Центр оборонних стратегій

CDS Daily brief (27.03.23) | CDS comments on key events

Download in PDF

Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • Russian troops shelled seven regions of Ukraine during the past day; there were killed and wounded civilians.
  • On March 27, the Russian occupiers dealt a massive S300 rocket attack on Slovyansk. Two people died, and at least 36 were injured.
  • According to the study, 65% of Mariupol residents who were evacuated from the city would return under the condition of the de-occupation. Up to 60% of people who were in Mariupol, blockaded by the invaders and then evacuated, got post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


  • The enemy continues to concentrate its main efforts on the offensive in the Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Maryinka directions;
  • Russian troops in southern Ukraine lack a sufficient number of missiles and UAVs.
  • Escalation indicators: We should expect the transfer of “Wagner” PMC detachments to the Maryinka area.


  • The OHCHR has criticized Ukraine for alleged discrimination actions against the branch of the Russian Orthodox Church, though it didn’t put forward any hard evidence. The OHCHR hyperbolized a “discrimination” issue and downplayed the role of the Russian Church and its Ukrainian branch in instigating the conflict in 2014 and even more in 2023.
  • Nikolai Patrushev threatened to destroy the U.S. while claiming that Russia “doesn’t intimidate anyone with military advantage.” Patrushev revealed his pathological reading of democracy and alternative reading of history.
Humanitarian aspect:

Russian attacks

Russian troops shelled seven regions of Ukraine during the past day, according to the consolidated information of the regional military administrations as of 9:00, March 27.

Consequences of enemy attacks:

  • One person died, and two were injured during the past day in Donetsk Oblast. On the morning of March 26, the Russians launched a rocket attack on Avdiivka, damaging the hotel and the courthouse. During the day, they shelled the outskirts of Kurakhove 6 times. 3 houses were destroyed, and 6 were damaged in Zvanivka; four more homes were damaged in Pereizne. There is one killed civilian in Krasnohorivka. On March 27, the Russian occupiers dealt a massive S300 rocket attack on Slovyansk. Two people died; the number of injured has increased to 36. The administrative and office buildings, 5 high-rise buildings and 7 private houses were ruined. At the same time, the Russians struck Druzhkivka; two S300 rockets hit the orphanage and almost completely destroyed it. Preliminary, no victims have been reported.
  • On March 26, the Russian occupiers continued to strike along the border of Kharkiv Oblast. As a result of the shelling of Kupyansk, a high-rise building, a garage, and a car were damaged. The enemy fired mortars and other weapons at the village of Dvorichna in the Kupyansk district. Residential buildings and farm buildings were damaged.
  • On Marh26, the Russian occupiers attacked Kherson Oblast 20 times; 4 wounded civilians were reported. On March 27, Russian aviation and artillery shelled Beryslav; three people were injured. Volodymyr Litvinov, the head of Beryslav RDA, reported that “Beryslav has been under fire from Russian aviation and artillery all day long… three people are known to have been injured as a result of heavy shelling”.
  • Yesterday, the Russian occupiers shelled 14 peaceful towns and villages of Orihiv, Hulyaipole and Vasylivka districts of Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Data on destruction and victims are being clarified. In the Slobozhansk direction, Russian troops attacked the districts of more than 15 towns and villages.
  • On March 27, Russian troops shelled the Nikopol area, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, with UAVs; a man was injured.
  • In Chernihiv Oblast, the enemy hit the Novgorod-Siversky district with mortars three times during the day. The house was damaged. No victims reported.
  • In Sumy Oblast yesterday, during the day, the Russians shelled the territories of the Esman and Bilopillia communities with artillery and grenade launchers.
Occupied territories

Under the condition of the de-occupation of Mariupol, 65% of residents who were evacuated from the city blocked by the invaders are ready to return to it, according to the study “How the blockade of Mariupol affected people”, presented at Ukrinform Media Center. The study was conducted in December last year. According to Denis Podyachev, “the largest share of Mariupol residents are those who escaped from the occupied city; they do not see themselves in the city until it is returned to the control of Ukraine.” He emphasized that to the question of whether the respondents would be able to return to Mariupol and under what conditions, they generally answered positively but mentioned the nuances.

Up to 60% of people who were in Mariupol, blockaded by the invaders in 2022 and then evacuated, got post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “We have 1,094 people who made up the sample population. And of them, 10 people experienced the most – the loss of a child… Almost 65% witnessed the death of people in general, relatives, neighbors, or those who happened to be a friend in misfortune,” Podyachev stated. In addition, he noted that the residents of Mariupol, who were in the city in the spring of 2022, especially pointed to the aviation component of enemy shelling. Cold, hunger, destruction of housing, the impossibility of escape, etc., also had a traumatic effect, which severely impacted the physical and moral health of Mariupol residents.

The head of the study reminded that the total number of Mariupol residents who left the city varies from 200 to 300 thousand. Currently, they are both in Ukraine and abroad.

