Day 372 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Russian Missile hit a Residential Building in ZaporizhzhiaUkraine | March 2, 2023, Thursday // 10:03| views
Day 372 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Ukraine is the focus of G20 talks in India
- Two people died after a rocket hit a residential building in Zaporizhzhia
- Zelensky announced that Ukraine has endured the winter, the situation in Bakhmut is critical
- Arestovych: Ukraine will probably start a counteroffensive in mid-April
- ISW: With information operations against Ukraine, Russia is covering up its failures
- Scholz: Western allies discuss security guarantees with Kyiv
Ukraine is the focus of G20 talks in India
Ukraine managed to provide electricity and heating for people despite a difficult winter marked by constant Russian missile strikes, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
President Zelensky said his compatriots survived the winter thanks to the authorities' efforts to cover household needs, but warned that Russia remains a threat to the energy system:
"The winter is over. It was a very difficult period and every Ukrainian experienced this difficulty. But we still managed to provide Ukraine with energy and heat. Yes, the threat to the energy system remains. But the work on the energy system also continues."
Zelensky added that Nikopol in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Zaporizhzhia, the Kherson region, the frontline of the Donbas, Kharkiv, Sumy and Chernihiv regions are subjected to round-the-clock Russian shelling.
One person has died and 20 people have been evacuated after a Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia overnight. An apartment block was partially destroyed.
The war in Ukraine is expected to be the focus of G20 foreign ministers' talks in Delhi. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also participated in the meeting. According to RIA Novosti, he does not plan discussions with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken within the framework of the forum.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for unity to end differences over Ukraine, saying global governance has "failed".
Two people died after a rocket hit a residential building in Zaporizhzhia
On the night of March 2, as a result of a rocket attack on a five-story residential block in Zaporizhzhia, two people died, announced the mayor of the city, Anatoly Kurtev. Rescuers are searching for survivors under the rubble, the Guardian reported.
The building was "almost completely destroyed," Kurtev said.
The Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration said Russia appeared to have used an S-300 missile.
Early this morning, 11 people were rescued from the rubble and hospitalized, and another 20 people were evacuated, said the local administration.
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Zelensky announced that Ukraine has endured the winter, the situation in Bakhmut is critical
Ukrainians survived last winter thanks to the government's efforts to provide energy and heat, but Russia still poses a threat to the energy system, said President Volodymyr Zelensky in his traditional address on Wednesday night.
The first day of March is marked in Ukraine and Russia as the end of winter, although the cold weather may continue.
"The winter is over. It was very difficult and every Ukrainian, without exaggeration, felt the difficulties," Zelensky was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The president assured that Ukrainian forces were in control of all sections of the front, just hours after Ukraine's military command said Russian troops were advancing near the key eastern city of Bakhmut.
Ukrainian forces have been under constant attack by Russian troops as they seek their first major victory in more than half a year.
Russia claims that capturing Bakhmut would pave the way for full control of the rest of the strategic industrial region of Donbas bordering Russia, one of the main targets of its invasion a year ago on February 24.
According to Ukraine, Bakhmut has limited strategic value, but a fierce defense continues, even as there are rumors of a withdrawal from the ruined city.
"Sooner or later we will probably have to leave Bakhmut. It makes no sense to keep it at all costs," Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Rakhmanin said on Radio NV late Wednesday.
According to him, for the time being, the battle for Bakhmut will continue, as Russian resources such as manpower, ammunition and resources are being depleted.
The hostilities around Bakhmut began about seven months ago, but in recent weeks Russian forces have been advancing from three sides, leaving its defenders only to the west.
"There is a danger that our garrison in Bakhmut will be surrounded," warned military analyst Oleg Zhdanov in a YouTube post, describing the situation as "critical."
"The enemy is trying to cut off the supply routes of our forces and stop any movement along them," he said.
Zhdanov added that the only way Russian forces could take the city was to surround it, not through street fighting.
"They apply what can be described as colossal pressure, with wave after wave of attacks. They bring in reinforcements in trucks and take their wounded away in the same trucks. This process is constant - like a conveyor belt, around the clock," said the military expert.
Arestovych: Ukraine will probably start a counteroffensive in mid-April
Military expert and former advisor in the president's office, Oleksii Arestovych, believes that the Ukrainian counter-offensive will begin in mid-April, UNIAN reported.
"Everything is fine with the tanks, and with the preparation of the counteroffensive, and with everything else. Everything is fine with us and they know it. Everything is ready according to my feelings."
Arestovych suggests that Ukrainian troops are waiting for favorable weather conditions.
He also commented on the plan for the de-occupation of Crimea, proposed by the former commander of the US Army in Europe, Ben Hodges.
"If Ben Hodges is drawing plans to go into Crimea ... And he's not random, he's not just some bystander who can say anything. He always knows what he's talking about," he said.
