Above: The leaders of two countries that know the Kremlin well, Polish President Andrzej Duda and the Czech Republic’s president, Retired General Petr Pave, met on Thursday. Mr Pavel was newly-free Czech Republic’s first military chief of staff and chairman of the NATO military committee when Russia invaded in 2014.
President Duda said the delivery of MiG fighter jets to Ukraine from Poland is imminent.
Poland is pushing for a coalition of allies ready to help Ukraine close its skies with aircraft, but may be ready to start it alone. Denmark said it was considering sending aircraft on Thursday. On Ukraine’s border, Slovakia’s former ruling coalition said it would send MiGs, but the current care-taker government is not empowered to do so. The US, UK and Germany have ruled out sending planes… for now.
Above: Lithuania announced a new military package for Ukraine that includes 155 mm artillery ammunition “worth their weight in gold for the Ukrainian army.” In the insane theater of war, the consumption of primitive ammunition is decisive and insatiable. It’s a sticking point with the allies as Ukraine burns up thousands of rounds per day defending Bakhmut, while allies struggle to send NATO-standard and Soviet rounds and rockets fast enough. World stocks have dwindled even as production facilities have been downscaled in the last years.
Armenia is in between a rock and a hard place. The Economist’s “Putin’s pals index” was derived from a study of military, economic and diplomatic relations with the Kremlin. Landlocked and resource-poor Armenia was a fan of the Soviet Union and remains one of Moscow’s staunchest supporters. Lately, Yerevan is increasingly disquieted over Russian softening support of Armenia in the 35-year-old regional war with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. The announcement this week that Russia is redeploying “peacekeeping forces” from Nagorno-Karabakh, breaking terms of a 2022 ceasefire agreement, is sending out alarm bells in Yerevan.
Above: Margaret Atwood and Timothy Snyder will keynote a conference in Toronto to raise funds for the creation of a Centre for Civic Engagement at Kyiv Mohyla Academy. The public can watch the conference on the Munk School of Global Affairs YouTube channel.
The Moldovan Parliament has voted in favor of officially changing the name of the state language from “Moldovan” to Romanian.
“Moldovan” was a concept invented by the Soviets in an attempt to justify its annexation of Bessarabia (Moldova) from Romania in 1940.
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) March 16, 2023
Above: Ministry of Defence
- Just like its parent KGB, the Russian state security agency is stepping in to surveil the country’s military-industrial sector. Ukrainian experts have found FSB markings on Russian weapons components destroyed or captured on the battlefield. This means that the FSB does not trust Russian military leadership and is conducting inspections of equipment.
- Western news agencies confirmed on March 16 that Chinese companies have sold rifles, drone parts, and equipment that could be used for military purposes to Russian entities. Politico cited data showing that Chinese companies sent 1,000 assault rifles, 12 shipments of drone parts and over 12 tons of body armor between June and December 2022. Such Chinese shipments are significant, because they could alleviate strain on the overextended Russian defense industrial base and circumvent Western attempts to limit Russian access to microchips.
General Staff’s Daily Video Digest with English subtitles
Above: Enemy tank turret seen in a swamp. (BBC)
Ukrainian General Staff of the Armed Forces estimated enemy losses since February 24, 2022 (with daily additions)
- Liquidated personnel, 163,320 (+760)
- Tanks, 3,506 (+2)
- Armored personnel vehicles, 6,823 (+13)
- Artillery systems/MLRS, 2,552/504 (+13/1)
- Anti-aircraft warfare systems, 265 (0)
- Aircraft/helicopters, 305/290 (+0/1)
- UAV operational-tactical level, 2,145 (0)
- Cruise missiles, 907 (0)
- Warships/boats, 18 (0)
- Vehicles and fuel tanks, 5,401 (+7)
- Special equipment, 258 (+1)
Above: Shelling of Sviatohirsk, Donetsk. (BBC)
Glory to Ukraine!
The three hundred and eighty-seventh day of the Russian large-scale invasion has begun.
- The Russian Federation does not give up its intentions regarding the occupation of Ukraine, continues to conduct offensive actions, regardless of losses. The enemy is concentrating its main efforts on the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiiv, Marin, and Shakhtar directions. During the past day, the enemy launched more than 70 attacks on them.
- Over the past day, the enemy launched 5 missile and 18 air strikes, as well as launched 73 attacks from rocket salvo systems. As a result of another shelling of Kostyantynivka in Donetsk region, 6 civilians were injured, more than 20 houses, a school and other objects of civil infrastructure were damaged.
- The probability of Russian missile strikes on the entire territory of Ukraine remains high.
- During the day, the enemy shelled the areas of Berylivka, Khrinivka, Yeline and Tymonovichi settlements of Chernihiv region; Starykov, Atynske, Volfine, Stepne, Kindrativka, Pokrovka and Grabovske in Sumy region, as well as more than 20 districts of settlements in Kharkiv Among them are Strelecha, Krasne, Morokhovets, Ohirtseve, Mala Vovcha, Milove, Obukhivka, Novomlynsk, Kutkivka and Shevchenkove.
