Briefly about the most important today's events in our digest of events
that have happened in Ukraine today
American analysts voice occupation scenarios for Ukraine
When looking broadly at Russia's military course of action, Stratfor examined the limited options first. The initial scenario we considered was the most limited of them all. In this paradigm, Russia conducted small incursions along the entirety of its shared border with Ukraine in an effort to threaten various key objectives in the region and by doing so, spreading out Ukrainian combat power as much as possible. From the Russian military perspective, this is efficient and effective, but it wouldn't realize any additional political or security objectives not already underway. However, such a move would likely be used in conjunction with any future military actions by Russia or pro-Russia separatists.
Another limited option is a small expansion of current Separatist lines to the north, incorporating the remainder of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts to make the territory more self-sustaining. This offensive would mainly consist of direct engagement of Ukrainian forces that are concentrated along the separatist held area.
One of the most commonly rumoured options entails Russia driving along Ukraine’s southern coast to link up Crimea with separatist positions in eastern Ukraine. For this scenario it was assumed that planners would make the offensive front broad enough to secure Crimea’s primary water supply, sourced from the Dnieper. This water feature is significant because much of Russia's defensive line would be anchored on the key defensible terrain in the region: namely, the Dnieper River. This would achieve a land bridge and secure supply lines into Crimea.
In conducting such an offensive, an initial thrust would move forces rapidly through Ukraine toward the city of Kherson and Nova Kakhovka on the Dnieper River, where they would set up defensive positions. One of the potential constraints to this scenario is the fact that lines of supply would extend for quite some distance along a thin, difficult to defend, stretch of land.
Another scenario that was considered involves seizing the entire southern coast of Ukraine to connect Russia and its security forces in the breakaway region of Transdniestria. The logic goes that this would cripple Kiev by cutting it off from the Black Sea, thereby securing all Russian interests in this region in a continual arc. This would require a complicated and dangerous bridging operation over a large river, with an extended and vulnerable logistics train.
In this scenario, defensive positions cannot be anchored on the Dnieper River. This would require a greater number of forces to hold the ground, without the luxury of a geography barrier. The port city of Odessa would need to be captured eventually, which would be a massive hit to the Ukrainian economy.
The two scenarios that extend along the coast possess serious flaws, leaving Russia's force in extremely exposed locations. An extended frontage over relatively flat terrain, bisected by riverine features, is far from ideal. There are options for Russia to go beyond this; however, this would involve taking the southern half of eastern Ukraine in an overall attempt to commit less combat power.
One last scenario considered by Stratfor could rectify these problems. In short, Russia could seize all of eastern Ukraine up to the Dnieper, controlling all of the main crossing points, and using the major obstacle of the River as the defensive front line. Yet, taking this entire area would require a significant amount of forces moving into eastern Ukraine. The resulting occupation would also require a massive counter-insurgency campaign including operations in parts of Kiev, as well as the cities of Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk and others, where a high level of resistance would be expected.
IRG: Rebels create striking forces in three directions
From 30 to 80 units of military equipment and vehicles move every day either within the territory of Donbas, or from the territory of Russia, the head of the Information Resistance Group, MP Dmytro Tymchuk, posted in Facebook on March 10.
According to IRG's data, the enemy managed to arrange "strong tactical task forces" in a number of sectors because of such regrouping and manoeuvring," namely north tactical forces in the Donetsk direction, Prymorsk forces in the Mariupol direction, and Lugansk forces in the North-Lugansk direction.
A separate battalion-strong tactical force operates in an area between Krasnogorivka and Pisky (12 tanks and 20 ACVs).
Rebels intensify their activity; Shyrokine stormed till late into the night
The night of 9 to 10 March is characterized by intense fighting on the rebel part, an ATO spokesman, Anatoly Stelmakh, announced at a morning briefing on Tuesday.
According to him, rebels violated the truce agreement 12 times in the period of time from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. of March 10 using large-calibre mortars and heavy artillery.