Operational situation General conclusion:
  • The enemy concentrates its main efforts on conducting offensive actions in the Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Maryinka directions;
  • Russian troops in southern Ukraine lack a sufficient number of missiles and UAVs.
  • Units of the Defense Forces repelled more than 60 enemy attacks in various directions.
  • The enemy conducted unsuccessful offensives near Synkivka, Bilohorivka, and Vesele in Luhansk Oblast. They continued assault on Bakhmut, attacked Bohdanivka, Ivanivske, Novobakhmutivka, Novokalynove, Avdiyivka, Severne, Pervomaiske, Nevelske, Krasnohorivka, and Maryinka areas of Donetsk Oblast.
Change in enemy disposition:
  • Russian sources report the formation of the volunteer battalion “Hurricane” of the 1st sabotage and reconnaissance brigade “Volki”, which operates in the Avdiyivka area.
Escalation indicators:
  • We should expect the transfer of “Wagner” PMC detachments to the Maryinka area.
Possible operation situation developments:
  • The enemy is preparing for active offensive actions in the Kupyansk direction;
  • The enemy is increasing its efforts in the Avdiivka direction and will try to surround Avdiivka;
  • An aggravation should be expected in the Maryinka direction.
Azov-Black Sea Maritime Operational Area:

Locations of ships of the Russian Navy:

Black Sea:

  • Submarine pr. 636.3 – 5 km northwest of Sevastopol;
  • frigates “Admiral Essen”, “Admiral Makarov”, submarine pr.636.3 (under repair), patrol ship “Vasily Bykov”, corvette “Eysk”, reconnaissance ship “Priazovye” – Sevastopol;
  • missile corvettes “Vyshny Volochyok”, “Grayvoron”, “Ingushetia” – Feodosia;
  • two submarines pr.636.3, submarine “Alrosa”, frigate “Pytlyvyi”, patrol ships “Pavel Derzhavin”, “Sergei Kotov” – Novorossiysk;
  • corvettes “Askold”, “Zyklon” – Kerch; Sea of Azov:
  • Patrol ship “Dmitry Rogachev” – the northern part of the Kerch Strait. Location of large landing ships (Landing Ship, Tank (LST):
  • LST “Orsk” – Feodosia;
  • LST “Korolyov” – 30 km southwest of Anapa;
  • LST “Pyotr Morgunov” – 10 km southeast of Myskhako;
  • LSTs “Azov” (repair), “Nikolai Filchenkov” (repair), “Novocherkassk” (repair), “Cesar Kunikov”, “Kaliningrad” (repair) – Sevastopol;
  • LSTs “Georgy Pobedonosets”, “Olenegorskiy miner”, “Yamal”, and “Minsk” – Novorossiysk.
  • Enemy aviation continues to fly from the Crimean airfields of Belbek, Saki, Dzhankoy and Hvardiyske. A total of 14 combat sorties were carried out over the past day.
  • Two flights of military transport aircraft of the Russian Air Force were made to the Belek airfield to deliver personnel. Control of the air situation and operational-tactical aviation over the waters of the Sea of Azov was carried out by the A-50U and Il-22 AEW&C aircraft.
“Grain Initiative”
  • On March 27, the ports of “Chornomorsk” and “Pivdenny” sent 3 ships with food for Asian countries. Among them is the ASL ILEANA bulker with 54,600 tons of wheat for Bangladesh, which is acutely experiencing the economic crisis, as a result of which the population is faced with the problem of buying food at high prices. At the same time, the country remains a key consumer of Ukrainian wheat; since the start of the Grain Initiative, it has received more than 710,000 tons of wheat from Ukraine. These volumes could be higher if the Russians had not purposefully slowed down ship inspections in Turkey. Moreover, thanks to the “Grain Initiative” and the availability of Ukrainian grain on the market, world food prices are restrained from further growth. This allows countries like Bangladesh to provide the population with food.
  • Since August 1, 848 ships left the ports of Great Odesa, exporting 25.9 million tons of Ukrainian food to the countries of Asia, Europe and Africa. Currently, 680,000 tons of agricultural products are being loaded on 19 ships in the ports of Great Odesa. 3 vessels move along the “grain corridor” for loading.
  • The situation with inspections in the territorial waters of Turkey is consistently difficult. There are an average of 6 inspections per day, both at the entrance to the ports and at the exit (half of the approved plan), and 94 vessels are waiting for inspection in the queue.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 27.03.23

Personnel – almost 171,160 people (+610);

Tanks – 3,595 (0);

Armored combat vehicles – 6,953 (+6);

Artillery systems – 2638 (+7)

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 523 (+1); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 277 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 5,493 (+7); Aircraft – 305 (0);

Helicopters – 291 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 2,216 (0); Intercepted cruise missiles – 911 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

Ukraine, general news

The head of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, visited the Dnieper hydroelectric power station and met with President Zelensky. Grossi was shown the recent damage to the dam. This week, Grossi plans to visit the Zaporizhzhia NPP, which was seized by the Russian invaders, to verify compliance with nuclear safety standards.

