Центр оборонних стратегій

CDS Daily brief (13.04.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • Ukrainian intelligence preliminary knows those who brutally killed a Ukrainian prisoner of war and where it happened.
  • The Russian army attacked nine regions of Ukraine on April 12, killing and wounding civilians.
  • Russian military illegally detained and tortured residents of Kherson during the occupation.


  • The enemy is trying to surround Avdiyivka from the south; the current front line is less than 1 km south of Severne;
  • The Russian military command is not confident in its ability to hold the occupied territories south of Ukraine in anticipation of a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Possible operation situation developments:

  • Combat activity will continue in the forests near Kreminna;
  • Preparations for the defense operation will continue in all directions.


  • Ukraine calls on the Alliance to turn the Black Sea into a NATO sea. The Black Sea Security Conference discussed the Vision for a Peaceful, Secure, and Prosperous Black Sea Region.
  • The E.U. has secured a €1 billion fund for ammunition for Ukraine. Poland will send an undisclosed number of MIG-29 fighters.
  • Norway has expelled fifteen Russian spies.
  • The U.S. may deny Russia’s Foreign Minister a visa, so he won’t be able to lie and push his propaganda at meetings of the U.N. Security Council, which Russia has assumed precedence over.
Humanitarian aspect:

Ukrainian intelligence preliminary knows those who brutally killed a Ukrainian prisoner of war and where it happened, Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said on the national TV air. He would not reveal more details.

As follows from the Human Rights Watch report, the Russian military during the entire period of the [Russia’s] occupation of Kherson carried out detentions as of a similar scheme: first, a rough search was carried out, then a hat or bag was pulled over the detainee’s head and he/she was taken to one of 20 detention centers. The victims and members of their families told human rights activists that the detainees were beaten with sticks, and rubber batons, tortured with electric current, threatened with death and were not provided with medical assistance. According to Human Rights Watch report, Russian guards forced the detainees to shout pro-

Russian slogans, listen to and sing the Russian anthem, and applaud the performers of [the Russian] patriotic songs. The prosecutor’s office of the Kherson region told human rights activists that they have data on the detention [by Russians] of four to five thousand people, but there may be more detainees.

Russian attacks

According to the consolidated information of the Oblast Military Administrations, the Russian army attacked nine regions of Ukraine on April 12, killing and wounding civilians.

  • In Chernihiv Oblast, the enemy shelled the Novgorod-Siversky district with barrel artillery. There were no casualties or damage.
  • On April 12 morning, Russian troops fired at the Bilopilsk and Novoslobidska communities of Sumy Oblast with mortars and AGSs. During the day, the Russians attacked the border communities seven times. In the Esman community, a gas station was damaged due to two artillery strikes. Two private households were damaged in the Myropillia community due to shelling.
  • Russians struck 19 towns and villages in the Vasylivka and Polohy districts in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. The enemy attacked three times from aircraft, once with MLRS and carried out 13 UAVs’ and 44 artillery attacks. There are damaged residential buildings and apartments.
  • The Russian military fired artillery at residential buildings in Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Four elderly people were injured, and two of them were hospitalized. 13 houses and two farm buildings were damaged in the city. A private enterprise was destroyed. Gas turbines and power lines were also damaged.
  • The enemy shelled 11 towns and villages in the Slobozhansk direction and 7 in the Kupyansk direction of Kharkiv Oblast. Two private houses were damaged due to the shelling of Sotnytskyi Kozachok village. In Ivashki, a private home and a tractor were damaged due to artillery shelling. The house was on fire due to the Russian shelling of Kucherivka. A Lyceum building was damaged in Gatyshche. According to the Regional Center of Emergency Medical Assistance, a 71-year-old man was killed in the shelling of Dvorichna village. A 63-year-old woman was hospitalized with an injury.
  • In Donetsk Oblast, the Russians attacked Sloviansk with two S-300 missiles at night of April 13-14. There were no reported casualties. At least seven high-rise buildings and a school were damaged. The Russian military shelled Solovyove village in the morning with the “Hurricanes”. Information about the victims is being clarified. On April 12, the enemy shelled the residential quarters of Velyka Novosilka, Kurakhivka, Ocheretyne, Berestky, and Karlivka (Karliv reservoir). The local police documented 14 enemy strikes; in particular, 10 settlements were shelled, and civilians were killed and wounded. 23 civilian objects were destroyed or damaged.
  • Russian troops struck Ochakiv in Mykolayiv Oblast with an anti-aircraft missile system. There were no casualties.
  • The enemy carried out 46 shellings of Kherson Oblast during the past day, firing 185 shells from UAV and aviation heavy artillery. The enemy shelled Kherson 5 times. One person died, and two were injured. During the day, another 72 people were evacuated from the liberated territory of the Kherson region.
Occupied territories

