Overview:

  • AFU posts video of successful strike on what they describe as a maritime command post
  • Zelensky promises Russian gains will be stalled by 2,000 km of fortifications
  • Intelligence chief says attacks on warships are preparation for Crimean strikes
  • Ukrainian military accuses Russia of using banned chemicals in their grenades
  • Moscow’s soldiers gain more ground around the city of Donetsk

Ukrainian air strikes knock out Russian command post on a tanker, video shows

A video posted by state media network Ukrinform on Monday appears to show a Russian tanker or cargo ship destroyed by Ukrainian drones, hitting what a Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) officer described as an enemy “command post.”

“I thank the pilots for their successful combat performance against the enemy command post,” Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk wrote on Telegram.

The tanker had reportedly been used for surveillance and for launching drone strikes on the Kherson region.

Zelensky says “the situation is now much better” than over the winter months

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday that Russian advances along the eastern front lines have been “halted,” AFP reported, quoting an interview with a French television channel.

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“The Russian advance has been halted,” Zelensky told French broadcaster BFM TV. “Our command, our military has stopped the Russian advance in eastern Ukraine,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky announced that Ukraine’s forces have built more than 2,000 kilometers of fortifications, calling it “an ongoing process.”

Referring to the condition and morale of Ukrainian troops, the president continued, “I can give you this fresh piece of information: The situation is now much better than during these past three months.”

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OSCE condemned it as "a grave violation of participating states' commitments under international law" and called for the immediate release of Vadym Golda and two other jailed OSCE officials.

Here are some of the types of fortifications the AFU has been building:

Surge of attacks on Russian warships is in preparation for a larger goal, HUR says

According to the Department of Strategic Communications of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, defending forces have disabled about a third of all combat ships in the Russian Black Sea Fleet since the start of the invasion. And the timing of the recent increase of destroyed warships over the past few weeks is not coincidental, the chief of Ukrainian defense intelligence (HUR) said.

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As quoted by Ukrainska Pravda from a new documentary “The War for the Sea: From Dnipro to Crimea,” HUR chief Kyrylo Budanov, said: “All this was in preparation for a major operation in Crimea. A way of checking that our understanding of ways to get in and out of there is correct.”

Aside from Monday’s attack on a tanker allegedly housing a Russian command post, the most high-profile destruction of a Black Sea Fleet vessel recently was the March 5 sea-drone attack on the patrol ship Sergei Kotov, which had only been introduced to the Russian Navy in May 2022.

AFU accuses invaders of using banned, tear-gas choking agents

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) noted that a Ukrainian military spokesperson on Monday said that “Russian forces are increasingly using grenades equipped with chemical substances in the Zaporizhzhia direction, in potential violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to which Russia is a signatory.”

Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Spokesperson Capt. Dmytro Lykhovyi claimed on Monday that Moscow’s troops have employed at least 60 grenades equipped with chloropicrin (PS) or a similar substance, a suffocating tear gas, on his soldiers in the Zaporizhzhia region.

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Chloropicrin was widely used in World War I, but it and other choking agents have been banned from use by international conventions.

Operations: Donetsk

Moscow’s troops continued to make marginal advances around the city of Donetsk on Monday, the ISW reported.

Geolocated footage posted Monday appears to show invading units gaining territory west and southwest of the city: specifically, north of Heorhiivka, Pobjeda, and Novomykhailivka (all southwest of Donetsk City).

Additional footage published on Sunday indicates that Russian forces marginally advanced southeast of Shevchenko (southwest of Donetsk City and southwest of Vuhledar). Fighting was also reported in the town of Krasnohorivka on Monday.

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