Rescuers work at the site of a drone strike on Khmelnytskyi in western Ukraine, February 27, 2023
Confronting “Imperial Conquest”: Lessons From A Year of Putin’s War on Ukraine
Monday’s Coverage: Belarus Opposition Claims Destruction of Russian Warplane Near Minsk
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1632 GMT:
Russian officials say a Ukrainian military drone tried to strike a Gazprom gas facility in the Moscow region, 490 km (300 miles) from the Ukraine border.
Governor Andrey Vorobyov said a UAV crash-landed in the village of Gubastovo. Photos showed a Ukrainian-made UJ-22.
The drone apparently clipped trees and landed 10 meters from the outer fence of the gas compression station.
UPDATE 1255 GMT:
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki says Poland is cutting its oil imports from Russia to “close to zero”.
At the beginning of this year, imports from Russia decreased to 10%….[In] February-March, from information I get from [Polish oil company] Orlen, it will be 0%.
PKN Orlen said Saturday that Russia has stopped deliveries.
Chief executive officer Daniel Obajtek assured, “We’re effectively securing supplies,” with deliveries via sea.
UPDATE 1024 GMT:
Flights at Pulkovo airport in St Petersburg have resumed after airspace was closed earlier today because of an unidentified flying object (see 0850 GMT).
Russia’s Defense Ministry said the closure was because of air defense drills involving interceptor jets: “During the training, air defence forces worked on the detection, interception and identification of targets, as well as interacting with emergency services and law enforcement agencies.”
The Ministry did not explain why local officials, including at the airport, were not notified of the drills.
UPDATE 0850 GMT:
A oil depot in Russia’s Krasnodar region has reportedly been struck by drones.
The city administration in Tuapse said a fire was started about 2 a.m. at a Rosneft oil refinery.
Residents heard two explosions within several seconds of each other. A local outlet said “two unidentified aircraft” attacked, damaging the boiler room, and two Telegram channels said explosives from the drones fell 100 meters from the depot.
The oil depot that caught fire in Tuapse, Russia, is 690km southeast from closest Ukraine-controlled territory.
Russians say it was attacked by drones.
— Oleksiy Sorokin (@mrsorokaa) February 28, 2023
The Russian Defense Ministry proclaimed:
The Kyiv regime attempted to use unmanned aerial vehicles to attack civilian infrastructure in the Krasnodar territory and the Republic of Adygea.
The UAVs were suppressed by the electronic warfare units of the Russian Federation armed forces. Both drones lost control and deviated from their flight path. One UAV fell in a field, another UAV, deviating from the trajectory, did not harm the attacked civilian infrastructure facility.
Airspace within a 200-km (124-mile) radius above St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport has been closed amid reports of an unidentified flying object.
TV and radio broadcasters in several Russian regions were hacked this morning with a message: “Attention, attention, air raid alert! Everyone go to cover. Attention, attention, the threat of a missile strike!”
The cyber-attack was the second on the outlets within a week.
UPDATE 0845 GMT:
Taiwan has set aside NT$1.8 billion (almost $59 million) in humanitarian aid for Ukraine this year.
The funds will be used to rebuild hospitals, schools, churches, and infrastructure.
Taiwan has already donated 27 tons of medical supplies and more than 700 tons of humanitarian aid.
UPDATE 0811 GMT:
Russian forces have killed another Ukrainian rescuer and wounded four.
Russian shelling hit a position of the emergency service in Sviatohirsk in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.
On Monday, the Russians killed two emergency service personnel and wounded three in a “double tap” drone attack on Khmelnytskyi in western Ukraine (see Original Entry).
UPDATE 0704 GMT:
Japan has imposed sanctions on another 143 Russian individuals and entities.
Among those blacklisted are the head of the Kalashnikov arms manufacturer Alan Lushnikov and Deputy Defense Minister Viktor Goremykin. Restrictions have been placed on the Wagner Group mercenaries and the financial institution Rosbank.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Using Russia’s latest attacks with Iranian-made drones, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has again called for the provision of fighter jets to Kyiv.
Russia launched 14 Shahed drones on Monday. Eleven were downed, and there was no damage to energy infrastructure.
However, two emergency services workers were killed and three wounded in Khmelnytskyi in western Ukraine. The casualties were inflicted in a “double tap” attack, in which a second drone struck as the emergency services responded to a fire set by the first.
In his nightly address to the nation, Zelenskiy summarized:
That is why we need the aviation component of air defense – modern combat aircraft — to protect the entire territory of our country from Russian terror. Air defense is complete only when it is backed by aviation. Modern aviation.
Ukraine’s supporters — including the US, UK, Germany, and Italy — have held back from commitments to Western-made jets.
However, an arrangement is being discussed in which Poland would supply Soviet-era MiG-29 fighters, which would then be replaced by Western jets.
The UK has said it could provide the replacements, but British numbers are limited. Warsaw has emphasized the need for an international coalition.
“More and More Difficult in Bakhmut”
Zelenskiy also spoke of the nine-month Russian assault on the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.
The President said, “The situation is getting more and more difficult. The enemy is constantly destroying everything that can be used to protect our positions, to gain a foothold and ensure defense.”
Bakhmut, with a pre-war population of 70,000, has lost its strategic importance with Ukrainian gains in an autumn counter-offensive. However, Russian leaders — with no notably victory since last July — have pinned their hopes on a conquest of the city.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group mercenaries, has claimed the capture of villages north of Bakhmut in the past week.
The Ukrainian military denies any loss; however, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar posted on Telegram:
To put it briefly and simply: the situation at the front is complicated. The enemy army is increasing the intensity of its assaults.
The most difficult situation remains in the Bakhmut direction.
During offensive operations, the enemy uses tactics of exhaustion and total destruction.
Maliar asserted that the Russians are losing “from 600 to 1,000 people daily”.
Serhiy Cherevatyi, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern military command, said on national TV, “Vicious battles are going on there. The command is doing everything it can to stop the enemy from advancing through our territory,”
A Ukrainian commander added that the thaw of the winter ground is also impeding any advance: “Both sides stay in their positions, because as you see, spring means mud.”
Zelenskiy said, “Our warriors defending the Bakhmut sector are real heroes. I am grateful to each and every person who is heroically holding this direction and other directions in Donbas.”