Center for Defense Strategies: Russia's war against Ukraine. March 4 overview

5 March 2022, 09:15 PM

Military Priority Nr 1 - Enhancing of Ukraine’s air defence.   The main news from today is the rejection of NATO to establish a ‘no-fly’ zone above Ukraine. 

The NATO North Atlantic Council in Brussels considered the questions of the Russian aggression towards Ukraine in the context of the European security. NATO rejects a no-fly zone over the territory of Ukraine while it could lead to a direct confrontation with the Russian Federation and the NATO with unexpected consequences.

Video of day

It has been a move anticipated by many experts, but the way it has been presented was damaging Ukraine and the role of NATO as a key element of the European architecture. We had spoken to many experts about NATO’s decision to stay away from direct interaction with Russia.

- NATO did not offer any meaningful alternative;
- Having no alternative almost certainly means more air and missile strikes to Ukrainian civilian facilities and residences. Russia has untied hands to continue bombing Ukraine.
- Decisions like that reinforce Russian behaviour, to further invoke fear of global war to the western nations, as they know that now that fear is a weak spot of the west and NATO.

They will use this factor in their future manipulations. Our biggest question is why NATO had that meeting at all? If NATO HQ knew that most of the countries would be against closing skies why they did this to announce this decision?

Much more constructive approach would be to consider it together with a working alternative. According to the western specialists there are possible relatively fast technical solutions including used planes and air defense missiles. We will keep our readers posted about them in the next days.

There are many plans are being discussed right now among experts and officials, of what the possible alternative of ‘closing the skies’ shall be. Our Centre considers any delays with the actual steps as unacceptable at this stage of the conflict.

Ukrainian existing air defense system had very low expectations from the beginning. It was considered as largely outdated, had no real enforcement upcoming from the west (apart from Stinger missiles, which are invaluable to UA capabilities) and was expected to be suppressed in the first day(s) of the war.

Russia announced that the Ukrainian air defense was destroyed in the very early hours of 24.02.22 (a first day of the war). At the same time, air defense had managed to destroy Russian 39 planes and 40 helicopters and intercepted ballistic missiles aiming Ukrainian cities. And it still operates.

Enhancement of the air defense and protection of the key infrastructure and the cities must be the top priority of the political leadership of all Ukrainian allies.

They need to form a coalition of the partners helping Ukraine to cover the skies and protect the cities. We do need all allies to step in and form a coherent and joint constructive approach.

There is an information that Putin is running out of reserves and resources, which he can put to the war over what he has right now.

The readiness and technical condition of the Russian equipment we see so far in Ukraine is certainly average at best. That gets us to hypothesis that some of his other reserves can be even less ready and less advanced.

If Putin’s military command continues the well-known Soviet approach of prioritizing reporting above a substance, we may find that his army may have large parts of capabilities, which technically are present but practically are not ready.

A very unpleasant surprise was an information that German anti-aircraft weapons arrived damaged with rust and in non-usable condition. We believe it was a direct sabotage of the political decision and must be investigated and publicly reported.

Non-military priority Nr 1 – Russia’s global isolation
The best way (among non-military approaches) to stop Putin’s war is to isolate Russia and Russian businesses from all international business and social activities.

Of course, we suggest that this approach is directly tied to the Putin’s regime being at power and particularly having Russian troops on Ukrainian territory.

For as long as Russian forces are damaging Ukrainian cities, towns and villages and kill Ukrainian people, Russia must be considered as a no-go for any international businesses or social collaboration (sports, entertainment, culture, academia
and research, etc.).

The key reason for those harsh measures is to misbalance Russian elite consensus. No one except for Putin and maybe some his closest circle was interested in violent occupation of Ukraine.

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No one is certainly interested now as it gets to a meaningless destruction of Ukraine. For years, Putin has been enjoying a role of the country’s guarantor of stable and predictable regime, which has been used by many large businesses to generate substantial profits. Previous wars and acts of aggression including Georgia, Crimea, Donbass, Syria were hidden behind a mask of “historical unification”, “liberation” or support of “people’s republics”.

Investing heavily in advocacy and propaganda, Russia has avoided a great deal of sanctions and could continue business as usual in many respects. However, this war is totally different due to its open, full frontal unjustified aggression, an unprecedented scale and cold-blooded attack of civilians.

This immediately moves Putin’s regime to the likes of Assad’s regime of Syria except of a much bigger scale. The consequences must reflect that in full.

Certainly, Russian elites did not anticipate their lives and businesses to appear in Syria type country in a matter of days. Discomfort of elites with Putin’s devastating war effort will substantially move a power balance.

But that means that the country’s isolation must be complete. Lots of businesses has already decided to move from Russia for a time of war at least. Many decided to cut ties. Many social programmers did the same. But some are staying. The isolation approach shall be clearly reflected in a strict policy, not just reside in hopes for corporate CEOs strategic thinking.

