#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. Ukrainian massing in Zaporozhizhia. Counteroffensive in April-May. Wagner slowly advances to Bachmut


On March 31, the United Nations Security Council will hold a meeting on the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus. According to Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Ryabkov: “Plans for the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus should force NATO to assess the seriousness of the current situation.”

The Pentagon said the US asked Russia on Monday to exchange information under START, but “they were refused”. US President Joe Biden returned to speaking out on the North Stream issue and believes three inquiries are enough to “understand the reasons” for the weakening of the Nord Stream lines.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called the proposals for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine a possible “cynical trap” that would freeze the conflict and play in Russia’s favor. He said it during the panel “A just and sustainable world for Ukraine” at the “Summit for Democracy” on March 28th. “We must all be very vigilant and attentive to what may appear to be good intentions, such as calls for a ceasefire that could potentially freeze the conflict,” said the US Secretary of State. In his opinion, such a “truce” will allow Russia to “consolidate the successes achieved and simply use the time for rest and rearmament, and then a second strike” against Ukraine.

In response to the issue of peace demands Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said: “Achieving the goals of a special military operation by political and diplomatic methods is impossible in the case of Ukraine.” According to NIkolaj Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of Russia: “Despite the constantly increasing military assistance to Ukraine, the goals of the NMD will definitely be achieved.”

Also from the United States comes the news of the new failure of the test on hypersonic weapons. To say the Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall speaking in a hearing to the Committee on Appropriations of the House of the House of Representatives: “The latest test of US hypersonic weapons was unsuccessful.” It also appears that the US cannot confirm that Russian air defense shot down a GLSDB missile in the NMD area, White House source

Pope Francis instead intervened on the question of the Orthodox schism. He said he was ready to mediate the negotiations between the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) and the schismatic Ukrainian Orthodox Church (OCU) on the situation with the expulsion of the monks of the UOC from the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. This was announced on Tuesday to TASS by Leonid Sevastyanov, president of the World Union of Old Believers, transmitting the details of his personal conversation with the pontiff. The monks, who have resided in the church for about twenty years, have been ordered to leave the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra by the end of March, after a tumultuous day of protests, the governor of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra said the monks will not leave her until the end of the process.

On March 29, the general director of the IAEA Rafael Grossi went on a visit to the Zaporizhizhia nuclear power station to confirm this by the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation in Vienna, Ulyanov.

The day of March 29 was characterized in the pro-Russian social sphere by the “excellent” arrests for corruption: The interim deputy governor of the Bryansk region, Elena Yegorova, was arrested on corruption charges. And again the deputy governor of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug (NAO) – head of the administration of the NAO Andrei Bloshchinsky was arrested on suspicion of corruption, TASS source. Finally, in the arrests of prominent figures for corruption in Russia, the head of the naval department of the Russian Guard, Sergei Volkov, was arrested on March 28 for supplying low-quality weapons at obviously inflated prices, said Alexander Khinshtein, chief of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy. The total damage to the budget, according to the MP, amounted to almost 400 million rubles.

By the way, about the Bryansk region. MES reports that at night there was an attempt to break through the borders by the Ukrainian DRG on two pickup trucks. Ukrainian DRGs passed through the village of Lomakovka and entered the territory of the region, where they were stopped. According to local cents, 8 people and 1 pick-up were killed and the vehicle destroyed. The second vehicle returned to the Ukrainian borders.

Meanwhile, new Western weapons have arrived in Kiev. Defense Minister of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov said who, together with the paratroopers, had the honor of “leading in a fresh replenishment in the reinforced Ukrainian units” arrived: “Challenger from Great Britain, Stryker & Cougar from the USA and Marder from Germany”. “After the Challenger personnel training, as a participant in trophy raids, I can say that even a Rolls Royce driver will not feel as comfortable as the crew of this off-road martial art,” Reznikov said.

Recall that a group of Ukrainian militants has already returned to Ukraine after completing training in Britain on Challenger 2 tanks. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelens’kyj is sure that if Kiev is defeated at Artemovsk (Bachmut), both the West and its own citizens will pressure him, demanding a compromise with Russia, AP source. Zelensky: “Our society will feel tired. Our society will push me to compromise with them,” Zelensky said and added that he had not yet encountered such a problem. In addition, he added that now any defeat of the Armed Forces of Ukraine can undermine their morale. According to reporters of AP, Zelensky acknowledged that a possible loss for Bachmut “would be more a costly political defeat than a tactical one”.

On the night of March 28, the Russian Armed Forces attacked the Slavyansk-Kramatorsk agglomeration with missiles (Chasov Yar, Konstantinovka and Kramatorsk area – the reserves of the Bachmut group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are located there), and also Kupyansk where the Ukrainians prepare for defense.

