Ukraine war news – live: Russia’s Wagner chief warns frontline ‘will collapse’ amid weapons shortage

Ukrainian forces demobilise Russian tanks near Donetsk frontline

Russian mercenary group Wagner’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has warned that the whole frontline is at the brink of collapsing if his soldiers are forced to retreat from Bakhmut amid “ammunition hunger”.

The mercenary group boss said that his forces fighting in eastern Ukraine’s Bakhmut are now being deprived of arms and ammunition to carry on in the battle.

“If Wagner retreats from Bakhmut now, the whole front will collapse,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said over the weekend, speaking from a bunker-like space.

“The situation will not be sweet for all military formations protecting Russian interests,” he warned.

This comes amid reports that Russian soldiers are likely using “shovels” in hand-to-hand combat because of depleted stock.

The British defence ministry described how in late February Russian troops were ordered to attack a Ukrainian position armed just with “firearms and shovels”.

Russian troops have been facing a severe ammunition shortage, with Prigozhin blaming Russian deaths in Ukraine on the recent shortage.


Wagner boss says war front line gains, including Bakhmut, at risking of collapsing

Russian mercenary group Wagner’s chief has warned that his forces capturing the entire mining town of Bakhmut were being deprived of arms and ammunition, adding that if they were forced to retreat, the entire front gained in the war so far would collapse.

“If Wagner retreats from Bakhmut now, the whole front will collapse,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said over the weekend, speaking from a bunker-like space.

“The situation will not be sweet for all military formations protecting Russian interests,” he warned.

He added that his soldiers are worried that Moscow wanted to set them up as possible scapegoats if Russia lost the war.

“If we retreat, then we will go down in history forever as people who have taken the main step towards losing the war,” the mercenary group’s boss said in a nearly four-minute video.

“This is exactly the problem with ammunition hunger.”

Arpan Rai6 March 2023 03:25


Russia’s air defence downs three missiles in Belgorod region

At least one person was wounded in the southern Russian region of Belgorod on Monday after Russian forces shot down three missiles, the governor of the region bordering Ukraine said.

The falling debris had also brought down some power lines near the town of Novy Oskol but the full scope of the damage was not immediately known, the governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said on the Telegram messaging app.

“It’s known about one wounded, a man with shrapnel wounds to his hand,” Gladkov said.

He did not say who he thought had fired the missiles but in the past he has accused Ukrainian forces on the other side of the nearby border of similar attacks.

Belgorod borders Ukraine‘s Kharkiv region and has repeatedly come under fire since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine a year ago.

Ukraine almost never publicly claims responsibility for attacks inside Russia and on Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine.

Emily Atkinson6 March 2023 07:20


Ukraine could ‘pull out’ from Bakhmut

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, assessed last week that Kyiv’s actions may point to a looming pullout from parts of the city of Bakhmut.

It said Ukrainian troops may “conduct a limited and controlled withdrawal from particularly difficult sections of eastern Bakhmut,” while seeking to inhibit Russian movement there and limit exit routes to the west.

Capturing Bakhmut would not only give Russian fighters a rare battlefield gain after months of setbacks but might rupture Ukraine’s supply lines and allow the Kremlin’s forces to press on toward other Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk province.

Fighting is raging on in Bakhmut


Lucy Skoulding6 March 2023 07:00


Russia deploying 60-year-old battle tanks to compensate battlefield losses – MoD

The Russian military has continued to respond to heavy armoured vehicle losses by deploying 60-year-old T-62 main battle tanks (MBT), according to the intelligence by the British defence ministry.

“There is a realistic possibility that even units of the 1st Guards Tank Army (1 GTA), supposedly Russia’s premier tank force, will be re-equipped with T-62s to make up for previous losses,” the ministry said in its latest intelligence update.

It added that 1 GTA had previously been due to receive the next-generation T-14 Armata MBT from 2021.

“In recent days, Russian BTR-50 armoured personnel carriers, first fielded in 1954, have also been identified [as] deployed in Ukraine for the first time,” the MoD said.

“Since summer 2022, approximately 800 T-62s have been taken from storage and some have received upgraded sighting systems which will highly likely improve their effectiveness at night,” the ministry said.

