March 29, 2023

Sitrep for Mar. 28-29 (as of 08:30 a.m.) 

The situation on the frontline

There are still no significant changes to the frontline.

In the Kupiansk direction, the main task of the RuAF is to eliminate the Ukrainian bridgehead in Kupiansk itself necessary for crossing the Oskil River and moving further east. After that, Russian forces will need to mop up both banks of the Oskil River all the way to the Siverskyi Donets River. At the moment, we consider such a task almost impossible. However, some experts note that this section of the front is located quite close to the Belgorod region, where additional forces of the Russian Army are now being accumulated, including mobilized soldiers, who have been trained for several months at training grounds in Belarus and Russia, and now they have become part of the 1st Guards Tank Army and are preparing for rotation (sending to the frontline to participate in combat activities).

In the Kreminna Lyman direction, the AFU were able to advance quite close to Kreminna in early January, but after some time, Russian forces managed to push them back from Kreminna and Dibrova towards the settlement of Torske. Now this territory is under Russian control. Russian paratroopers can claim the most credit for successes in this direction.

If Russian forces manage to advance in this direction and capture Lyman, they will be able to attack Sloviansk from the southeast (advancing from Bakhmut) and from the northeast (advancing from Lyman) in the future.

Let us note that the Ukrainian offensive stalled in the area of Svatove because, firstly, a large number of Russian forces, including mobilized soldiers, were transferred in this direction. Secondly, the terrain on the outskirts of Svatove played against Ukrainian forces. And thirdly, the AFU had logistical problems (lack of ammunition and supplies), which also affected the fact that they failed to liberate Svatove at that time.

In the Bakhmut direction, the situation remains dangerous for the AFU; however, there have been practically no Russian advances in recent weeks. In the south of Bakhmut, pro-Russian forces were able to advance as far as the Palats Kultury, named after Martynov [Palace of Culture — local community center] and Bakhmut Central Market. In the northern part of Bakhmut, they were able to capture the Artyomovsky Metalworking Plant [AZOM]. As far as we know, the Wagner Group has recently been operating in this direction.

A video has recently appeared showing an attempt of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to attack Russian positions in the Minkivka area in order to relieve the pressure on the Ukrainian troops remaining in Bakhmut. A convoy of Ukrainian vehicles was hit by artillery on the road connecting Bakhmut and Sloviansk, as a result, a few vehicles were destroyed. The troops had to withdraw on foot until they were picked up by light vehicles.

Russian attacks also slowed down in the Avdiivka direction. It is likely that Russian forces are replenishing resources for future offensives.

There weren’t noticeable changes in the Donetsk direction either. Judging by the stories of the servicemen from the Shtorm [Storm] unit, they hold their positions suffering heavy losses in the process.

The settlement of the Oktyabrsky Rudnik mine in the Kuibyshivskyi district of Donetsk was attacked. According to reports from the Russian side, the Ukrainian Armed Forces placed German anti-tank mines there using HIMARS MLRS. Two civilians were injured, one of whom died in hospital.

There was another attack on a hospital in Kherson, there is no information about victims at the moment.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that its forces had been able to intercept a GLSDB bomb. As far as we know, this type of weapon has not yet been supplied to Ukraine. Also, we believe that the shipments of such powerful bombs will be quite noticeable and their first use will not be limited to one unsuccessful hit. The Ukrainian side most likely has compiled a list of potential targets that are now out of reach and require long-range weapons. A similar situation could be observed in the first weeks after the arrival of HIMARS when dozens of warehouses and command posts of the Russian forces were destroyed.

A drone wreckage in the colors of the Ukrainian flag and with the inscription "Glory to Ukraine" was found near the village of Svitino in New Moscow. There is no information that the drone was armed or equipped with powerful cameras for reconnaissance.

Deliveries of Western Military Equipment

A photo of the use of a Swedish RBS-56 BILL 2 man-portable anti-tank guided missile system (similar to the American TOW-2B system) by Ukrainian forces has appeared.

France will double the number of 155mm artillery shells supplied to Ukraine by the end of March, reaching 2,000 shells per month. However, this is still very little as, according to some estimates, this is the number of shells the Ukrainian Army spends in a single day.

Ukraine’s Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov showed photos and videos of Challenger 2 tanks that had arrived in Ukraine.

The New York Times journalist Christiaan Triebert published recent satellite images of the cemetery in the village of Bakinskaya, Krasnodar region, where mercenaries of the Wagner Group are buried. Since the previous publication (Jan. 24), hundreds of new graves have appeared in the cemetery.

Politico reports that Russian body armor contains Chinese components. We believe that in the army, there are a lot of items made in China, especially among gear such as first-aid kits and body armor. However, we do not see evidence of official support for this invasion by China and their provision of military aid to Russia. This is probably not an official supply from the Chinese government, but the purchase of Chinese goods by some companies and resale to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the Sumy and Zaporizhzhia regions, while the Commander of the Ground Forces General Oleksandr Syrskyi visited positions near Bakhmut. Such visits by commanders to units located close to the frontline boost the morale of soldiers.