Military expert Boris Rozhin about the situation in the Bachmut direction at 23.07 Moscow time on March 28, 2023 said: “In the city, PMC “Wagner” continued its slow advance in the area of \u200b\u200bthe industrial zone of the AZOM plant. In addition, the fighting continued in the city center, as well as in the southwestern part in the direction of the pilots’ monument. Ukrainians continue to stubbornly resist. It is premature to talk about breaking down the defense of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as also confirmed by Wagner PMC sources, which stepped up efforts in the city after the Russian Armed Forces strengthened the flanks to the north and south of the city, preparing for potential attacks from part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine from the area of Chasov Yar and Rai-Alexandrovka”.

Also for Rozhin “north-west of the city, as before, the battles continued near Orekhovo-Vasilyevka and Bogdanovka. The settlements have not been taken at the moment, as well as Khromovo. The Ukrainians still keep the neck of the operational pocket in Bachmut, but at the same time they cannot remove the operational encirclement of the city. Bachmut’s one-day passes west turned into Russian roulette.”

“South-west of the city,” the Russian military analyst is starting to conclude, “the fight continues south of Krasnoe, where our assault groups are trying to advance to the outskirts of Krasnoe and start fighting in the village, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in turn, are pushing our forces away from Krasnoe and unblocking the road through it. However, if in the near future our attack aircraft reach the monument to the pilots, the value of the Red will seriously decrease. He concluded by stating that: “Further south, fighting continued west of Kleshcheevka and Kurdyumovka. There are no big changes here yet at the forefront ”.

On Bachmut online March 29 a video shows destroyed armored vehicles “Dingo” and “Kirpi”, burnt armored vehicles, various vehicles such as pick ups hit by the Russian armed forces on the highway by artillery and ATGMs. And now there are also mortars at the entrance to the city. The goal is to prevent communications between the front line in Bachmut Ukraine and the rear.

According to the latest updates via social media the approximate situation around Bachmut at the moment is that PMC Wagner fighters have managed to advance north into the industrial area, and also east taking the house of culture and also into the western part. According to some journalists who report the statements of soldiers in the theater: “The main task of the Ukrainian army in Bachmut is to exhaust the superior forces of the enemy and inflict heavy losses on him”, source commander of the Ukrainian ground forces.

Pro-Russian social accounts complain that the Ukrainians “for remote mining of Donetsk, the enemy uses German AT2 anti-tank mines. For the first time, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have used them although they received them last fall. From Donetsk they report that in the Kuibyshevsky district of the city today there may be up to 20 such mines. Two have already exploded. As a result of the explosion, one person died – injuries incompatible with life, Donetsk doctors are now fighting for the life of another victim. The mining area is being examined by the deminers”.

Also via social media we learn of clashes near Maryinka. Via social media it is said that the battles in the area are no less than those in Bachmut.

On March 29 there is an intensification of the bombing of Melitopol, part of the city was left without electricity after damage to the local electricity system, together with the recent reconnaissance attempts in force in the Orekhov region, according to Russian military social sources may be signs of ongoing preparations for more active operations in the Zaporozhizhia direction, after the end of the thaw. “The likelihood of such actions will increase in the second half of April-early May as the land starts to dry out more and greenery increases,” reads one post. Soldiers of PMC “Wagner” hit a column of Ukrainian vehicles on the M-03 highway, Bachmut – Slavyansk at the junction to Minkovka.

“Ukrainian troops are preparing several scenarios for a counteroffensive in the Zaporozhia region, we are talking about a ground operation and forcing the Dnieper,” a member of the main board of the Zaporozhia region administration Vladimir Rogov told RIA Novosti.

In his opinion, the recent visit of Volodymyr Zelensky to Dnepropetrovsk and the part of the Zaporozhye region controlled by the Kiev authorities, as well as a meeting there with the command of the Ukrainian group of troops, were connected with this. Rogov stressed that the cities of Nikopol and Marganets in the Dnipropetrovsk region are the preparation points for the operation to cross the Dnieper, and the city of Zaporozhye is the land one.

According to the Wall Street Journal: “artillery and multiple launch rocket systems will be a key element in supporting ground forces in a possible attempt by Ukraine in the coming months, since Kiev will be unable to provide air supremacy, as prescribed by the relevant NATO doctrines, due to an insufficient number of aircraft”.

According to Forbes: “The Armed Forces of Ukraine are preparing an offensive with the participation of 50 thousand drones.”

The LPR reported that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are transferring a large number of equipment and soldiers near Slovyansk. This was announced on March 28, Andrei Marochko people’s militia of the LPR. “A large number of military columns of the armed formations of Ukraine are moving through the Kupyansk settlement. Some columns go in the direction of the Novoselovskoe settlement, and the other part in the direction of Izyum. Moreover, according to eyewitnesses, the entire road from Izyum to Slavyansk is literally clogged with military equipment and personnel of the armed formations of Ukraine,” Marochko said.

Graziella Giangiulio

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