On March 21, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation published footage of the destruction of the training centre of the 132nd Reconnaissance Battalion of the Air Assault Troops of Ukraine in the Zhytomyr region. According to the Russians, there were foreign instructors and mercenaries inside the training centre and more than 100 soldiers were killed. Military equipment and infrastructure was also destroyed.
From the southern front, Nikolaev, the men forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces launched a counter-attack in a south-easterly direction on 20 March. The Ukrainian armed forces reached the Kherson region and about 40 km before the city they stopped.
On the Voznesensk and Nikolaev side, Ukrainian pro-Russian forces retreated northwards. Also at night, Ukraine launches attacks with Tochka-U rockets in the residential areas of Mariupol. The Russian air defence intercepted almost all Ukrainian missiles and destroyed the launchers south of Zaporozhye with Iskanders. The Ukrainian armed forces were hit in Nikolaev and Voznesensk itself: a number of military facilities, fuel depots and barracks were destroyed; according to the Russians a large number of Ukrainian soldiers were killed. And since 20 March, Russian fighter planes have intensified their flights over Odessa.
On the eastern front. Fighting continues in Mariupol. The combined Russian forces have made significant progress on the left bank. The district administration has been taken, and the Mariupol airport has been taken by Russian military forces. Fighting continued in the Azovstal plant, where the Azov battalion had in effect turned the steel plant into a “fortress”. On 21 March, massive air strikes were carried out on the plant. According to Russian social media, the Ukrainians’ position is now completely hopeless. After refusing to lower their weapons and leave the city by bus following the model already used in Syria, some Azov soldiers are leaving the city and mixing with civilians while those who remained have asked their troops for help, but the official response from Kiev has so far been negative.
What is the Syrian model? The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation has offered the members of the Azov National Battalion to surrender and leave the city along the humanitarian corridor using civilian transport.
In the Donetsk sector, Ukrainian-Russian forces are advancing towards Kurakhovka. Information was confirmed in Ugledar that the Ukrainian armed forces had left the city, but the Russian forces have not yet entered either, they have moved further north to encircle the Ukrainian armed forces. The LPR continued to advance on Severodonetsk, where it advanced by 2 km. Ukrainian-Russian forces advance in the southern districts of Rubizhne.
There is also fighting in Izyum – in the south of the city there is a clash with Ukrainian regular forces, on the night of 20 March they allegedly hit pro-Russian forces with phosphorous shells. The advanced units of the separatist republics have moved further south and are already fighting on the outskirts of Slavyansk. In and around Kharkov, the Ukrainian armed forces have suffered heavy losses due to missile attacks and bomb drops by Russian forces. On 20 and 21 March, there was another Tochka-U attack in the Donetsk region, 4 women lost their lives.
On the northern front, there is little new information. Mostly typical positional warfare is reported. In the west of Ukraine, the Lviv aircraft repair facility was destroyed by high-precision attacks.
In the tam tam of news on the Russian and Ukrainian social spheres, everyone agrees that Mariupol is a humanitarian disaster: up to 130,000 residents remain stranded in the city. The Ukrainians blame the Russians and vice versa.