The situation at the front
The offensive of the Russian forces near Bakhmut begins to weaken, although the situation for the Armed Forces of Ukraine continues to be extremely tense. This is stated in the next report of British military intelligence. Experts attribute this to the fact that the Russian command withdrew several units advancing on the city in order to strengthen the weakened sections of the front with them.
“Fighting continues around the city center and the Ukrainian defenders remain under threat due to the encirclement from the north and south,” the review notes. “However, there are signs that the Russian offensive against the city is starting to lose momentum and weaken.”
In the past few days, in order to reduce enemy pressure on the H-32 highway (Pokrov-Bakhmut-Mikhailovka), along which the supply line passes, the Ukrainian Armed Forces launched a local counterattack west of Bakhmut. Earlier, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that the offensive of Russian forces in the Limansky, Bakhmutsky, Avdeevsky, Maryinsky and Shakhtyorsky directions continues.
Meanwhile, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky visited the positions of the Ukrainian defense forces in the Bakhmut direction. He presented awards to the fighters.
"Donetsk region. Forward positions of the Ukrainian military in the area of Bakhmut. I am honored to be here today to honor our heroes. Shake hands with them and thank them for protecting the sovereignty of our country,” Zelensky wrote on Telegram.
34 people, according to the latest data, were injured in a rocket attack on a residential building in Zaporozhye. It is reported by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine. 29 victims were hospitalized, including three children. One person died. 66 rescuers and 14 pieces of equipment are working at the shelling site.
The strike on Zaporozhye was delivered from multiple launch rocket systems, said the speaker of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel Yuriy Ignat, on the air of the telethon. According to preliminary data, the Russian army fired from a long-range MLRS - possibly Tornado-S.
As an eyewitness of the incident, a local blogger and founder of the Telegram channel Operativno by HLEP, Alexander Khlepitko, told The Insider, there is a large concentration of people near the house that was hit by the rocket - the largest shopping center in the city. There is an assumption that it was aimed at him.
Zaporozhye has been shelled at intervals of once or twice a week, starting in October. In total, according to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Russia fired six missiles at Zaporozhye on the afternoon of March 22. The occupying authorities of the Zaporozhye region blame the Ukrainian air defense for the incident.
Russia began to reactivate Soviet T-54 tanks
Analysts of the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) found out that Soviet tanks of the T-54/55 family began to be removed from the storage base in the Far East. The removal of these tanks from storage was recorded for the first time during the entire war in Ukraine. A video of an echelon carrying equipment appeared on the network.
The CIT team analyzed the echelon photos. Analysts identified it as Soviet medium tanks of the T-54/55 family: in the same echelon were both T-54 tanks and tanks that could be late T-54s or T-55s.
CIT found out that the train was departing from the city of Arseniev, Primorsky Krai, where the 1295th Central Tank Reserve and Storage Base is located. Previously, T-62M(V) tanks had already been sent from this base: after studying satellite images, analysts found that from June to November 2022, at least 191 vehicles left it. However, the removal of the Soviet T-54/55 tanks (the previous modification before the T-62) that were photographed was recorded for the first time.
The CIT finds it difficult to name possible areas of application for these tanks, but believes that their dispatch from the base indicates serious problems with the provision of Russian troops with armored vehicles.
Munitions were dropped on a soldier of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in response to a call for mercy
A video appeared on the network of how a Ukrainian soldier, apparently trying to crawl out into the location of his forces, got into the lens of the copter of the Sparta battalion of the so-called DPR. Despite all the requests sent to the camera, the operator did not feel much pity and dropped VOG-17 ammunition on the serviceman.
The commander of the ORB "Sparta" Artem Zhoga commented on what happened in his Telegram channel:
“There is one eternal debate that will not subside even when everything is over - about humanism in war. And this dispute lies in the plane of high calm only in Telegram. On the front line, it would never even occur to anyone to think about ethics, morality, secular humanism and Tolstoyism. Because it's simple."
Military analyst Kirill Mikhailov explained in an interview with The Insider that it is not a war crime to shoot at retreating soldiers without weapons, because if they retreat, they can get weapons and go to fight again. But this soldier could be trying to surrender. There were precedents for surrendering to a drone from the Russian side.
In November, the YIGAL LEVIN Telegram channel published a video of how a drone of the K2 reconnaissance group of the 54th brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine leads a Russian soldier into captivity. At the sight of the drone, the soldier raised his hands, and the drone took him to a place where he could safely surrender.
The Russian military massively complained about non-payment of salaries
Problems with delays or non-payment of salaries to the military in Russia have become widespread. This was found out by the publication "Layout". Complaints come from contractors, mobilized, volunteers and their relatives. Instead of the promised 195 thousand rubles a month, the accounts allegedly receive amounts several times less. The publication claims to have found complaints from the military, who have not received their salaries for three months. In the comments on social networks, the complainants are told that the delays may be related to the transfer of the serviceman to another unit.
The head of the Union of Committees of Soldiers' Mothers, Valentina Melnikova, suggested that delays in payments were due to an "administrative collapse" in the army system. According to her, there are cases everywhere when the military is listed in one part, but in fact is in another. This is also evidenced by the stories of close soldiers who did not wait for payments. Melnikova believes that the system has no experience of working with such a large number of people involved in the war.
Thousands of prisoners from PMC Wagner will go home
PMC Wagner will lose many mercenaries due to the end of their six-month military contracts. Thousands of prisoners who were recruited for the war with Ukraine will be released and will go home. This is reported by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in a summary, citing UK military intelligence data.
The Kremlin's decision to pardon convicts will lead to their exodus from PMCs and exacerbate the shortage of personnel, according to the Moscow Region, since the Kremlin has now blocked the ability to recruit prisoners. According to the agency, thousands of convicts recruited in the fall of 2022 will go to freedom.
In addition, ISW claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to completely distance himself from one of the founders of PMC Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, after the conflict amid the capture of Soledar. Institute analysts suggest that the Kremlin deliberately allowed the release of prisoner pardons in order to encourage more convicts to leave after the expiration of their contracts in order to weaken PMCs.
In February, Prigozhin, continuing to clash with the Ministry of Defense and officials, accused the Chief of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of trying to destroy the Wagner PMC by forbidding the supply of ammunition and even sapper shovels to the formation.
Read about what happened at the front on March 18 in The Insider report: “Putin found a non-existent “nuclear component” in Western weapons, Kiev wants to cut off Russia’s communication with Crimea. What's going on at the front .