By William Miller, special correspondent in Ukraine. Eurasia Business News, February 26, 2022. Last update on March 19, 2022.

Picture : Ukrainian volunteers get uniforms and weapons to defend their land against Russian troops – February 26, 2022.

Russia launched a military operation at 04:00 in the morning of February 24, with the official goal to “demilitarize Ukraine”, remove the Ukrainian government and protect the right of Russian leaving in Eastern Ukraine. In a televised address to the Russians, President Vladimir Putin said that circumstances “require decisive and immediate action from us, the people’s republics of Donbass  have asked for help.” 

The Western countries strongly condemned the Russian attack against Ukraine, and demanded an immediate ceasefire. After the Russian recognition of the separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk on February 21 and the entry of Russian troops in the Ukrainian territory in early morning on February 24, the United States and European countries have imposed massive sanctions against Russian state-owned banks, banned technology exports to Russia, denied access to Russia to the US financial market and imposed individual sanctions on Russian officials and their relatives. The European Union has even taken sanctions against the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov.

Markets are also impacted by the war. Shortages of oil, gas and other commodities because of the war in Eastern Europe will exacerbate inflation just as central banks are trying to tame it. Moreover, any cut of Russian exports of raw materials will hamper the European and US industry.

The situation in Ukraine is currently changing each hour on the frontline and in Ukrainian cities. Thousands of refugees are heading the Western regions of Ukraine and even try to enter Poland for safety. Remaining civilians in large cities go to shelters when Russian missiles break the sky. Thousands of civilians take up arms to defend Kyiv from Russian troops.

Fighting is underway in the capital of the country, Kyiv, the city is being bombarded by air, and on the morning of February 26, a rocket hit a residential building. A large number of men remained in the city, many of them began to enlist in the ranks of the territorial defense and receive weapons from the Ukrainian authorities. It seems that Russian leaders have been too optimistic on the capacity of Russian army to conquer Kyiv. After three days of war, the advance of Russian is stopped in the suburbs and Ukrainian defense is organizing. In street fights, the superiority of Russian weapons, tanks and armored equipment will be reduced.

On the 15th day of war, although Russian troops have managed to achieve some success in the south of Ukraine, the main centers of resistance remain the same as at the very beginning of hostilities – these are Kharkov, Mariupol and the suburbs of Kyiv. However, experts predict that very soon a “new wave of offensive of the Russian army” may begin.

Highlights for the last few hours:

