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CDS Daily brief (07.04.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • The Russian military attacked 9 Ukrainian Oblasts over the past day;
  • The Cabinet of Ministers sets up the center for Humanitarian Demining to coordinate demining efforts;
  • Strategy for dealing with internal displacement, prioritizing adaptation and further integration of IDPs in the host communities is adopted by the Cabinet;
  • Russian occupation authorities issued land titles for Ukrainian land in the occupied Crimea to the participants of the Russian aggression against Ukraine.


  • The Russian command tries to ensure the resilience of the C2 system in the Lyman direction, disperses its components, increases the level of resilience and covertness of troop control;
  • The Russian troops do not experience a shortage of artillery ammunition in areas of their offensive operations, but PMCs get supplies on a residual basis;
  • Over the past week, the Russian military lost about 4,000 people in battles in the Avdiivka area, who were transferred there after training in the Republic of Belarus.

Possible operation situation developments:

  • The Russian command will make efforts to eliminate the foothold of the Ukrainian Defense Forces in the Dvorichna area, to seize advantageous lines along the Oskil River for the offensive on Kupyansk;
  • During the week, the Russian military will continue to try to meet its tactical objectives in the areas of Bakhmut, Avdiyivka, and Maryinka.


  • The Russians are happy that the French failed to change the mind of the Chinese on the issue of war. Meanwhile, China fed the illusion that Beijing may play a positive role in the Russia-Ukraine war and encouraged France to differ from the U.S. containment strategy.
  • While Zelensky set up a new tradition, showing respect to the Muslim faith, Muscovites don’t think the Muslims need another mosque to be built in the capital. The Russian propaganda spread fakes about religious intolerance of Ukrainians, while it’s Russia where it’s evident to the full.
  • According to the Moscow Times’s calculations, about 40 Russian top managers, businessmen, and managers died under unexplained circumstances in the last 15 months.
Humanitarian aspect:

The Cabinet of Ministers formed the government “Center for Humanitarian Demining”. The Center is expected to improve the coordination of all entities involved in humanitarian demining in Ukraine and help organize proper interaction between donors who finance humanitarian demining and provide international technical assistance, mine action operators and local government bodies. It will employ 25 people.

The Cabinet of Ministers approved the Government Strategy on Internal Displacement for the period until 2025 and the corresponding operational plan. “Now, the main attention should be focused on the adaptation and further integration of internally displaced persons in the host communities. This includes access to educational services, employment, and support for self- employment. An important component is the provision of professional psychological assistance,” stressed Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.

Russian attacks

The Russian army attacked nine regions of Ukraine on April 6, using aviation, drones, and artillery.

  • In Chernihiv Oblast, the Russian forces shelled the Novgorod-Siversky district 13 times during the past day; 231 explosions were reported. A private house, a bus stop, a farm, outbuildings, a shop, and a power line were damaged in the village of Gremyach.
  • In Sumy Oblast, the Seredyna-Buda community was under fire at night. The Russians fired automatic grenade launchers and automatic small arms from their territory. Yesterday, the enemy carried out eight attacks on the border communities; 68 hits were recorded. There is destruction.
  • In Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Russian troops fired along the demarcation line at villages in the Hulyaipole, Orihiv, and Vasylivka directions. Over the course of the day, there were 92 artillery barrages, 6 anti-aircraft missile attacks, 11 UAV attacks and 2 airstrikes. There were 31 destruction and damage reports.
  • In Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, the Russian army shelled the Nikopol district twice during the day. The shells hit Nikopol and the Marhanets community.
  • In Kharkiv Oblast, the Russia invaders shelled the village of Guryiv Kozachok with mortars from the territory of the Russian Federation. A private residential building was destroyed by shelling in Kupyansk yesterday afternoon. At least 22 villages came under Russian fire in Slobozhansk and Kupyansk directions. Two people received mine injuries in the Oblast.
  • In Luhansk Oblast, Novoselivske, Nevske, Dibrova, and Bilohorivka came under Russian artillery shelling.
  • In Donetsk Oblast, the Russian army launched a missile attack on Sloviansk at night, destroying private houses. There are no reported victims. Russian troops also fired at Avdiivka (residential sector, bus depot), Kostyantynivka (residential sector), Velyka Novosilka (residential sector), and Karlivka village (Karlivka reservoir). One person was injured during the day.
  • In Mykolayiv Oblast, the Russian forces fired artillery and mortars on Ochakiv and the waterfront of the Ochakiv community. Residential buildings, shops, and civil infrastructure were damaged. Two people were injured, one is in serious condition. Two fires also broke out.
  • Over the past day, there were 46 instances of shelling of Kherson Oblast, with 258 shells from heavy artillery, drones and aviation. The city of Kherson was shelled 7 times. There are impacts on private and apartment buildings, critical infrastructure and the park’s territory. It is known about seven injured residents of the Kherson Oblast: six were injured due to strikes on Zmiivka, and one person was injured in Kozatske village.
Occupied territories

