March 21,2024

Victory Chronicles-DAY 757

Russian attacks against Ukraine kill 9, injure 37 over past day


In the past 24 hours, Russia has launched several attacks on Ukraine, resulting in nine deaths and 37 injuries. The attacks targeted various Oblasts, including Kyiv, Dnipro, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Sumy, and Kherson. 

In Kyiv, a missile strike wounded 13 people and caused damage to residential buildings and infrastructure. However, Ukrainian air defense successfully shot down all 31 missiles launched by Russian forces. In Kharkiv, at least five people were killed and 10 were injured in an attack using an anti-ship missile. 

The attack caused damage to a building and set a factory on fire. Other Oblasts such as Donetsk, Sumy, and Kherson also experienced casualties and damage from Russian shelling. 

Overall, these attacks have escalated the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, causing significant harm and destruction.


Symbolic number of the Day


In a recent attack, the Ukrainian Air Force successfully intercepted and shot down 31 missiles aimed at Kyiv. The attack consisted of two Iskander-M/Kh-47M2 Kinzhal ballistic missiles and 29 cruise missiles. The missiles were launched by the enemy from strategic bombers located in the Russian Federation. However, the Ukrainian air defense units were able to successfully intercept and destroy all of the enemy missiles. The attack occurred overnight on March 20-21, with the missiles approaching Kyiv from the north. The Air Force, along with other military units, including anti-aircraft missile units and mobile fire units, effectively repelled the air attack. This successful defense action prevented any damage or casualties from occurring in the Kyiv Oblast.


War in Pictures


President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the military leadership of Ukraine recently paid tribute to the fallen defenders of the battles for Moshchun. The commemoration took place at the future site of the Angels of Victory memorial, located in the forest near Moshchun. These battles were significant in determining the fate of Ukraine and its capital, Kyiv, during the Russian invasion in March 2022. A minute of silence was observed in honor of the fighters, during which the names of the 118 fallen defenders of Moshchun were read out. President Zelenskyy also awarded state honors to service members of the Armed Forces, State Border Guard Service, National Guard, and Security Service of Ukraine. Notably, Mykola Demianiuk, a lieutenant colonel of the State Border Guard Service, received the President’s Cross of Military Merit for his exceptional leadership in organizing the defense near Moshchun and during battles in Kharkiv Oblast. High-ranking officials and family members of the fallen defenders attended the commemoration event.


Video of the Day

The State Emergency Service of Ukraine has released a video of rescuers extinguishing a fire in Kharkiv after an enemy missile hit a private enterprise.


ISW report


Recent Ukrainian drone strikes against oil refineries within Russia may have significantly disrupted Russia’s refining capacity. Bloomberg reported on March 20 that Ukrainian drone strikes may have disabled up to 11 percent of Russia’s total refining capacity. Torbjorn Tornqvist, Chief Executive Officer of multinational energy commodities trading company Guvnor, estimated on March 18 that Ukrainian strikes have taken 600,000 barrels of daily Russian oil refining capacity offline, and American multinational financial institution JPMorgan Chase and Co. estimated that the strikes have taken 900,000 barrels of daily refining capacity offline.

The decline in Russia’s refining capacity appears to have prompted a surge in gasoline and diesel prices on the St. Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange, but only a marginal increase in the cost of domestic fuel prices within Russia. Russian Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov stated on March 20 that the Russian Energy Ministry expects refining volumes to remain roughly the same in 2024 as in 2023, although Russian Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin stated on March 14 that a possible reduction in primary oil refining in 2024 would likely lead to increases in Russian crude oil exports (since Russia would not be able to refine as much as it usually does). Tornqvist estimated that offline Russian refining capacity will likely immediately impact Russian distillate exports (petroleum products produced in conventional distillation operations).

ISW has yet to observe reports of decreased Russian crude oil and petroleum product exports following Ukrainian strikes on Russian oil refineries in recent weeks. Russia relied on oil revenues to buoy federal budgets amid increased spending on its war in Ukraine in 2023, and significant constraints on Russian oil exports could have substantial impacts on Russia’s ability to balance a record level of defense spending in 2024 with its commitments on social spending.

Ukrainian drone strikes against targets within Russia are also likely increasing pressures on available Russian air defense assets. Director of the Russian Energy Ministry’s Department for the Development of the Gas Industry Artem Verkhov stated on March 19 that the Russian Energy Ministry is working with Rosgvardia on proposals to deploy Pantsir-S1 air defense systems to strategic energy facilities within Russia.

GUR spokesperson Andriy Yusov stated that Russia has already deployed Pantsir air defense systems at energy facilities, however, and that Russian claims about the planned deployments are meant to reassure the Russian public.

Previous Ukrainian drone strikes against strategic targets in Moscow and Leningrad oblasts may have fixed Russian short-range air defenses along expected flight routes, and Russian ultranationalists have recently complained about a lack of available air defense assets in other Russian federal subjects in deep rear areas.

The Ukrainian ability to target Russian military infrastructure within Russia, threaten Russian oil refining and exports, and increase pressure on Russia’s air defense umbrella demonstrates that Ukraine can achieve asymmetrical impacts through strikes with limited numbers of mostly domestically produced drones.


War heroes

Junior Sergeant Viktor Kharchenko, with the call sign Kharyton, died on October 16, 2022, in a battle with the enemy near the village of Kurdyumivka, Donetsk Oblast. The defender was 44 years old.

Viktor Borysovych was from the city of Hadiach, Poltava Oblast. He graduated from the Hadiach Higher Vocational Agricultural School. In civilian life, he worked as an electrician. At a young age, he played the guitar. He spent his free time at home, in particular, with his favorite niece.

During the full-scale Russian invasion, the man went to the front to protect his family and home from the enemy. He served in the 62nd separate rifle battalion (military unit A4467) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He was a squad leader.

“The brightest person in my life, my dear uncle. I used to wait for him from work, now I will wait all my life. I will never forget, I love him and I will always love him. I will remember all the fun days when you came to visit. We miss you very much, our guardian angel, our Hero!” wrote Yelyzaveta, the deceased’s niece.

The defender was posthumously awarded the Order “For Courage” of the lll degree. The defender was buried in his hometown. Viktor is survived by his mother, brother and niece.

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


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