Campaign assessment March 23rd

March 23, 5:00pm ET

“Russian forces continued to settle in for a protracted and stalemated conflict over the last 24 hours, with more reports emerging of Russian troops digging in and laying mines—indications that they have gone over to the defensive. Ukrainian forces continued to conduct limited and effective counterattacks to relieve pressure on Kyiv, although the extent of those counterattacks is likely less than what some Ukrainian officials are claiming. Russian efforts to mobilize additional forces to keep their offensive moving continue to be halting and limited. Russian progress in taking Mariupol city remains slow and grinding. Increasing Russian emphasis on using air, artillery, and rocket/missile bombardments of Ukrainian cities to offset forward offensive momentum raises the urgency of providing Ukraine with systems to defend against these attacks.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces continue to go over to the defensive, conducting restricted and localized ground attacks that make little progress.
  • Ukrainian forces are conducting limited and successful counterattacks around Kyiv to disrupt Russian operations to encircle the city (which has now become extremely unlikely) and relieve the pressure on the capital.
  • The Battle of Mariupol continues as a block-by-block struggle with fierce Ukrainian resistance and limited Russian gains.
  • Russia is likely struggling to obtain fresh combat power from Syria and elsewhere rapidly.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 23 | Institute for the Study of War (

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6 Responses to Campaign assessment March 23rd

  1. Fred says:

    It looks like the “battalion tactical groups” don’t have the mass behind them to achieve the objects set for them or sustain the losses in combat from what is reported. ISW states Kiev is the main objective. Why do they conclude that? It reminds me of the “on to Richmond” fever of the Union army during the civil war. Isn’t the Ukrainian army and its capture or destruction more important? It also looks from the map that the whole coastal area from Crimea to through Donetsk and Luhansk, with the exception of Mariapul, have been captured. Wasn’t that a main objective previously?

    Here is an additional map source, though I can’t voice for its usefulness or accuracy.

    • Pat Lang says:

      There was lots of mass in all the “onto Richmond” efforts. What was missing was a man of indomitable will in overall command of the Union Army until Grant came east.

    • Harry says:

      Definitely. And a lot of reinforcement armor with it. Seems like a drone apparently, but I have seen different reports including TochaU

      • Pat Lang says:

        Sounds like two ships were hit.

      • jld says:

        The “accepted” explanation at The Saker:

        The Ukrainians fired a Tochka-U missile at a port where three large landing ship were offloading their freight, the Tochka-U was intercepted by Russian air defenses, but its parts did enough to start a major fire on one of the ships whom the Russians decided to sink in the port to avoid a detonation of the ammo it carried. This is the first Ukrainian strike which we can consider as a major success of the Ukie military.

        Seems weird that the interception occurred so close to the target.

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