Russian fighter jet collides with US drone
On March 14, a Russian Su-27 fighter jet damaged the propeller of an American MQ-9 Reaper drone by colliding with it, forcing the US Air Force to sink its drone in the neutral waters of the Black Sea. This is reported by the European Command of the US Armed Forces. They said that two Russian Su-27 aircraft made an unprofessional interception of an American drone.
The incident, the department noted, demonstrates the incompetence, as well as the insecurity and lack of professionalism of Russian pilots. The MQ-9 Reaper was flying normal operations in international airspace when it was intercepted.
FOX News reports that both Russian Su-27 fighter jets involved in the Black Sea incident have returned safely to their base in Crimea, a US Defense Department spokesman told the channel.
The Russian Defense Ministry, in turn, said about the downed American MQ-9 Reaper drone that it fell into the sea and sank.
According to the Russian authorities, the flight was carried out with the transponders turned off, violating the boundaries of the area of the airspace use regime established for the purpose of conducting the air defense. According to the Ministry of Defense, in order to identify the intruder, fighter jets were lifted into the air, as a result of sharp maneuvering around 9.30 (Moscow time), the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle went into uncontrolled flight with a loss of altitude and collided with the water surface. The agency notes that the Russian fighters did not use weapons, did not make contact and returned safely to their home airfield.
Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov was summoned to the US State Department in connection with the incident over the Black Sea. Earlier, White House strategic communications coordinator John Kirby said that the United States intends to continue flying over the Black Sea, despite the UAV accident.
This is not the first such incident over the Black Sea. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said that at the end of September 2022, a Russian Su-27 fighter fired a missile near a British RC-135W Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft patrolling in international airspace over the Black Sea. The Russian side reported a technical malfunction of its fighter, saying that the missile was fired by mistake.
The situation at the front
Russian troops are concentrating their main efforts on conducting offensive operations in the Limansky, Bakhmutsky, Avdeevsky, Maryinsky and Miners directions. This is stated in the summary of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for the evening of March 14. At Bakhmut, constant positional battles continue. Fights are going on near the villages of Bogdanovka, Khromovo, Orekhovo-Vasilevka. The report of the Armed Forces of Ukraine states that Ukraine holds all three villages and today reported that Russian attacks on them were repulsed.
The Rybar Telegram channel reports that, north of Bakhmut, the Wagnerites have established control over the hills near Orekhovo-Vasilevka and Zaliznyansky. Now the fighting continues.
In the north of Bakhmut, assault detachments of the Wagner PMC, according to these data, cleared the territory of the Vostokmash building at the Artemovsky non-ferrous metal processing plant. Now the Russian divisions are moving deeper into the enterprise. Wagnerites published a video from the factory.
During the year of the war, the quality of the armed forces of Ukraine has deteriorated due to the losses incurred, and some Ukrainian high-ranking officials doubt the success of the impending spring counter-offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This was reported by The Washington Post, citing Ukrainian soldiers and officials in Kiev who spoke on condition of anonymity.
According to the publication, according to US and EU officials, up to 120,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or injured since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion (Kyiv does not officially disclose the losses). According to the same estimate, the losses of the RF Armed Forces are about 200 thousand people killed and wounded, the newspaper notes. This is despite the fact that the Russian Federation has a large army.
The influx of inexperienced conscripts brought in to compensate for losses has changed the profile of Ukrainian forces, the article says. There is also a shortage of shells on the front line. All this led to pessimism, as journalists write, among the authorities in Kyiv. If the Armed Forces of Ukraine are unable to carry out the declared counter-offensive, then a new portion of criticism is expected from the West for the loss of time with the supply of weapons.
Military expert Alexander Kovalenko, in an interview with The Insider, noted that the conclusions of The Washington Post are somewhat amateurish, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine do not have problems with the formation of a strike potential.
“Anonymous sources for some reason throw in either manipulative information or outright fakes. Regarding readiness, there are several points that I would like to immediately draw attention to.