- Conducted artillery shelling of the Dvorichna, Hryanikyvka, and Krokhmalne settlements of the Kharkiv region; Novoselivske, Nevske and Bilogorivka – Luhansk and Spirne and Rozdolivka in Donetsk
- In the direction of Bakhmut, the enemy does not stop trying to storm the city of Bakhmut. More than 15 settlements near the contact line came under enemy fire. Among them are Vasyukivka, Zaliznyanske, Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Hryhorivka, Novomarkove, Bakhmut, Ivanivske, Chasiv Yar, Predtechine and Oleksandro-Shultyne of the Donetsk
- On the Avdiivsk, Marinsk, and Shakhtarsk directions, the enemy carried out the most attacks in the Maryinka area – 12. More than 20 settlements, in particular, Paraskoviivka, Novobakhmutivka, Avdiivka, Orlivka, Tonenka, Severne, Pervomaiske, Netaylove, Maryinka, Pobyeda, Novomykhailivka, and Vugledar of the Donetsk region, came under enemy fire.
- In the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson directions, the enemy is conducting defensive operations. In particular, Chervone, Charivne, Novodanilivka, Preobrazhenka, Stepove and Novosilka of the Zaporizhzhia region came under fire; Mykhailivka, Novooleksandrivka, Kachkarivka, Mylove, Odradokamyanka, Mykolaivka of the Kherson region and the city of Kherson.
Support the Armed Forces! United we will win! Glory to Ukraine!
Above: A liberated civilian vehicle on duty in the Kharkiv region. (Suspilne)
- Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks northeast of Kupyansk and along the Svatove-Kreminna line on March 16.
- Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations near Hryanykivka (17km northeast of Kupyansk), Kreminna, Kuzmyne (3km southwest of Kreminna), Bilohorivka (10km south of Kreminna), Verkhnokamyanske (20km south of Kreminna), and Spirne (25km southeast of Kreminna).
- Geolocated footage published on March 16 showing Ukrainian forces striking a Russian MT-LB vehicle west of Chervonopopivka (6km northwest of Kreminna) indicates a limited Russian advance northwest of Kreminna. Russian forces are active near Hryanykivka, Bilohrivka, and Spirne.
Above: Made in the USA, a mine- and ambush-resistant armored vehicle in Donetsk. (New York Times)
- Russian forces continued advancing in and around Bakhmut on March 16. Geolocated footage posted on March 14 indicates that Russian troops have advanced northwest of Bakhmut on the northern banks of the Pivnichnyi Reservoir. Geolocated images confirm that Wagner troops captured Zalizianske (9km northwest of Bakhmut) on March 15. Geolocated footage posted on March 16 confirms that Russian forces have made marginal advances near Kurdiumivka, 13km southwest of Bakhmut.
- Ukrainian troops repelled Russian attacks on Bakhmut itself; northwest of Bakhmut near Orikhovo-Vasylivka (12km northwest), Hryhorivka (7km northwest), and Bohdanivka (5km northwest); and west of Bakhmut near Ivanivske (5km west).
- Russian forces continued ground attacks along the Avdiivka–Donetsk City frontline on March 16. Russian troops conducted unsuccessful offensive operations near Avdiivka itself; in the Avdiivka area near Kamianka (4km northeast of Avdiivka), Stepove (7km northwest of Avdiivka); and Severne (5km west of Avdiivka), on the northwestern outskirts of Donetsk City near Nevelske, Neytalove, and Pervomaiske; and on the southwestern outskirts of Donetsk City near Marinka.
- Russian forces continued limited ground attacks in western Donetsk Oblast on March 16. Russian troops conducted unsuccessful offensive actions near Vuhledar (30km southwest of Donetsk City) and that Russian forces are preparing to resume wider offensive operations on Vuhledar.
Above: War Mapper’s approximate situation around the city of Bakhmut.
Above: Map via ISW
Above: Mykolaiv meets spring. (PN News)
Above: The US released Reaper drone footage of its encounter with Russian jets over the Black Sea on Tuesday, countering Russian lies about what happened. Ukraine is monitoring Russian ships moving into the area, possibly to search for the drone. The US estimated that the operation will take weeks, cost tens of millions of dollars and may not yield results as the drone is “scattered on the seabed”. The US stated that the drone had been remotely wiped of sensitive information, leaving nothing of value for the invaders to recover.
In March 2022, Turkiye closed the Bosphorus Straits to most military traffic, with the primary impact of preventing Russia from building naval capacity. New York Times reports that, “At present, only countries with Black Sea coastlines have vessels in the water…Of those, only Russia and Turkey have powerful navies…Romania and Bulgaria have smaller forces, Georgia has only a coast guard.” Almost all of Ukraine’s navy has been captured, destroyed or scuttled since 2014.
- Russian occupation authorities are continuing efforts to eradicate the notion of a distinct Ukrainian national identity from occupied territories. The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported on March 16 that Russian occupation authorities in Zaporizhzhya are pushing an imaginary Russian Kozak identity to erase Ukrainian history. Moscow through the ages has tried to erase Ukraine’s historically unequivocal Kozak proud Kozak history.
- Moscow is increasing its Black Sea naval presence. Russian forces have 21 naval vessels on combat standby in the Black Sea, 5 of which carry 32 Kalibr missiles. The current Russian naval presence in the Black Sea marks a notable increase from the reported 13 Russian naval vessels in the Black Sea on March 15.
- Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported that the larger-than-usual Russian naval presence may be a response to US statements about retrieving the MQ-9 reaper drone that two Russian Su-27 aircraft forced down over the Black Sea on March 14.