March 1, 2023

Sitrep for Feb. 28 – Mar. 01 (as of 02:30 p.m.) 

The situation on the frontline

The situation in the Bakhmut direction remains consistently difficult for the Ukrainian side. The Commander of the Ground Forces of Ukraine, General Oleksandr Syrskyi, during his recent trip to Bakhmut, decided to send additional units of the AFU to the town. Apparently, it indicates the intention of the Ukrainian Army to hold positions in Bakhmut.

There were also no noticeable changes in the remaining sections of the frontline over the past day.

On Feb. 28, there was a mass drone attack on various facilities on the territory of Russia.

An oil depot in Tuapse, Krasnodar region, was attacked apparently with a modified Ukrainian Tu-141 Strizh drone. The sound of a jet engine is heard in the video before the explosion, but one still cannot be absolutely sure that the recording is authentic. A kamikaze drone loaded with explosives damaged a boiler room next to the oil storage facility.

Another Tu-141 Strizh drone probably veered off its course and crashed in the neighboring region of Adygea [Russia’s constituent republic]. The photographs show the wreckage of a jet engine, indicating this particular type of drone.

The pro-Russian Telegram channel Voenny Osvedomitel [Military Informant], citing its sources, claims that these drones were launched in the Odesa region and flew over the Black Sea at extremely low altitude bypassing Russian air defense.

Another drone crashed in the Moscow region near Kolomna. It was identified as a Ukrainian UJ-22 Airborne UAV manufactured by Ukrjet. According to the technical characteristics, this drone is capable of flying up to 800 km; thus, it could have been launched from the territory of Ukraine (in this case, it is necessary to fly extremely low to overcome air defense systems). The reasons for its crash are still unknown. Presumably, the 924th State Center for Unmanned Aviation of the Russian Defense Ministry could have been the target of the attack. The drone carried four rounds of an anti-tank grenade launcher and about a kilogram of a semtex-type explosive.

Governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov reported that the wreckage of three drones was found in Belgorod. According to the mayor of the city, Valentin Demidov, one of them flew into a residential apartment.

Governor of the Bryansk region, Aleksandr Bogomaz, stated that a Ukrainian UAV was shot down over the Surazhsky district. According to the Astra Telegram channel, three more drones damaged a surveillance tower of the FSB [Russia’s Federal Security Service] Border Guard Service.

It is possible that one of the objectives of this mass attack was the discovery of various locations of Russian anti-aircraft systems (this information may be used to conduct strikes on these systems using AGM-88 HARM [high-speed anti-radiation missiles]).

In this context, the news about the dispatch of the 3rd Squadron of S-400 SAM systems to India looks very strange since there is an obvious shortage of air defense systems in Russia.

The Belarusian Hajun project reported that an Il-76 strategic and tactical airlifter from the long-range radar tracking aircraft service center that is responsible for the repair of Beriev A-50 AEW&C aircraft arrived at the Machulishchy air base. An Antonov An-26 transport aircraft was also spotted there. Most likely, they arrived for diagnostics and repair of the damaged Beriev A-50 aircraft.

In addition, satellite images have appeared showing that it looks like the fuselage of supposably damaged aircraft partially changed color.

The CEO of the Rheinmetall AG company said that the Skynex air defense system is already in Ukraine. Thus, Ukraine became the first country to officially receive this wheeled self-propelled anti-aircraft gun equipped with an Oerlikon Revolver 30mm Gun Mk3 having an effective range of 4.5 kilometers. This gun can use programmable AHEAD ammunition, which makes it especially important for the destruction of small air targets. It is stated that one to three rounds costing about 4 thousand euro apiece are enough to ensure the destruction of a drone.

Photos of a tan-colored 9K35 Strela-10 SAM system have appeared. It possibly was delivered to Ukraine from Africa or the Middle East, but no details are known at the moment.

The video of a flying Ukrainian Mil Mi-17V5 helicopter has been published. Judging by its livery, it is a helicopter that the US had once bought from Russia in order to transfer it to the Afghanistan Army.

Rosgostsirk [Russian State Circus Company] has recently spent 2.3 million rubles [around $30,650] on bulletproof vests and helmets for the employees. Rosgostsirk also plans on performing around 200 shows on the occupied territories.

