south front

Russian Forces Pincer Ukrainian Garrison In Avdiivka
South Front, Mar 20 2023

The Russian military is developing its advance in the north of the town of Avdiivka located on the north-western outskirts of Donetsk. On Mar 17, Russian military sources reported Russian control of the village of Krasnogorovka located 3 km north of Avdiivka. Since then, Russian forces preserved the military initiative and continued their advance westwards in order to encircle Avdiivka from the north and cut the strategically important railway used for transfer of military supplie to the Ukrainian grouping in the town.

On Mar 20, the Russian Army broke through the Ukrainian defenses at the railway. According to preliminary reports, the village of Stepovoe (also known as Petrovsky) located 200 m west of the road came under Russian control. Russian fighters of the 1st regiment of the 114th Brigade of the 1st Army Corps of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation gained a stronghold in the village. The mop up operation is likely ongoing in the area. The Russian control of the village is yet to be officially confirmed. Anyway, the AFU lost control of the last railway leading to Avdiivka. The ability of the Ukrainian grouping to transfer military personnel and ammunition to the city is severely disrupted. Russian advance on the northern outskirts also complicated the interaction between the Ukrainian units deployed in the village of Berdychi and the main garrison in Avdiivka. Only one road leading to the town from the west remains under Ukrainian control. The situation for the AFU in Avdiivka is becoming threatening for the Ukrainian military.

The report of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on March 19 indicated that Russian troops advanced beyond Stepovoe. The Ukrainian military claimed that Russian forces ‘launched offensive operations in the area of the village of Berdychi.’ In its turn, the AFU is urgently strengthening the military positions near Berdychi. Reinforcements, including heavy military equipment, were transfered to the area.

On the north-eastern outskirts of Avdiivka, the battle for the village of Kamenka is ongoing. According to preliminary reports, the village has already come under Russian control. However, this reports are yet to be confirmed. A Russian military reporter showed the area of Vodyanoe on Mar 15:

At the same time, the Russian military launched offensive operations to the south of Avdiivka. The Russian assault units advanced from their military positions in Opytnoe and broke through Ukrainian defences on the outskirts of Avdiivka. According to preliminary reports, fighting broke out in the 9th quarter of the town. The reports are yet to be confirmed. The AFU continue attempts to counter-attack near Opytnoe and Vodyanoe, but so far to no avail. Russian simultaneous operations in the north and the south of Avdiivka shackles Ukrainian units deployed in the area, preventing them from transferring additional forces to the north to regain control of the railway line.

Moscow Confirms Readiness For Negotiations, While Washington And Brussels Declare More Military Supplies
South Front, Mar 20 2023

Mar 20 marked significant political developments which once again revealed the true goals of the states involved in the Ukrainian war. While Moscow confirmed its readiness to launch the negotiation process, Washington and Brussels declared new military supplies to the Kiev regime. The US will provide Ukraine with the new 34th package of military assistance. The new military package will contain ammunition for HIMARS MLRS and Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, artillery shells, HARM anti-radar missiles, anti-tank ammunition, motor boats and other military equipment. Blinken claimed:

Today, pursuant to a delegation of authority from President Biden, I am authorizing our 34th drawdown of US arms and equipment for Ukraine valued at $350m.

Earlier, the Biden administration rejected any possible cease-fire if Putin or Xi Jinping make such calls during the visit of the Chinese leader to Moscow. EU’s Josep Borrel said on Twitter:

Following my proposal, the EU member states have made a historic decision to supply one million artillery shells to Ukraine. over the next 12 months.

€1b was allocated for the immediate shipment of shells, another €1b will be spent on joint purchases of shells by EU countries to replenish their stocks. A commission will also be created to “increase production capacity.” While NATO is preparing the Ukrainian military for a large-scale offensive, escalating the military conflict and getting more and more involved in the fighting, Washington and Brussels will not allow Russian or Chinese diplomacy to stop the bloodshed on the Ukrainian battlefields. On the other hand, the Chinese leader’s ongoing visit to Russia is a clear sign of the upcoming strategic rapprochement of the two countries in response to provocations from the West, which may even influence the course of the war in Ukraine as well.

On Mar 20, the three-day state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Russia began. Moscow and Beijing are confident that this visit will give a new impetus to the development of bilateral relations. The first meeting between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping took place in the representative office in the first building of the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin noted that they intend to discuss all the necessary issues, including the situation in Ukraine. The Russian authorities have studied China’s ideas for a peaceful settlement in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with his Chinese counterpart. Putin added that Russia is open to the negotiation process. On the anniversary of the special operation in Ukraine, China presented its position on the peaceful settlement of the crisiswhich included 12 points. Putin claimed that Moscow respects Beijing’s ideas. Putin said:

We have carefully read your proposals on the settlement of the acute crisis in Ukraine. Of course, we will have the opportunity to discuss these issues. We know that you proceed from the principles of justice and respect for the fundamental provisions of international law and indivisible security for all countries.

On the eve of the Chinese leader’s visit, the Russian president published an article in People’s Daily where he also explained Russian positions on the possibility of the negotiation process:

Russia is open to the political and diplomatic resolution of the Ukraine crisis. It was not Russia who broke off the peace talks back in Apr 2022. The future of the peace process depends solely on the will to engage in a meaningful discussion taking into account current geopolitical realities. Unfortunately, the ultimatum nature of requirements placed on Russia shows that their authors are detached from these realities and lack interest in finding a solution to the situation.

Zelensky, assessing China’s proposals, said that there was no “plan” in the listed paragraphs. He called the settlement plan unrealizable if it does not contain a condition for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine. The Kiev regime also legally prohibited any negotiations with the Russian side. It is important to recall that on Mar 18 Zelensky imposed sanctions against Assad after his visit to Moscow. According to the political course of the Kiev regime, he should also sanction Xi Jinping. However, Zelensky likely lacks the courage for such a step, and he prefers to follow the traditional double standards that he has learned from his Western partners.

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