Author: David Batashvili, Research Fellow at the Rondeli Foundation

This is a special issue of the Rondeli Russian Military Digest dedicated to the Russo-Ukrainian War, composed on the basis of numerous open sources.

A note to readers: This digest could not be published in the period of 10-20 March due to technical issues.


Kyiv-Chernihiv Area

Daily fighting took place northwest and west of Kyiv during the reported period. The two sides continuously exchanged attacks and counterattacks, but neither made any major territorial gains.

The area east of Kyiv also did not witness major territorial changes during this period. Ukrainians defeated Russian attempts to advance against the city of Brovary which guards Kyiv from the east.

Positional fighting continued around Chernihiv. This Ukrainian-held city is semi-encircled by Russians who apparently were able to entrench their presence to the south of Chernihiv during the reported period.

Static shot from the Russo-Ukrainian War interactive map, Kyiv area by the afternoon of 21 March. All information on the maps is approximate.


Kharkiv-Sumy Area

Situation in the area of Kharkiv somewhat resembled the one in the Kyiv area. Russians were unable either to enter or encircle the city. The two sides exchanged attacks and counterattacks near Kharkiv during the reported period, resulting in only minor territorial changes.

Sumy remained under Ukrainian control. Russians did not make new attempts to enter this city during the reported period.


Donbas Area

During the reported period, Russians concentrated much of their effort against the Ukrainian-held part of Donbas which is centered on the cities of Kramatorsk, Slovyansk, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. These efforts involved frontal attacks on Ukrainian positions and moves to encircle Ukrainian forces operating in Donbas.

Frontal attacks took place near Mar’inka, Avdiivka, Verkhnotoretske, Horlivka and Popasna among other places. They were conducted against prepared Ukrainian positions, fortified during the years since the end of the active phase of the war in Donbas in 2014-2015, resulting in failure and heavy casualties for the Russians.

Russian efforts to advance on the city of Severodonetsk were checked by Ukrainians as well. Northwest of Severodonetsk, Russians managed to enter the town of Rubizhne, but Ukrainians were able to stop them in Rubizhne’s streets. As of 21 March, the town remained divided between the two sides.

A serious and sustained effort to encircle Ukrainian forces in Donbas was made by Russians from the north. This involved attacking the town of Izyum where Russians met stiff Ukrainian resistance. Heavy street battles within Izyum continued throughout the reported period. Russians failed in establishing control there, and Izyum remained divided between the opposing sides as of 21 March. Russians also attempted to advance southward in the area west of Izyum, but were stopped by Ukrainian resistance and counterattacks there as well.

Russian effort to surround Ukrainian forces in Donbas also involved attacks from the south – in the area southwest of the city of Donetsk. During the reported period, Russians made limited gains in that area taking a number of villages and pushing the frontline northward.

Donbas area

Area of Severodonetsk, Lysychansk and Rubizhne


Siege of Mariupol

During the reported period, Russians consolidated their encirclement of Mariupol and began assault on the city.

The town of Volnovakha to the north of Mariupol, stiffly defended by Ukrainians, was taken by Russians by 11 March after days of furious street battles. Russians also took over the rest of the area to the north of Mariupol, establishing considerable distance between the garrison of the besieged city and other nearest Ukrainian forces.

Russians then launched the assault on Mariupol, starting simultaneous attacks on the city from the east and the west, but getting quickly bogged down in fierce street fighting with Ukrainian defenders.

Besieged Mariupol


Dnipro-Zaporizhzhia Area

Russians made limited advances in the direction of Kryvyi Rih from the south, with the last such advance as of the afternoon of 21 March being reported on 17 March.

No new Russian advances occurred during the reported period towards Zaporizhzhia.

Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia and Kryvyi Rih


Black Sea Area

Ukrainians achieved some success in the area of Mykolaiv during the reported period. As a result of their defensive actions along with counterattacks, immediate threat of assault on this city receded. In addition, Russian breakthrough to the north of Mykolaiv, threatening to encircle it as well as Odesa, was pushed back by Ukrainians.

Mykolaiv area