The Russian authorities give out titles to Ukrainian land in the occupied territory of Crimea. Today, the participants of the Russian war against Ukraine were issued the first land titles. It is planned to bring infrastructure to the areas, said Anna Anyukhina, Deputy head of the illegal occupation administration.

Operational situation General conclusion:
  • The Russian military concentrates its main efforts on offensive actions in the Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Maryinka directions;
  • The Russian command tries to ensure the resilience of the C2 system in the Lyman direction; it disperses its components and increases the level of resilience and covertness of troops C2;
  • The Russian troops do not experience a shortage of artillery ammunition in areas they employ offensive operations. However, the PMCs, specifically Wagner, are supplied on a residual basis. Stocks are replenished during the weekend, so a shortage of ammunition occurs in the second half of the week due to their uneven use.
  • Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled over 40 Russian attacks in different directions;
  • The Russian forces attacked unsuccessfully in the areas of Kreminna, Nevske, Hryhorivka and Spirne of Luhansk Oblast; Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Bohdanivka, Bila Hora, Novokalynove, Severne, Pervomaiske and Maryinka of Donetsk Oblast. They tried to take full control of the city of Bakhmut, fierce fighting continued;
  • The Russian troops achieved minor successes northwest of Kuzemivka and resumed the offensive in the Novoselivske area;
  • Russian units advanced slightly in the center of Bakhmut north of the T0504 highway and the vicinity of the Metallurg stadium.
  • Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled the attacks of the “Wagner” PMC units to the south of Ivanivske, in Bakhmut, in the areas of Bohdanivka, Orikhovo-Vasylivka, and Ivanivske.
  • Over the past week, the Russian military lost about 4,000 people in battles in the Avdiivka area, who were transferred there after training in the Republic of Belarus. The Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled enemy attacks near Avdiyivka, Novokalynove, Severne, Pervomaiske, and Maryinka.
  • Defense Forces attacked the Melitopol airfield with HIMARS surface-to-air missiles.
Change in enemy disposition:
  • The Russian grouping in the Kupyansk direction consists of units of the 2nd and 18th motorized rifle divisions, 4th tank division, 25th, 27th and 138th separate motorized rifle brigades and several units from the 41st Army of the Central Military District.
  • Over the past month, the Russian command deployed ammunition depots to support its grouping deployed in the Lyman direction (Svatovo-Starobilsk area) in the area of Urazove (Belgorod Oblast, Russian Federation).
  • The tactical group of five reinforced battalions, including up to 4 assault companies of the “Storm” type from the 25th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 6th Army and the 15th motorized rifle regiment of the 2nd motorized rifle division of 1st tank army are concentrated in the area of Vilshana, Tavilzhanka, and Velykiy Vyselok.
  • A tactical group consisting of up to three battalions from the 15th motorized rifle regiment of the 2nd motorized rifle division and the 1st tank regiment of the 2nd motorized rifle division, an artillery division from the 45th artillery brigade, armed with 240 mm 2c4 self-propelled mortars is concentrated in the area of Pershotravneve – Arapivka – Verkhnya Duvanka – Mykolaivka,
  • The Russian military command is forming “Storm Z” assault companies out of the ranks of the regular military brigade-regiment units to conduct assault operations at key points on the front line and in cities. They are formed to revive the enemy troops’ advance and strengthen the reduced combat effectiveness of most Russian units. In the near future, such units are likely to be deployed along the front line along the Avdiivka- Donetsk frontier.
