.
These claims are correlated with the available visual evidence of a Russian presence in the Azom complex. Geolocated footage released on March 26 showed a military correspondent from the Russian news outlet RIA Novosti moving around the compound with apparent ease, indicating that Wagner likely controls enough of the plant to receive reporters in relative safety.
RIA Novosti correspondent Sergey Shilov also visited AZOM on March 28 and indicated that the fighting had already moved to the industrial zone south of the plant.
Several Russian military bloggers also said on March 28 that Wagner's fighters had approached the center of Bakhmut, taken control of the city's market and reached the Palace of Culture. These claims are plausible given the geolocated visual evidence of Wagner's advance towards the city center released on March 28, as well as combat footage of Ukrainian infantry engaging in an exchange of fire with Russian forces near the Palace of Culture and the central market area in the center of the city of Bakhmut. Wagner is likely working to consolidate successes in northern and central Bakhmut to target the city center and expand its area of control in western Bakhmut, ISW analysts believe.
UA Air Force attacked Melitopol at dawn, 10 strikes against critical infrastructure
The armed forces of Ukraine launched a massive attack on the Russian-occupied Melitopol at dawn on Wednesday, the media in Moscow and Kyiv reported this morning. More than 10 explosions were heard in the city, according to the Russian side, this is not the work of the Air Defense Forces, but air attacks by Ukraine.
According to TASS, as a result of the Ukrainian attack, objects of the electricity supply system were damaged, Melitopol and the villages close to the city were without electricity. Pre-war mayor Ivan Fyodorov confirms a series of explosions.
"As a result of the shelling of Melitopol by the Kyiv fighters, objects of the electricity supply system were damaged. In Melitopol and some nearby villages, the supply of electricity was interrupted," said a representative of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, quoted by TASS. The agency adds that emergency teams have been dispatched to repair the damage.
????In occupied Melitopol, explosions occurred in several places in the city in the morning of March 29— ????????War in Ukraine???????? (@Rinegati) March 29, 2023
Several explosions rang out in the area of the airfield, but the russians in their reports recognized only the arrival of the locomotive depot. pic.twitter.com/hd07OwaHGM
The attack began at 5:30 a.m. in the morning, hitting the Melitopol locomotive depot and a local electrical substation. The strikes fit in with the tactics of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (VSU) over the past three days, in which Kyiv has targeted with HIMARS salvo missile systems the critical infrastructure related to the provision of ammunition and weapons to the warring Russian units at the front. On Tuesday, a railway junction in the village of Fyodorovka near Melitopol, which is an important distribution point for Russian logistics, failed. Military bloggers showed footage and maps of hits against Russian positions in the area, in particular the complete destruction of one of the buildings of the Melitopol Technical School of the State Water Agency of Ukraine in Zaporizhzhia region with coordinates 46.858878, 35.379431, which was used for the needs of the occupier.
Ukrainian channels on social networks also write about hits around Melitopol. In the Russian-language channels of residents of the region, panic has begun and the attacks of the last few days are being linked this morning with rumors of a Ukrainian offensive being launched. Loyal to Moscow users revile the command of the Russian army for the "pierced air defense".
Fierce battles are fought in Bakhmut and Avdiivka without an advantage
Moscow and Kyiv give conflicting messages about the progress of military operations on the eastern front, Reuters reported after another day of continuous attacks.
According to the Ukrainian army, Russian forces are continuing their continuous attempts to capture the bombed eastern Ukrainian towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka, without progress.
"They are just trying to wear down our troops with attack after attack," Sergiy Cherevatiy, a spokesman for the eastern group, said on national television, reporting 70 shelling incidents in Bakhmut alone.
According to Kyiv, Ukrainian fighters continue to repel attacks, and Russia is suffering many combat casualties.
Britain's Ministry of Defense said Russian forces had made only "minor progress" in their attempt to encircle Avdiivka and had lost many armored vehicles and tanks. Among the losses was a tank regiment, which probably lost much of its machinery.
But Denis Pushilin, the Russian-appointed leader of the part of Donetsk region under Moscow's control, said most Ukrainian units had withdrawn from a metals plant in western Bakhmut and Russian forces were advancing.
