March 26,2024

Victory Chronicles-DAY 762

Ukrainian forces attack the ship Konstantin Olshansky, stolen by Russia in 2014

The Ukrainian Defense Forces have attacked the warship Konstantin Olshansky, which was seized by Russia in 2014. The attack carried out with a Neptune missile, was announced by the spokesman of the Ukrainian Navy, Dmytro Pletenchuk. He explained that the decision to fire on the warship was made because there were no other alternatives. The Konstantin Olshansky was stolen by Russia during the occupation of Crimea in 2014 and had been in the bay for nine years. 

The occupiers had started dismantling it for spare parts, but as the war continued, they realized they needed more large landing ships, so the warship was restored within a year. Pletenchuk also confirmed that the Russian ships Azov, Yamal, and Ivan Khurs, which were damaged in the attack, will be unable to carry out combat missions shortly. 

Previously, Ukraine had also targeted Russia’s Yamal and Azov large landing ships, as well as other infrastructure facilities in the occupied Sevastopol.


Symbolic number of the Day


According to Andriy Kostin, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, there are more than 10,000 Ukrainian civilians being held by Russians in the temporarily occupied territories and in Russia. Kostin also stated that over 5,600 Ukrainians have been recognized as victims of torture in criminal cases, but the actual number is likely much higher. The Ukrainian government is working on creating a register of civilian prisoners, and Kostin believes that a UN General Assembly resolution on this issue would be crucial to put pressure on the aggressor country and secure the release of these civilians. The prosecutor’s office is also taking action to hold those responsible for the deportation and illegal detention of civilians accountable. Kostin emphasized that any actions taken under pressure in the occupied territories cannot be considered voluntary, as people are forced to leave due to shelling or deceived with promises of material assistance. Additionally, 164 torture chambers and other places of forced detention have been documented in the previously liberated territories.


War in Pictures


The Kharkiv police have shared pictures showing the aftermath of the Russian shelling, which resulted in the death of a man and the injury of four women. The Russian military targeted various areas, including Kharkiv, Chuhuiv, and Kupiansk districts. On March 25, the city of Vovchansk was attacked with artillery fire and guided bomb air strikes, causing damage to residential buildings and leading to the death of a civilian man. In Dergachi, the Russian military launched FAB-500 strikes, injuring four women aged 56 to 68 and causing the destruction and damage of residential buildings. Vovchanski Khutory was also targeted, resulting in damage to private households. 


Video of the Day

During reconnaissance operations in the Zaporizhzhia sector, operators of the 3rd separate Special Forces regiment discovered an enemy BUK anti-aircraft missile system. The operators directed HIMARS fire from the Defense Forces’s missile and artillery unit at the enemy target. As a result of fire damage, the BUK air defense system was destroyed. The Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported this.


ISW report


Ukrainian officials stated that the Ukrainian strike on occupied Sevastopol, Crimea on the night of March 23 targeted more Black Sea Fleet (BSF) ships and caused more damage than initially reported. Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) stated on March 25 that Ukrainian forces struck the BSF ship repair plant in Sevastopol where the Yamal Ropucha-class landing ship was moored on March 23, making a hole in the Yamal’s upper deck and forcing BSF personnel to continuously pump water out of the ship.

Ukrainian Navy Spokesperson Captain Third Rank Dmytro Pletenchuk stated that the March 23 Ukrainian strike on the BSF communications center caused substantial damage, which Pletenchuk assessed may significantly hinder the functioning of the BSF because the communications center supported the general activities of the fleet and may have also been responsible for the fleet’s provisions, ongoing repairs, and other important functions. Pletenchuk reported that Ukrainian forces also struck the Ivan Khurs Yury Ivanov–class reconnaissance ship on March 23 and that Ukrainian officials are verifying the damage to the ship. GUR Deputy Chief Major General Vadym Skibitskyi stated that Ukrainian forces used Ukrainian Maritime Autonomous Guard Unmanned Robotic Apparatus (Magura) V5 naval drones to strike the Ivan Khurs and Yamal ships and that these Ukrainian naval drones are becoming more powerful and accurate. 

Skibitskyi stated that Ukrainian forces also used the Magura V5 drones to strike the BSF’s Akula-class and Serna-class ships in November 2023, the Ivanovets Tarantul-class corvette and the Ceasar Kunikov Ropucha-class landing ship in February 2024, and the Sergei Kotov large patrol ship in March 2024. Pletenchuk and Ukrainian Southern Operational Command Spokesperson Colonel Nataliya Humenyuk stated that Russian forces have rarely used Kalibr missiles in recent months because the BSF naval base in Sevastopol is the only BSF base that has the infrastructure needed to reload these missiles onto Kalibr-capable ships. ISW continues to assess that Ukrainian strikes against BSF ships and infrastructure will likely continue to deter Russian forces from redeploying ships to Sevastopol and the western Black Sea and complicate the BSF’s ability to maximize its combat capabilities.


War heroes


Senior Sergeant Mykhailo Popov, with the call sign Brat [“Brother”], died in Mariupol, Donetsk Oblast. When he was on the territory of the Azovstal plant, the Russian occupiers dropped an anti-bunker bomb there. Many people died in the bunker; Mykhailo was among them. He was a week shy of his 24th birthday. 

Mykhailo was born in the village of Urzuf, Donetsk Oblast. After graduating from high school, he entered the Mariupol Maritime Lyceum. He dreamed of becoming a sailor. But in 2017, he went to join the ranks of the defenders. He became a fighter with the Azov Special Forces Detachment, military unit 3057. He held the position of sniper. He was a master of sports in judo and Greco-Roman wrestling. He dreamed of a family and children. 

When the full-scale invasion began on February 24, 2022, Mykhailo went to defend Mariupol. Together with his fighters-in-arms, he bravely defended the city. 

“We were very close, we told each other a lot, shared our secrets. He was a very smiling guy, and not many people managed to see him in a bad mood. He was always ready to help everyone, strong, courageous, kind, funny, fair – he had many great qualities. He had many friends, and he never had any problems communicating. When the full-scale invasion began, he went to defend Mariupol. Even then, he recorded videos for me with a smile, reassuring me that everything would be fine, we would definitely win and we would meet soon. He didn’t get in touch very often, about once every three days, because he was working a lot. I would send him old photos of us to keep in touch. He broke his phone and got in touch even less often, using the phone of our mutual friend who was also at Azovstal and died with him in the same bunker. I miss him very much, I dream about him very often, and these dreams are the only thing left. Memories, dreams and photographs…”, wrote sister Iryna Bozhko. 

Posthumously, Mykhailo was awarded the Order “For Courage” of the II degree. The warrior is survived by his mother, brothers, sisters, grandparents, other relatives, friends and fighters-in-arms.

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


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