War Update #11 – March 2, 2022 – Peace Talks, Censorship, Economic Sanctions and UN Condemnation for Russia

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Reuters File Image of Antiwar Protest in London

  • An Aircraft has been grounded in Canada’s far north. The plane carrying Russian civilians were en route to the High Arctic and has been grounded in Yellowknife, according to the North West Territories’s Minister of Infrastructure Diane Archie. Archie said, “It appears that the plane and its passengers were on their way to Resolute, Nunavut, with the intention of taking a planned Arctic overland expedition in a large all-terrain utility vehicle.”
  • Almost 836,000 people fled Ukraine since war began on February 24, 2022. FlixBus is reporting they are taking refugees once out of Ukraine to safe cities at no charge.
  • Peace talks: A second round of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are reportedly planned to take place in Belarus on Thursday morning, according to the head of Moscow’s delegation, Vladimir Medinsky. Medinsky also said that the second round of talks will include the discussion of a ceasefire, among other things.
  • Censorship: Russia’s federal censor has blocked the website of the publication The Village. However, Roskomnadzor has refuted reports that it’s in the process of blocking YouTube. “A decision to block YouTube video hosting on the territory of Russia has not been made,” the censorship agency told Interfax on Wednesday, March 2nd.
  • ‘Fake news’ crackdown: A bill has been brought forward to the Russian State Duma that would increase the punishment for spreading “fake news about the actions of the Russian military” with penalties of up to 15 years in prison. The draft law is expected to be adopted at a parliamentary session in the next week (Russian lawmakers are scheduled to meet on March 4, 9, and 10).
  • The Russian Stock Market Remains Closed. Trading has continued to be suspended.
  • UN condemnation:The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution demanding an immediate end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the withdrawal of all Russian troops. The resolution garnered 141 votes in favor — Russia voted against it, along with Belarus, North Korea, Syria, and Eritrea. Thirty-five member countries abstained including China and India. In a tweet, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote that those who supported the resolution “have chosen the right side of history.”

Latest Military Update

The Pentagon says that, “Effective and creative Ukrainian resistance, combined with poor Russian logistics and sustainment has hindered Russian invasion progress”, This was reported by a senior defense official who held an on-background press briefing today. “There hasn’t been a lot of significant change on the ground in Ukraine since yesterday”, the official said.

“In terms of committed Russian combat power inside Ukraine, yesterday it was around 80%. Today it’s about 82%, which is still not an insignificant percentage of combat power”, the official said. “In Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Kyiv, in northern Ukraine, there’s continued Ukrainian resistance to Russian advances, with an increase in Russian missile and artillery fire targeting infrastructure and media outlets, the official stated.

“Those cities are under assault, but with no appreciable movement by the Russians to take them. They are clearly meeting with resistance,” the official said.

In the south, the Russian invaders made progress, threatening Kerson and approaching Mariupol from the south, and they are also deploying forces from Donetsk in the east toward that area. The official said those cities are still contested.

“The airspace over Ukraine remains contested. The Russians had not achieved air superiority over the whole country. The Ukrainian air and missile defense capabilities remain intact and viable,” the official said.

Russia has now launched roughly 450 short-range and medium-range ballistic and cruise missiles, since the start of the war, the official said.

“We think that there’s lots of reasons why not making the progress that they’ve wanted to make,” the official said. Besides, citing logistical and sustainment problems and resistance from the Ukrainians “we also believe that have had morale problems … so, there’s likely a bunch of factors here that are probably at play.”

The overall military situation remains critical.

While Russia’s naval superiority in the Black Sea has contributed to success in its southern area of operations, with Russian forces breaking out from the Crimean Peninsula and taking territory in southern Ukraine.

Ukraine military has fought well and disrupted plans for a quick and decisive Russian victory, however, the situation is still perilous. Russia is moving to encircle Kyiv and Kharkiv and appears to have switched to indiscriminate long-range fires—resulting in significant collateral damage in residential areas—and is making significant progress in the south.

There remain no firm numbers on Russian casualties. Ukraine Ministry of Defence is reporting over 6,000 Russian dead. There are reports of upwards of 1400 Ukraine civilian deaths.