The course of the Russian-Ukrainian war in a month

The course of the war.

One month of Russian-Ukrainian war and our extraordinary fight for freedom has already brought some results.

The  full scale stage of Russian-Ukrainian war started on February 24th and has been going on for more than a month now.  Taking into the perspective basic military strategy,  the Armed Forces of Ukraine successfully deployed a defense operation against the Russian invasion.  Even so, some border areas were captured, and a noticeable enemy advance took place in the southern direction, still the aggressor was unable to occupy large cities (except Kherson), and lost a significant amount of manpower and machinery.

We can see among the lists of killed Russians a big number of high-ranking officers, previously involved in the Syrian campaign .  The Kremlin is trying to build up reserves. This task requires an additional time, which they don’t have, while logistical problems cause real concerns in their ability to secure the occupying forces.  These are the main reasons why Russians resort to the scorched earth tactics and terror against the civilian population in attempt to force the Ukrainian leadership to give in to negotiations .  In this attempt to dictate their perspective, they hit even far beyond the actual frontline, in the westernmost points,  where NATO countries instructors were based(Yavoriv military test site).

Despite several weeks of trying to involve the Belarusian army in full-scale aggression, Moscow has failed to do so due to the resistance of both the Belarusian army and society. Lukashenko, despite economic and military-political dependence on Russia, clearly realizes catastrophic outcomes for his regime this military intervention might bring. However, we should not disregard the presence of the Russian troops in Belarus, as the potential threat to Kyiv in the Volyn and Polissya areas remains.


Full-scale war between Ukraine and Russia (while using the logistical opportunities of Belarus)

Death toll

According to the Ukrainian command, as of March 28, the enemy lost 17,000 in manpower, and more than 60,000 military members are wounded or disabled.  4302 units of machinery were destroyed or seized, including 586 tanks, 123 aircrafts, 127 helicopters.  According to the Pentagon, Russia has used more than 1,300 missiles  since the full-scale invasion started (including Iskanders, Caliber, Class X missiles, Tochka U), some of which were eliminated by Ukrainian air defense forces.  The exhaustion of the latest missile weapons resources is obvious.

Negotiations between the parties

As the blitzkrieg plan to rapidly attack and occupy Ukraine has failed as well as military resources face an exhaustion, Russia is forced to agree to negotiations in order to secure at least some achievements .  Due to the firm Ukrainian position, it was possible to move the negotiating platform from unfriendly Belarus to Turkey.  The Turkish government demonstrates pro-Ukrainian neutrality (combining non-accession to all Western sanctions with continued supply of Bayraktar drones to Ukraine).  During the first weeks of negotiations, the Moscow delegates pressered Kyiv with unrealistic ultimates, since then, the aggressor was forced to reduce and limit long lists of their requirements, still demanding Ukraine’s neutrality .  This round of negotiations is unlikely to bring quick results, as Russia currently is still pursuing a significant military advantage in the Donbass region and around the city of Mariupol.

Humanitarian consequences

According to the UN data – 1151 civilians died, more than 1830 were wounded.  These are estimates, as it is very difficult to count and identify the number of victims in frontline areas.  At the same time, according to the Mariupol city authorities, more than 5,000 people died in this city alone, the exact figures are still difficult to establish.  Many people died during the shelling and bombing of Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol by Russian forces .

According to the UN, more than 3 million Ukrainians have left the country, mostly fleeing to neighboring EU countries.


Control over territory

As of March 29, the aggressor’s forces hold lands in Southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions, Northern Chernihiv, Sumy, Kyiv, and Kharkiv regions. There are attempts to advance in Donbas. Mariupol, the main Ukraine’s port on the Azov sea, is being blocked. The enemy has managed to occupy only 3 cities with over 50,000 inhabitants: Kherson, Melitopol, and Berdiansk. It holds control over the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and the Chornobyl zone.

Global impact

The USA grants Ukraine billions of dollars of assistance, including anti-aircraft systems, anti-tank missiles, and ammunition. Sanctions get tougher, and Washington makes European countries put more pressure on Moscow. China grows more critical of Russia, calling for negotiations, and not giving the Kremlin military assistance. It is due to the Russian army’s inefficiency (Beijing used to see it as a potential ally) and anti-Russian spirits that consolidated the West. Moreover, a long war will cause global food prices to increase, which is not suitable for China. All neighbors notice the weaknesses of Russia which waste the most combat-ready units and modern equipment in Ukraine. As Russia’s Far-East is practically stripped bare in military terms, Japan is starting to insist on the matter of Kuril island ownership. Meanwhile, the Karabakh situation is escalating: Azerbaijan’s forces advance, ignoring Russian protests from Russian “peacemakers”. At the same time, the Kazakhstan situation remains tense, and there is a threat of a civil war in Tajikistan (with a Russian military contingent) with possible Taliban-supported Afghani opposition intervention.


Moscow’s army will significantly decrease the fighting intensity while being unable to move the frontline. As forces are focused in different directions, they are getting scattered. Previous plans to take over Kharkiv, Kyiv, and Odesa are broken. The aggressor is suffering from weak logistics lines and an unstable supply of food and ammo. Russia tries to utilize its old equipment, however, as our reconnaissance points out, the equipment is mostly not ready to fight, optics and electronics have been stolen as well as precious metals. Russian military command admits that its main objective is now to advance in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where forces are being relocated from other battlefields. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian army managed to push the enemy out from Mykolayiv, and start counter-attacking in the Sumy region (around Trostyanets) and near Kyiv.


Resource depletion and a need for minimum achievements force Russia to demonstrate readiness for negotiations, and at the same time – consolidate units in Donetsk and to some extent Kherson directions. If they fail to surround Ukrainians in the East, their negotiating position will be weakened. Meanwhile, during the next few months, Russia’s economic crisis will worsen, accompanied by dissent from local elites that suffer from the disruption of corrupt money flows. Potentially hot spots are Dagestan, Bashkortostan, and the Far-East.

Yurii Oliinyk, Head of Research Programs, NAC «Ukrainian Studies of Strategic Disquisitions»

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