March 27, 2022 Newsletter #18.0

Good morning everyone,

Busy week with a lot of updates. I hope everyone is doing well as always.

So with that, let's dive in:



By @Tessaron_News

Friday, March 25, 2020: During a Friday briefing, Russia’s military announced that the invasion of Ukraine has entered its “second phase,” in which Russia has achieved its original strategic goals and will now focus on fully “liberating” the separatist held areas of Donbas. Zvezda, RIA Novosti, and Russian owned Twitter accounts have repeated the narratives that the first phase of operations in the Ukrainian Special Military Operation are completed, that being the suppression of the Ukrainian military, despite the fact that Ukrainian ground forces have actually had limited success in several counterattacks, especially outside of Kyiv. They are also claiming that Russian forces are successfully "blocking" Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Mykolaiv, and Kharkiv. The Russian MoD is also claiming that the Ukrainian Air Force, Navy, and air defense forces have been completely destroyed, despite successful strikes against Russian aircraft, supply lines, and naval craft, such as the damaging of three LSTs in port in the Ukrainian city of Berdyansk yesterday.

This narrative is not surprising, and almost expected after Russian Ground Forces failed to achieve their lightning war objectives of seizing Kyiv and Kharkiv in the first 48 hours of the invasion. The Russian MoD has laid out plainly what their next steps are: to "liberate the Donbass". Although the Federation said they wanted to ensure security guarantees and de-nazify Ukraine, they can still walk away with a limited victory if they establish the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republic to their declared borders. Based on the performance of Russian ground forces in major population centers thus far, this may be their only option in avoiding a complete embarrassment in Ukraine. Over the next few days we will probably see a consolidation of Russian gains outside of Kyiv and the aforementioned cities, but a concentration on Mariupol, considering they already have that city surrounded.


Table of Contents

  • Ukraine Invasion

    • Russian Landing Ship Destroyed in Berdyansk

    • Kremlin Spokesman Says Nuclear Weapons are on the Table

    • Poland Expels Russian Diplomats

    • European Countries Pledge More Weapons to Ukraine

  • Conflict

    • Houthi Rebels Strike Fuel Facilities in Saudi Arabia

    • North Korea Launches First ICBM Since 2017

    • Tensions Begin to Simmer Again in Nagorno-Karabakh



Thursday, March 24, 2022: A Russian Alligator-class landing ship caught on fire and sank in the Russian-controlled port city of Berdyansk on Thursday following purported Ukrainian strikes. The landing ship arrived earlier this week to offload vehicles, ammunition, weapons, and supplies for ongoing operations in the besieged city of Mariupol. It remains unclear as to what was used to carry out the strikes. Some sources have argued that TB-2 drones carried out precision strikes against the port, however, Tochka-U ballistic missiles have been used to target the port in the days leading up the attack. Ukrainian military officials reported that the strikes targeted fuel and ammunition stores at the port, which caused secondary fires and explosions that spread to the ships. This assessment was later backed by United Kingdom and American intelligence officials.

Also in port were two Ropucha-class landing ships, which had also recently arrived to unload supplies. Footage from the scene showed the ships hastily trying to get underway amidst large fires and smoke. One of the landing ships was visibly on fire as she pulled away from the port. Ukraine says it damaged both of the landing ships, but there has not been any reports indicating the extent of the damage. There has also been speculation that this was a port accident, but this has not been backed by officials from any side.

The arrival of the vessels was celebrated amongst Russian media outlets. Unloading operations were filmed by Russian state-owned media outlet Zvezda TV and published online. Ukrainian military officials have repeated said that the coverage of the port, namely by Russian journalist Valentin Gvozdev, was what allowed them to target the vessels. The Ukrainian State Border Service "awarded" Gvozdev "propagandist of the year" for disclosing the location of the Alligator-class vessel. It appears that Russia has still not commented on the incident. It also remains unclear how many casualties were caused by the incident.



Tuesday, March 22, 2022: During an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that Russia will use nuclear weapons if it faces what it considers an “existential threat” to its existence. When asked if Russia would never use nuclear weapons, Peskov did not answer the question and rather brought up President Zelensky. He focused on Zelensky’s speech last month at the Munich Security Conference, in which he said that Ukraine would be willing to renounce its non-nuclear status due to the lack of security guarantees and collective action by allied nations while dealing with Russia. In the interview, Peskov also stated that “President Putin intends to make the world listen to and understand our concerns. We have been trying to convey our concerns to the world, to Europe, to the US, for a couple of decades. But no one would listen to us, and before it is too late, it was a decision to start the special military operation to get rid of anti-Russia that was created that was created next to our borders.” 



