Ukraine Conflict: Day 32

With no momentum on the ground and heavy losses continuing to take a heavy toll on Russia’s invasion force, there appears to be no sign of an easy victory for Russia in Ukraine within the near future. Battles and bombardments continue to wear down both forces, with Ukrainian losses and dispositions, as always, more difficult to gauge.

Russian tanks have been recorded operating in Mariupol. According to the city mayor’s call for evacuation, there are still 160,000 civilians in Mariupol, without heating. Ukraine declared there would be no humanitarian corridors today ‘due to Russian provocations’; Russian troops appear to have shelled evacuation routes from Mariupol earlier in the conflict.

President Macron continues to call for a joint humanitarian aid mission with Greece and Turkey, stressing that ‘there is an international humanitarian law that we intend to enforce’. With French elections due later this year, Macron is highly incentivised to play an assertive role in Ukraine.

Maksym Kagal, ISKA kickboxing champion, has been found dead in Mariupol. It is believed he was defending the city as part of the Azov battalion, while past photos show him holding their flag.

Rallies against Russian occupation took place in Kherson and Kakhova.

South of Sumy, the Russians appear to have suffered heavy losses around Trostianets, with plenty of footage of destroyed and captured materiel becoming available.

Zelenodolsk was shelled by MLRS cluster munitions, south of Kryviy Rih.

There have been missile launches from the Donetsk region. 152mm artillery and MLRS rockets again targeted the city of Avdiivka, on the Donetsk front; Avdiivka has been subject to attacks and bombardment since the start of the conflict. In addition, a number of Russian fighting vehicles were destroyed in two locations, with drone footage showing the wreckage.

According to Ukraine, a Russian Su-35 was shot down in the fields south of Izyum, with the pilot captured. Villages around Izyum were shelled by Russian MLRS rockets.

Many explosions have been reported in Kharkiv from Russian shelling, using mortars, artillery, and MLRS rockets.

Fighting continues in Irpin, northwest of Kiev, with the Russians apparently unable to capture the district after it was secured by a recent Ukrainian counterattack. 10,000 hectares of forest are burning around the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, according to Ukrainian politician Lyudmyla Denisova.

Following a recent closure of the Bosphorus Straits in order to neutralise a naval mine detected there by helicopter sweeps, Turkey deploys an Underwater Defence (SAS) team to Igneada, near the Bulgarian coast, to disarm another mine.

Ukrainian President Zelensky threatens to break off negotiations with Russia if Russia continues to demand Ukrainian disarmament. Negotiations will continue from 28th-30th of March in Turkey. Anonymous Ukrainian officials anticipate little to no progress in peace talks.

Photo Credit: Photo military journalist Taras Gren, Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. CC-SA-2.0.

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