On March 1, 2022, on the sixth day of the war in Ukraine, the Russian military changed its tactics, both in terms of conducting military operations against the AFU and in terms of their attitude towards the civilian population.
On March 1, numerous unmanned reconnaissance drones of the Russian Armed Forces were observed in the skies over Ukraine, especially near Kharkiv. The question arises why the Russians actually neglected this element of aerial reconnaissance in the previous 5 days, after they reached full air supremacy. Apparently, the answer lies in the incompetence of some of the Moscow carpet generals, who had achieved the command positions in the military operation against Ukraine through intrigues seeking for upcoming awards and promotions.
Gross mistakes in the first 5 days of the war on the part of the Russian command in a number of directions are noted by both Russian and American military experts. For example, it is hard to imagine the logic of the senior commander, who on February 27th ordered a platoon with 4 light armored vehicles, separated from the main forces and without prior reconnaissance to go deep into the city area of Kharkiv in order to take and protect the transport ring. As a result, the grouping was destroyed and one soldier was taken prisoner. There were many such examples during the first 5 days of the operation, especially in the Kharkiv direction, somewhat less in the Kherson and Sumy areas.
However, on March 1 the situation objectively changed. In addition to the use of drones for reconnaissance, rear and supply columns of the Russian Armed Forces began to move with combat guards. The movement of Russian armored vehicles, both on the march and in urban areas with infantry on armor, was noted.
The presence of the Russian Air Force’s strike aircraft in the skies of Ukraine has increased. Coordination and interaction between various units of the Russian Armed Forces has intensified. Artillery is used wherever possible. The accuracy of missile and air strikes has increased. The Russians began striking military facilities that they had apparently previously planned to seize relatively undamaged, such as the Kharkiv aviation and tank military academies, the infrastructure, hangars and warehouses of the largest military airfield near Kharkiv.
The reaction of Russian servicemen to provocative actions on the part of civilians and especially members of the so-called territorial defense forces, consisting of civilians without military uniforms, has also changed significantly. Kiev had previously urged civilians to actively resist the Russian occupation by forcefully throwing Molotov cocktails at Russian vehicles, blocking roads, launching surprise attacks, approaching under the guise of peaceful intentions, etc. Until March 1, Russian servicemen had orders to avoid retaliating to civilian provocations in every possible way, up to and including the consequences of criminal prosecution.
Russian soldiers on February 28th:
Russian soldiers on March 1:
Since March 1 the order seems to have changed and Russian units started to act in accordance with the standards of behavior on enemy territory. Thus, on March 1, in response to an ambush by members of the territorial defense near Kherson, who attempted to throw Molotov cocktails at a Russian convoy, brutal retaliatory fire was opened to the enemy. Video records at least 10 dead. In other areas of Ukraine, when demonstrative attempts were made on camera to block the advance of Russian military equipment, the Russian Armed Forces immediately used special means and fired into the air. The activists immediately scattered.
The change in the tactics of Russian units is attributed to the experience of the first five days of the conflict and the fact that combat generals and senior officers with extensive experience of combat operations in various regions were brought in to command.
The Ukrainian authorities are refusing to provide evacuation assistance to their population. Residents in Kyiv are being given up to the mercy of fate. The Kyiv administration is taking no action to ensure the evacuation of the city’s residents through a humanitarian corridor to the west. The railway station is jammed. Police and law enforcement forces are absent. Children and the elderly are the primary victims.
There were incidents of the seizure of expensive private vehicles belonging to civilians by servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces and nationalist battalions. The formal reason is that they are going to the front lines. And for “moving to the front line” only new cars of those residents who cannot offer resistance or boast of high patrons are targeted. Criminal gangs and looters, who have been handed guns, become more active in the city. Many hundreds of residential apartments and stores have been looted.
Russian units are in no hurry to enter the capital. The Russian Armed Forces are expanding their zones of control around Kiev, making no attempt to enter into the urban area. Russian troops are now close to Brovary, a suburb of Kyiv, where they have gained a foothold. The humanitarian corridor from Kiev to the west is open, with no Russian units or aviation operations in this direction.
