27 March, 11:36 AM
Day 32 of Putin's war. Russia wants to encircle Ukrainian forces in Donbas, shells Ukraine from Russian territory
UPDATE (1920): Ukrainian forces are counterattacking in Kharkiv, Sumy, Kyiv, and Kherson oblasts, Oleksiy Arestovych, an advisor to Ukraine's president, has said during a briefing.
According to him, the occupiers have been trying to surround Ukrainian troops in the Joint Forces Operation zone, capture Mariupol, and maintain their defenses in the occupied part of Kherson region.
“This gives us hope in the area of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Kharkiv regions. We will get rid of the enemy here, we will beat them out," Arestovych said. "Secondly, this may mean a potential and sharp complication of the situation in the area of Mariupol and the JFO zone,” he said.
Meanwhile Ukraine's military intelligence reported that the commander of a Russian tank regiment has committed suicide.
After the liberation of Trostyanets by the Ukrainian military in Sumy Oblast and the defeat of Russia's elite Kantemirovskaya tank division, the commander of the 13th tank regiment shot himself, the press service of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported, with reference to Ukrainian intelligence.
UPDATE (1805): The next round of face-to-face Russo-Ukrainian negotiations is planned to be held on March 28-30 in Turkey, David Arakhamia, Servant of the People parliament faction head and Ukrainian delegate said in a Facebook post.
He added that the decision to meet in person was made today during video conference negotiations with Russia. Arakhamia promised to reveal more details soon.
UPDATE (1720): Ukrainian army has liberated the villages of Olkhovka and Husarivka in Kharkiv Oblast.
“The invaders have been driven out. About 60 vehicles were destroyed. The losses of personnel are being specified, but (it is about a) hundred,” the Armed Forces of Ukraine has said in a statement.
In the nearby Sumy Oblast Ukrainian forces have liberated Okhtyrka, Trostianets and Boromlia towns.
- More than 10,000 hectares of forest have been burning in Chornobyl Zone, currently controlled by Russian invading forces, Ukrainian human-rights Ombudswoman Liudmyla Denisova said in a Facebook post. According to her, the Ukrainian authorities spotted more than 30 fires in the exclusion zone that pose a radioactive contamination danger to residents of Ukraine, Belarus and European countries. Ukraine cannot currently put out the fires as the Russian army has occupied the Chornobyl zone.
Denisova added that Ukrainian government cannot control what is happening in the zone, therefore it is not known whether the nuclear storage facility is safe from the fires or not.
Strong winds in Kyiv Oblast are spreading the potentially contaminated air to Kyiv, which has just started slowly returning to the normal life. Mayor Vitaly Klitschko has said in a statement that more and more businesses have started working again in the capital, although heavy fighting is still going on in certain areas of Kyiv Oblast.
- Ukraine's Ministry of Defense has published a list of seven Russian Army generals killed in Ukraine in a month of Russia's full-scale invasion.
Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has entered its second month. Yesterday, the enemy attacked Lviv three times with missiles. As a result a local oil depot was set on fire, and several buildings were damaged. No casualties have been reported by the local authorities.
On March 26 ten humanitarian corridors were in operation and Ukraine managed to evacuate more than 5,200 people to safety. The Russians finally unblocked the evacuation buses in Berdyansk, allowing more than 3,000 Mariupol residents to get to Zaporizhzhia, Reintegration Minister of Ukraine Iryna Vereshchuk said in a statement.
Overnight, the Russians occupied Slavutych, a town in Kyiv Oblast close to Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the town's local council reported. Yesterday, the Russians promised to leave the town if Ukrainian law enforcers leave it before them, and they promised not to harm any civilians. However, after Ukrainian army left, the Russians seized the town and killed three civilians, local mayor Yuriv Fomichov reported.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Army has liberated Trostianets, a town in Sumy Oblast. Chernihiv, a city in northern Ukraine has been encircled by Russian troops and completely cut from the rest of Ukraine logistically. More than 120,000 people are still trapped in the city without water and food. The Russians blew up strategic bridge, making the evacuation or delivery of any supplies impossible. More than 200 people were killed in Chernihiv on March 25-26 alone.
It seems encircling has become Russia's tactic all over Ukraine. UK intelligence reports that Russian troops are now trying to encircle the Ukrainian army in Donbas.
“Russian forces have been concentrating their efforts to try to cordon off Ukrainian forces that are directly in front of the separatist areas in the east of the country, advancing from Kharkiv in the north and Mariupol in the south,” the UK Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
UK intelligence has also said the Russians had started shelling Ukraine from Russian or Russian-controlled territories as they are afraid to lose their aircraft, which might be downed by Ukrainian air defense systems. Thus Russians attacked Lviv using missiles launched from Sevastopol, a city in Russian-occupied Crimea.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Army General Staff has reported Russia has already lost some 16,600 soldiers and more than 2,000 armored vehicles, including tanks in Ukraine. Russia's Defense Ministry gives very much lower figures, saying Russia's losses are close to 1,400 soldiers killed in action and some 3,000 wounded.
Heavy fighting has been going on in Luhansk Oblast. Russian occupiers have taken parts of the towns of Rubizhne and Popasna.
Russian shelling damaged three high-rise buildings and eight private houses in Severodonetsk, Lysychansk and Rubizhne. A school in a village near Lysychansk, the infrastructure of an ambulance station in Severodonetsk and two wholesale warehouses in the city also came under fire. Two people were wounded, and four were saved from under rubble, the local council said in a statement.