However, it added that, both these vintage vehicle types will present many vulnerabilities on the modern battlefield, including the absence of modern explosive reactive armour.

Arpan Rai6 March 2023 06:56


Russian brigade in Donetsk refuse to obey orders, says Ukraine

Senior officers of Russia’s 155th Brigade, which Kyiv says suffered heavy recent losses, were refusing to obey orders to attack near Vuhledar, southwest of the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk, according to the Ukrainian military officials.

“The leaders of the brigade and senior officers are refusing to proceed with a new senseless attack as demanded by their unskilled commanders – to storm well-defended Ukrainian positions with little protection or preparation,” Ukraine‘s military said in a statement.

Military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said two “Cossack” Russian units known as Steppe and Tiger had expressed frustration with their commanders and refused to take part in any new offensive on the hilltop town.

Arpan Rai6 March 2023 06:35


British pilots to conduct joint air policing missions in Estonia

British pilots are set to conduct joint air policing missions in Estonia alongside the German air force for the first time.

It comes as the UK prepares take over from Germany to lead the Nato mission in Estonia, which borders Russia.

Royal Air Force and German Air Force Typhoon jets will take part in the first of their kind “integrated” missions, as the Defence Secretary praised the demonstration of Nato “unity”.

The Ministry of Defence said that around 300 RAF personnel will soon arrive in Estonia, with the UK set to lead the Nato air policing mission for four months from April.

Lucy Skoulding6 March 2023 06:00


Ukraine ‘holding’ defence in Bakhmut in tough battle, says military

Volodymyr Nazarenko, a commander of Ukrainian troops in Bakhmut, said that there had been no order to retreat and “the defence is holding” in grim conditions.

“The situation in Bakhmut and around it is very much hell-like, as it is on the entire eastern front,” the top commander said in a video posted on Telegram.

Ukrainian forces have repelled 95 Russian attacks in the Bakhmut area in the past 24 hours, the war-torn nation’s military said earlier today.

“The situation in Bakhmut can be described as critical,” Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said in a video commentary.

In a grinding battle for territorial gain, a Russian victory in Bakhmut, with a pre-war population of about 70,000, would give it the first major prize in a costly winter offensive.

Russia says it would be a stepping stone to completing the capture of the Donbas industrial region, one of its most important objectives, even when the town has little strategic value.

Arpan Rai6 March 2023 05:50


‘Russian murderers’ in Ukraine war will be punished, says Zelensky

Volodymyr Zelensky has said that his administration is working on punishing all Russian officials and forces for sustaining the war against Ukraine after he held a conference with lawyers from Kyiv, Europe and other nations.

“All Russian murderers, every organiser of this aggression, everyone who in any way sustains the war against our country and terror against our people must be punished. And this is not just a dream of justice. This is work that is already underway,” he said in his nightly address.

The war-time president added that his administration is already reaching these agreements.

“These are agreements that we are already reaching. These are institutions that are already working and will work even harder to restore justice, to punish those responsible for aggression,” he said.

Arpan Rai6 March 2023 05:08


Russian military source says Bakhmut fighting is ‘close to the end’

Ukraine has vowed to defend its “fortress” Bakhmut as intense fighting against Russian soldiers continued in the streets this weekend.

But Russian military source has claimed the battle is “close to its end”.

Ukrainian military officials said attempts were continuing by Vladimir Putin’s troops to encircle the city.

Two civilians were killed over the past day in Bakhmut, governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.

Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine was enduring a “painful and difficult” battle in the eastern Donbas region, which includes Bakhmut.

Lucy Skoulding6 March 2023 05:00


Death toll up to 13 after Thursday’s rocket

The death toll of an attack on a high rise building on Thursday has now risen to 13 as another person has died.

A rocket hit a five-floor residential block in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on Thursday.

Anatoliy Kurtiev, secretary of the Zaporizhzhia Regional Council, said on Sunday: “Unfortunately, the number of people who died as a result of the rocket attack on March 2 has already increased to 13. Among them is a very small child.”

Ukrainian authorities said a pregnant woman was among those rescued from the building on Thursday.

A man holding a cat rescued from the building in Zaporizhzhia which was hit by a rocket

(Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Lucy Skoulding6 March 2023 04:00