March 18,2024

Victory Chronicles-DAY 754

Russians are attacking at Avdiivka and Novopavlivka directions the most

On Sunday, Russian troops made numerous attempts to break through Ukrainian defenses in various sectors. The Defense Forces successfully repelled multiple enemy attacks and engaged in combat engagements throughout the day. The enemy launched missile and air strikes, fired from multiple rocket systems, and conducted artillery and mortar shelling on Ukrainian positions and localities. 

The Volyn and Polissya sectors remained unchanged, while air strikes were reported in the Siversky and Slobozhansky directions. The enemy also made unsuccessful assaults in the Kupyansk sector. Ukrainian troops successfully defended their positions in the Liman and Bakhmut sectors, repelling enemy attacks and enduring artillery and mortar shelling. In the Avdiivka sector, Ukrainian defenders repelled 11 enemy attacks in multiple areas and localities. In the Novopavlivka sector, the Defense Forces held back the enemy’s attempts to break through their defenses 25 times. 

Similar attacks also occurred in the Orikhivsk sector, and the Kherson sector experienced enemy attacks and artillery fire. Throughout the day, the Defense Forces conducted airstrikes on enemy concentrations. 

In response, the aviation of the Ukrainian Defense Forces struck 6 areas where enemy personnel, weapons and military equipment were concentrated.


Symbolic number of the Day


Over the past week, sapper units of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine have successfully neutralized around 4,500 explosive devices. The demining efforts are being carried out by 284 demining groups, who are working to clear the liberated regions of Ukraine of explosive remnants of war. In the past week, they have surveyed and cleared over 5,800 hectares of terrain, 8.65 kilometers of roads, and 0.86 kilometers of pipelines. Additionally, 23.6 kilometers of railways were surveyed and cleared. These operations involve the use of special equipment for mechanized demining. In total, the pyrotechnic units of the Ministry of Defense have found and neutralized a staggering 315,178 explosive devices. It is worth noting that in Donetsk Oblast alone, a total of 61,500 hectares of agricultural land is planned to be demined, with 12,800 hectares targeted for demining in 2024.


War in Pictures


An attack by Russian occupation forces in Nikopol resulted in a fire at a gas station. The fire was caused by a kamikaze drone strike on a gas column, posing a risk of spreading. Fortunately, no injuries were reported. The fire was successfully extinguished by 13 rescuers and 3 units of fire and rescue equipment from the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Dnipropetrovsk oblast.


Video of the Day

The Public Relations Service of the 79th separate airborne assault brigade of the Tauride Air Assault Brigade of the Airborne Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine published a video of the occupiers’ assaults near Novomykhailivka, where Tauride paratroopers met the invaders. As a result, enemy equipment was burned and Russian infantry was destroyed. In two days, 3 Russian tanks were destroyed and 6 were damaged. Four armored combat vehicles were also destroyed.


ISW report


Unspecified actors launched a drone at a military base in Transnistria, the pro-Russian breakaway republic in Moldova, on March 17 amidst an assessed ongoing Kremlin hybrid operation aimed at destabilizing Moldova from within. Transnistrian outlets claimed on March 17 that a single drone struck a helicopter on the territory of an unspecified military unit in Transnistria, posted video footage of the moment of the drone strike, and alleged that the drone flew from the direction of Odesa Oblast.

Neither Transnistrian nor Russian authorities have accused Ukrainian forces of conducting the strike as of this writing but may do so in the future. The former Transnistrian Supreme Council Chairman, Alexander Shcherba, claimed that the strike had “Ukrainian fingerprints” and that the “main beneficiary” was Ukraine.

The Moldovan Bureau of Reintegration stated that the struck helicopter had not flown for years, and the strike was deliberately meant to spread fear and panic in Transnistria, implying it was part of an adversarial information operation targeting Moldova, though the Bureau of Reintegration did not explicitly accuse Transnistrian or pro-Russian forces of conducting the strike.

Moldovan authorities stated that they were in contact with the Ukrainian government. Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Spokesperson Andriy Yusov described the situation as a Russian provocation. The Ukrainian Center for Countering Disinformation accused Russia of conducting the strike to manipulate the information space.

ISW cannot independently verify the details of the singular drone strike in Transnistria or identify the responsible actors, but it is unlikely that Ukrainian forces conducted the strike given the limited means used in the strike and the insignificant target. Ukrainian officials have also recently stated that Transnistria does not pose a military threat to Ukraine. Transnistrian authorities recently asked Russia for unspecified “zashchita” (defense/protection) against Moldova, and Russia or Russian-linked actors would likely be the beneficiaries of this provocation in order to further the Kremlin’s ongoing efforts to set information conditions to justify a variety of Russian hybrid operations that aim to destabilize Moldova, about which ISW has extensively warned.


War heroes


Azov fighter Serhii Burenok, with the call sign Enot, died on August 23, 2023, near the city of Kreminna, Luhansk Oblast. While performing a combat mission, he came under enemy mortar fire and sustained fatal injuries. 4 days before, on August 19, the defender turned 22 years old.

Serhii is from the village of Novi Petrivtsi, Kyiv Oblast. He graduated from Novi Petrivtsi school #2. Then he studied at the College of Kyiv National Economic University. He completed his military service. For some time he worked as a sushi chef in a restaurant, then as an administrator. He was always active and loved sports. He was a football fan and actively supported FC Dynamo Kyiv. He played for the Mezhyhiria football team, and participated in competitions, where he received many awards and certificates.

When the full-scale war broke out, Serhii could not stay away, so he signed a contract. For 5 months, he defended the city of Bakhmut as part of the Armed Forces. Later, he joined the 12th Special Forces Brigade of the Azov National Guard, where he continued to fight for his country.

“Serhii was a cheerful person, his eyes shone with a thirst for life, he lived it here and now. I’ve never seen such an optimistic person – even when things were bad, he looked at the bright side. He was a real man with a steely character, who confidently went to his goal. He was always striving to be the first, he had a talent – innate leadership skills. He was always a support and a strong shoulder for his family. This brave guy also had big plans for the future. He wanted to be self-reliant and independent, he wanted to create a career, build a strong and happy family. He wanted to start his own business that would bring profit and satisfaction. He became a true professional in the military and was always ready to fulfill his duties. His bravery, courage and honor will always be an example for us all!” said Nina Olifir, the beloved of the deceased.

Posthumously, fighter Burenok Serhii Serhiiovych was awarded the Order “For Courage” of the III degree. The fighter was buried in his native village. Serhii is survived by his loving parents, younger sisters, grandmother, girlfriend and other relatives.

*Serhii’s story on the Heroes Memorial – a platform for stories about the fallen defenders of Ukraine.


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