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Ukraine Conflict: Day 28

Wednesday 23rd March marked the close of four weeks of conflict in the Russian Invasion of Ukraine. The map below shows an overview of the conflict fronts, with confirmed concentrations of Ukrainian forces marked in blue (rough indication only). 

Footage reveals that today land-based supersonic missiles were fired from the Crimea towards targets near Mykolaiv.

More footage has been released by the Russian Ministry of Defence from day 27’s cruise missile launch.

Russian cruise missile claimed downed over Kharkiv.

Speculation concerning the disposition of Russian forces northwest of Kiev. Shelling continued to target the city infrastructure, with CNN reporting the claimed looting of a laboratory near Chernobyl by Russian forces.

In the Belgorod region of Russia, two villages on the Ukrainian border announced an ‘emergency situation’ after shells exploded there. Zhuravlyovka appears to be one of the villages hit.

An ammonium leak from a food enterprise was reported in Chernihiv, the site of intense overnight shelling from the Russians. Chernihiv has been surrounded for most of the conflict, but the Russians do not appear to be attempting to capture the city via assault, following large losses in the first week of the invasion.

Anatoly Chubais, Russian-Jewish oligarch and one of Putin’s long-term supporters, has resigned his post as special envoy for relations with international organisations for sustainable development. This could signal a shift in the political environment around Vladimir Putin; many in the West have become hopeful that the invasion of Ukraine might be resolved by a ‘palace coup’ at the Kremlin. Seasoned Russia-watchers are more skeptical of such an event, noting that Putin has maintained a firm grip on power (even to the detriment of vital institutions like the military).

Footage emerged that appears to show a protester throwing a Molotov cocktail at the walls of the Kremlin.

The EU approved a further 500mn Euros for arms purchases by Ukraine. NATO has announced that it will discuss China’s role in the war in Ukraine, with a meeting of the 30 member nations to be held on Thursday. This could signal a significant shift in relations between the West and the PRC.

According to the usual ‘anonymous senior US defence official, Russia still has the “vast majority of their assembled available inventory of surface-to-air missiles and cruise missiles available to them. The thing that they are running the lowest on are air-launched cruise missiles. Just over 50% of what they had assembled are left.” Speculation earlier in the week from various pro-Western outlets claimed that Russia was running out of missiles, which have been used extensively in the Ukraine conflict.

A large pro-Ukrainian rally was held in Enerhodar, site of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station that was captured two weeks earlier.

In summary, there appears to be little movement on the ground, but as the conflict grinds on it may be the case that Russia’s superior firepower begins to take more of a toll on the Ukrainian Army; particularly in the Eastern regions where resupply with advanced Western weapons is made more difficult. A large question mark hangs over Russia’s ability to police and maintain its occupied territory, however: its vehicle-focused military doctrine has proved questionable at securing towns, cities, and supply lines against asymmetric warfare, protests, and guerrilla activity.

Photo Credit: Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. CC-SA-2.0.

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