#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. Bachmut: all entrances under Russian control. Moscow expects a Ukrainian drone attack


Romania’s Defence Ministry denies information about the movement of air defence systems on the border with Moldova. While in the streets of Chisinau on 27 February there was another street protest against rising prices and tariffs: the protesters demanded the government to pay winter bills for heating and electricity. The protest was originally scheduled to take place in front of the mayor’s office in the Moldovan capital, but on Tuesday morning, the administration announced that until 2 March, access for vehicles and people is restricted, including for the holding of rallies and mass demonstrations; the main reason is the visit of Greek President Ekaterina Sakellaropoulou, who will be visiting Moldova. The organisers decided not to cancel the protest. Protesters displayed a large banner reading ‘Down with Maia Sandu’, and ‘No to price increases’.

Night full of surprises in the skies over Russia. The Ukrainian armed forces attempted to use drones in the Krasnodar and Adygea territory, the UAVs were shot down by electronic warfare units, the Russian Defence Ministry reported. The Ukrainian drones in the south of the Russian Federation lost control, one fell into a field, the other, deviating from its trajectory, did not damage the infrastructure, reads the note of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.

In the early hours of the morning the skies over St Petersburg were closed, 200 km of airspace closed and all flights grounded. Initially there was talk of an unidentified object over the airport, the ‘carpet’ plan was put into operation, i.e. air cover by military jets in the event of an air alert.

The operation was called off at 13:20 Moscow time. The authorities announced that it was an exercise that will be repeated in Rostov on 1 March and again in St. Petersburg on the same day. Russia is preparing for a massive drone attack from Ukraine. We learn this from the Russian social sphere.

Since 31 December, the Russian social sphere has been talking about the technical readiness of the Ukrainian armed forces to launch massive drone attacks deep into Russian territories. According to information from the pro-Russian social sphere, on that date, the supply of orders to the balance of the Ukrainian armed forces was two thousand UAVs. No attacks took place over Christmas, but the Ukrainian drones focused on studying the layered air defence of the RF armed forces. Two months have passed since then. The RF armed forces carried out attacks on factories and storage depots, where, according to intelligence, drones and their components delivered to Ukraine were stored. The Ukrainian stockpiles were partially depleted.

But the 28 February attacks on Belgorod, Adygeya, and Tuapse (with related fire), and the later denied announcement of a drone in the skies over St. Petersburg (which could be some sort of accident) have thus become the first test of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ unmanned systems for launching them on a broad front. At the moment, it all boils down to single actions, so it is quite logical that the Ukrainians can now focus again on controlling the air defence systems of the RF Armed Forces and circumventing positional areas.

German company Rheinmetall has begun supplying Ukraine with automated reconnaissance systems with infrared cameras and drones worth tens of millions of euros, the company said in a note. “These reconnaissance systems, known as SurveilSPIRE, consist of mobile surveillance towers with day and night vision cameras, mini-UAVs with autopilot and control systems. Vehicles are also included in the package,’ the German company noted. The systems can be transported to their destination on trailers and have a crew of three. The operators study data from cameras and unmanned aerial vehicles, receiving video using the Starlink global satellite communication system and mobile communications in the 4G band. The complex has also been equipped with solar panels for autonomous operation.

Along with the launching of drone helos, a drone swarm operation was seen against the Moskova, which was officially sunk by internal combustion, last night saw a set of hacker attacks announcing the arrival of missiles over Russian cities. The hackers attacked radio and local TV stations announcing the message. Russia therefore also faces an invisible adversary in this escalation: the airwaves and drones. Against the drones, the Russians are testing the latest generation of jammers, while against the hackers, groups of hackers are being formed.

Not only that, an old Russian adage returns: the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, together with the Ministry of Defence, is working on the formation of propaganda teams. This was announced on Tuesday by the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Olga Lyubimova in an interview with the Rossiya-24 TV channel.

NATO Secretary General Jensen Stoltenberg called Ukraine’s membership in the alliance ‘a distant prospect’. Expanding NATO assistance to Ukraine ‘is impossible without the risk of escalation, but for the alliance a Russian victory carries great risks,’ Stoltenberg said.

Echoing his words was John Kirby, White House strategic communications coordinator, who stated that: “It is up to Kiev to decide what the victory will be”. “We want Ukraine to win. And we think they can. But they themselves will determine what victory will look like for them,” Kirby said in an interview with Bloomberg. Kirby added that if Kiev decides to negotiate, Ukraine’s leadership and in particular Volodymyr Zelensky will determine what they will agree to. At the same time, according to Kirby, Moscow shows no effort or desire to negotiate in good faith.

