The 22nd day of the Russian military operation in Ukraine passed through the path laid down by the developments of the last days. Both Ukraine and Russia reported no major military breakthroughs in the form of capturing of large cities or offensive operations. Nonetheless, the joint forces of Russia, the DPR and the LPR once again tightened the creep on Kyiv’s forces in the region of Donbass. At the same time, Russia reinforced its gains around the Ukrainian capital as well as the country’s northeast, and reshuffled its units in Mykolaiv Region creating conditions for the advance along the western bank of Dnipro River in the south of Ukraine.
As in the previous days, on March 17, the most active military actions took place in the region of Donbass.
Forces of the Lugansk People’s Republic supported by the Russian military continued their operation aimed the full elimination of the grouping of Kyiv’s forces in the Severodonetsk-Lysichansk agglomeration. According to the Russian military, LPR troops already entered Rubejnoe, north of the agglomeration and the city of Severodonetsk from several directions. Eearlier, they de-facto cut off the groping of Kyiv’s forces there by reaching the southeast of Severodonetsk.
Pro-Kyiv units there are under a direct threat of the full encirclement and now are trying to slowly withdraw towards Slovyansk and Kramatorsk under strikes of the Russian Aerospace Forces. The main goal of Kyiv’s units remaining in the Severodonetsk-Lysichansk agglomeration is to buy time and slow down the advance of LPR, DPR and Russia in the region.
In the sector south of the Severodonetsk-Lysichansk agglomeration, Russian-led forces have been working to secure the town of Popasnaya. The town itself mostly remains in the hands of the advancing forces. Meanwhile, Kyiv’s units still have to be pushed back from its countryside.
On March 16 and 17, units of the Donetsk People’s Republic were conducting offensive actions to capture the settlements of Maryinka, Slavnoe and Sladkoe in the sector of operations east of Donetsk city. No major gains were achieved. The areas of Maryinka, Peski and Adviivka are well-fortified strong points of Kyiv’s forces in the countryside of the DPR capital. The elimination of these strong points as part of the direct attack on them is a complex task that would require time. Most likely, they will fall together only with the general collapse of the entire defense line of Kyiv’s forces there.
By the evening of March 17, units of the Russian Armed Forces achieved tactical successes southeast of Maryinka by capturing the settlements of Novomaiskoe and Prechistovka. This advance threatens to cut off Maryinka from the rest of units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces remaining in the sector.
As to the DPR, its military authorities declared that during the advance to liberate Maryinka they eliminated 3 US military instructors.
According to the DPR statement, during the operation to liberate the settlement, DPR forces eliminated a strong point of the 1st mechanized battalion of the 54th Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. DPR units reported found there foreign weapons and personal belongings of US military instructors who took part in the hostilities on the side of Ukrainian nationalist battalions. The DPR said that the found belongings allowed to identify these instructors as Captain Michael Hawker, Lieutenant Logan Shrum and Lieutenant Cruz Toblin, “who came to Ukraine to kill civilians in Donbass in 2018 ”.
On March 16, the head of the Russian delegation at the talks in Vienna on military security and arms control, Konstantin Gavrilov, said that foreign mercenaries that come to Ukraine they will share the fate of those who were recently eliminated in a strike on the military base in Lviv Region.
Intense fighting continues in the city of Mariupol in Donetsk Region. The joint forces of Russia and DPR work to eliminate the remaining members of Kyiv’s forces there. According to videos and photos appearing online, recently Russian and DPR troops advanced in the northern part of the city reaching its Central District.
Russian-led forces near Mariupol:
The previous advances already allowed DPR and Russia to start evacuation of civilians from the city. According to the Russian side, during the past day, 42,992 people were evacuated from the city. Earlier, the evacuation was sabotaged by members of Ukrainian nationalist battalions. They worked and continue to work to prevent the evacuation to use civilians as human shield. Nonetheless, the fate of these criminals are predetermined as DPR and Russian troops already reached their main strongholds inside Mariupol.
Meanwhile in Mykilaiv Region, Russian forces fully blocked the provincial capital from the southern, eastern and northeastern directions. The road towards the town of Novaya Odessa, north of Mykolaiv, remains the only more or less ‘secure’ road that links Kyiv’s forces in the city with their colleagues in the adjusting regions.
The Russian Armed Forces also reportedly secured their gains as part of the advance towards Kryvoi Rog city in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. In this sector, Russian forces reached the Kochubeevka, Mykolaivka, Visokopillya line close to the town of Zelenodolsk.
As to Kherson Region, the situation there remained relatively calm. Nonetheless, in the evening of March 17, the Ukrainian Armed Forces reportedly launched 2 Tochka-U ballistic missiles at Melitopol city. Both of them were shot down. Nonetheless, vestiges of one of the missiles reportedly hit the local gas pipeline.
