A column of Russian vehicles, including trucks carrying Tochka missiles, was filmed driving through snow in Belarus early in the morning of day 35.
Satellite imagery shows a Russian camp established at Chaplynka airfield, just north of the Crimean regional frontier. Helicopters and entrenchments are visible. Eight residents were detained by Russian forces in Holoprystan, near Kherson, including the mayor of Gola (Oleksandyr Babych). Protests have been held demanding their release.
Photos of Ukrainian soldiers petting animals have been a common staple of the media effort, but this bewhiskered feline-favoured fighter is sporting an American flag on his uniform. A curious choice of accessory.
The ukrainians appear to have suffered significant vehicle losses on the Zaporizhzhia front, though the precise date and location are unknown.
Donetsk and Luhansk
According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, clashes took place at Zolota Nyva and Velyka Novoselka, near Donetsk. Airstrikes also hit the region, with heavy shelling against Maryinka village and Avdivka industrial plant.
Russian state media claims that a Tochka missile killed 1 militant near Luhansk after hitting a tanker. There were aerial and artillery strikes near Rubizhne, Lysychansk, and Sievierodonetsk.
Russian troops have been recorded withdrawing across the Belarussian border. Despite this apparently de-escalatory step, the Polish Deputy Prime Minister has warned that Russia is preparing to launch a new attack in Ukraine.
Ukraine appears to be making progress in clearing up territory west of Kiev. The Ukrainian ‘Islamic Battalion of the Crimea’ cleared the forest between Motyzhyn and Severinivka, according to Ukrainian media. There have been regular clashes in the vicinity of Irpin, with a constant rumble of artillery (from which side, or both, remains uncertain). If the Russians intend to withdraw from this sector, they may be using up artillery supplies to avoid carrying them back to Belarus or abandoning them.
There have also been clashes to the east of Kiev, with several villages recaptured. Fighting for Nova Basan is ongoing.
Russia announced a ceasefire on Thursday (31st March) in order to evacuate civilians from besieged areas of Mariupol. Ukraine claimed that Russian forces targeted a Red Cross hospital on Wednesday (day 35).
Ukrainian troops claim to have cleared the road to Chuhuiv, and are pushing back Russian droops in the direction of Rohan (east) and Derhachi (north). Photographs show wrecked vehicles and debris being cleared from of the Kiev-Chuhuiv road. Fires continued to rage in the city.
The Russian Ministry of Emergencies has denied rumours of evacuations of the civil population of Belgorod, where there have been several explosions in recent weeks. In the Kursk region, authorities downplay claims of explosions, airstikes, and saboteur groups operating in the region.
The Russians appear to have suffered heavy losses while withdrawing in this sector.
In Dnipro, a plant in Novomoskovsk was hit by a Russian missile, shortly after 10am local time, destroying an oil depot. Air defences were heard engaging hostile targets.
Economic and Political Developments
According to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Ukraine’s economy will shrink by 20% as a result of the war, while Russia’s shrinks by 10%.
Dozens of Belarussian train operators have been arrested by the state, with ‘confessions of sabotage’ uploaded to Telegram. It appears that these workers may be scapegoated for the Russian Army’s logistical problems in Ukraine.
President Zelensky made a speech in the Norwegian Parliament, specifically requesting anti-ship missiles. Poland has declared it will institute a total embargo on Russian coal, and has called on other countries to do the same. Since Poland is Europe’s second-largest coal producer, a rise in coal prices due to embargoes on Russian coal could in fact benefit the Polish economy.
President Biden has informed President Zelensky that another $500 million dollars in US aid will be sent to Ukraine, during a 1-hour phone call. The Pentagon has released statements claiming that ‘if the Russians are serious about de-escalation, they will send their troops home’; the US appears eager to downplay the significance of de-escalatory moves in this conflict.
Photo Credit: Дмитрий Муравский, Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. CC-SA-2.0.