From the US to Russia: ‘The Kremlin has said that the priority for Russia is to achieve the goals of a special military operation, while no one can guarantee the readiness of the Ukrainian side for peace negotiations’. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dimitrij Peskov said in response to a question about how favourable the current moment for peace talks with Ukraine is

Peskov added: “So far, to tell the truth, probably no one can ascertain any signals from the Ukrainian side. For now, we proceed from the de jure impossibility for the Ukrainian side to conduct some sort of negotiations. We proceed from that’.

According to Peskov, “there are some realities that have already become internal to Russia”. “I mean the new Russian territories, and there is the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which cannot be ignored by anyone, which the Russian side can never give up,” Peskov said. “Of course, given the favourable state of affairs and the appropriate attitude of the Ukrainian regime, this too can be decided at the negotiating table,” Peskov said.

He also added that talking about Vladimir Putin’s candidacy for Russia’s presidency in 2024 is “a bit premature”. According to him, the president does not want to talk about election procedures now. Vladimir Putin at the FSB council after thanking them for their work, commemorating the fallen during the special operation called for strengthening the work of counter-intelligence.

The problem for Russia is the possible sabotage actions by the ‘new’ Russians against Russia. Putin on 27 February appointed Dmitry Gribkov as assistant secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation by decree.

Still on the subject of the peace proposal, the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, criticised the Chinese plan to resolve the situation in Ukraine. In his opinion, the document places the victim and the aggressor on the same level. Whereas Orban’s Hungary considers China’s plan for a peaceful solution in Ukraine important and supports it.

Hungarian press sources report that Hungary fears that one of the EU countries will send its troops to Ukraine, said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, speaking at the opening of the spring session of the national parliament. He expressed serious concern that ‘the whole of Europe is sliding step by step into war’. According to him, EU countries are already sending tanks there, discussing the transfer of fighter planes, and ‘if it continues like this, then there will be those who will want to send troops to Ukraine’. The not too veiled reference is to Poland. American sources report that 2,500 Poles have been killed in Ukraine, recalling that another 9,000 have resigned in recent months and are expected to join battalions in Ukraine

The UK has made it known that it does not want to see the conflict in Ukraine frozen and hopes it will end soon on Kiev’s terms, said Tim Barrow, National Security Advisor to the UK Prime Minister. “We do not want to see a frozen conflict. We will continue to provide Ukraine with the tools to defend itself and thrive on the battlefield. This is an essential part of any strategy leading to peace,’ Barrow said.

Meanwhile, we learn from Russian press sources that the Kazakh authorities have closed their trade representation office in Russia. This is due to the fact that all institutional conditions have now been created for Kazakh companies to work in the Russian direction and solve all operational problems, TASS reports.

Israel has promised to help Ukraine install an early warning system for missile attacks within four months, but Kiev is not satisfied with those terms, reports the Times of Israel, quoting Ukrainian Ambassador Yevgeny Korniychuk. “We discussed this publicly for six months. We were promised (the system) and we haven’t achieved it yet,” the ambassador said. It is noted that the pilot version of the system will, at best, cover the territory of Kiev.

Belarussian Prime Minister Lukashenko said that Kiev has no other way but to conclude a peace treaty now, without preconditions, and urged a halt to the conflict in Ukraine until Russia puts the economy’ in a state of war’.

The acting governor of the Kherson region Vladimir Saldo denied reports of the evacuation of state bodies from Alyoshki and Skadovsk, located on the left bank of the Dnepr River in Crimea. Earlier, this statement was issued by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Dimitrij Peskov gave an interview to Izvestia on 28 February, in which he said: ‘NATO acts as one bloc not as a conditional adversary, but as an enemy. To return to the START topic, the West should change its approach. And he explained: ‘Putin was and remains open to any contact that can help the Russian Federation achieve its goals from both in other ways; The situation of the Russian economy has been masterfully buffered and will enter a growth trajectory in the coming years. The world has a ‘long and painful’ path towards multipolarity, where there is no caste of ‘civilised countries’ and all that. The process of dedollarisation is in full swing, it is irreversible. The document proposed by China on the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine is welcomed by the Kremlin, but ‘nuances are important”.

In Finland, the construction of a fence on the border with Russia has begun. “Work began on Monday with the removal of trees on both sides of the Imatra border crossing. A three-kilometre section of the so-called test fence will be built here. The authorities will conduct an experiment to see whether the fence will withstand winter frost, loads of snow, or a mass of people that might arrive from the east,’ reports the Yle broadcast portal.

In the morning of 28 February, the head of the RKhBZ troops Igor Kirillov held a press conference in which he said: ‘The US intends to organise a provocation in Ukraine using toxic substances, blaming Russia. Washington expects that under the conditions of hostilities in Ukraine, their provocation will not be effectively investigated.