In the northeast of Ukraine, in particular in the region of Kharkiv, the situation may be described as a tactical stalemate. Russian forces are not storming Kharkiv city. The operation to capture the town of Izum in the south of the same region is yet to be finished.
The cities of Sumy, Chernihiv and several smaller towns in these regions remain fully blocked by Russian forces. Nonetheless, the Russians do not take active actions to capture them. The attention of the Russian Armed Forces in the north is aimed towards Kyiv city. Artillery and air power of the Russians are steadily eliminating the defense of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the sectors of Brovary and Irpen. The road from Kyiv city towards the south is intentionally kept open to allow more and more civilians to leave the city.
Smoke in the Kyiv countryside:
The Russian Defense Ministry continues to release videos of pinpoint strikes on military targets in Ukraine. On March 17, it released a video of the destruction of a battery of Ukrainian 152-mm howitzers with high-precision weapons.
A drone video shows the destruction of three Ukrainian military howitzers.
“Video of objective monitoring of the destruction of an artillery battery of 152-mm howitzers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The firing positions of an artillery battery <…> with all equipment and weapons were completely destroyed after a strike with precision weapons,” the statement said.
The Russian Defense Ministry noted that during the day, aviation and air defense of the Russian Aerospace Forces shot down a Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopter near the village of Belki as well as five unmanned aerial vehicles, including a Bayraktar TB-2. Russian operational-tactical, army and unmanned aircraft hit 29 military facilities of Ukraine. This included one installation of a multiple launch rocket system, three command posts, including one field mobile brigade command post, six ammunition depots and 14 military equipment gathering sites.
One of Bayraktar TB-2 UAVs downed in Ukraine:
According to the Russian side, since the beginning of the special military operation, Russian forces have destroyed: 182 aircraft and helicopters, 177 unmanned aerial vehicles, 1,393 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 134 multiple rocket launchers, 523 field artillery pieces and mortars, as well as 1,182 units of special military vehicles.
On top of this, Russia released more details on the military biological program of the United States in Ukraine. Documents (link) and the full speech (link) of the Chief of the Nuclear, Biologocal and Chemical Defence Troops of the Russian Armed Forces Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov on this matter was published on the website of the Russian Defense Ministry:
The Russian Defence Ministry continues to study materials received from employees of Ukrainian laboratories on the implementation of military biological programs of the United States and its NATO allies on the territory of Ukraine.
Western mass media and some biologists, who most often have a second American citizenship, express doubts about the reliability of the materials published by us. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the documents have the signatures of real officials and are certified by the seals of organizations.
We believe that components of biological weapons were created on the territory of Ukraine.
Here is a document dated March 6, 2015, confirming the Pentagon’s direct participation in the financing of military biological projects in Ukraine.
According to established practice, American projects in the field of sanitation in third countries, including in Africa and Asia, are funded through national health authorities.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the agreement on joint biological activities was concluded between the US Military Department and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. However, the real recipient of funds are the laboratories of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence located in Kiev, Odessa, Lvov and Kharkov. The total funding amounted to $32 million.
It is no coincidence that these biolabs were chosen by the US Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the contractor company Black & Vitch as the executors of the U-P-8 project aimed at studying the pathogens of the Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever, leptospirosis and hantaviruses. The corresponding request of the Pentagon to involve Ukrainian laboratories for the implementation of the project is presented on the slide. From our point of view, the interest of US military biologists is due to the fact that these pathogens have natural foci both on the territory of Ukraine and in Russia, and their use can be disguised as natural outbreaks of diseases. That is why this project has received additional funding, and the terms of its implementation have been extended.
A study of the documents in the part of the P-781 project on the study of ways of transmitting diseases to humans through bats showed that the work was carried out on the basis of a laboratory in Kharkov together with the infamous R. Lugar Center in Tbilisi. The total costs of the Pentagon for its implementation in Ukraine and Georgia amounted to $ 1.6 million, most of which was received by Ukraine as the main contractor.
The documents received by the Russian Ministry of Defence indicate that research in this area is systematic and has been conducted since at least 2009 under the direct supervision of specialists from the United States within the framework of projects P-382, P-444 and P-568. One of the curators of this activity was the head of the DTRA office at the US Embassy in Kiev, Joanna Wintrall. Maybe journalists should talk to her?
During the implementation of these projects, six families of viruses (including coronaviruses) and three types of pathogenic bacteria (pathogens of plague, brucellosis and leptospirosis) were identified. This is due to the main characteristics of these pathogens that make them favourable for the purposes of infection: resistance to drugs, rapid speed of spread from animals to humans, etc.
It is necessary to note a number of documents confirming the transfer of bioassays selected in Ukraine to the territory of third countries, including Germany, Great Britain, Georgia.
Here are official documents confirming the transfer of five thousand samples of blood serum of Ukrainian citizens to the R. Lugar Center affiliated with the Pentagon in Tbilisi, 773 bioassays were transferred to the reference laboratory of Great Britain. An agreement has been signed for the export of unlimited quantities of infectious materials to the Leffler Institute in Germany.
