The war is not a wash, but data still arrives, however flawed or spun. The claim is that the Russians are “regrouping and reassessing”. Ukrainian air defense is still operating. More materiel is coming into Ukraine. Russia still has plenty of combat power even as more intense bombardment occurs. It becomes clearer that rank and file Russian troops didn’t think they’d be welcomed as оккупанты (occupiers). However, the Putin plan suggests ground combat would be concluded on 5 March which now seems less likely even with weapons worthy of war crimes.
The Soviets lost 13,000 soldiers in Afghanistan during their decade-long occupation . Russia has today admitted the loss of 500 soldiers in less than a week in Ukraine. The US lost almost 3,000 in two decades in Afghanistan.
Russian forces resumed offensive operations in support of their envelopment of Kyiv on March 2 but made few territorial advances. Russian forces resumed offensive operations on both axes of advance toward Kyiv after largely pausing for 72 hours to reinforce and resupply their troops north and west of Kyiv. Russian operations to envelop Kyiv are Moscow’s main effort. Russian troops are also undertaking three supporting efforts, one to seize Kharkiv, one to take Mariupol and secure the “land bridge” connecting Rostov-on-Don to Crimea, and one to secure Kherson and set conditions for a drive west toward Mykolayiv and Odesa. The three supporting operations were active in the last 24 hours; Russian forces likely captured Kherson and began a bombardment of critical civilian infrastructure in Mariupol in a likely effort to force the city to surrender while making few territorial gains in Kharkiv.
The Russian attack on Kyiv likely consists of a main effort aimed at enveloping and ultimately encircling the city from the west and a supporting effort along the axes from Chernihiv and Sumy to encircle it from the east. The long Russian column of combat and logistics vehicles observed north of Kyiv in the last 48 hours is likely now supporting attacks directly into the city from positions Russian forces maintain in Kyiv’s northwestern outskirts. However, Russian forces are more likely to prioritize the envelopment/encirclement in the coming days, rather than a direct assault into the city.
Russian forces resumed frontal assaults on Kharkiv on March 2 and continued using area-attack weapons, dramatically increasing the damage to civilian infrastructure and civilian casualties. Russian ground forces appear to be conducting another frontal assault on Kharkiv from the northeast rather than enveloping the city and will likely face protracted Ukrainian resistance.
UK prime minister Boris Johnson has said that he believes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could see Vladimir Putin attempt to “Grozny-fy” Kyiv.
Speaking to ITV News while on a visit to Estonia as a 40-mile long convoy of Russian tanks headed towards the Ukrainian capital preparing to lay siege to it, Mr Johnson said of his Kremlin counterpart: “I think that he’s gone into a cul-de-sac and it’s very difficult for him to back out, and that’s the problem we’ve got.
“And if you’re sitting where he is, his only instinct is going to be to double down and to try and ‘Grozny-fy’ Kyiv, if you know what I mean. And to reduce it to rubble, and I think that that would be an unalterable moral humanitarian catastrophe and I hope he doesn’t do that.
While many might not see what Mr Johnson means, he was in fact alluding to Mr Putin’s order that the city of Grozny, capital of Chechnya, be completely destroyed during the Second Chechen War of 1999-2000.
Below are some of the key steps Moscow has taken.
CENTRAL BANK MOVES
Russia's central bank has more than doubled its main lending rate to 20% and provided extra liquidity to banks. It intervened on the foreign currency market to support the rouble, before sanctions limited its ability to do so. read more
A decree by President Vladimir Putin ordered exporting companies, which include some of the world's biggest energy producers, to sell 80% of their foreign currency revenues to buttress the rouble. read more
CURBING ASSET SALES
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said Russia would temporarily stop foreign investors from selling Russian assets to ensure they take a considered decision, not one driven by political pressure, but did not elaborate. read more
Russia will use money from a rainy-day fund to limit borrowing as sanctions made it more costly, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said. The National Wealth Fund stood at $175 billion as of Feb. 1. read more
TAX RELIEF, TECH SUPPORT
Prime Minister Mishustin said Russia would provide additional support to technology companies and may tweak tax arrangements for businesses and households affected by sanctions.
Russia has banned airlines from countries including Britain, Bulgaria, Poland and the Czech Republic from its airspace after similar moves by those countries.