  • Satellite images show the withdrawal of a significant number of armored fighting vehicles, tanks and towed artillery systems from a warehouse in Medvedivka (20 km northeast of Dzhankoy, Crimea, along the M18 highway) between March 17 and April 5.
  • The Russia’s Ministry of Defense subordinated the “P. Sudoplatov” volunteer battalion formed on the occupied territory of Zaporizhzhia Oblast to the 32nd BARS detachment.
Escalation indicators:
  • The Russian forces intensified reconnaissance and search operations in the area of the “Dvorichanskyi” National Nature Park and in the directions of Bohdanivske – Fygolivka and Lyman Druhgyi – Kamianka;
  • The intensity of military transport along the Troitske – Pokrovske – Nizhnya Duvanka – Svatove, Starobilsk – Mistky – Nova Astrakhan routes has increased;
  • The transfer of the operational staff of the enemy command posts units to reserve command posts and the transfer of advanced control posts to new areas were noted.
Possible operation situation developments:
  • The Russian command will make efforts to eliminate the foothold of the Ukrainian Defense Forces in the Dvorichna area, to seize advantageous lines along the Oskil River for the offensive on Kupyansk. For this purpose, the enemy will try to break through to the Holubivka – Synkivka – Petropavlivka – Kucherivka area;
  • During the week, the Russian military will continue trying to meet its tactical objectives in the areas of Bakhmut, Avdiyivka, and Maryinka;
  • The Russian command continues preparations for local offensive actions in the Kupyansk and Lyman directions to improve the tactical troops’ position in the Dvorichna and Siversk areas and further set favorable conditions for the offensive on Kupyansk and Lyman.
Azov-Black Sea Maritime Operational Area:
  • The Russian fleet keeps a group of 7 surface ships and submarines in the sea. They are located in their patrolling areas near the coast of Crimea. Among them is one “Buyan M” corvette and Kalibr missile carriers located in the area of the firing position southeast of Sevastopol. It may carry up to 8 Kalibr missiles.
  • There are seven Kalibr missile carriers at the bases of the Russian BSF:
  • Sevastopol: “Admiral Essen” and “Admiral Makarov” frigates, one project 636.3 submarine;
  • Novorossiysk: “Grayvoron”, “Ingushetia” corvettes and two pr. 636.3 submarines. They can carry a total of up to 44 Kalibr missiles.
  • One patrol ship is in the Sea of Azov.
  • Russian aviation continues to fly from the Crimean airfields of Belbek, Saky, Dzhankoy and Hvardiyske. 13 fighter and bomber aircraft, as well as a helicopter (3 Su-27/30 aircraft from Belbek Air Force Base, 2 Su-30 SM aircraft, six Su-24M, two MiG- 29K from the Saki air base and the Ka-31R helicopter from the Kacha air base) were involved in monitoring the surface and air conditions in the northwestern part of the Black Sea. Control of the air situation and operational-tactical aviation over the waters of the Sea of Azov was carried out by the A-50U and Il-22 AEW&C aircraft. Two flights of military transport aircraft of the Russian Air Force landed at the Belbek air base to deliver personnel.
  • No signs of the offensive group formation were found in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova (so-called PMR) territory. Armed formations of the self-proclaimed PMR are on “Constant” combat readiness. The Russian military grouping units in the PMR serve in an enhanced mode. The key goal is to ensure the protection of military facilities, first of all, the 1411th artillery depot (Kolbasna village) and the Tiraspol airfield.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 07.04.23

Personnel – almost 177,110 people (+480);

Tanks 3,633 (+2);

Armored combat vehicles – 7,016 (+3);

Artillery systems – 2,722 (+8)