An analysis of the information received indicates that Ukrainian specialists are not aware of the potential risks of transferring biomaterials, are being used essentially blindly, and have no real idea of the true purpose of the research being conducted.
I would like to draw attention to outbreaks of economically significant diseases on the territory of the Russian Federation. In 2021 alone, the damage from highly pathogenic avian influenza exceeded 1.7 billion rubles, and 6 million heads of poultry were destroyed. At the same time, in European countries, the losses of the agricultural industry from it amounted to about 2.0 billion. euro.
Within the framework of the FLU-FLYWAY project, the Kharkov Institute of Veterinary Medicine studied wild birds as vectors for the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza. At the same time, the conditions under which spread processes can become unmanageable, cause economic damage and pose risks to food security have been assessed.
These documents confirm the involvement of the Kharkov Institute in the collection of avian influenza virus strains with high epidemic potential and capable of overcoming the interspecific barrier. The activities of this institute should be the subject of an international investigation.
Information continues to be received about attempts to destroy biomaterials and documentation in laboratories in Ukraine.
We know that during the liquidation measures in the laboratory of veterinary medicine in Khlebodarskoye, working employees (citizens of Ukraine) were not even allowed into the building! . . This laboratory cooperates with Anti-Plague Research Institute named after Mechnikov in Odessa, which conducts research with pathogens of plague, anthrax, cholera, tularemia, arboviruses.
In an attempt to cover their tracks, biological waste from the laboratory in Khlebodarskoye was taken 120 km away towards the western border to the area of Tarutino and Berezino settlements. All these facts are recorded by the Ministry of Defence for subsequent legal assessment.
It is necessary to mention the emergency destruction of documents in Kherson biological laboratory.
One of the reasons for such a rush may be the concealment of information about the outbreak of dirofilariasis, a disease transmitted by mosquitoes, that occurred in Kherson in 2018. The question arises why four cases of infection were detected in February, which is unusual for the life cycle of these insects. In April 2018, representatives of the Pentagon visited local healthcare institutions, where they got acquainted with the results of the epidemiological investigation and copied medical documentation.
However, no documentary evidence has been found concerning this outbreak in Kherson laboratory. Proceeding from this, we believe that the urgency of destroying such documentary evidence is explained by the desire to prevent them from getting to Russian specialists.
In addition, attention is drawn to the fact of a sharp increase in cases of tuberculosis caused by new multi-resistant strains among citizens living in Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics in 2018. These data are confirmed by specialists of Rospotrebnadzor. During the mass outbreak recorded in the area of Peski settlement, more than 70 cases of the disease were detected, which ended in a rapid fatal outcome. This may indicate a deliberate infection, or an accidental leakage of the pathogen from one of the biolabs located on the territory of Ukraine.
In accordance with the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons, the participating States submit to the UN information about objects and ongoing biological activities.
These are Confidence-building measures that are published in order to monitor the implementation of the Convention. Since 2016 – the moment of the beginning of the implementation of the projects mentioned by us (including UP-4, UP-8 and P-781), the USA and Ukraine have been deliberately silent about them in international reporting, despite their obvious military-biological orientation.
Such secrecy is another reason to think about the true goals of the Pentagon in Ukraine.
I would like to remind you of the historical facts when such irresponsible activities of the United States outside of national jurisdiction ended only with formal apologies from the American administration. So, in October 2010, US President Obama acknowledged the fact of conducting illegal research on Guatemalan citizens who were intentionally infected with syphilis and gonorrhea pathogens with the approval of the White House.
The Russian Federation has repeatedly called for the publication of data on the military biological activities of the Pentagon on the territory of third countries, but the collective West, led by the United States, consistently blocks this initiative, preferring to conduct research bypassing international obligations with “someone else’s hands”.
We will continue to study the evidence and inform the world community about the illegal activities of the Pentagon and other US government agencies in Ukraine.
These developments came amid even growing hysteria of Western diplomats and MSM over the Russian military operation in Ukraine. US President Joe Biden called Russian leader Vladimir Putin “murderous dictator” and claimed that Russia is “waging an immoral war”. Apparently, NATO and in particular Washington are very unhappy to see the collapse of the anti-human regime in Ukraine that they created, funded and supported in the previous years. Despite official declarations that NATO is not going to participate in the conflict, NATO member states are openly supplying Kyiv with weapons, intelligence and mercenaries, as well as remain in the permanent state of search for other tricks that they can use to meddle.
Inspiring by these actions, Kyiv is actively sabotages a potential diplomatic settlement of the conflict via talks with Russia in Belarus. Instead, Kyiv’s authorities make ‘victories statements’ and send threats to the Russians. In these conditions, the reaching of the diplomatic solution of the current situation remains under the big question. This forces Moscow to continue its military operation and predetermines the fate of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
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