Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces appear to have secured a sufficient positional advantage to conduct a turning action against certain parts of Bakhmut but have not yet forced Ukrainian forces to withdraw and will not likely be able to encircle the city soon.
  • The purpose of a turning movement is to force the enemy to abandon prepared defensive positions and is different from the aim of an encirclement, which is to trap and destroy enemy forces. The Russians may have intended to encircle Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut, but the Ukrainian command has signaled that it will likely withdraw rather than risk an encirclement.
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met with Eastern Military District Commander Colonel General Rustam Muradov in western Donetsk Oblast, likely to assess the extent of Russian losses around Vuhledar and the possibility of a further offensive in this direction.
  • The Chinese government is reportedly angry with the Kremlin over the publicization of arms sales discussions.
  • Russian State Duma Defense Committee Head Andrey Kartapalov encouraged Russian companies to purchase their own air defense systems to defend against drones.
  • The Wagner Group reportedly opened at least three new recruitment centers at Russian sports clubs between March 2-4, possibly to augment Wagner’s recruitment base after losing access to prisoner recruits.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive actions along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line.
  • Russian forces continued efforts to encircle Bakhmut and conduct ground attacks along the Donetsk Oblast front line.
  • Ukrainian sources continue to report that Russian forces are trying to set conditions for offensive operations in southern Ukraine.
  • Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov continues apparent efforts to increase Chechen influence within Russia through promoting Chechnya’s Special Forces (SPETSNAZ) and youth policy efforts.
  • Russian occupation administrations are strengthening law enforcement measures in occupied territories.


Authors: Karolina Hird, Riley Bailey, Angela Howard, Nicole Wolkov, George Barros, and Frederick W. Kagan.


See full report here.

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