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 533 (+1); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 281 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 5,587 (+13); Aircraft – 306 (0);

Helicopters – 292 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 2,291 (+4); Intercepted cruise missiles – 911 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

Ukraine, general news

63% of Ukrainians trust only mass media and verified government channels in messengers. 20% question any information that appears in messenger channels. Another 10% of respondents trust only messages from relatives/friends and the information they received from them. 5% trust only the media of independent bloggers and experts. Another 2% rely on unofficial groups and channels, because they believe there is always the latest information. This is evidenced by the data of the Rakuten Viber study, in which about 50,000 people participated.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that security would remain an issue for a long time after the end of the war. For this reason, UAH 1.5 billion in subsidies are provided to the regional administrations this year to build high-quality school shelters. In addition, new approaches to fire safety, school protection with the involvement of relevant police units, new approaches to the access regime, video surveillance, and inclusiveness will be implemented.

International diplomatic aspect

Putin’s spokesperson characterized Emmanuel Macron’s attempt to engage Xi Jinping in a peace-making effort as “This is not a country that changes its positions so quickly under external influence.” While Macron failed to achieve this, Xi treated him intentionally way better than the President of the European Commission. The Chinese media pushed a narrative that the E.U. leader, which as the Union per se, is a puppet of the U.S., was sent to control the French President. “President Xi actually let me play with his favorite Lego set, which Olaf Scholz did not get to play with,” noted Macron. I am hoping we get to have a go on the Nintendo Switch this afternoon,” Brussels bureau chief of the Economist mocked the whole thing. It seems that Xi’s strategy of sowing discord or, at least, highlighting the divisions within Europe and between Europe and the U.S. played out well. After all, an illusion of a positive Chinese role in stopping the war, as well as seductive signals of a possibility of avoiding tensions between the PRC and the West, is an opportunity Xi is trying to exploit. In fact, Xi’s so-called peace plan primarily aims to mend relations with the U.S. and widen the gap between the U.S. and Europe.

“Today we are starting such a tradition for Ukraine – Iftar [the fast-breaking evening meal of Muslims in Ramadan] at the official level – together with our heroes, the present Muslim warriors, together with the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, together with representatives of the entire Muslim community of Ukraine. And with this, we affirm that Ukraine values every person and community,” Volodymyr Zelensky said. Crimean-Tatar (Muslim) community is an integral part of the Ukrainian political nation and one of the drivers of the liberation of Crimea, where members of its community are systematically repressed.

Meanwhile, Moscow residents protested against building a mosque in the “Orthodox sacred territory” in one of the capital districts. While Putin’s pocket strongman Kadyrov and Moscow’s Church Patriarch Gundyayev tried to calm things down and proposed to build the mosque somewhere else, the Muscovites argued that the Muslims don’t need another church in town. Earlier, Russian propaganda spread a fake video claiming Ukrainian soldiers cut a [pork] salo on the Quran. The goal was to bring a religious element to the war, though the [fake] actor played so badly, especially in pronouncing Ukrainian words. The other video showed an alleged Ukrainian soldier stopping a Muslim woman with a child, shouting at her, and firing in the direction of her car because she was speaking Russian. This time, the Ukrainian language was a bit better, but the OSINT community located the place of the “incident” on the Russia-occupied territory near Donetsk. Russians have been employing fake religious intolerance in Ukraine in their info-ops operations.

Russia, relevant news

According to the Moscow Times’ calculations, about 40 Russian top managers, businessmen and managers died under unexplained circumstances in the last 15 months. Igor Shkurko, deputy general director and chief engineer of Yakutskenergo, was found dead in Russia’s Yakutsk pretrial detention center. The Moscow Times reported that Shkurko was sent to the pretrial detention center on March 31 after being detained in a bribery case. The Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation claims he committed suicide on April 4. The paper said that on April 3, Shkurko appealed his detention.

Centre for Defence Strategies (CDS) is a Ukrainian security think tank. We operate since 2020 and are involved in security studies, defence policy research and advocacy. Currently all our activity is focused on stopping the ongoing war.

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