Russian forces intensify attacks near Robotyne in Zaporizhzhia Oblast

Russian forces have escalated their activity in the Orikhiv direction in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, aiming to sever the Robotyne salient, according to Dmytro Lykhovii, a spokesperson for the Tavria group of forces. The village of Robotyne, liberated by Ukraine in the summer of 2023, has been a pivotal location on the front line and is strategically positioned on the main road to Russian-occupied Tokmak and Melitopol.

Lykhovii revealed that the Orikhiv sector has become a focal point of intense fighting, with the enemy attempting to cut off the Robotyne salient. This area holds significant importance due to its proximity to key logistics hubs for Russian forces in southern Ukraine.

In the past, Russian forces had exhibited lower levels of activity, launching only three to five attacks per day or sometimes refraining from offensive actions. However, over the past 24 hours, there has been a notable surge in Russian activity, with 16 assaults reported west of Verbove and near Robotyne. The Ukrainian General Staff confirmed that all of these attacks were successfully repelled, resulting in no changes to the front line.

Lykhovii emphasized that the increased enemy attacks are met with a robust response from Ukrainian forces, leading to the destruction of enemy manpower. The ongoing clashes highlight the volatile and fluid nature of the conflict, underscoring the urgent need for international intervention to address the crisis in Ukraine and protect its territorial integrity.

Zaluzhnyi appointed as Ukrainian ambassador to UK

President Volodymyr Zelensky has approved the appointment of Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the former commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian military, as the next Ukrainian ambassador to the United Kingdom. The announcement was made by Ukraine's Foreign Ministry on March 7, marking a significant diplomatic role for Zaluzhnyi following his tenure as the country's military leader.

Zelensky had dismissed Zaluzhnyi from the position of chief commander on February 8, with Oleksandr Syrskyi taking over the role. The decision to replace Zaluzhnyi had been preceded by speculation and reports in Ukrainian and foreign media outlets. Zelensky's move generated public debate, given Zaluzhnyi's popularity for leading the resistance against Russia and his significant role in Ukraine's military.

Zelensky, in a Telegram post just before officially announcing the dismissal, expressed gratitude to Zaluzhnyi for his service and assured that the former chief commander would remain a "part of the team." Zaluzhnyi's new appointment as ambassador to the U.K. reflects the president's continued trust in his capabilities, this time in a diplomatic capacity.

US House may start gathering signatures to bypass speaker on Ukraine aid

Pro-Ukraine Republican Representative Brian Fitzpatrick is set to initiate a discharge petition, starting on March 8, to bypass House Speaker Mike Johnson and compel a vote on a $95 billion foreign aid bill. The bill allocates $60 billion in aid to Kyiv and was previously approved by the U.S. Senate in February. Despite this, Johnson has refrained from scheduling a vote in the House, prompting Fitzpatrick to explore alternative means to advance the legislation.

The discharge petition requires a minimum of 218 signatures, necessitating bipartisan support from both Republicans and Democrats. While Fitzpatrick continues to engage with Johnson's office to secure a regular vote, he has opted to pursue the discharge petition as a backup plan.

Fitzpatrick emphasized the urgency of aiding Ukraine, stating, "If the House cannot come to a consensus on a bill to be put on the floor, the alternative can't be that Ukraine fails and our border remains open."

However, challenges may arise, as some Democrats have expressed opposition to the move, citing the absence of humanitarian assistance in the bill. Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern criticized the omission of humanitarian aid, deeming it "cruel and offensive." McGovern highlighted that the most reliable approach to bring the aid bill to a vote would be for Johnson to schedule it himself.

While discharge petitions are historically infrequent and face obstacles, Fitzpatrick remains optimistic about gathering the necessary signatures. If successful, the petition would circumvent Johnson's control over the House agenda and force a vote on the Ukraine aid bill.

Russia can fight Ukraine at a similar intensity for at least two years - Lithuanian intelligence

A recent intelligence report from Lithuania suggests that Russia possesses sufficient resources, including high oil prices, investments in the military industry, and strategies to circumvent sanctions, to sustain its war against Ukraine at a similar intensity for at least two more years. The report, jointly prepared by the State Security Department (VSD) and the Defense Intelligence and Security Service, emphasizes that Russia's aggressive actions against Ukraine persist, with Moscow focusing on leveraging blackmail and threats to curtail support for Kyiv. The term "near term" in the report refers to a period ranging from six months to two years.

Russia's commitment to the war against Ukraine is reinforced by its financial, human, material, and technical resources. The report highlights Moscow's expansion of its network of companies to evade Western sanctions, utilizing intermediaries in countries such as Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and China to procure essential equipment for the conflict. While the West intensifies efforts to counter Russia's sanctions evasion, Moscow's determination remains evident.

The report cautions that if the war against Ukraine were to stall or cease for any reason, Russia would redirect its focus toward enhancing military capabilities in the western direction. Additionally, Russia is concurrently preparing for a long-term confrontation with NATO, with a particular emphasis on the Baltic Sea region. The ongoing reform of Russia's Armed Forces is acknowledged, with a realization that full implementation will span several years to a decade.

Furthermore, the report indicates that Russia is bolstering the military potential of its ally Belarus, allowing Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko apparent sovereignty in decision-making while maintaining close control over Minsk. The deployment of tactical nuclear capabilities and the establishment of conditions for a long-term military presence in Belarus are highlighted as potential measures by Moscow.

Amidst these geopolitical developments, several NATO officials have recently issued warnings, urging the alliance to prepare for the possibility of an open clash with Russia in the coming years. The intelligence report underscores the complex dynamics at play in the region, emphasizing the need for vigilance and strategic response from Western nations.