1. Forbes: Russian troops are constantly bombing Ukrainian military plants, hoping it will undermine the ability to repair damaged vehicles and equipment for the army. However, this does not do the damage that the Kremlin expected. Ukrainians have long found an opportunity to repair tanks and infantry fighting vehicles without sending them to factories, as they have become easy targets. Despite Russia’s claims that the Russians have already suppressed Ukrainians’ production capacity several times, it is only a dream. Equipment has long been repaired on “decentralized” sites throughout Ukraine. Of course, this is not a complex repair of ballistic or computer systems. But when you need to bend metal, repair engines, replace treads, jet armor units, radios, and machine guns – it does not require special equipment, and everything is repaired in literally any garage. (Source: Forbes).
1. Consultations Ukraine – Russia will be held today in video format. (Source: In Features).
1. Ministry of Defense (RF): Air defense systems shot down eight Ukrainian drones in Lysychansk, Donetsk, Chernihiv, Korosun, Novomikhailovskoye, including one Bayraktar TB-2 in the Vakhovka area. A Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter was shot down near Lyubimovka. Aircraft strikes with high-precision weapons destroyed six ZSU facilities, including depots with ammunition and fuel in Boguslavsky, Krestishche, Reznikov, Velikaya Novoselka. Operational-tactical aviation hit 52 Ukrainian military facilities, including three command posts, three multiple launch rocket systems, the Buk-M1 anti-aircraft missile system, and radar for illumination and guidance of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system. Since the beginning of the “special operation,” 124 aircraft and 81 helicopters, 353 crewless aerial vehicles, 1,839 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 202 multiple rocket launchers, 773 field artillery, and mortars, as well as 1,711 units of special military vehicles have been destroyed. (Source: Meduza).
2. As a result of an airstrike by Ukrainian helicopters, a printing house near Belgorod was damaged. On the territory of the printing house lies a blank from a rocket. In Belgorod (RF) on Friday morning, a fire broke out at an oil depot owned by Rosneft. According to the governor of the Belgorod region Vyacheslav Gladkov, an airstrike was carried out on the oil depot “from two helicopters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which entered the territory of Russia at a low altitude.” As a result of the fire, according to preliminary data, there were no casualties. Residents of three streets next to the oil depot were evacuated. A few days ago, explosions took place in the Belgorod region near the village of Krasny Oktyabr. A military camp located in this area was hit by shells fired from the Ukrainian side, four soldiers were injured. (Source: Meduza).
3. General Staff (AFU): Russia continues to withdraw troops from the north Kyiv region to Belarus partially. The columns with military equipment – cars and trucks that the Russians stole from civilians. In the temporarily occupied territories, the enemy holds the local population hostage and uses their homes to house personnel. Entrepreneurs there are trying to force the use of rubles. In the Donetsk and Luhansk areas, the Russians have attacked seven times in the past 24 hours. The Environmental Protection Agency successfully repulsed the attacks: it destroyed three tanks, two armored personnel carriers, two units of motor vehicles, and two artillery systems. An Orlan-10 UAV was also shot down. The Russians are looting wherever they go. It is evidenced by eyewitnesses, and intercepted conversations where the occupiers flaunt “trophies” of alcohol and household appliances. Before leaving the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the Russian occupiers stole computers, kettles, coffee makers, and containers of property at the nuclear power plant. (Source: Facebook).
4. The first contingent of Syrian mercenaries has already arrived in Russia for training before being sent to Ukraine. These are at least 300 soldiers from a division of the Syrian army, which worked closely with Russian officers who went to Syria to support the regime of Bashar al-Assad during the war. The Russians hope to send up to 16,000 Syrians to Ukraine. Requirements for candidates – age from 20 to 45 years and weight from 50 to 90 kg. Priority is given to combat experience. The Putin regime has offered mercenaries $ 1,200 a month for six months with a $ 3,000 bonus after returning to Syria. In the event of death in Ukraine, families of mercenaries are promised $ 2,800 and an additional $ 600 a month for a year. At the same time, their salaries in Syria, depending on the unit, range from $ 50 to $ 100. Recruiters across Syria compile lists of thousands of interested candidates to be screened by Syrian security services. 1,000 Wagnerians from Africa and Syria have already been sent to eastern Ukraine. (Source: NYT).
5. The AFU continues to make successful but limited counterattacks to the east and northeast of Kyiv. Both Chernihiv and Kyiv continue to be subjected to air and missile strikes by the Russian occupiers, contrary to Russia’s claims of an alleged decline in activity in these areas. Ukrainian forces recaptured the villages of Sloboda and Lukashivka south of Chernihiv and located along with one of the main supply routes between Chernihiv and Kyiv. (Source: Liga).
