Weekly roundup. Ukraine resists Russia’s invasion. Days 768-772

This week, Russia has stepped up attacks all along the front lines. It has continued to launch missile and drone strikes at cities and towns that sit close to the border and deeper inside Ukraine. Kharkiv and Odesa were some of the targets. A Russian drone strike on Kharkiv overnight on Thursday killed three rescue workers and one civilian. Russia plans to conduct several more massive missile strikes on Ukraine’s energy system this spring, Ukraine’s defense intelligence said. President Zelenskyi warned that Russia is preparing to mobilize an additional 300,000 troops by June. It could attempt to break through Ukrainian defensive lines.

Meanwhile Ukrainian troops are holding defensive positions. They continue to hit targets deep inside Russia. Ukrainian forces near Avdiyivka have repelled what appears to be Russia’s largest mechanized assault in months, according to the Institute for the Study of War. Ukrainian drones struck a Russian oil refinery and a drone-making factory 1,200 kilometers from the border. President Zelenskyi signed into law a bill to lower the draft age to 25. NATO proposed a USD 100 billion, five-year fund to aid Ukraine. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged the allies to provide Ukraine with more air defense systems. Germany will search around the world for Patriot systems for Ukraine, reports surfaced following a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.

Ukraine strikes three Russian military airfields with drones

Explosions rocked the Morozovsk, Yeysk, and Engels airfields overnight on Friday. Russia’s defense ministry said Ukraine had launched more than 50 drones at five regions.

The attack targeted the Morozovsk military airfield in the Rostov region where Su-24, Su-24M, and Su-34 fighter jets are kept. Russia uses the aircraft to drop glide bombs on Ukrainian troops and frontline towns. The 559th Bomber Aviation Regiment is based on the airfield. As of Friday morning, there was no confirmation of damage to the airfield. Residents reported dozens of blasts overnight. Rostov’s governor said a power substation was damaged.  

The Engels airfield in the Saratov region is home to Tu-160 and Tu-95MS strategic bombers that Russia uses to launch major missile strikes across Ukraine. 

An airfield in Yeysk in Russia’s Krasnodar Krai is host to the naval aviation, air and space forces, and the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia). The 859th Naval Aviation Training Centre is also located at the airbase.