Russia's RIA news agency reported on Wednesday, citing an unnamed source, that Moscow had sent hundreds of new and refurbished tanks to the war zone.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited two northern towns and trenches near the Russian border on Tuesday. In his evening video address, he referenced the international response to Russia's invasion of his country in February 2022, saying it "reminds the world that Russian aggression can be stopped much more quickly than is sometimes said."
Meanwhile, Russian media reported on Wednesday that Ukrainian forces had shelled the Russian-held Ukrainian city of Melitopol, south of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, causing a power outage.
The exiled mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, wrote on "Telegram" about several explosions, reports Reuters.
According to the Russian state news agency TASS, the city's power supply system has been damaged. Melitopol and some nearby villages are without electricity.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces (VSU) hit a substation near Melitopol, cutting off power to the station and disrupting Russian logistics
The explosions near the Russian-occupied town of Melitopol in the Zaporizhzhia region have disrupted the logistics of the Russian army and made it difficult to transfer weapons and ammunition to the front line, the pre-occupation mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, said.
On March 28, for the second time in a row, explosions went off in the Zaporizhzhia region near the village of Fyodorovka in the Melitopol region. As a result of the explosions, the local power station, which supplies an important logistics center for the needs of the Russian Federation, was damaged.
The residents of the village were left without electricity, but the destruction of the substation had a negative impact on the supply of the occupiers.
"Today, Fedorovka is a railway junction, through which military equipment and weapons are also transferred by rail. Therefore, there is no substation - there is no electricity in the village, there is no railway line. The enemy's logistics are failing again", Mayor Fedorov explained.
According to the pro-Kyiv mayor, at least three sites of Russian deployment were destroyed on Monday. These are the premises of the university and technical school in Melitopol, captured by the invaders, as well as two repair bases of the Russian Federation in the same city and the village of Vesoloye.
On Monday, there were also explosions in the “Joker” cafe area, panic was reported in the barracks of the occupying army. One of the buildings hit by the VSU was the one that housed the so-called "state security service" of the occupiers. During the attack, there were casualties on the part of the enemy, and according to the "Обозреватель", some of the surviving inhabitants fled to the street "in their underpants", in their underwear in the literal sense. A home-made bomb was also detonated in the car of the local collaborator and former Ukrainian police Serhiy Skovyrko.
Zelensky invited the Chinese president to visit Kyiv
Volodymyr Zelensky has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit Kyiv. A week ago, the Chinese leader paid a landmark visit to Moscow.
According to Zelensky, his country has a duty to prevent a significant Russian victory in Bakhmut or another key city.
According to him, if this happens, Moscow will be able to use it as an argument to set unacceptable conditions for ending the war for Kiev.
Another attempt by Russia to remind of its nuclear power - Moscow has released footage of exercises with intercontinental ballistic missiles "Yars".
Their range is 12,000 kilometers. The exercises will reportedly take place in 3 Russian regions, without specifying which they are.
A few days ago, Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow will deploy its tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus.
In a special video, Moscow explains what to do in the event of a nuclear accident
In Moscow, electronic billboards explain to people what to prepare in case of a nuclear accident. This is happening against the background of Vladimir Putin's periodically stated readiness of Russia to use its best means of deterrence - nuclear weapons.
The video lists the essentials to prepare for an emergency, such as a radio, food and water for three days. The Russian Emergencies Ministry stresses that the training video has been published for years, but people have only just begun to notice it.
"I don't think anything will happen if you mean a nuclear threat. And if nothing is going to happen, why should we prepare for it?" pointed out Andreъ, a resident of Moscow.
"I checked the distance to my nearest bunker and it's so far that I won't be able to reach it. But I'm calm about it," stressed Alexey.
???????? In Moscow, billboards broadcast information about emergency bag collection in case of nuclear war.— vegastar (@vegastarr) March 26, 2023
The media stated that this is an official advertisement of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
Spoilers again… ???????????????? pic.twitter.com/9eKBctyOkb
Peter Stano: All EU decisions to support Ukraine were taken unanimously
All decisions to support Ukraine - humanitarian, economic, civil and military were taken unanimously by the EU member states. This was emphasized by the spokesperson of the European External Action Service, Peter Stano, in response to questions specifically related to the delivery of 155 mm projectiles.
