Russian supply lines continue to be targeted * Russia may be targeting populated areas to break morale

 A Ukrainian MIG-29 fighter jet lands during the Clear Sky 2018 multinational military drills at Starokostiantyniv Air Base in Khmelnytskyi Region, Ukraine October 12, 2018 (photo credit: GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS)
A Ukrainian MIG-29 fighter jet lands during the Clear Sky 2018 multinational military drills at Starokostiantyniv Air Base in Khmelnytskyi Region, Ukraine October 12, 2018 (photo credit: GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS)

 

As day 11 of the war dawned, Russian military forces continued to struggle to assert air superiority over Ukraine after suffering several losses over the weekend, as Ukraine called for a no-fly zone and the US and Poland considered ways to replenish Ukrainian air force jets.

Fighting over the skies of Ukraine

The Ukrainian armed forces have said that they are focusing on air defenses, as both sides have claimed to have downed several jets over the weekend.

“The Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has focused its efforts on repelling enemy missile and airstrikes, air cover of important (critical) objects of Ukraine and groups of troops,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a statement on Sunday morning. “In total, as of now, the losses of aircraft of the Russian occupation forces are up to 88 aircraft and helicopters.”

Several of these losses were reported over the weekend, as videos have surfaced of aircraft being hit with MANPADS. One of the pilots was allegedly ejected and was captured by Ukrainian soldiers.

The Russian military in turn claimed that it had shot down several Ukrainian aircraft and destroyed air defense infrastructure.

Bayraktar TB2 of the Ukrainian Air Force (credit: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE OF UKRAINE/CC BY 4.0/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Bayraktar TB2 of the Ukrainian Air Force (credit: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE OF UKRAINE/CC BY 4.0/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

 

“More strikes against Ukrainian military infrastructure were carried out today. On March 5 alone, the Russian forces destroyed five radars and two air defense missile systems Buk M-1,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said, according to Russian state media outlet TASS. “In an air clash near Zhytomyr, four Ukrainian Sukhoi-27 jets were shot down. The air defense system downed one Sukhoi-25 plane near Nezhin. Also, the air defense forces destroyed one Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter and one Bayraktar TB-2 drone.”

Russia claims to have shot down 90 Ukrainian aircraft and 59 drones since the fighting began.

The US is discussing the possibility of providing Poland with F-16s if Warsaw sends Soviet-made aircraft it owns to Ukraine, but a White House spokesperson stressed that there were “a number of challenging practical questions, including how the planes could actually be transferred from Poland to Ukraine,” according to the Financial Times.

Ukrainian pilots have been trained to fly Russian-made aircraft, meaning that such aircraft are the only ones that could be quickly brought into use by Ukrainian armed forces.

A number of Eastern European countries, including Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia, possess dozens of Russian-made aircraft but have expressed reservations about providing these aircraft to Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly called for a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Western officials have rejected the requests, saying that such a move would mean entering a direct military conflict with Russia.

Ground combat

“The scale and strength of Ukrainian resistance continues to surprise Russia. It has responded by targeting populated areas in multiple locations, including Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol,” said a Sunday morning UK Defense Ministry intelligence update. “This is likely to represent an effort to break Ukrainian morale. Russia has previously used similar tactics in Chechnya in 1999 and Syria in 2016, employing both air and ground-based munitions.”

Ukrainian forces continued their defense in the coastal city of Mariupol, which is surrounded by Russian forces, the Ukrainian forces said on Sunday morning.

The Ukrainian forces also said they were defending Chernihiv, and were preparing the defenses of the Volyn province, which is in the north bordering Belarus and Poland.

A Russian column was claimed to have been stopped as it was advancing from south of Kharkiv in the direction of the river city Dnipro.

 Local residents work among remains of a residential building destroyed by Russian shelling as a part of the invasion of Ukraine, in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, Mar. 2, 2022. (credit: Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters)
Local residents work among remains of a residential building destroyed by Russian shelling as a part of the invasion of Ukraine, in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, Mar. 2, 2022. (credit: Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters)

 

“Russian supply lines reportedly continue to be targeted, slowing the rate of advance of their ground forces. There is a realistic possibility that Russia is now attempting to conceal fuel trucks as regular support trucks to minimize losses,” continued the UK Defense Ministry’s Sunday intelligence update.

Casualties and Refugees

The Russian military was reported to have lost over 11,000 personnel, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine claimed on Sunday morning.

They also claimed to have destroyed 269 tanks, 945 armored fighting vehicles, 105 artillery systems, 50 multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), 19 anti-air systems, 39 aircraft, 40 helicopters, 409 other ground vehicles, 60 fuel trucks, 2 speedboats and 3 UAVs.

The Ukrainian military claimed to have transferred 650 wounded Russian troops to a hospital in the Luhansk region. They were provided with first aid, but the Ukrainians said that they did not have room in their own medical facilities.

“A total of 2,119 targets of Ukraine‚Äôs military infrastructure have been hit during the operation. Among them are 74 command posts and communication points of the Ukrainian Armed Forces; 108 air defense missile systems of S-300, Buk-M1 and Osa, as well as 68 radar stations,” Konashenkov said in a Saturday briefing, according to TASS.

TASS reported that Konashenkov also said that Russian forces had destroyed 69 Ukrainian aircraft on the ground and 21 in air combat, in addition to 748 tanks and armored fighting vehicles, 76 MLRS, 274 artillery pieces and mortars, and a further 532 other military vehicles and 59 drones.

 Jewish refugees from Ukraine find refuge in Moldova (credit: IOSIF SNEGOVIK)
Jewish refugees from Ukraine find refuge in Moldova (credit: IOSIF SNEGOVIK)

 

On Saturday night the Ukrainian national guard claimed that 100,000 Ukrainians had joined their volunteer militia.

Over the past week, 130,000 foreign citizens were said to have left Ukraine, “including 10,000 Indian, 2,500 Chinese and 1,700 Turkmen students,” said the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on Saturday night.

Also on Saturday night, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that up to 14,000 civilians have died in the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk territories since 2014, TASS reported.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post