Other notable international events

The NATO North Atlantic Council in Brussels considered the questions of the Russian aggression towards Ukraine in the context of the European security. The Alliance decided to broaden the partnership with Finland and Sweden.
§ On Tuesday, the Pentagon and the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
established a “non-conflict” line aimed to protect from miscalculations, combat incidents and escalation. Before that, the USA rescheduled the planned test of intercontinental ballistic missiles no to increase tensions with Moscow.
§ The missile strikes and the occupation of the Russian invaders of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant caused a negative reactive of international community.

MAGATE put its Center of incidents and emergency situations into a high response mode.
§ The UN Human Rights Council created (32 counties supported, the Russian Federation and Eritrea objected) an international committee dedicated to the investigation of the facts of the Russian war crimes in Ukraine.
§ The UN Human Rights Council international committee on the investigation of the facts of the Russian war crimes against Ukrainians will document the respective evidence for the use in the international courts. The Russian war crimes must be harshly punished.
§ The United Kingdom insists on the emergency meeting of the UN Security Council as soon as possible related to the situation around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.
§ For the first time in the State Duma (Russian Parliament), it was voiced the question of the Russian soldiers’ losses, particularly compulsory service soldiers (which was earlier denied).

Military activities
The main efforts of occupants were concentrated around the blockade of Kyiv and weakening of the resistance in the sieged cities. During this maneuver, Russian troops used the bulk of their operational reserve and started deployment of the additional forces and means from the Southern and Eastern military commands.
The second echelons and the larger part of the operational reserve recourses of the Russian Federation Armed Forces have already been placed on the operation. The information about introduction of the state of war in Russia on March 5, 2022, hasn’t been confirmed. Morality. Dealing with a violent Russia must be illegal for all western entities.

The occupants continued attacking population with rocket bomb strikes. They used artillery and reactive multiple rocket launchers to destroy the critical infrastructure objects and the residential buildings.

The defenders of Kyiv keep repelling the attacks of the enemy, combating its offensive troops and maintaining the established frontiers.

In the Volyn direction, the position of our troops remains practically unchanged.
Chernihiv withstands with its heroic defense. The operational troops units retain positions on the frontiers. In the area of the administrative unit Mykhailo-Kotsiybynske of Chernihiv oblast in front of the water barrier a convoy of 200 armoured vehicles and personnel is observed. The bridge of the river is destroyed. There is no evidence of the involvement of the Belarus Armed Forces
in the combat operations against Ukraine.

In the North-East direction, the troops of this group continue defense fights, ensuring a successful fire damage of the enemy. The United Forces (Armed forces and other defence forces of Ukraine) have been deploying the operation as before using the capabilities of two operational tactical groups. On Kharkiv area, the Armed Forces of Ukraine started a counterattack.

In the Black/Azov sea coastal direction, the operational group covers the coastline and aims to prevent the Mykolaiv siege.

The defense of Mariupol continues, where its defenders are fighting with the enemy largely exceeding them in numbers. The Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard of Ukraine, the Border Guard, the Territorial Defense, the Security Service of Ukraine, and the Mariupol citizens do not let the Russian convoys in.

The enemy keeps destroying the city severely, which rejects to arrange the warm welcome, so that Ukrainian defenders got demotivated and refused to resist. But this will not happen. During this week, the defendants of Mariupol destroyed more than 30 armored fighting vehicles of the enemy: tanks, BMP, Tigers, fuel tanks, etc.

In the Black Sea, the navy group of the Black Sea Fleet has been retrieved from Odessa, supposedly to the waiting zone near Donuzlav (Crimea).

Given that, the enemy doesn’t reject the plan to land the navy troops in Zatoka-Chernomorsk area. In line with the above-mentioned, the patrolling of warships for the fire support of attack is possible.

For the organization of demonstration of “local citizens” 120 representatives of the Russian media and a large number of “protestors” have been deployed to Kherson and Melitopol from the temporary occupied territories of Crimea. However, the planned demonstrations aimed to proclaim new pseudo republics didn’t happen. On the contrary, local citizens organized a protest march against distribution of occupant’s field rations delivered for the video recording of the Russian propaganda.

In Kherson the mobile connection of the Ukrainian cellular providers has been partially restored (earlier it was disconnected by the occupants).
There is a certain change in Russian tactics:
§ Failing to complete the military Blitzkrieg, the Russian Federation shifts to openly
terroristic means of fight on the territory of Ukraine.
§ Number of tasks with deployment of the special forces in the suburbs of administrative unites as assault units increased.
§ Number of the paratroopers’ deployment for the bridge crossing across water
obstacles increased.
§ Russian occupants enforced PsyOps operations towards the troops and population.
§ It is expected that the enemy will provide a massive dissemination of fake news which will be changing with the use of a wide spectrum of modern information means.
§ We call Ukrainian to be alert, believe in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and take
information from the official and trusted recourses.

Centre for Defense strategies is the Ukrainian security think tank working in security and defense. Currently all our activity is focused on stopping the ongoing Putin’s war.

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