Throughout February 26, sporadic exchanges of fire occurred on the streets of Kyiv between groups of residents who had previously been given weapons, including SBU officers, militia from the territorial defense units, employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). The armed groups have no system of identification of their friends or foes. The actions of armed looters and criminal gangs instigate the chaos. Dozens of civilian casualties are reported as a result of such exchanges of fire.
Russian forces near Kiev:
Ukrainian policemen detained an SBU employee
In the first half of the day, the large settlement of Stanytsia Luhanska came under the control of LPR forces. Along with Stanytsia Luhanska, the LPR units occupied Krymskoye and Markovka in the same direction. However, it was not possible to pass through the AFU units at their positions north of Luhansk. No breakthroughs of the LPR units succeeded. The AFU withdrew its troops from the Starobelsk and will now be able to engage them to stabilize the front line near Severodonetsk and Izyum.
The LPR corps did not receive the necessary support from the Russian Armed Forces to accomplish the constraining offensive task. This significant miscalculation by the Russian command may lead to a change in the situation in other parts of the front.
The DPR People’s Militia took control of Novoapostolovka, 6 km east of Volnovakha, and other locations in the vicinity of Volnovakha. At the same time, the successes of DPR and Russian forces in this direction are purely tactical in nature. Volnovakha has not been taken, and they have not even been able to get close to it.
Despite the continuing offensive of the DPR units in the Mariupol direction and the occupation of Pavlopol and Pischevik, there is no “blockade” of Mariupol yet. The information on the complete blockade of the city does not correspond to the reality as on 8 p.m. local time. The Ukrainian units are resisting relatively successfully and in an organized manner, which threatens the likelihood of a breakthrough from the encirclement if the “Crimean” group’s offensive slows down.
The exit of civilians from Mariupol is blocked by fighters of nationalist battalions. There is video evidence of civilians being shot, when they were trying to leave the city, including women and children.
There are battles with the use of MLRS, artillery and tanks in the Kharkiv direction. This is currently the most difficult battlefield for the Russian Federation. The Russian Armed Forces suffered significant losses there, and several columns of equipment were destroyed. Sources familiar with the situation near Kharkiv report that there is poor coordination of the Russian units, communication failures and errors of command.
By the afternoon of February 26, it became known that the AFU had regained control of Kherson. In the afternoon, fighting in the outskirts of the city continued.
Near the city of Zhytomyr, the AFU air defense forces reportedly shot down a Russian Air Force aircraft.
In turn, over the Chernihiv region Russian air defense shot down 2 Bayraktars.
The AFU blew up a bridge between the Odessa and Mykolaiv regions. On the evening of February 26, Russian units began to enter Nikolaev.
The Russian military is strengthening its position in Melitopol, Zaporizhia region. The city of Melitopol is completely under Russian control. In this direction, the Russian grouping is developing success in the direction of Molochansk and Tokmak, as well as in the direction of Mariupol. Near Molochansk, an AFU column was destroyed. At the same time, the advancing Russian units encounter strong resistance.
The Russian Defense Ministry reported that 16 Ukrainian naval boats, using “swarm tactics”, attempted yesterday to attack Russian Black Sea Fleet ships, which had evacuated 82 surrendered Ukrainian servicemen from Zmeiniy Island.
Part of the attacking boats acted under the cover of civilian vessels. The purpose of the attack was primarily to retaliate against the laid down soldiers and to accuse the Russian army of destroying prisoners, the report said. Six Ukrainian boats were destroyed. None of the 82 Ukrainian servicemen from Snake Island were injured.
When the Ukrainian boats attacked the Russian ships near the Snake Island, the US strategic drones RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-9A Ripper were barreling over the area of provocation. It is highly probable that it was the American drones that guided the Ukrainian boats to the ships of the Russian fleet.
Overall, despite successes in a number of areas, the situation for the RF Armed Forces and the DPR and LPR on February 26 and the night of February 27 was not good. The offensive on the main “eastern front” toward Volnovakha and further west, as well as toward Mariupol, lost momentum. This is largely due to the complete absence of the second echelon, which should follow the strike units.
The area covered is not controlled, road junctions and important points are not put under control, garrisons and large groups of the enemy are ignored. At the same time the rear columns move without the slightest protection through the territory that has not been cleared, as if it were an area of the Russian Federation.
This approach has already led to the defeat and even complete destruction of several army columns of the Russian Army. There is a big miscalculation in the planning of the operation, caused, probably, by a wrong assessment of the situation and the resulting “lurching assertiveness” of the Moscow generals.
At the same time, there is information about the concentration of units of the second echelon of the offensive in the regions of the Russian Federation adjacent to Ukraine. In all likelihood they will be sent in support of the first-echelon forces in the near future.
If Moscow fails to reverse the situation in the next 2-3 days, the war will become protracted with unpredictable consequences for all parties to the conflict.
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