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Ukraine war latest: Ukraine slows Russian advances west of Avdiivka, military says

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 4, 2024 11:59 PM 7 min read
Ukrainian soldiers sit on an armored vehicle in the outskirts of Avdiivka, Ukraine, on Feb. 14, 2024. (Vlada Liberova/Libkos/Getty Images)
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Key developments on March 4:

  • Military: Ukraine stalls Russian advances in some areas near Avdiivka
  • SBU names 2 Russian generals suspected of bombing residential buildings in Kyiv Oblast town
  • Shmyhal: 8 taxpayers per soldier needed to fund military
  • Military intelligence: Railway bridge blown up in Russia's Samara Oblast
  • Health Ministry starts inspection of Kyiv military medical commissions
  • Governor: Russian cluster munitions attack in Zaporizhzhia Oblast kills civilian

Ukrainian forces have stalled Russia’s advances in some areas west of the recently captured Avdiivka, Dmytro Lykhovii, a spokesperson for Ukraine's Tavria Group, reported on March 4.

Ukraine’s military has managed to stabilize the situation and slow down Russian advances near the villages of Novoselivka, Berdychi, Tonenke, Pervomaiske, and Nevelske west of Avdiivka, Lykhovii said on national television.

Russia controls parts of Berdychi and Tonenke, but "the Defense Forces are doing their job, inflicting significant losses on the enemy," added Lykhovii.

Moscow is reinforcing its troops to capture Novomykhailivka near Marinka, which has become one of the hottest areas of the front, Lykhovii told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on the same day.

"There are more assaults there every day than in the Avdiivka sector. For example, yesterday there were 20 (attacks) in the Avdiivka sector and 30 assaults in Novomykhailivka and its outskirts."

Russian troops have also been focusing their efforts near Chasiv Yar, a city west of occupied Bakhmut.

Ukrainian soldiers recall retreat from Avdiivka – on foot, leaving their wounded behind
Editor’s Note: The Kyiv Independent does not disclose the soldiers’ full names since they were not authorized to speak with the press. DONETSK OBLAST – As Russian forces closed in on a Ukrainian pocket southeast of Avdiivka, infantryman Oleh heard the order clearly: “There will be no evacuation. Le…

SBU names 2 Russian generals suspected of ordering bombing of residential buildings in Kyiv Oblast

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) charged two Russian generals who commanded air strikes on high-rise buildings in the town of Borodianka in Kyiv Oblast during the fighting in 2022, the SBU reported on March 4.

Borodianka, once a town of 12,000 people 40 kilometers northwest of Kyiv, suffered widespread destruction in the first weeks of Russia's all-out war against Ukraine.

Its scale was revealed along with mass killings in other capital's suburbs after Russian troops retreated from Kyiv Oblast in the spring of 2022.

The SBU found evidence that Alexander Chayko, the commander of the Eastern Military District of the Russian Armed Forces, gave a direct order to fire on apartment buildings in the settlement's downtown.

Vladimir Krachenko then executed the order by instructing the Su-34 and Su-25 pilots to conducted the attack.

"As a result of the air attack, Russia destroyed six apartment buildings, killing more than 30 local residents, including a young girl," the report said.

Some of Borodyanka's residents are still considered missing.

Ukrainian law enforcement officers managed to identify 91 Russian soldiers in 2022 who committed war crimes on the territory of the Bucha community in Kyiv Oblast, where more than 9,000 war crimes have been reportedly documented, the Prosecutor General's Office said.

As of late 2023, Ukraine's Prosecutor General Andrii Kostin said that Ukraine had collected evidence of 109,000 Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

Russian media: Moscow summons German ambassador following alleged leaks
The ambassador’s summons is related to an alleged leaked recording of talks between high-ranking German military officials about the possible delivery of Taurus long-range missiles, the agency claims.

Shmyhal: 8 taxpayers per soldier needed to fund military

The Ukrainian government needs eight taxpayers per soldier to ensure the state budget has enough funding for the military, Denys Shmyhal said during a press conference on March 4 attended by the Kyiv Independent.

The figure is higher than the number that President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned at a press conference on Dec. 19, 2023, when he said that "it takes six civilians paying taxes to provide for one fighter."

Zelensky said at the year-end press conference that Ukraine's military leadership had proposed to mobilize up to 500,000 additional conscripts, which could cost the state $13.4 billion.