6. Zelensky deprived Andriy Naumov, former head of the Main Department of Internal Security, and Serhiy Kryvoruchko, former head of the SBU in the Kherson region, of their military ranks. Andriy Naumov participates in many journalistic investigations into smuggling and corruption schemes at customs. He was involved in the investigation into the acquisition of elite property, incomparable with the official income of a civil servant. Before starting a full-scale invasion of the Russian army, Naumov, accompanied by several people, left Ukraine. His family left earlier. During March, police conducted searches at several addresses associated with Naumov. Naumov joined the SBU shortly after Ivan Bakanov headed the service in 2019. In October 2020, the media found and showed numerous luxury properties designed for the Naumov family. At the end of July 2021, Naumov resigned but, according to journalists, did not lose his influence. (Source: LB).
1. The Center for Combating Disinformation at the National Security and Defense Council warns that Russia has invented a new fake to avoid sanctions – that the Russian war against Ukraine will soon be over, and some “agreements” will be reached. But Russia is not “withdrawing” troops, and the occupiers are fleeing. In addition, the enemy is transferring its forces to the Donbas and preparing to strike a devastating blow. No agreements have been reached. The occupiers are trying to organize incomprehensible structures in the temporarily occupied territories and put the ruble into circulation there. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine believes that Russia has not abandoned the idea of encircling Kyiv and is rotating near the capital. (Source: Liga).
Economy, Social life, and Culture
1. A national IT cluster is being set up in Zakarpattia, dismissing all IT specialists from the military service to protect the economy, said Viktor Mykita, head of the Zakarpattia Regional State Administration: “Zakarpattia is becoming a national hub for all Ukrainian businesses protecting the Ukrainian economy. Businesses that move and operate in Transcarpathia will be protected.” The region reserves IT specialists, from conscription for military service during mobilization and martial law; provides locations for work, redesigned office space and coworking spaces, provides their protection; provides high-quality modern Internet (fiber, satellite); assists in supporting the economic, tax, and economic activities. IT business is registered as an enterprise that intends to move its activities and capacity to the Transcarpathian region in the Ministry of Economy. Mandatory registration as a business entity in the area as a reintegrated company from another location. After that, the OVA, together with the Ministry of Economy, provides for the formation of proposals for the reservation of IT specialists from conscription for military service during mobilization and martial law. Since the war, about 35,000 IT professionals have moved to Transcarpathia and operate in the region. (Source: LB).
2. 86% of businesses were forced to cut or even shut down after February 24. The main problem is the insufficient number of orders (50%). Companies also complain about difficulties with logistics (29%), lack of raw materials (21%) and employees (17%), and non-payment for orders (20%). Damaged or destroyed facilities are a problem for 14% of businesses. Entrepreneurs put tax holidays first (37%). On the second, by a wide margin, – assistance with logistics (17%). Entrepreneurs also discussed reducing interest rates on loans, promoting products, and keeping critical employees from going abroad or military service. Entrepreneurs are trying hard to save their businesses from closure. Ukrainian companies are resorting to industry transformation to do this. One in five (21%) has started the process, 16% already have a result, and many plan to join the transformation. (Source: LB).
1. Australia will send Bushmaster armored vehicles to Ukraine at Zelensky’s request. Assistance will be sent by C-17 military transport aircraft. Bushmaster is an Australian wheeled all-wheel-drive armored personnel carrier. It was created for use in the desert areas of Australia, can carry nine soldiers with supplies of food and ammunition for three days of autonomous resistance. Bushmaster protection can withstand bullets up to 7.62 mm, fragments of grenades, ammunition, mine explosions with six kilograms of explosives. Australia has continued to provide military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and a ban on alumina and aluminum ore exports to Russia. Australia covered almost 20% of Russia’s alumina needs. (Source: Liga).
1. Some of the 4th Guards Military Base contractors were returning home to Tskhinvali on foot. Information about Ossetian servicemen who refused to go to Ukraine was confirmed by the former president of unrecognized South Ossetia Eduard Kokoity. He called on the relatives of the servicemen to refrain from protests until the reasons for the soldiers’ actions were clarified. Kokoity did not name the exact number of troops returning to Tskhinvali. (Source: Mediazona).
1. Vereshchuk: the Russian military took 14 tons of humanitarian aid intended for Melitopol. The Russian military also detained twelve buses carrying food and medicine: “This is the price for the agreed corridors, and the Red Cross guarantees that the corridors will be provided and will work. We are negotiating for the buses to be returned and for the residents of Melitopol to be evacuated tomorrow on these buses.” She added that ensuring the evacuation of residents of Mariupol, which has been under blockade for several weeks, remains a crucial task. The Ukrainian side, Vereshchuk said, will continue to seek the opening of a humanitarian corridor from Mariupol. (Source: Meduza).