Sherman A1Sherman A1's Journal
March 31, 6:00 pm ET
Ukrainian forces conducted several local counterattacks around Kyiv, in northeastern Ukraine, and toward Kherson on March 31, successfully pressuring Russian forces and seeking to disrupt ongoing Russian troop rotations. Ukrainian forces northwest of Kyiv pushed Russian forces north of the E-40 highway and will likely assault Russian-held Bucha and Hostomel in the coming days. Ukrainian forces exploited limited Russian withdrawals east of Brovary to retake territory across Kyiv and Chernihiv Oblasts. Ukrainian forces likely conducted counterattacks toward Sumy in the past 24 hours as well, though ISW cannot independently confirm these reports. Finally, Ukrainian forces conducted limited counterattacks in northern Kherson Oblast. Russian forces only conducted offensive operations in Donbas and against Mariupol in the last 24 hours and did not make any major advances.
Russian efforts to redeploy damaged units from the Kyiv and Sumy axes to eastern Ukraine are unlikely to enable Russian forces to conduct major gains. Russia continued to withdraw elements of the 35th and 36th Combined Arms Armies and 76 Air Assault Division from their positions northwest of Kyiv into Belarus for refit and likely further redeployment to eastern Ukraine. However, these units are likely heavily damaged and demoralized. Feeding damaged Eastern Military District units directly into operations in eastern Ukrainepredominantly conducted by the Southern Military Districtwill likely prove ineffective and additionally introduce further command-and-control challenges for the Russian military. Russian forces will likely attempt to retain their current front lines around Kyiv and in northeastern Ukraine and will continue to dig in on these fronts; ISW has not seen any indicators of Russian forces fully relinquishing captured territory. However, Ukrainian counterattacks are likely disrupting Russian efforts to redeploy and refit their forces and will continue in the coming days.
Ukrainian forces successfully conducted local counterattacks around Kyiv, towards Sumy, and in Kherson Oblast and will likely take further territoryparticularly northwest and east of Kyivin the coming days.
Russia is withdrawing elements of its damaged forces around Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy for redeployment to eastern Ukraine, but these units are unlikely to provide a decisive shift in Russian combat power.
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According to chair Riikka Purra, members of the parliamentary group will be allowed to vote their conscience in a possible parliamentary decision on Nato
The opposition Finns Party parliamentary delegation said on Thursday that Parliament should move ahead on Finland's application to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato).
The parliamentary group's stance was announced by party chair Riikka Purra and group leader Ville Tavio during a meeting in Parliament on Thursday afternoon.
Tavio said the delegation has discussed Nato policy in several meetings.
"I have not heard any anti-Nato comments in the group meetings, but some have called for more time to consider the issue," Tavio said.
The Baltic Exchange's dry bulk sea freight index fell to its lowest level in over three weeks on Thursday, dragged by sliding panamax and supramax vessel rates, although the main index posted monthly and quarterly gains.
The overall index, which factors in rates for capesize, panamax and supramax shipping vessels, dipped 11 points, or about 0.5%, to 2,358 points, its lowest since March 8.
The main index has gained about 6.4% this quarter and 15.6% in March, its second monthly gain this year.
The panamax index dipped 95 points, or 2.9%, to 3,141 points. The index added about 22.1% this quarter, after posting declines in the last two. For the month, it was up more than 20%.
Euronav has suspended operations with Russian customers, the oil tanker firm said on Thursday, adding this business accounted for less than 5% of its turnover.
The Antwerp-based group, which provides crude oil shipping and storage services, joins the growing ranks of Western companies scaling back ties with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls "a special military operation."
The company also said it could be adversely affected by trade tariffs and embargoes in light of the conflict.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, known as OPEC+, have come under growing pressure to pump more crude as Western sanctions enacted in response to the war have curtailed Russian oil exports.
Simmering tensions boiled to the surface at the FIFA Congress on Thursday when Norway's football chief Lise Klaveness hit out at the 2022 World Cup's Qatari hosts over the country's human rights record.
The Norwegian Football Federation president, who became the body's first female leader in its 120-year history when elected this month, said the World Cup had been awarded by FIFA "in unacceptable ways with unacceptable consequences".
"Human rights, equality, democracy, the core interests of football, were not in the starting 11 until many years later," she said of the 2010 awarding.
"There is no room for employers who do not secure the freedom and safety of World Cup workers.
Fears of a Russian gas supply crunch prompted some European countries today to ask people to consume less energy in a move that could potentially yield big results.
Despite months of soaring energy prices and tight supplies, most governments have avoided taking a step they fear could be unpopular but with concerns growing that Russia could turn off the taps, the message in some capitals is starting to shift.
"Every kilowatt-hour counts," German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said, as Germany declared an "early warning" of a possible gas supply emergency.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris agrees that when done on a large scale, small behavioural changes can significantly reduce gas and oil demand.
A landmark visitor attraction that tells the story of the Titanic has generated an estimated £430 million of direct spending in Northern Ireland since it opened 10 years ago, a report has found.
The award-winning Titanic Belfast, which is now synonymous with the city's skyline, has welcomed almost 6.5 million visitors from 145 different countries since opening its doors on 31 March 2012.
The estimated economic assessment of the centre, which is built in the heart of Belfast's regenerated docklands area, was outlined in a report by Deloitte commissioned to mark the ten-year milestone.
Titanic Belfast also used its birthday celebrations to announce a multimillion-pound refresh of the galleries that chart the history of the doomed liner from its construction in the city's shipyards to its ill-fated maiden voyage in April 1912.
The bartender says, Im gonna need to see so ID.
March 30, 5:30 pm ET
Russia is withdrawing some elements of its forces around Kyiv into Belarus for likely redeployment to other axes of advance and did not conduct any offensive operations around the city in the past 24 hours, but Russian forces will likely continue to hold their forwardmost positions and shell Ukrainian forces and residential areas. Ukrainian forces repelled several Russian attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in the past 24 hours and Russian forces likely continued to take territory in Mariupol. Russian forces held their positions and did not conduct offensive operations throughout the rest of the country. Russian forces will likely capture Mariupol in the coming days but likely suffered high casualties taking the city, and Russian force generation efforts and the redeployment of damaged units from the Kyiv axis are increasingly unlikely to enable Russian forces to make rapid gains in the Donbas region.
Russian forces around Kyiv held their forward positions and continued to defend against limited Ukrainian counterattacks. Russian forces are unlikely to give up their secured territory around the city and are continuing to dig in.
ISW can confirm Russia is withdrawing some units around Kyiv for likely redeployment to other axes of advance, but cannot confirm any changes in Russian force posture around Chernihiv as of this time.
Russian forces did not conduct any offensive operations in northeastern Ukraine in the past 24 hours.
Much More at Link........
The World Health Organization has laid out three possible paths that the Covid-19 pandemic might follow in 2022.
The WHO said the most likely way forward was that the severity of disease caused by the virus would wane over time, due to greater public immunity.
But the UN health agency also said a more dangerous variant of concern than Omicron could be lurking round the corner.
The WHO released its updated Covid-19 Strategic Preparedness, Readiness and Response Plan, with the organisation's chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hoping it will be the last.
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