War in Ukraine, day 37: Moscow’s troops regroup for new attacks. Oil depot in Belgorod, Russia on fire

On the 37th day of the war, Russian troops appear to be regrouping for further attacks. The Russians are trying to regroup, supply and consolidate their offensive in the Donbas region, NATO Secretary-General said.

US president also said that the West is skeptical about Russia’s withdrawal from certain regions of Ukraine, adding he referred in particular to the Kyiv area. At the same time, Joe Biden described Vladimir Putin as a man who had isolated himself from the rest of the world and would have punished his advisers for failing in the war.

In the meantime, Britain and its allies have agreed to send more lethal weapons to Ukraine. The announcement was made by London’s defense minister, who said it was long-range artillery, ammunition, armored vehicles and anti-aircraft weapons.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the situation is extremely critical in Donbas and southern Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces have announced that they have recaptured 11 localities in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine in the last few days, the dpa reported on Friday. As they advanced north into the region, Ukrainian forces also came across abandoned Russian military equipment, including T-64 tanks, the Kyiv Defense Ministry said. Ukrainian authorities have been able to deliver food and medicine to locals, the ministry said in a statement. In turn, the Russian armed forces claim to have completely taken control of the Kherson region.

A video filmed in the village of Nova Basan shows Ukrainian soldiers greeted by excited locals, some of whom are waiting for them with food and encouraging them as they walk down a street in the commune.


Several cities in the Lugansk region of eastern Ukraine have been hit by heavy Russian bombing, the regional military governor said on Friday. “Two people died in Severodonetsk, Lysychansk and Toshkivka were injured, and four people were rescued. There is no water supply in Rubijne, Popasna, Severodonetsk, part of the Hirske community and in Lysychansk. Twenty-eight localities remain without gas supply and 22 without electricity,” he said. On the other hand, Ukrainian forces rejected the Russians’ attempts to control Popasna and Novotoshkivske.

“North of Kyiv, in the direction of Chernivtsi, in the Sumi region, the occupiers are rejected. They are aware that they can no longer bear the intensity of hostilities as in the first half of March. But we must also understand that, for the Russian army, it is part of their tactics. We know that we are moving away from the areas where we are beating them to focus on others that are very important and that may be harder for us.The situation in the south and in the Donbas remains extremely difficult, extremely difficult. The invaders direct their sick creativity to the temporarily occupied areas of the Kherson region. They are trying to organize some of their incomprehensible structures there, they are trying to figure out how to consolidate their presence there. In Donbas, in Mariupol, in the direction of Kharkov, Russian troops are accumulating potential for heavy blows. We will defend ourselves. We will do everything we can to stop the occupants and cleanse our land of their evil and meaningless chimeras,” Zelensky said.

2 high-ranking Ukrainian generals fired for treason

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also announced he had fired two high-ranking Ukrainian generals on the grounds that they are “traitors.” In his nightly speech, he called the two “anti-heroes,” writes CNN. “Another decision has been made today regarding anti-heroes. Now I don’t have time to deal with all the traitors. But gradually everyone will be punished,” he said.

The two are the former head of the Department of Homeland Security of the Security Service of Ukraine, Naumov Andriy Olehovych, and the former head of the Office of the Security Service of Ukraine in the Kherson region, Kryvoruchko Serhiy Oleksandrovych. The two generals were dismissed.


Medical and humanitarian aid for Mariupol, blocked in Zaporozhye 

A Red Cross convoy (ICRC) carrying humanitarian and medical aid to Mariupol is stranded in Zaporozhye, as security clearances for its passage have not yet been received on Friday, writes BBC. The convoy consists of seven aid trucks expected by tens of thousands of people stranded in Mariupol. On the other hand, 40 buses for the evacuation of civilians are stopped in Berdiansk, an area under Russian control. According to reports, some of the buses were robbed by Russian soldiers. Several buses with civilians who managed to escape from the Russian-controlled areas were able to return to Zaporozhye. It is unlikely that the Red Cross team will continue the action without the necessary security guarantees (a ceasefire) on both sides.

Fire at an oil depot in Belgorod 

A fire broke out at an oil depot in Belgorod, Russia, about 30 kilometers from the Ukrainian border. The governor of the region says that the tanks were bombed by two Ukrainian helicopters flying at low altitude. There are no victims.


Russia accused Ukraine of attacking the fuel depot, but Ukrainian authorities have not reacted so far. Addressing reporters at a conference call, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said authorities were doing everything possible to reorganize the fuel supply chain and avoid disrupting the energy supply in Belgorod. A Russian official has previously claimed that two Ukrainian military helicopters hit a fuel depot in Belgorod, the first allegations of Ukrainian airstrikes on Russian territory since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24th.


The Russians left the Chernobyl plant hostage with hostages 

Russian troops who left the Chernobyl plant, occupied at the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, were taken hostage on Thursday, Ukrainian officials said in Kyiv on Thursday night. “Leaving the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the Russian occupiers took with them members of the National Guard who had been held hostage since February 24,” Ukrainian state news agency Energoatom told Telegram. It is unclear how many Ukrainian soldiers have been held hostage by Russian forces.