Igor Kirillov, Chief of the Russian NBC Protection Troops, claimed that the US is going to prepare a provocation in Ukraine using toxic chemicals in order to blame it on Russia. This is not the first time Kirillov has made such a baseless claim.

The name of the 133rd soldier killed in the strike on Makiivka has become known — Timofey Spirkin from Samara.

The soldiers of the 352nd Motorized Rifle Regiment have called on Yevgeny Prigozhin [Russian oligarch, confidant of Vladimir Putin, and the owner of the Wagner Group], asking him to enlist them to the Wagner Group because they underwent training and operational coordination, and they are ready to fight, but their regiment was disbanded.

Prigozhin has responded by saying that he has applied to the relevant military authorities to have the soldiers transferred directly to the Wagner Group or to one of the military units that are under the operational control of the Wagner Group. It is unclear which military units he referred to.

Relatives of fighters from the Oryol Volunteer Battalion recorded an appeal to the governor of the region and the Russian authorities. They claim that when signing a short-term contract, they were sure that they would be able to return home on leave after its expiration. However, three months later, they found out that they were full-fledged contracted soldiers of the Russian Armed Forces and could not quit until the end of mobilization. Their contracts were extended for an indefinite period. Relatives of the volunteer fighters cited Chief of HQ Guskov, who told them that there was a standard form of contract with the Ministry of Defense, but there was no separate form of contract for volunteer fighters. Therefore, members of the Alga, Akhmad, or other volunteer units are legally considered to be ordinary contracted soldiers.

A video has appeared showing the aftermath of a strike on the bridge connecting the Kirovskyi and Petrovskyi districts of Donetsk. Pro-Russian sources are trying to pass it for a strike on civilian infrastructure and, subsequently, a war crime committed by Ukraine. But photos taken by local journalists after a closer look show a legitimate target — military vehicles standing under the bridge.

An ammunition depot in Kadiivka (Stakhanov) was blown up again, and the sounds of secondary detonation are clearly audible in the video.

The Southern Military District of Russia published a story about a tankman who was posthumously awarded the Order of Courage. A commander of a tank company, first lieutenant Shumitsky, armed only with blank ammunition, allegedly heroically prevented the capture of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant by a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group. The odd blank ammunition piece may well be an attempt to hide tank malfunction — a non-working gun.

Inspired by the article, we asked GhatGPT to write a story about a tank operator defending a nuclear power plant from Ukrainian neo-Nazis. Here's the result:

In a land far away, where rolling hills and green fields lay,

There stood a nuclear power plant, on which the townspeople did rely.

But danger lurked around the bend, for neo-Nazis were on the prowl,

And they sought to destroy the plant, to leave the town in a darkened scowl.

The townspeople grew restless, as the neo-Nazis drew near,

But a hero rose from the ranks, a tankman brave and without fear.

He climbed into his tank, his hands steady on the wheel,

And set out to protect the plant, with all his might and steel.

The tankman's name was Jack, a veteran of many a war,

And he knew the neo-Nazis' tactics, for he had faced them before.

He fired his cannon, and the ground shook with the blast,

As he aimed for the neo-Nazis' base, and their plans he did outlast.

The neo-Nazis fought back, with bombs and rockets in the air,

But Jack was quick and nimble, and he dodged their every snare.

He circled round the power plant, like a lion on the prowl,

And the neo-Nazis' attempts to take it down were all for nought.

As the battle raged on, Jack's tank took on many a hit,

But he refused to back down, and his determination did not quit.

He pushed forward, and the neo-Nazis began to fall,

Their plans of destruction thwarted, by Jack's courage, strength and gall.

The sun rose high in the sky, as the battle finally came to a close,

And Jack emerged from his tank, unscathed and unbowed by his foes.

The townspeople cheered and clapped, for Jack had saved the day,

And they knew that they could always count on him, to protect them come what may.

So let us all raise a toast, to the heroic tankman Jack,

Whose bravery and courage did not falter or crack.

For he stood up to the neo-Nazis, and protected the power plant,

And the town will forever remember the heroic deeds of this gallant man.