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On March 29, the Russian Defense Ministry decided to drastically reduce military activity in the Kiev and Chernihiv directions. This was stated by the ministry following another round of the Russian-Ukrainian negotiations held in Istanbul.
The Russian military took such a decision “due to the fact that negotiations on the preparation of a treaty on the neutral and nuclear-free status of Ukraine, as well as on the provision of security guarantees to Ukraine, are moving into practical concerns”.
The Russian military presence should be reduced in these regions “in order to increase mutual trust and create the necessary conditions for further negotiations and signing of the agreement.”
The Russian military takes defensive positions around the capital and declared that they refused to offence in the region.
The partial withdrawal of Russian troops to the territory of Belarus was reported by local media.
It is still unclear to what extent the Russian military will “reduce its military activities” in the declared regions and how this will ensure the security of Russian forces remaining on the outskirts of Kiev, where the AFU grouping, supported by foreign militants, successfully prevented Russia’s advance in the region for weeks. Russian troops faced stiff resistance near the capital, as Ukraine also announced on March 28 that it had retaken a large suburb of Kiev, Irpen.
“We proceed from the fact that the relevant basic decisions will be made in Kiev and conditions should be created for further normal work,” a member of the Russian delegation added.
As a result, soon after the declared partial withdrawal, fierce clashes broke out on the outskirts of the capital.
The AFU began to use Grads en masse, to which the Russian forces responded with MLRS strikes. Local sources confirmed that Kiev has never known such a ferocious shelling with the use of MLRS. Dozens of installations were involved, and thousands of rockets were fired. Fierce clashes continued near Irpen in the Kiev region.
Previously, the situation in the Chernihiv region was relatively calm, and violent battles were reported much less frequently than on other fronts. After reports of the decision of the Russian command, the Governor of the Chernihiv region said that attacks were carried out on the city of Nizhyn at night and the shelling of Chernihiv itself continued.
The statement on the reduction of military activity in the declared regions does not mean the cessation of rocket fire at military facilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine throughout the territory of Ukraine. Fighting is also expected to intensify on the fronts of Donbass.
Missile strikes are reported in the vicinity of Kharkov, Kiev, Khmelnitsky. According to the latest data, in Khmelnitsky, the strike targeted a storage of fuel and lubricants and an airfield.
Ukrainian resources report that Russian troops opened fire on the AFU facilities in the Kharkiv region. It is reported that about 180 missiles from the Grad MLRS were fired at the positions of the AFU near the city.
Escalation is also observed in the Donbas, where fierce fighting has not stopped.
In the Lysychansk-Severodonetsk agglomeration, there is no change on the front lines.
Attacks were carried out on the AFU facilities in Severodonetsk, Rubezhnoye, Popasnaya and Kremennaya. The Ukrainian side reported major clashes near the village of Kremennaya. Positional battles continue in the city of Rubezhnoye in the LPR.
Some progress of Russian troops was reported in the Izyum direction. The Russians are slightly coming closer to Sloviansk.
Meanwhile, the AFU have intensified attacks on civilian infrastructure in the territory of the DPR and LPR. On the morning of March 30, one civilian was killed, 4 others were injured after an AFU shell hit a multi-storey building in Donetsk.
In Mariupol, Russian and SPR troops continue to slowly mop up the city. Another outpost of the Azov regiment was reportedly taken under the DPR control. During these days the Russian army took control over several factories in the city. However, the Azov fighters provide fierce resistance and Russian advance is slowed down.
The AFU became more active in the Mykolaiv region. After an unsuccessful counteroffensive towards Kherson, Ukrainian forces opened massive fire from MLRS and artillery on two villages near Kherson, and destroyed civilian houses. The Russians responded with precise strikes. On March 29, a rocket hit the Mykolaiv Regional State Administration. More than a dozen of casualties were reported. It is expected that the Mykolaiv region may become another main front after the military operations against the AFU in the Donbas are completed.