On the other hand, the International Atomic Energy Agency will investigate reports that Russian soldiers became ill after being exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Given that the Russian occupiers are partially withdrawing from the area, the Agency will have access to the area again.

US, UK military assessments

In its  daily assessment of the situation on the front, the British Ministry of Defense reports on Friday morning that Ukrainian forces have recovered the villages of Sloboda and Lukashivka, south of Chernihiv and located along one of the main supply routes between the city and Kyiv. The British also say that the Ukrainian army continued to carry out successful, but limited, counterattacks to the east and northeast of Kiev. Both Chernihiv and Kyiv have been subjected to continuous airstrikes and missiles, despite Russia’s commitment to reduce military activities in the area, the British Defense Ministry notes.

In his turn, British Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace on Thursday told Sky News that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “is not the force he used to be” as he announced the UK and its allies will send Ukraine more advanced weaponry like armored vehicles and long-range artillery. He also said that Vladimir Putin is now a man in a cage he built himself”.


About 20 percent of the Russian forces to the north of Kyiv are repositioning, and while American officials do not know where they are going, they don’t think they are going home.

A small number of Russian forces are beginning to reposition from their attack on Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. “It is not exactly clear … where they’re going to go, for how long and for what purpose, but we don’t see any indication that they’re going to be sent home,” said Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby.

The best assessment is these troops will reposition to Belarus where they will refit, get resupplied and then be moved back into Ukraine, possibly into the Donbas region, Kirby said. “It’s clear the Russians want to reprioritize their operations in the Donbas area [and] that could be one destination, but again, [it’s] too soon to know,” he said. “We don’t really have a good sense of it.”

As for Kyiv, although some Russian forces continue to disengage from positions north and east of the Ukrainian capital, airstrikes continue, and Kyiv is still in danger, a senior defense official said today.

The invasion of Ukraine is a “strategic disaster” for Russia, says the White House. The Biden administration also promises to continue to help Ukraine defend itself and to impose additional sanctions on Russia. Kate Bedingfield, a White House communications director, said: “We have seen this invasion as a strategic failure for Putin and Russia. It is now trying to redefine its original objectives. We have seen indisputable evidence that this is a strategic disaster for Russia.” .


FM Kuleba not optimistic about the war ending soon

The head of the Ukrainian diplomacy Dmitro Kuleba told an interview with TVN24’s Polish news station that there are no reasons to believe that the war started by Russia against his country will end in a few days, thenews.pl reportedon Friday.

He said he believed in the negotiations as a diplomat and noted that the recent round of talks in Istanbul had seen a “clear change of tone” on the part of the Russian delegation.

At the same time, the Ukrainian foreign minister said that although Russia “has withdrawn some units and equipment from northern Ukraine”, several Ukrainian cities continue to be bombed, and “the Russians openly declare that they are planning an offensive on large-scale in the Donbas region ”.

Dmitro Kuleba has called on NATO to “show political will” and provide military equipment and ammunition to Ukraine.

The head of diplomacy in Kyiv reaffirmed that Ukraine would be willing to consider a neutral status on the condition that there are “real security guarantees and mechanisms” from a sufficient number of countries. This status of neutrality would mean that Ukraine would not join NATO, but the country remains determined to become a member of the European Union.

Kuleba said French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz would continue to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin “to try to end the war and suffering.” “However, no agreement can be reached on behalf of Ukraine and behind its back,” the Kyiv foreign minister said.

Roberta Metsola, the first EU official who goes to Kyiv after the Russian invasion

The President of the European Parliament is currently on his way to Kyiv. Roberta Metsola posted this information, in English and Ukrainian, on her Twitter account late Thursday night.

Roberta Metsola is the first leader of a European institution to arrive in the Ukrainian capital after the outbreak of war. Earlier in mid-March, the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia traveled by train to Kyiv to show EU support for Ukraine, the first visit by foreign leaders to the country’s capital since the start of the Russian military invasion.

Russia continues to supply gas to Europe

Russian gas continues to be delivered to Europe, despite the deadline set by Russian President Vladimir Putin for terminating contracts if Western customers do not start paying in rubles. It is Moscow’s strongest threat to sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reports.

However, European countries that import large quantities of gas from Russia do not give up. Germany says it will continue to make payments in euros or dollars, and France says it is ready to shut down Russian gas. Robert Habeck, the German government’s economy minister, says the allies he has spoken to believe that existing contracts must be respected. He added that Russia had not yet sent an invoice and that Germany was ready for any scenario.

New Russia’s warning on foodstuff exports

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, one of the main collaborators of the current Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin, warned on Friday that Moscow could limit its agricultural and foodstuff deliveries only to “friendly” countries in the wake of Western sanctions.

“We will only supply agricultural products and food to our friends. Fortunately, we have many friends and they are not at all in Europe or North America,” said Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s deputy secretary of the National Security Council.

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