  • On February 25, shootings and explosions are heard in streets in the northern part of Kyiv. Ukrainian soldiers resist Russian troops.
  • The national football teams of Poland and Sweden refused to play with Russia in the play-offs for the World Cup ;
  • Russia closes its airspace to planes from Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and the Czech Republic ;
  • Slovenia, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will close their airspace to Russian aircraft. Earlier, the Czech Republic, Poland and Bulgaria also announced the same. AirBaltic suspends flights to Russia until March 26
  • More than 150 thousand Ukrainian refugees, according to the United Nations, left Ukraine, about half went to Poland ;
  • According to the Ukrainian authorities, Russia is going to be soon disconnected from the international interbank system SWIFT ;
  • President of Ukraine Zelensky said that Turkey had banned the passage of Russian warships through the Black Sea straits. Turkey did not confirm this ;
  • The curfew in Kyiv has been expanded – from February 26 to February 28, it operates from 17:00 to 8:00 ;
  • President of Ukraine Zelensky’s office announced the death of 3,500 Russian soldiers. Russia does not disclose data on the dead ;
  • The Ministry of Health of Ukraine reported the death of 198 civilians ;
  • In the morning in Kyiv, a rocket hit a residential multi-storey building, there are victims. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation stated that it does not attack residential areas ;
  • Roscosmos suspended launches of Soyuz rockets from the Kourou cosmodrome in response to EU sanctions.
  • On February 25 Russian paratroopers have taken the Gostomel airfield in the northwestern suburb of Kyiv. Then Russian troops headed to the obolon district, on the Dniepr banks.
  • Ukrainian volunteers continued to enlist in the ranks of the territorial defense. By February 25, they had received 18,000 machine guns. 
  • On February 26 Russian troops continued to try to encircle Kyiv. On the night of February 26, there were reports from the Ukrainian side about repelling attacks by Russian sabotage and reconnaissance groups trying to break into the city.
  • In the morning of Frebruary 26, a rocket or shell hit a residential building on Lobanovsky Avenue, Kyiv. According to rescuers, there are no casualties. Most of the inhabitants were in hiding at the time of the attack. According to the Ukrainian side, the rocket was Russian. 
  • A curfew was introduced in Kyiv. Fights have taken place for the Vasilkov airfield southwest of Kyiv. To prevent a breakthrough of Russian troops from the western direction, an automobile bridge across the Irpin river was destroyed.
  • German Chancellor Scholz announced that Germany will send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to Ukraine. This is a major step for Berlin which has traditionnally refrained from taking part in any armed conflict since the defeat of 1945.
  • Ukrainian air defense would have shot down another Il-76 carrying Russian troops, according to loval sources. Russia would have also lost 11 helicopters. It seems that the Russian troops are forced, because of their losses, to take an operational pause.
  • In the evening of February 26, explositions are heard on the right bank of Dniepr river, in the North of the capital and on the right side of Gostomel airfield, taken by Russian paratroopers on February 25. There is information that Russian troops landed in the village of Sofiyskaya Borshchagovka, 16 kilometers from centre of Kyiv.
  • On Sunday February 27, Fighting took place in the city of Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, and the road bridge in Bucha was destroyed. Shelling continues, a nine-story residential building is on fire. According to Ukrainian Deputy Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko, about 30 Russian armored personnel carriers and vehicles passed through there. Russian troops are trying to break into the Svyatoshinsky district of Kyiv.
  • Still on February 27, heavy fighting is going on almost along the entire line of contact in Donbass. The offensive comes from joint groups of the regular Russian army and soldiers from the separatist republics. The situation in the Luhansk region remains difficult, said the Ukrainian head of the Luhansk regional military-civilian administration, Sergey Gaidai. Key cities in the region are still under Ukrainian control. 
  • On Monday February 28, negotiations began between Russians and Ukrainians on the Belarusian border. Results ? No ceasefire. No progress therefore, but the two camps have agreed on a new meeting in the coming days. French president Emmanuel Macron also spoke for 1h30 on the phone with Vladimir Poutine. The Russian president is said to have pledged not to attack civilians, especially those fleeing Kyiv. He also laid down his conditions for a withdrawal from Ukraine. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that Kyiv has not yet received the desired result in negotiations with Moscow, the Ukrainian authorities will decide on the transition to the second round of negotiations after the delegation returns and analyzes the negotiation process.
  • Still on February 28, Kharkiv, the second largest city of Ukraine, was hit by rocket and artillery fires.
  • On March 1st, Major General Nikolay Zhirnov was appointed commander of the Kyiv military administration. Kyiv still resists to Russian troops. Kharkiv, Mikolayiv and Sumy remain under the control of Ukrainian forces. Shelling continues in Kharkiv. Buildings are in fire after explosions in different parts of the city. Previously, Russian rockets hit the institute of Ukrainian tank troops on Kholodnaya Gora, Pavlovo Pole.
  • On March 2, shelling from the sea is heard in Odessa. In the morning, a Russian warship was seen near the coast. After shelling in Kharkiv, heating has been turned off in 253 residential buildings, another 168 houses are still without hot water. Russian rockets and bombs would have killed 21 civilians and injuered 112 civilians in Kharkiv, reported the local Ukrainian authorities.
  • Still on March 2, in Dnipro and its region, the situation is completely under control, there are enough supplies of food and medical supplies, reported in the morning the head of the Ukrainian Regional State Administration Nikolay Lukashuk informed. Ukrainian troops are ready to resist Russian soldiers.
  • On March 9, the Ukrainian authorities announced their readiness to discuss about the neutral status of Ukraine. Russia wants Ukraine’s neutrality to be restored, the country to be demilitarized and not to join NATO.
  • On March 10, on the 15th day of war, although Russian troops have managed to achieve some success in the south of Ukraine, the main centers of resistance remain the same as at the very beginning of hostilities – these are Kharkov, Mariupol and the suburbs of Kyiv. However, experts predict that very soon a “new wave of offensive of the Russian army” may begin.
  • In the evening, U.S. President Joe Biden had a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the situation in Ukraine. In Europe, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that he does not see the possibility of Ukraine’s rapid accession to the EU.
  • Still on March 10,  Ukrainian border guards reported that in the Luhansk region Russian troops tried to attack. However, the Ukrainian military would have repulsed the attack. Russians would have suffered losses – at least 10 people.
  • As the Ukrainian city of Mariupol is under siege, EU Foreign and Security Policy Representative Josep Borrell said there was a need for immediate humanitarian corridors to Mariupol.
  • On March 19, officials of the DNR reported that more than 50 civilians have died since February 17 under Ukrainian fire. More than 300 civilians from the Donetsk Republic, including 21 children, have been injured.
  • Still on March 19, the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng stated that “the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine has become proof that there is no need for military blocs like NATO to exist.
  • Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk stated on March 19 that 10 routes for the evacuation of civilians had been agreed on Saturday. Vereshchuk added the Ukrainian authorities plan to organize routes for the delivery of humanitarian supplies to the Kherson, Kharkiv and Lugansk regions. So far, there are reports that Ukrainian armed groups – no the regular Ukrainian armed forces – don’t facilitate the evacuation of civilians from cities, willing to use them as shields against Russian forces.

Update to come.

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