Ukraine's government has to strike a balance between mobilizing enough men to fight, while simultaneously ensuring the country keeps running and the military is adequately funded by taxpayers.

Shmyhal said that according to current government estimates, 700,000 people are currently exempted from mobilization.

These include, for example, those who work in critical industries or for companies that generate above-average profits for the state, Shmyhal said.

The government submitted a new draft of the mobilization law to Ukraine’s parliament on Jan. 30, more than two weeks after withdrawing its initial, contentious version.

Ukraine's parliament supported the updated bill on mobilization in the first reading on Feb. 7. To become law, bills must be passed by parliament in two readings, and signed by the president.

Ukrainian businesses are reportedly concerned that, among other things, the new law would undermine the country's export sector and lead to mass staff shortages due to certain provisions of the new draft process, including online call-ups.

France releases list of aid donated to Ukraine since Feb. 24, 2022
The newly published list of 50 items includes 30 Caesar self-propelled artillery systems, 38 AMX10 armored fighting vehicles, 250 VAB armored vehicles in various modifications, 160 drones, and 10 drone-detecting systems.

Military intelligence: Railway bridge blown up in Russia's Samara Oblast

A railway bridge across the Chapayevka River in Russia's Samara Oblast has been blown up, paralyzing the traffic, Ukraine's military intelligence (HUR) said on March 4 without specifying who was responsible for the incident.

The bridge and the adjacent railway connection were used by Russia to transport military cargo, namely engineering explosives produced by the JSC Polimer in the city of Chapayevsk, the military intelligence agency said.

The agency's statement came after Russian Telegram channels reported the incident, publishing alleged photos of the bridge. According to military intelligence, the bridge was damaged at about 6 a.m. local time.

"Given the nature of the damage to the railway bridge, its use will be impossible for a long time," the agency said on its Telegram channel.

This is not the first such incident to take place in Russia in the past months.

In late January, military intelligence claimed that "partisans" burned down several relay cabinets and other facilities in three regions of Russia that were reportedly used for the Russian troops' logistics.

Ukraine’s military intelligence claims cyberattack on Russian Defense Ministry
The operation by HUR’s cyber specialists reportedly helped to obtain orders, reports, instructions, and reports “that circulated among about 2,000 structural units of the Russian security service.”

Health Ministry starts inspection of Kyiv military medical commissions

Ukraine's Health Ministry is starting an inspection of military medical commissions in Kyiv due to increased complaints, Minister Viktor Liashko announced on March 4.

Enlistment facilities across the country attracted authorities' attention after journalists discovered in June 2023 that the family of the ex-head of the Odesa Oblast military enlistment office had acquired property worth $4.5 million since the start of the full-scale invasion.

This led to a nationwide inspection that uncovered 260 cases of suspected violations by enlistment offices and military medical commissions.

Complaints about the work of Kyiv military medical commissions relate to non-compliance with the electronic queue system, uncomfortable conditions during medical checks, doctors' negligence, and corruption practices, among other things, Liashko said on Facebook.

"There are many questions. The Health Ministry does not have direct leverage over everything, but from our side, we will do our best to ensure that everyone, without exception, follows the law," Liashko added.

"Disgraceful cases where doctors deliberately indicate the wrong diagnosis or demand a bribe for a correct one must stop. Each manipulation must receive a proper assessment by law enforcement agencies. And we are working on it together."

Governor: Russian attacks with cluster munitions, kills civilian


Russian forces struck the village of Rizdvianka in Zaporizhzhia Oblast with cluster munitions, killing a civilian, Governor Ivan Fedorov reported on March 4.

Settlements in Zaporizhzhia Oblast in southeastern Ukraine suffer from regular Russian strikes due to their proximity to the front line. Part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast has been occupied by Russia since 2022.

Russian troops launched two cluster munitions strikes against the village, with the second killing a resident, Fedorov said on Telegram.

Rizdvianka lies around 80 kilometers east of the regional capital, Zaporizhzhia.

Russia launched 177 strikes on six settlements in Zaporizhzhia Oblast on March 3, damaging 11 houses and infrastructure facilities, Fedorov reported earlier.

Shmyhal: Ukraine listing sites that could be rebuilt with funds from frozen Russian assets
Ukraine is compiling a list of sites that Russia has destroyed to specifically allocate funds from frozen Russian assets, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at a press conference on March 4,
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