Good morning from Kyiv.

It was a quiet and relatively peaceful weekend in the capital, but sadly, elsewhere in Ukraine this was not the case.

One day after assuming the presidency of the UN Security Council, Russia’s missiles struck a densely populated area in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kostyantynivka on Sunday, killing six people.

Donetsk regional police said that Russia fired S-300 and Uragan missiles in a “massive attack” involving six strikes just after 10 a.m. local time (0700 GMT), which hit “16 apartment buildings, 8 private residences, a kindergarten, an administrative building, 3 cars and a gas pipeline,” police added.

What’s happening today?

Today’s headlines are dominated by an explosion that ripped through a café in St. Petersburg, killing pro-Kremlin military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky (whose real name was Maxim Fomin).

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Russia has already blamed Ukraine for the attack, but Ukraine has suggested it was an act of domestic terrorism and the beginnings of something much bigger in Russia.

You can read more about that story here.

In Kyiv, the standoff between the leaders of the Moscow-backed Orthodox Church and the authorities over the eviction from Kyiv’s Pechersk Lava continues.  The tensions have spread to other parts of the country.

In Khmelnytsky yesterday, a parish of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) went over to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), which has rejected Moscow’s control, after it’s pro-Russian clergy brutally evicted a Ukrainian soldier from its church. A video of the incident went viral on Telegram channels.

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 1, 2024
Other Topics of Interest

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 1, 2024

Latest from the Institute for the Study of War.

Elsewhere, the head of Russia’s Wagner private military company on Monday claimed the capture of the east Ukraine town of Bakhmut “in a legal sense,” but Kyiv said its forces still held the town.

You can read more about that story here.

What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?

During his daily address on Sunday evening, President Zelensky highlighted the attack in Kostyantynivka and another in the Konotop district of the Sumy region.

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“These are just a few examples of dozens of hits per day,” he said. “There is only one way to stop Russian terror, to restore security to all our cities and communities – from Sumy region to Donbas, from Kharkiv region to Kherson region, from Kyiv region to Yalta. And this is Ukraine’s military victory. There is no other way and there will be no other way.

“The evil state for which it has become the norm to hit residential buildings with ‘Uragan’ like this, to launch S-300 missiles at cities, to shell ordinary villages, people... The evil state must be defeated. In every sense of the word. Rashism must face a total defeat: military, economic, political, legal. The first point is military. And it will face it.”

What’s the latest military situation?

 The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) update on April 3 focuses on Russian efforts to “revive the reputation of a brigade which has become synonymous with recent Russian failures in Ukraine.”

It adds: “Throughout March 2023, the activities of 155th Naval Infantry Brigade were highlighted via some of the most extensive Russian helmet-cam combat footage yet released, as well as a televised visit by a prominent Russian TV host, Vladimir Solovyov.

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“In reality, the 155th has likely been reduced to combat ineffective status at least twice in the last six months, due to being committed to tactically flawed frontal assaults near Vuhledar in Donetsk Oblast.

“The MoD’s effort to revive the brigade’s image likely reflects concern about the way in which its failures were being increasingly associated with Russian senior military leaders.”

The Institute for the Study of War’s April 2 daily assessment focuses on the attack in a St. Petersburg café said to be owned by Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, which killed Maxim Fomin.

It notes:

·      Fomin’s assassination at Prigozhin’s bar is likely part of a larger pattern of escalating Russian internal conflicts involving Prigozhin and Wagner.

·      Russian officials may be intending to use Fomin’s assassination to drive the self-censorship of a growing Russian civil society questioning the progress of the war in bars.

·      The assassination is already deepening a divide within the Russian milblogger space, which may ultimately be beneficial to the Kremlin’s efforts to consolidate control of the information space.

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And that’s it for today’s Morning Memo.

Kyiv Post will bring you the latest news throughout the day and we’ll be back with another edition tomorrow.

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