Russian attack kills in Odesa; Ukraine vows to battle ‘lunatic’ Putin

A fifth week has passed since the fall of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine, during which time the Russian command has reassigned reservists from other areas of the front to maintain its advantage.

Saturday saw the fall of the villages of Tonenke and Nevelske, located west of Avdiivka, to the Russian advance.

Three days later, the Russian Ministry of Defence claimed Orlivka in the same region, and it appeared that Russian forces were progressively engulfing the village of Berdychi street by street.

“The enemy has been concentrating its main efforts in the direction of Avdiivka for several consecutive days, attempting to breach the defense of our troops, which are defended by three brigades,” said Oleksandr Syrskyii, commander-in-chief of Ukraine, on Friday.

“An army comprising multiple divisions is attacking three brigades,” stated Dmytro Kukharchuk, a battalion commander from Ukraine stationed in the vicinity of Avdiivka. “The Russian military is endeavoring to establish a 10-to-1 advantage.”

Early in March, Dmytro Lykhovyi, a spokesman for the Tavria Group of forces confronting Russia in the area, asserted that the front had been “stabilized.”

According to Ukrainian military observer Konstantyn Mashovets, while that assessment was premature, the Russian advance was decelerating due to “the enemy having ‘unpacked’ operational reserves and activated the majority of its tactical reserves.”

“The enemy was unable to achieve breakthroughs that penetrated tens of kilometers,” Mashovets said, adding that advancing “even a couple of kilometers” is not inexpensive, implying that Ukrainian forces maintained the capability to exact a heavy toll. Even Kukharchuk stated that “colossal losses” were incurred by Russian forces due to their tactical success.

Russian attack kills in Odesa; Ukraine vows to battle ‘lunatic’ Putin

Ukraine Reports Heavy Russian Losses, Odesa Hit

According to the Ukrainian military, it killed or injured 6,600 Russians in the week preceding Sunday’s re-election of President Vladimir Putin, or nearly 1,000 per day. Al Jazeera was incapable of verifying this death toll.

Although the primary focus of the Russian assault was the Avdiivka region, the Russian military also heightened its activities in other areas. The complexity of Ukraine’s defensive operations was demonstrated by the marginal advances of its forces near Verbove, a village in the southern region of Zaporizhia, and near Synkivka, a town in the northeastern region of Kharkiv.

Russia maintained its aggression against Ukrainian civilians throughout the 108th week of the conflict by launching missiles and drones into the country.

Two Iskander ballistic missiles struck residences in the Black Sea port city of Odesa on Friday, resulting in the deaths of twenty-one individuals – one of the most devastating assaults the town has endured during the conflict.

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Russia has launched 900 glide munitions, 130 missiles, and 320 Shahed drones in March alone.

According to Ukraine, it has shot down 80 of 101 Shahid drones designed in Iran that Russia has launched since March 13.

Russian citizens remit payments at the fixture.

While these desperate battles unfolded on the battlefield, Ukraine persisted in its assaults against Russia internally, destroying oil infrastructure to make the Russians experience the agony of their war.

According to Ukrainian military intelligence sources, the Perviy Zavod oil refinery in Kaluga, located approximately 100 kilometers southwest of Moscow and 160 kilometers southwest, was reportedly attacked on Friday. The refinery supplied the military. The Russian news agency Baza verified the presence of a fire and captured a significant explosion at the facility on camera.

The next day, Zelenskyy reported that three oil refineries in the Samara region of Russia, situated 500 kilometers (310 miles) southeast of Moscow, were targeted by Ukraine. The governor of Samara affirmed that a detonation occurred at the Novokuibyshevsky refinery. The Kuibyshevsky and Syzran Rosneft facilities, which together processed 25 million tonnes of crude oil annually, were also affected, according to the news source RBC-Ukraine.

Ukraine Strikes Russian Oil Refinery, Putin Responds

The Ukrainian Security Service announced on Sunday, Putin’s re-election day, that it had attacked the Sloviansk oil refinery, located 310 miles (500 kilometers) to the south of Moscow. A Russian military news outlet reported that it was merely one of eight infrastructure attacks that occurred nationwide on that particular day.

In September, Russia prohibited the exportation of refined petrochemicals to reduce the price of AI-95 standard petrol from a peak of nearly 77,000 rubles ($840) per tonne. RBC-Russia reported that AI-95 reached its highest price since March 13, when it reached 60,500 rubles ($661) per tonne, partly due to repeated assaults.

Since the start of the year, Ukraine has engaged in strikes against several Russian petrochemical processing or cargo facilities, spanning from St. Petersburg to the Black Sea coast.

A week before Putin’s election, Kyiv also permitted anti-Putin Russian paramilitary forces to initiate a cross-border incursion from its territory. March 12 saw attacks by the Siberian Battalion, Russian Volunteer Force, and Freedom of Russia Legion (LSR) against border garrisons in Belgorod and Kursk.

On Sunday, the LSR and Siberian Battalion announced that they had captured an administrative structure in Gorkovsky, a Belgorod border settlement, indicating that the incursion continued.

Putin then discussed the possibility of establishing a “sanitary zone” on Ukrainian soil to safeguard Russian borders.

“I do not rule that out… “At a future time, when we deem it appropriate, we will be compelled to establish a sanitary zone’ in territories that are currently subordinate to the Kyiv regime,” Putin stated at a news conference on Monday, labeling the paramilitaries “traitors.”

Conversely, the incursions progressed in the opposite direction.

Ukraine reported repelling three Russian reconnaissance and sabotage parties that had entered its Sumy region.

Support for Russia’s stance regarding a negotiated cessation of the conflict has been expressed by several Western nations, including Republican Party members in the United States, who have advocated for Ukraine to engage in negotiations.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of the National Security Council and Putin’s right-hand man, described last week what that negotiated peace might entail.

He demanded “unconditional surrender,” the delisting of Ukraine as a sovereign nation at the United Nations, its complete demilitarisation, and Western recognition of its government as the Nazis in a March 14 Telegram message.

Medvedev remarked, “This could be the soft Russian formula for peace.” “This, correct, is a position of compromise? It is precisely on this foundation that I believe we can endeavor to reach a constructive consensus with the international community.”

In an evening address less than a week later, Zelenskyy declared, “Putin must lose.”

“To defeat Putin, our strategies must be long-range; otherwise, Putin will benefit from skepticism regarding the strength of the Western alliance,” the Ukrainian leader stated.

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