The conclusions of The Washington Post are somewhat amateurish, because the total amount of the resource mobilized to date reaches almost 700,000. In doing so, we must distinguish between four main zones where this resource is located. The first zone is the line of contact. The second zone is the shackling zone, which is divided into several locations, for example, the northern bridgehead on the border with Belarus, the northeastern bridgehead on the Chernihiv, Sumy and Kharkov regions, which border on the Russian Federation, and this is the southwestern location, namely the Odessa region and the border with Transnistria. The resource of the armed forces of Ukraine is concentrated there, fully prepared for combat operations against the backdrop of repelling possible threats from Belarus, Transnistria, as well as the Russian regions - Kursk and Belgorod. In fact, a combat-ready resource that cannot be used now. It must be in constant combat readiness - this is the officer corps, this is the standard equipment of units and equipment, even captured T-90 tanks, which are in Ukraine, and they are in the northern bridgehead. Almost the entire composition is a reinforced company, a T-90 tank company, which is in the northern bridgehead. The second zone is the rear of Ukraine, these are military units, barracks and training grounds where accommodation and training take place, where the fighters are located after the rotation. Such objects with military personnel are located in the rear Ukraine. And the fourth zone is a conditionally training zone, the zone of our international partners, on the territory of which there are military personnel who are not just being trained to operate this or that equipment, for example, Bradley, Leopard-2 and Challenger.
Much more numerous is the assault infantry detachment, and these are thousands of military personnel who are being trained. And now all this is integrated into the question of the relationship of resources. There is a resource that deters along the line of collision, there is a reserve resource in the rear of Ukraine, there is a semi-active resource that is pinned down at the mentioned locations, and there is one that is being prepared on the territory of our partner countries. From this we can conclude that there are officers, there is a complete set of units, personnel, equipment, and so on. And from this the question follows - what could be the problem of forming a strike potential for assault groups used in the process of counteroffensive in this case? Here, The Washington Post journalists approached the issue somewhat biased. They did not analyze the situation in general, but used certain comments that can hardly be called objective.”
Ukraine accuses Russian soldiers of raping a 4-year-old girl
The Ukrainian prosecutor's office has accused 12 servicemen of the 15th separate motorized rifle brigade of sexual violence against residents of Brovar, Kiev region, Reuters writes , citing prosecution documents. The crimes, according to the department, occurred in March 2022. Two servicemen are accused of raping a four-year-old girl and gang-raping her mother at gunpoint and in front of her father.
On March 13, drunken Russian servicemen “broke into the courtyard of the house where a young family lived,” according to the materials of the prosecutor’s office. The girl's father was beaten, forced to kneel, after which the girl's mother was raped. One of the soldiers told the four-year-old girl that he would “make her a woman” before subjecting her to violence, according to documents available to the agency. The documents state that both defendants were snipers aged 32 and 28. The elder, according to the prosecutor's office, died, and the younger returned to Russia. The name of the younger, as reported in the department, is Evgeny Chernoknizhny. Reuters found Chernoknizhny's number in the databases. According to the agency, the call was answered by a man who identified himself as Chernoknizhny's brother. "He died. There is no way you can get it,” the man replied.
In the Voronezh region, they began to hand over subpoenas to the military registration and enlistment offices. The military commissariat of the region and the administrations of municipalities claim that "the only purpose of these events is solely to update military registration data in the Voronezh military registration and enlistment offices." In addition, the authorities reminded employers of their obligation to let employees go to military registration and enlistment offices on the handed summons.
In January, the Russian presidential administration officially announced that the mobilization decree was still in effect. Artur Gaiduk, deputy of the Pskov regional assembly , received such a response from Yabloko after a corresponding request. The document from the Presidential Administration says that although the measures to call up the reserve have been completed, the mobilization decree continues:
“On 10/28/2022, the notification and call-up of citizens in the reserve has been completed, the military commissariats continue to recruit military units at the expense of citizens who have expressed a desire to voluntarily participate in the SVO, as well as citizens who wish to enter military service under a contract.
The Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of September 21, 2022 No. 647 “On the announcement of partial mobilization in the Russian Federation” continues.”
On October 28, 2022, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Putin that the "partial" mobilization activities had been completed, but no decree had been issued to complete it.
Read about what happened at the front on March 13 in The Insider report: “ The difficult situation in the Bakhmut direction, Prigozhin is like a scapegoat. What's Happening on the Frontline