In addition, Arestovych is convinced that Ukraine will receive the weapons promised by the Western partners in time.
Ivan Stupak: We are starting the counteroffensive in the next 30-60 days
Ivan Stupak, a former officer, believes that the counteroffensive by the Ukrainian armed forces could begin in the next 30-60 days. He noted that much depends in particular on the supply of Western technology.
In mid-February 2023, the New York Times published an article suggesting that the most likely direction for a future Ukrainian counteroffensive was Melitopol in the Zaporizhzhia region.
At the same time, the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov emphasized that the Ukrainian army needs combat aviation to start the counter-offensive.
Kyiv is likely to retreat from Bakhmut
The Ukrainian army may withdraw its troops from the city of Bakhmut, an adviser to the Ukrainian president said yesterday. This would mean that Russia will seize the city, which has become a symbol of the Ukrainian resistance, the Associated Press reported, quoted by BTA.
Russian troops waged a bloody offensive to capture Bakhmut that lasted for months. The place is famous for its salt and gypsum mines, but it has now become a ghost town.
"Our army will obviously consider all options. So far it has been in control of the city, but if necessary, it will withdraw," Alexander Rodnyansky, an economic adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, told CNN. "We will not sacrifice all our people for nothing," he added.
Bakhmut is located in the Donetsk region, one of four regions that Russia illegally annexed last fall. Moscow has control over half of it. To capture the other part, the Russian forces must pass through Bakhmut. It is the only route to the larger cities under Ukrainian control since Ukrainian troops retook Izyum in Kharkiv Oblast in September.
Analysts say that if Bakhmut falls under Russian control, it would be a blow to Ukraine and give Russia tactical advantages. However, this would not be decisive for the outcome of the war.
Rodnyansky noted that Russia used the best troops of the Wagner group to surround the city. The private paramilitary company led by Yevgeny Prigozhin is known for its brutal actions. Prigozhin is a millionaire who amassed his wealth in suspicious ways and is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, AP noted.
Prigozhin said he had seen no signs of a Ukrainian withdrawal and that Kyiv was in fact sending fresh reinforcements to Bakhmut.
ISW: With information operations against Ukraine, Russia is covering up its failures
Russian authorities are stepping up a campaign of "information operations" against Ukraine's actions to distract attention from the lack of results on the battlefield.
That's according to a report by the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
Another goal, according to the think tank, is to delay the delivery of Western tanks and other aid ahead of expected Ukrainian counteroffensives.
The conclusion in the summary of February 28 is related to the increasingly frequent attacks on the West and Kyiv - "provocations with toxic chemicals" in Ukraine (February 28), the staging of a Russian attack on radiation sites in Ukraine (February 19), and others after which the goal would be to blame Russia for attacking these sites.
"The apparent increase in biochemical and nuclear false warnings accompanies a concerted Russian disinformation operation accusing Ukraine of preparing to invade Russian-occupied Transnistria, Moldova," ISW also recalled (such accusations were made a few days ago).
"Russian President Vladimir Putin also reintroduced nuclear rhetoric into the Russian media space during his address to the Russian Federal Assembly on February 21 when he announced Russia's intention to suspend participation in New START."
ISW has previously written about the relationship between Russian information operations and battlefield realities, particularly as Russian forces fail to gain a significant foothold in offensive operations in Ukraine. "The Russian Defense Ministry and senior Russian officials are likely to increase their engagement with such information operations as the ongoing Russian offensive in Luhansk Oblast nears its climax and opportunities for Ukrainian counteroffensives increase."
Scholz: Western allies discuss security guarantees with Kyiv
Germany and its allies are holding talks with Kyiv on future security guarantees as part of preparations for sustainable peace for Ukraine, said Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
"We are talking with Kyiv and other partners about future guarantees for Ukraine's security," Scholz said in a speech to the German parliament, AFP reported.
"However, such security guarantees come with the presumption that Ukraine is successfully defending itself in this war," he said, adding that Germany would continue to support Kyiv with arms supplies.
A year ago, Russia's invasion of Ukraine forced the chancellor to announce a new era in German defense and foreign policy.
Germany has increased investment in its own military, cut economic ties with Russia and broken a taboo on sending weapons to conflict zones.
Scholz renewed his calls for Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine and said President Vladimir Putin was not ready to talk about a "just peace" and an end to the war.
"There is no indication" that Putin will sit down at the negotiating table right now, Scholz said.
Scholz also used his speech to warn China against arming Russia in its war against Ukraine, after the US said Beijing was considering such a move.
"My message to Beijing is clear: use your influence in Moscow to insist on the withdrawal of Russian troops," Scholz said.
"And don't supply weapons to the aggressor Russia," he added.
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