On 10 February 2023, a train arrived in Ukraine (Kramatorsk), in one of the carriages of which was a cargo of chemicals, accompanied by a group of foreign nationals. The cargo consisted of 16 sealed metal boxes, eight of which bore a chemical danger sign, marked B-Z and marked with two red lines, corresponding to the class of toxic substances with temporary detoxifying effect. Five boxes were marked ‘CS – RAYOT’, three – ‘CR – RAYOT’ with a single red stripe marking, corresponding to irritant substances. The facts of the simultaneous delivery of toxic chemicals and means of protection against them indicate an attempt to carry out large-scale provocations using the military psychotropic poison substance Bi-Zet during the conflict. According to the Chemical Weapons Convention, Bi-zet is a controlled chemical and is included in the second list, its use is prohibited by Article 1 of the Convention. This chemical causes acute psychosis, disorientation, hallucinations, memory impairment. The substance B-Zet is a standard chemical agent of the US military and was widely used during the Vietnam War. The US and its allies have repeatedly used chemically formulated munitions during military conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. We warn that in the event of provocations with toxic chemicals, the real culprits will be identified and punished by us. We will continue to work to expose the criminal activities of the West in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention’.

Kirillov presented a report with pictures of the arrival of the train and the chemical agents.

Gorlovka, on 28 morning was under heavy shelling by the Ukrainian armed forces. The JCCC reports 10 155-calibre bullets fired from Dzerzhinsk. Locals report unusually powerful explosions and a strong chemical smell in the air: Mash. Two incidents at the Crimean water system drone attack reported.

At 4 a.m. on 28 February on the Ukrainian social sphere one learns that all entrances to Bachmut are under control of Russian army fire. This was announced by the acting head of the DPR Denis Pushilin on Channel One. All this while images of the Leopards in the direction of Bachmut were flowing, the DPR chief’s advisor reported

Over the past few days, the Ukrainian military has carried out massive shelling on the Korenevsky, Glushkovsky and Sudzhansky districts of the Kursk region. As a result of the attacks, at least ten settlements were hit, including Popovo-Lezhachi and Tetkino.

In the Belgorod region, Ukrainian shelling hit Staryi Khutor in the city district of Valuyki. Windows of several residential buildings were broken and power lines were also damaged.

In the northern suburb of Bachmut, Wagner PMC assault units established full control over the Stupky district. At the same time, there is street fighting in the Illinivka district. Russian units are storming Ukrainian positions in the eastern districts as they approach the city centre.

Russian artillery is hitting Ukrainian positions along the entire line of contact with precision fire. In the Avdiivka sector, Russian troops have expanded their zone of control near Novobakhmutivka and also near Krasnohorivka. The taking of the settlements will allow the Russians to continue their offensive on Avdiivka from the north.

The intense fighting continued in Mar’inka. Russian units are firmly entrenched on the southern outskirts of the city. The Ukrainian command is redeploying personnel and equipment to the front line to stabilise the front.

Chronicle of mutual attacks and shelling in the NVO area during the night of 27-28 February 2023.

In Tuapse, Krasnodar territory, Rosneft’s oil depot caught fire during the night. This could be the result of a night-time attack by enemy drones, but there is no precise information yet. The oil depot itself was not damaged. Three Ukrainian drones fell in Belgorod late in the evening. Residential buildings and civilian vehicles were slightly damaged.

Another drone crashed in the Surazh district of the Bryansk region. Russian gunners hit targets in Timonovichi and Berilovka in the Chernihiv region, as well as in Starikovo, Bruski, Atinsky, Kruzhka, Sumy region.

In the Kharkiv region, RF forces struck Ukrainians in: Veterinary, Strelechya, Gatishche and Volchansk.

In the Starobelsk direction, Russian troops attacked the positions of the Ukrainian armed forces in Dvurechnaya, Liman 1st, Kurilovka, Kislovka, Novoselovsky and Tabaevka. In the direction of Bachmut (Artemovsky), the RF Armed Forces worked on targets in Bachmut, Sporny, Razdolovka, Kirovo, Neu York, Stupochki and Konstantinovka.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces fired on Dubovo-Vasilevka, Berkhovka, Kleshcheevka, Ozaryanovka and Mayorsk. and in the direction of Donetsk, Ukrainian Army positions in Avdeevka, Lastochkino, Netaylovo, Vodyany and Krasnohorivka were hit.

In the direction of Yuzhnodonetsk, Russian troops struck Ukrainian positions in Vuhledar, Bolshaya Novoselka, Novomikhailovka and Bogoyavlenka.

In the Zaporozhye region, Russian forces attacked Ukrainian armed forces facilities in Olhovsky, Gulyaipole, Kamyshevakh, Orekhov and Zaliznychny.

In the vicinity of Dnepropetrovsk and Sinelnikovo, Russian kamikaze UAVs worked at night, but the results of the fire damage are unknown. In the southern sector of the front, Russian forces hit Ukrainian army positions in Kherson, Inzhenerny, Tyaginka and Antonovka.

Graziella Giangiulio

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