Wednesday, March 23, 2022: Poland's Foreign Ministry announced that it has expelled 45 Russian diplomats that they have accused of spying for Russian intelligence services. Russia responded by calling the accusations "baseless," further adding that the move was a step towards then "final destruction of bilateral relations." Russia also vowed a response that would "make Polish provocateurs think and will hurt them." The expulsions case just one day after smoke was seen coming from the Russian embassy in Warsaw, which indicates the burning of sensitive material.



Wrap up of announcements made concerning arms to Ukraine:

  • The UK has declared it will send an "additional 6,000 missiles and GBP 25M in financial aid to the Ukrainian government."

  • Council of EU has decided to double its aid to Ukraine to EUR 1B.

  • Sweden is to send another 5,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine.

  • Germany is to send another 2,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Secretary General Stoltenberg announced NATO will double its battle groups in the alliances Eastern Flank. Also, Belarus closed the Ukrainian consulate in Brest and ordered those diplomats to leave the country, in a move that quite possible could indicate Belarus to officially enter the Russia-Ukraine war. Belarusian troops have been assessed to make a dash for Western Ukrainian cities including Lyiv. 



Friday, March 25, 2022: Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for a Quds-2 cruise missile attack targeting a Aramco fuel depot in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which caused a massive fire that went on for several hours. The attack also coincided with explosive drone attacks targeting liquified natural gas (LNG), water distillation, and other oil infastructure in Jizan, Najran, Yanbu, al-Shaqeeq, Ras Tanura and Rabigh. The true extent of all the damage remains unclear, however, Saudi officials have stated that there were no casualties. The attacks did not disrupt the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix that is taking place this weekend in Jeddah.



Thursday, March 24, 2022: North Korean state media confirmed that the missile launched on Thursday was the Hwasong-17 ICBM, marking the first time the system has been fired since 2017. The missile is the the country’s largest and its launch marks the 12th missile test firing this year so far, which is the most since 2019 (27 test launches). South Korea's Joint Chiefs reported that the Hwasong-17 reached an altitude of 6,200km and a range of 1,080km, with a 71 minute flight time, far surpassing any previous missile launch to date by North Korea. With a optimal trajectory, the missile could theoretically hit anywhere in the world except for South America. North Korean media stated that Kim Jong Un personally oversaw the launch, in which they added “Our state defence capability will make thorough preparations for long confrontation with U.S. imperialism on the basis of the tremendous military technical force unflinching even to any military threat and blackmail.” These photos were also released showing the launch.  South Korea responded to the launch by carrying out live fire testing of air, sea, and land based missile systems, adding that they are “ready and capable” to launch strikes against DPRK missile facilities “if need be.”



Tensions are simmering again in Nagorno-Karabakh after Azerbaijani forces pushed into a village over the established line of contact that is maintained by Russian peacekeepers. This began after Russian peacekeepers negotiated that Azerbaijani and Armenian forces both pull back from areas around the village, with the idea that it can be maintained by peacekeepers to avoid any potential conflicts. Russian and Armenian officials have accused Azerbaijani forces of moving into the village after Armenian forces withdrew and are refusing to leave, thus violating the ceasefire agreement. Azerbaijan responded by saying that they “didn't violate a single provision” and instead accused Armenia of instigating, further stating it “requests Russia's defense ministry to fully withdraw the remaining Armenian troops and illegal armed units from the internationally recognised territory of Azerbaijan."Currently, Russian and Armenian officials are negotiating for Azerbaijani forces to return to their original positions. Azerbaijani forces are also said to have advanced towards the nearby village of Khramort, in which Armenian forces and volunteers have begun to mass as they believe Azerbaijani forces will also try to take this village as well. Negotiations are still underway, but clashes have already begun to breakout, with Russia accusing Azerbaijan of drone striking Armenian forces.

On November 10, 2020, a peace agreement went into effect to end the hostilities of the 44 day war. Under the agreement, areas captured by Azerbaijani forces would remain in their control, while the districts of Agdam, Kalbajar and Lachin would be handed over as well. Large portions of central Nagorno-Karabakh, including its regional capital of Stepanakert, would remain under control of the Republic of Artsakh, an ethnic Armenian breakaway state. The line of contact between the two sides, as well as the Lachin Corridor, would be overseen and maintained by a contingent of Russian peacekeepers. The sake of the ceasefire agreement was also to be enforced by the Russians. Since the end of the war, there have been numerous clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces along lines of contact, as well as disputes over demarcation lines. Azerbaijani forces have been repeatedly accused of pushing the envelope in a sense by routinely making small incursions across the line of contact. These tensions are likely to rise and fall over the next several years, with the possibility of another large-scale conflict to break out.


If you want to get involved in someway with Atlas News, reach out to us and reply with your experience or ideas. If its good enough we will follow back up and reach out. If its not good enough, well try harder.– The Atlas News Team

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2021 Atlas News.