International diplomatic aspect

In its Report on the human rights situation, the OHCHR has criticized Ukraine for alleged discrimination actions against the branch of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) in Ukraine. “OHCHR is concerned that official actions targeting the UOC [Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate] could be discriminatory,” Report reads, referring to the Security Service’s searches in “several monasteries, offices, education facilities and other property” of the UOC. The Report also mentions several drafts of law that envisage certain limitations to the “religious organizations affiliated with decision-making centers in the Russian Federation.” The only real documented problem reported by the OHCHR was the case of a “Baptist pastor from Kharkiv region who was abducted in May by three masked men in uniforms of the Russian armed forces, then taken to a police station and subjected to severe beatings. While being tortured, he was told that “there can be only the Russian Orthodox Church in the area” and that “there is no place for a Baptist church.” No information on his fate and whereabouts was provided to his relatives, nor was his detention acknowledged by the occupation authorities before he was released without conditions.” Ukraine’s foreign ministry rejected the accusations saying that “Ukraine is a democratic state in which freedom of religion is guaranteed. At the same time, freedom is not the same as the right to engage in activities that undermine national security.” The MFA called on the OHCHR to “refrain from unbalanced political assessments and base its reports on facts.”

It seems that the OHCHR hyperbolized a “discrimination” issue and downplayed the role of the Russian Church and its Ukrainian branch in instigating the conflict in 2014 and even more in 2023. The OHCHR ignores the numerous facts that ROC is the Kremlin’s arm in spreading propaganda, sowing discord in targeted societies, carrying out subversive actions, etc. “Successive Tsars imposed their will on the Church, transforming it into a mere instrument for their strategic objectives… Putin’s Russia simply renewed and accentuated this “tradition.” In the minds of the Russian political and religious leadership, religion became too important as a political and geostrategic tool,” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said recently, pointing out the problem Ukraine and other nations cope with. The Patriarch went after the so-called Russian world, which is the concept and organization aimed at the subjugation of Ukraine, Belarus as well as ethnic Russians worldwide. It’s the “main instrument for a “spiritual” legitimation of the invasion in Ukraine,” and ROC has been playing an important role. In fact, Rossotrudnichestvo, the leading institution that spreads the Russian world, has eighty-seven branches (Russian Houses) across the globe, including Russia’s illegally annexed territories. Propaganda and espionage activities are covered up by Russian culture and language programs.

“Russia is patient and does not intimidate anyone with military advantage. But it has modern unique weapons capable of destroying any adversary, including the United States, in case of a threat to its existence,” Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev said. The key Putin’s hawk called short-sighted and dangerous stupidity the opinion of American politicians, “who are in captivity of their own propaganda,” that Russia will no longer be able to respond to a U.S. preventive nuclear strike. He didn’t provide any evidence of such a statement. Nikolai Patrushev has revealed the true depth of his surreal beliefs that Russian “centuries-old culture is based on spirituality, compassion, and mercy. Russia is a historical defender of the sovereignty and statehood of those who turned to her for help. She saved the United States at least twice –

during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. But I believe that helping the United States maintain its integrity is inappropriate this time.”

A well-known pandit of the alternative history, Patrushev recalled how the “Anglo-Saxons [the way Russians call the Brits and Americans] fed the Nazis in the 1930s, hoping to direct them against the Soviet Union. Having earned financial and geopolitical dividends from the results of World War II, today Washington and London are again indulging Nazism and fascism.” It’s a common belief in Russia that Stalin was made to sign the [Molotov-Ribbentrop] Pact with Hitler after such documents were signed with some western powers. The Russians tend to ignore that the other nations didn’t conspire with the Nazis to start the Second World War by dividing Europe between the two bloody tyrants. Neither the Russians recall that Britain and France declared war Nazi Germany after it invaded Poland, while the Soviet Union was invading the other part of the country. There’re many false beliefs common in Russian thinking about that war, including that it was the Soviet Union, not the Allied powers, who defeated Nazism, and that the U.S. assistance to the Soviet Union (land lease) was not of significant importance.

Patrushev revealed his pathological reading of democracy, “the main task of the political regime in the modern United States is to mislead its own population in the conditions of a systemic crisis in which they themselves find themselves. Democracy, for them, is just a beautiful facade of the state system, which is designed to hide the disregard for the rights of ordinary Americans. Anyone who has carefully studied the legal and socio-political system of the United States is devoid of illusions about freedom of speech and will in this country.” He believes that America is run by corporations that form foreign policy and “create hotbeds of tension around the world for their billions in earnings on various contracts, the imaginary transparency of which they themselves control.”

Centre for Defence Strategies (CDS) is a Ukrainian security think tank. We operate since 2020 and are involved in security studies, defence policy research and advocacy. Currently all our activity is focused on stopping the ongoing war.

We publish this brief daily. If you would like to subscribe, please send us an email to cds.dailybrief@gmail.com

Please note, that we subscribe only verified persons and can decline or cancel the subscription at our own discretion

We are independent, non-government, non-partisan and non-profit organization. More at www.defence.org.ua

Our Twitter (in English) – https://twitter.com/defence_centre

Our Facebook (in Ukrainian) – https://www.facebook.com/cds.UA

Our brief is for information only and we verify our information to the best possible extent