DISCLOSURE: Sourced from Russian government funded media
ALERT: Sourced from Russian State-Controlled Media
SouthFront: The Russian military is preparing to further develop its offensive in the Donbass region after reducing military operations on the fronts of Kyiv and Chernihiv in northern Ukraine.
As of March 31, the Russian military and the armed forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic advanced further in the city of Mariupol despite facing fierce resistance from the remaining troops of the Azov Battalion and the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
With support from the Russian Navy, DPR forces were able to capture the main headquarters of Azov in the city, dealing a heavy blow to the nationalist force. Meanwhile, the Russian military imposed control of several military-industrial facilities and factories near the city. Currently, the Russian military and DPR forces are trying to clear the left bank of Mariupol.
On March 31 in order to facilitate the evacuation of remaining civilians from the city, the Russian Ministry of Defense opened an additional humanitarian corridor from the war-torn city to Zaporozhye with a stop in Berdyansk.
On the other fronts of the Donbass, limited battles and small advances were reported. Russian forces made some gains in the Izyum area in the south of Kharkiv Region. The forces also moved closer to Sloviansk.
Near Kramatorsk, Kyiv’s troops blew up a dam to slow down the Russian offensive in this direction.
In the Lysychansk-Severodonetsk agglomeration, there are no major changes on the front lines. However, heavy human and material losses were inflicted on Ukrainian forces. Meanwhile, LPR troops secured the settlement of Zhitlovka and advanced on Kremennaya.
On the fronts of Kyiv and Chernihiv, Russian forces continue their redeployment after completing their tasks, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Russian strikes continue to target Ukraine’s key military facilities. On March 30, a strike with air-launched missiles destroyed large fuel depots in the Starokonstantinov and Khmelnytsky regions, from which fuel was supplied for the grouping of the Ukrainian forces in the Donbass.
On the same day, a strike with the operational-tactical missile system Iskander destroyed two large depots of missile and artillery weapons in the village of Kamenka, Donetsk Region.
On the morning of March 31, Russia announced that during the night, its operational-tactical and unmanned aircraft struck 52 military targets, including four command posts, an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system south of Izyum, and a Buk-M1 in the Kurakhovo area.
Meanwhile, aerial battles continue in Ukraine’s airspace. In the area of Tumen in the Rivne Region, a Su-24 of the Ukrainian Air Force was shot down during an air battle on March 30.
As of now, the Russian military says that since the beginning of the operation, Russian forces have destroyed 124 aircraft and 77 helicopters, 216 anti-aircraft missile systems, 341 unmanned aerial vehicles, 1,815 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 195 multiple rocket launchers, 762 field artillery guns, and mortars, as well as 1,689 units of special military vehicles.
On the political side, the Russian-Ukrainian negotiations appear to be running into some problems. Kremlin spokesman Demetri Peskov told reporters on March 30 that Crimea is a part of the Russian Federation and its status is not up for negotiation with Ukraine. The statement was a response to Ukrainian demands to discuss the status of the peninsula within 15 years after any ceasefire agreement.
Despite the slowdown in operations over the last few days, all recent developments indicate that the Russian military is preparing to develop its offensive in the Donbass region to impose full control over the territory of the DPR and Luhansk People’s Republic and neutralize the remaining forces of Kyiv to the east of the Dnieper River later on.
These objectives will not be easy to complete. However, if they are achieved, Kyiv will likely end up losing most of its military capabilities and any political leverage it once had.