In fact, the events taking place in the city, especially the demonstrative inaction of the Ukrainian authorities in the social sphere and public order, on the one hand, and the fierce propagandistic bravado in the information space, on the other hand, have begun to change the mood of the city’s residents toward the authorities. The Ukrainian authorities are rapidly losing the support of the city’s residents and the groundwork that had been achieved by the propaganda in the previous days. If two days ago more than 90% of Kiev residents perceived the actions of Russia extremely negatively, now they equally negatively perceive both the Russian aggression and the activity of the offices of the President of Ukraine and the Mayor of Kiev.
In Kharkiv, the situation is even worse. The city administration refuses even to negotiate the opening of a humanitarian corridor. Units of nationalist battalions are shooting at the cars of citizens who are trying to leave the city. Numerous casualties have been reported.
On March 1, Russian ground units entrenched on the outskirts of Kharkiv. The Russian Air Force conducted heavy missile and bombing strikes against key military infrastructure facilities in the city. Eyewitnesses noted the shelling of the outskirts of the city with multiple rocket launchers. Both sides of the conflict blame each other for the shelling. There is intermittent exchange of fire in the outskirts of the city. In the afternoon of March 1, strong activity of the Russian Air Force air force was noted in the vicinity of Kharkiv.
On March 1, units of the DPR and the Russian Federation completely surrounded Mariupol. Almost all of the neighboring settlements, including. Shyrokyne and Sartana are under the control of “Eurasian Coalition” forces. The humanitarian corridors will be open until March 2. After that, the final mopping up of the city is apparently planned. On the night of March 2, there was fighting in the outskirts of the city. The demoralization of the Mariupol garrison was reported. Units which have previously retreated from Volnovakha to Mariupol are coming into confrontation with the city garrison. Overall command is lost.
Between Donetsk and Mariupol, fighting is going on in Volnovakha, a key stronghold of the AFU in the Donbass. Units of the AFU are trying to provide cover for the withdrawal of their main forces from the region. In the first half of the day, shots were recorded from the Ukrainian armed forces at civilians who were trying to leave the settlement under a white flag.
Eduard Basurin, an official representative of the DPR forces, confirmed that the headquarters of the Ukrainian Task Force “North” was completely destroyed. Almost all the officers were killed. Earlier it was reported that the commanders of the Ukrainian task force groups “North” General Dmytro Krasilnikov and “East” Yuri Sodol were liquidated during a special operation, the headquarters of the “East” task force was also destroyed. This information is confirmed by the office of the president of Ukraine, who said that he awarded Krasilnikov and Sodol the title of heroes of Ukraine posthumously.
LPR forces on their front lines have also enjoyed considerable success on March 1. Starobelsk and a number of nearby villages were liberated. Progress is being made towards Severodonetsk and Rubizhne. Svatovo has been blockaded. Russian Federation troops advancing from the border reached Izyum and entrenched their attack positions.
In the Zaporizhia area, fighting is going on near Vasilievka, where the Russian Armed Forces are breaking through the AFU stronghold that covers Zaporizhia. Losses on all sides are reported.
Probably the main news of the day on March 1, 2022, is the complete takeover of the important regional center of Kherson by Russia. Russian units occupied all key points in the city. The administration is cooperating and doing its best to maintain a peaceful situation in the city with the help of the Russian Armed Forces. The disarmament of the members of the “territorial defense” begins. The police, ambulance and emergency services are working as usual. The city is relatively calm.
In the Nikolayev area, instead of a direct assault, the Russian Armed Forces encircle the city. As of the night of March 2, the city is already semi-enclosed. The Nikolayev – Krivoy Rog road is cut.
No signs of the Russian landing force, which had been scaring the city’s residents for the past few days, have been found in Odessa. There is panic and hysteria in the city. There are reports of looting and activation of criminal elements, for which Odessa is famous for the past 150 years. Let us recall that Odessa has had a Russian-Jewish-Moldovan-Greek population from its founding in 1784 by the Russian Empress Catherine the Great until the present time.
The war in Ukraine from 2014 to the present has already become the bloodiest conflict in Europe in the last 77 years, surpassing all of the Yugoslav wars combined. Over the past six days, according to sources inside the conflicting parties, at least 2 730 personnel on the Russian and LDPR side and 11 150 on the Ukrainian side, including deserters, have been killed or missing.
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