More from Tom Cooper: ........ review for the last 24 hours, 16 Mar 22
CAA - Combined Arms Army (Russia)
BTG - Battalion Tactical Group (Russia)
GMRD - Guards Motor Rifle Division (Russia)
GTA - Guards Tank Army (Russia)
GTD - Guards Tank Division (Russia)
IFV - infantry fighting vehicle
LOC - Line of Control (old frontline between Ukraine and Separatists in the Donbass region)
MANPAD – man-protable air defence system
MBT - main battle tank
MRB - Motorized Rifle Brigade
MRD - Motorized Rifle Division
PGM – precision guided munition
RFA – Russian Federation Army/Russian Armed Forces
RF-9xxxx - Russian military aviation registration
SAM – surface-to-air missile
UAF – Ukrainian armed Forces
UCAV – unmanned combat aerial vehicle
VDV - Vozdushno-desantnye voyska (Russian Airborne forces)
VKS - Vozdushno-kosmicheskiye sily (Air-Space Force, Russia)
West OSK – Western Military District, RFA
The Russians have de-facto stopped all their offensive operations yesterday. The RUMINT has it, they’ve lost up to 40% of troops involved in the invasion by now (mind: this is including killed, wounded, missing/prisoner of war etc.), and are thus busy bringing in additional units from the Far East, Armenia, and Tajikistan, and drafting even cadets from military higher education to replace their losses. Not sure if their losses are really 40%, but gauging by ‘disappearance’ of numerous units from the frontlines, I would say about 20 battered BTGs were withdrawn from the line to be reorganised and reconstituted.
The Ukrainian GenStab is reporting that the West OSK refused to deploy the 5th Combined Arms Army (not involved yet) to Kyiv, supposedly ‘due to heavy losses in the south’. Not yet sure what to think of this, but if so, then the 58th CAA is in far more serious trouble than thought – and that would explain the withdrawal of its elements from Voznesensk and Kryvyi Rihh, and the rushed redeployment of its elements from Armenia, just for example, and the ‘non-appearance’ of the much-expected amphibious landing in the Odessa area.
BTW, following a law suit filled by Ukraine against Russia, the UN International Court of Justice in Den Haag (including 15 judges, between them one each from Russia and China) has ordered Russia to end hostilities in Ukraine (vote was 13:2), and to ensure that any military units controlled or maintained by it, as well as any organisations or individuals indirectly controlled by it, do not take further actions. Furthermore, while explaining that the court had no evidence that Ukraine was committing genocide on Russians on its territory, the court announced that it has jurisdiction to investigate whether genocide is taking place in Ukraine – by Russia and on Ukrainians.
Don't worry: this decision is going to be completely ignored by Putin, but also by the mass of Western governments...
This 16 Mar was another bad day for the VKS. Except for confirmation for a loss of 6-7 helicopters destroyed in the Ukrainian artillery barrage of the Kherson Airport, a day before, there followed a confirmation for a number of earlier losses (like burial of a Lieutenant-Colonel shot down while flying a Su-25 on 7 March, or photos the wreckage of a Su-34 shot down on 5 March near Chernihiv). Atop of this, the Ukrainians have claimed two Su-30SMs as shot down near Odessa, and the Ka-52 76R/RF-13411 was confirmed shot down over unknown area.
Part of the reason is the latest shipment of SAMs donated by the USA: delivered already few days ago, this should have contained 9K33 Osa/SA-8, S-300/SA-10, and S-300V/SA-12s (apparently acquired from Egypt in exchange for a sale of Boeing F-15E fighter-bombers), plus another load of MANPADS, including Soviet/Russian-made 98K34 Strela-3/SA-14s.
Net result: I’m not surprised one can now see VKS Ka-52 and Mi-28-pilots acting as visible on this video (https://twitter.com/Blue_Sauron/status/1504209795926089730
): I.e. approaching enemy positions at high speed only to shoot their unguided rockets ‘ballistically’, to extend their range, before turning sharply away and releasing flares. Free along the motto: ‘spray and pray’…
…and thus the Russians spent the day shelling infrastructure and housing in multiple cities, ‘instead’. Except for Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Kharkiv, hit were also Vinnitsa and Zaporozhye. By now, at least 72 schools and 21 hospitals have been targeted by the Russians (in addition to about 3,500 infrastructure facilities, 2,700 residential buildings, 28 churches, etc., etc., etc.)
That said, the worst of all happened in Mariupol: after the 150th MRD was mauled while attacking from the east, on 15 Mar, yesterday it was the turn on the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade, reinforced by T-64s of the Separatists to get ambushed. The latter have reached the Freedom Square, in western central Mariupol, but by then the Marines fell behind and thus the lonesome tanks were cut to pieces.
As a ‘retaliation’ for these – and earlier – losses, the Russians not only seized the Mariupol Regional Intensive Care Hospital, where they are holding its patients as hostages, but yesterday the VKS bombed out the Drama Theater, where hundreds of civilians were sheltering (see attached photo, where one can clearly read words ‘Dety’ – ‘children’ – written on the tarmac in front and behind the building….), and then the Neptune swimming pool, where further hundreds were taking refugee. The number of victims in both cases remains unknown.