Friday, March 8, 2024

UKR Enters New Phase of War with RU; UKR’s Crimea Campaign; Massive Fire at Military School in RU Kazan; UAV Strike On RU's Largest Steel Mill in Severstal; UKR Repels 39 Attacks in Avdiivka, Novopavlivka Dirs; RU Loses: 1160 Sold, 51 Arm-Veh, 17 tanks, LIVE UPDATES and LOTS MORE

Photo: Serhii Korovayny for The Wall Street Journal
WSJ: Ukraine Enters New Phase of War With Russia: Dig, Dig, Dig:
Under pressure after recent battlefield losses, Kyiv is bracing for a Russian spring offensive
Russia is attacking Ukrainian forces at several points along the 600-mile front line as it seeks to capitalize on its recent capture of the eastern city of Avdiivka, its first major battlefield victory in months.
Moscow knows Ukrainian units are short on fresh soldiers and ammunition. The U.S. and Europe are failing to rearm Kyiv quickly. Ukrainian officials and military commanders say Russia’s current tactic of probing attacks is meant to take advantage of Moscow’s battlefield initiative before what they see as a likely major Russian offensive as early as this spring.
“What’s happening right now is what Russia has spent a long time preparing for. It has gathered enough forces and resources to pressure various axes all at once,” said Maksym Zhorin, deputy commander of Ukraine’s 3rd Assault Brigade, which withdrew from Avdiivka last month.
Ukraine’s military, struggling to respond, is husbanding its ammunition and seeking opportunities to hit Russian forces on the move, an approach known as active defense. To halt a better-manned and better-equipped foe, Ukrainian troops are also digging in.
West of Avdiivka, excavators more common to a construction site than a battlefield are carving up the earth to create antitank ditches and trenches. The Ukrainians are attempting to replicate the physical obstacles that Russia created on its side of the front more than a year ago, with deadly effectiveness in stymying Ukraine’s offensive last summer.
Ukraine in November announced a campaign to build an extensive network of fortifications along the front lines, especially in the areas near Avdiivka. President Volodymyr Zelensky called for accelerated construction and urged private companies and donors to get involved.
“On all the main fronts, we need to dig in, speed up the pace of construction,” he said at the time. “The priority is obvious.”
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Monday that almost 31 billion hryvnia, or around $800 million, had been allocated for the construction of fortifications. --->READ MORE HERE (or HERE)
Images: AP/Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly
WSJ: Ukraine’s Crimea Campaign:
The West risks imperiling Kyiv’s progress on the peninsula by failing to provide enough weaponry.
Russia annexed Crimea 10 years ago this month, and its success paved the way for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Ukraine made important progress last year toward degrading Russian military capabilities on the peninsula, but its dwindling supply of weapons imperils these gains and makes Russian advances likelier.
Moscow views Crimea as a giant military base in a strategically vital location. After Russian forces assumed control of the peninsula and the bridges connecting it to the rest of Ukraine in 2014, there was a “huge delta in how many important Ukrainian cities” became “basically frontline cities,” including Melitopol, Berdyansk and Kherson, says Fred Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute. Several of those cities fell quickly when the Russian tanks rolled in two years ago.
Russian air and naval assets in Crimea have allowed the Kremlin to project military power throughout the Black and Azov seas. Early in the war this allowed Russia to blockade Ukrainian maritime exports. Many drone and missile strikes against Ukrainian soldiers, civilians, cities and infrastructure originate from Crimea and from Russian ships and planes in the Black Sea.
In 2018 Vladimir Putin presided over the opening of the 12-mile Kerch Bridge, which links Crimea with Russia. The peninsula is “extremely important to Russia as a logistical hub for supplying the southern grouping of the army,” says Maj. Gen. Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence. “Everything that concerns the movement of troops, the way by which equipment is being supplied, ammunition—all of this is coming into Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts through Crimea.” Without it, Russia would have to rely exclusively on land routes in occupied southern Ukraine.
Ukraine’s goal is to liberate all occupied territory. Until it can take back Crimea, it seeks to erode Russian military power there. Throughout 2023 Ukrainian forces carried out at least 184 attacks on Russian military and infrastructure targets in Crimea, the Black Sea and the Russian shore, according to Andrii Klymenko of the Black Sea Institute of Strategic Studies, a Ukrainian think tank.
That effort, which accelerated as the counteroffensive stalled elsewhere, has paid dividends. Strikes in Crimea “often generate Russian panic disproportionate to their kinetic effect and negatively impact Russian morale,” the Institute for the Study of War has observed. Mr. Klymenko counted 27 strikes targeting Russian air defenses in Crimea last year, including two that took out sophisticated S-400 air-defense systems. These strikes facilitated other Ukrainian attacks on Russian assets in Crimea, including on the Black Sea fleet.
Ukraine’s biggest, and most underrated, success of 2023 was driving the Russian navy into retreat. Ukraine conducted at least 25 strikes targeting Russian ships and at least 45 targeting Sevastopol, Russia’s main naval base there, says Mr. Klymenko. The campaign continues. This week Ukraine destroyed Russia’s Sergei Kotov patrol ship near the Kerch Strait using naval drones, according to military intelligence. Since January, its forces have also sunk the Russian Caesar Kunikov amphibious landing ship and the Ivanovets missile corvette off the Crimean coast. --->READ MORE HERE (or HERE)
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++ Massive fire breaks out at military school in Russian Kazan: Barracks ablaze+++++

+++++Russia reports UAV strike on its largest metallurgical plant Severstal+++++

+++++Ukraine repels 39 attacks in Avdiivka and Novopavlivka directions +++++

+++++Ukrainian defense forces eliminate 1,160 Russian soldiers, 51 armored vehicles and 17 tanks overnight — General Staff+++++

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