"The area of Donetsk had to bear the brunt of rebel attacks. Militants shelled and mortared the settlements of Avdiivka, Opytne, Pisky," Stelmakh said.
"In addition, terrorists were firing upon Avdiivka from 9.53 p.m. to 10.45 p.m. with 152-millimetre artillery systems, which, according to the Minsk ceasefire deal, had had to be withdrawn from the demarcation line," he said.
Rebels shelled the settlement of Avdiyivka again at around 2 a.m.; the village of Tonenke came under artillery fire 25 minutes later.
Pro-Russian armed gangs carried out two attacks on the village of Sokolnyky, Lugansk region, with machine-guns.
"Hostilities near the village of Shyrokine in the Mariupol direction continued virtually for the whole day yesterday. Positions of Ukrainian troops were unsuccessfully stormed by terrorists from 9.30 a.m. and almost to 1 a.m. next day", the ATO spokesman said.
Almost peaceful in Lugansk region. Shots fired near the Bakhmutka highway
It was almost quiet in Lugansk region. Shots were fired only near the Bakhmutka highway, Head of the Lugansk Regional State Administration Gennadiy Moskal reported on his official page on Tuesday.
The 9th March and the last night passed with no shots fired in the government-held territory of Lugansk region. Rare blasts could be only heard near the Bakhmutka highway close to the 29th checkpoint.
Post officers of Ukrposhta continue to deliver pensions to the settlements situated in the government-held territory of Lugansk region.
"Azov": Insurgents prepare an offensive after March 10
The regiment "Azov" reports with a reference to intercepted rebel talks that militants are preparing an attack due on or after March 10, regiment's statements posted in Facebook read.
"Militants are preparing an offensive along the whole front line in the east of Ukraine after March 10. We learned this from intercepted terrorists' discussions," the statement reads.
"In addition, the enemy openly discusses potential attacks on Lysychansk and other areas," it says.
The acting head of the press-service of the General Staff, Vladislav Selezniov, told Ukrainska Pravda that such information had been received indeed.
"We are ready for any developments of the situation. There are available forces and equipment deployed along the whole front line. We've fully completed the process of the withdrawal of heavy armaments and large-calibre artillery and expect that the other part will fully observe the Minsk agreements," he said.
Russia announces the 19th "humanitarian convoy" for Donbas
Russia has arranged yet another "humanitarian convoy" for Donbas, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia Volodymyr Stepanov said as reported by TASS.
As reported earlier, columns of "humanitarian convoys" enter into the territory of Ukraine illegally crossing the border through checkpoints, which are not controlled by Ukrainian authorities, and without proper customs clearance.
International experts spotted that petrol tank vehicles transporting fuel were included into convoys.
ATO forces have repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that the intensity of shelling increases upon arrival of every "humanitarian convoy" in Donbas.
General Staff: 9 service members were wounded in the ATO area in the past 24 hours
No losses were reported in the area of the anti-terrorist operation in the past 24 hours, but 9 soldiers sustained different types of wounds, a spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council, Andriy Lysenko, reported at a briefing on Tuesday.
ATO Headquarters: 10 units of SP artillery moved by rebels to Debaltseve
Russian and terrorist troops build up their arsenal of weapons and military equipment in the city of Donetsk, a spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council, Andriy Lysenko, reported at a briefing on Tuesday.
"Despite of claims made by leaders of illegal armed formations operating in Donbas regarding the withdrawal of heavy weapons, enemy groups were spotted massing near the settlements of Schastya, Stanytsia Luganska, Mariupol, Avdiivka, Pisky and Dokuchayevsk. An intensive transportation of materiel and artillery ammunition through the Debaltseve railway hub and establishment of armament depots continues in and around Donetsk," he said. Lysenko added that 10 units of SP artillery, 5 APC-80s, 9 T-64 tanks, 5 ICV-2 and one ICV-1 had arrived in Debaltseve.