SOUTHFRONT: As of March 3, the situation near Kharkiv remains difficult for both sides of the conflict. Russian units, that suffered losses in the previous days, do not seek to go deeper into the city. At the same time, they carry out targeted strikes on military facilities and hideouts of the Ukrainian military.
On the night of March 3, Russian special operations forces continued their activities in the city, aimed at identifying the main defense nodes and eliminating the command staff. The encirclement of Kharkiv has not yet been carried out.
Mariupol remains blockaded by the joint forces of Russia and the DPR. Fighting is going on the outskirts of the city. The major assault has not started, but several clashes have taken place in the outskirts. No attempts of counter-offensive attacks by Ukrainian forces were reported.
Given a large number of military personnel and nationalistic fighters in the city, it will not be possible to take it quickly. However, Kyiv has no forces in the region to deblockade the city. The roads leading to Mariupol are cut off. On March 2, the DPR units closed the ring around Mariupol and took control over the settlements of Primorskoye, Priazovskoye, Shevchenko, and Berdyansk.
DPR and Russia organized the evacuation of civilians and created a green corridor from Mariupol. However, the nationalist battalions, which are hiding in large numbers in residential areas, are in no hurry to let their ‘human shields’ go.
In Kyiv Region, Russian units continue their successful encirclement of the capital. Throughout March 2, there was fighting near Irpen. To the southwest of Irpen, there were battles for control over the Kiev-Zhytomyr highway. Russian troops encircling Kyiv from the southwest were spotted on the outskirts of Vasylkiv.
The Ukrainian military blew up a bridge in Baryshevka. This settlement is 10 km north of the Kiev-Boryspil-Poltava-Kharkiv highway. It can be assumed that Russian troops are close to this highway and that they are preparing an operation to intercept it with further advance to Boryspil.
In the direction of Mykolaiv, Russian units attempted to encircle the city in order to blockade it and get a passage to Odesa. On March 2, the Russians failed to cut off the Nikolaev-Krivoy Rog highway. On the same day, airborne troops allegedly landed from helicopters on the outskirts of Mykolaiv. The success of the operation, as well as the objectives of the action, are unclear.
Despite the fact that the main forces of Russia and the DPR were previously sent to break through to Mariupol, which ended yesterday with a complete encirclement, on March 2, Russian troops continued to strengthen their positions, moving north.
The Russian army took control over the town of Kamenka-Dneprovskoye and Vasilevka in Zaporizhia Region.
On March 1, it was announced that the Zaporozhye NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, located in the city of Energodar, came under the control of Russian forces in order to avoid provocations from Kyiv. However, local sources said that armed locals continue to block the road to the nuclear plant.
LPR forces continue their offensive north and northwest toward the junction with Russian units near Kharkiv. Meanwhile, Russian units took control of Balakleya and approached Izyum with further plans to advance toward Slavyansk.
As of March 3, the most threatening situation for the Ukrainian Armed Forces is developing in this theater of the military operation. Tens of thousands of servicemen may be completely surrounded.
DPR units are fighting positional battles to the West and Northwest of Donetsk. In this section of the front, DPR units act as an anvil, waiting for a hammer blow to the flanks of the largest grouping of Kiev forces in eastern Ukraine
On the one hand, the seventh day of the conflict demonstrated certain tiredness of the advancing Russian troops. On the other hand, the Russian command seems to have taken into account the mistakes of the past days and the Russian offensive became a full-scale army operation rather than a cavalry special operation on the enemy’s rear.
The morale and technical condition of the most combat-ready units of the Ukrainian military are deteriorating. Both Ukrainian servicemen and fighters of nationalist battalions in all eastern and southeastern parts of the front are surrendering.