He recalled that work is being done on three tracks in this direction - within 1 billion euros, the member countries deliver what they have in their national stocks, for another 1 billion euros, delivery is carried out from where they can be procured and thirdly, by increasing production capacity.
Stano recalled that after the beginning of the Russian aggression in Ukraine, the EU promised to help the country with 3.6 billion euros under the European peace support mechanism. This mechanism, in turn, is supported by the contributions of the member countries, of which Bulgaria is a part.
At the European Council last week, President Rumen Radev repeatedly stated that Bulgaria will not participate in the order of 155 mm projectiles for Ukraine.
Gunmen attacked the police in Gudermes, Chechnya, Kadyrov announced that two were killed
Two armed attackers were killed in the Chechen town of Gudermes, 40 km away, with a population of 50,000. east of Grozny, after they had previously opened fire on the Regional Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the city, announced the President of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov. The attackers were neutralized after the Chechen special services "processed received operational information".
No civilians or employees of the Ministry of the Interior were injured in the incident, added Kadyrov, who took his 15-year-old son Adam to the scene of the accident to see the bloodied corpses of the extremists.
The Readovka channel reported the attack by telegram, and then Kadyrov's channel announced that an operation to neutralize criminals was currently underway.
After the shooting at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the two fighters tried to escape from the encirclement by throwing, according to Kadyrov's version, a grenade at the policemen. Then they were destroyed by return fire.
The incident began earlier on Tuesday, when unknown persons attacked a traffic police post in Ingushetia, opening fire on the gunmen with automatic weapons. The shooting was registered near the village of Kantishevo in Ingushetia, 135 kilometers from Gudermes. One of the policemen was wounded in the shootout. A search for the attackers immediately began. Authorities in Grozny are linking the two attacks, claiming that those killed in the Gudermes attack are the same ones who attacked the village of Katajis in Ingushetia.
In a statement overnight, Ramzan Kadyrov urged not to spread rumors "about any unkilled remnants of a bandit group and similar forgeries." "The criminals have been identified and neutralized. Gudermes lives a peaceful life," Kadyrov said.
In Soviet-style, Chechen Minister of National Policy, Foreign Relations, Press and Information Ahmed Dudayev pointed out that Gudermes was living its own life as usual. "When there is a threat to the stability and peace of Chechen land, law enforcement officials in the region have the skills, experience and courage to immediately eliminate any threat to peaceful life," Dudayev.
The French Parliament recognized the Holodomor as genocide
Yesterday, the French Parliament recognized the great famine in Ukraine at the beginning of the 1930s as genocide - the Holodomor, caused by the Soviet authorities and which caused the death of millions of people, reported AFP, quoted by BTA.
In a resolution passed almost unanimously (by 168 votes to 2), MPs called on the government to follow suit, responding to Kyiv’s strong expectations regarding this painful memory revived by the Russian invasion of the country.
The Holodomor "is the story of an organized barbarism", "the use of hunger as a political weapon", said the deputy Anne Genetet who was the first to put her signature under the text of the resolution, adopted in the presence of the Ukrainian ambassador in France in the plenary hall. At the end of her speech, Genetet said: "Long live free Ukraine."
The resolution was signed by representatives of seven out of a total of ten political groups in the National Assembly (the lower parliamentary house), excluding the groups of the radical left "La France Insoumise", the communists and the extreme right.
No one can deny that there was a crime, but "was it about exterminating the Ukrainian people as such," asked MP Bastien Lachaud of La France Insoumise, whose group did not take part in the vote.
The Communists were the only ones who voted against the text, believing that parliamentarians have no right to assume the role of historians and judges. "We refuse to assist in the politicization of phenomena related to memory and history," explained MP Jean-Paul Lecoq.
At the beginning of February, the Bulgarian National Assembly made a decision declaring the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine a genocide.
Late last year, the European Parliament also recognized in a resolution the Holodomor caused by the Soviet regime in Ukraine in 1932-1933 as genocide.
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