A Russian mine exploded near the ZNPP’s 4th power unit in Energoatom. “The explosion sounds were heard by Ukrainian nuclear workers who continue to work at the ZNPP. However, the Russians tried to “pacify” the workers and quickly cover their tracks so that the IAEA experts would not see it,” the Ukrainian state-owned enterprise reported, citing its own sources.

Operational situation General conclusion:
  • The enemy concentrates its main efforts on conducting offensive operations in the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiyivka, and Maryinka areas;
  • The enemy is trying to surround Avdiyivka from the south; the current front line is less than 1 km south of Severne;
  • The Russian military command is not confident in its ability to hold the occupied territories in the south of Ukraine in anticipation of a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
  • Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled more than 45 enemy attacks in various directions.
  • The enemy carried out unsuccessful offensive actions in the area of Bilohorivka in Luhansk Oblast; north of Khromove; near Bohdanivka, Predtechne, Severne, Maryinka, Pobieda, Novomykhailivka in Donetsk Oblast; and tried to take full control of the city of Bakhmut. The fiercest battles continue for Maryinka.
  • The enemy conducted unsuccessful offensive actions near Bilohorivka and Spirne and unsuccessfully attacked near Torske, Nevske, and Makiyivka. They pushed the Defense Forces out of positions near Shypylivka and improved their tactical position in the Serebryansk Forest. Positional battles took place near Makiyivka and Zhuravka creek.
  • Fierce battles continued within Bakhmut; the enemy made unsuccessful attacks near Khromove and Bohdanivka. “Wagner” PMC detachments attack Bakhmut mainly in small tactical groups with the support of regular Russian units. They attacked Ukrainian positions southwest of Bakhmut and continued fighting in the city’s northern, central, and southwestern sectors.
  • The enemy units advanced near Novobakhmutivka and crossed the highway N20 Donetsk-Kramatorsk-Slovyansk. The enemy continued unsuccessful offensive actions near Avdiyivka itself and near Pervomaiske, Nevelske, Maryinka and Pobieda. Fighting continues in western Maryinka.
Change in enemy disposition:
  • The Russian occupation  troops from among the mobilized  units recently arrived in Skadovsk, Kherson Oblast.
  • The enemy is equipping fortifications along the M18 highway near Medvedivka and along the North Crimean Canal near Armyansk, Maslovo and Novoivanivka, near Vityne.
  • The enemy completed the construction of three lines of defense about 120 km on the territory of Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

Escalation indicators: Not identified.

Possible operation situation developments:
  • During the week, the enemy will continue to try to fulfill its tactical tasks in the districts of Bakhmut, Avdiyivka, and Maryinka to improve its tactical position in the Lyman direction;
  • Combat activity will continue in the forests near Kreminna;
  • Preparations for the defense operation will continue in all directions.
Azov-Black Sea Maritime Operational Area:
  • The number of enemy ships in the sea is unchanged: 4 ships at sea, patrolling the areas near the coast of Crimea. Among them, one project 636.3 submarine, a carrier of Kalibr missiles, is in the area of the firing position southeast of Sevastopol. It can carry up to 4 Kalibr missiles.
  • There are 6 more Kalibr missile carriers at the base points (in total, they can carry up to 40 missiles):
    • Sevastopol – one submarine pr. 636.3;
    • Novorossiysk – frigate “Admiral Makarov”, corvettes “Grayvoron”, “Ingushetia”, “Vyshny Volochyok” and submarine pr.636.3.
  • During the last week, the enemy moved almost all carriers of Kalibr missiles from Crimea to Novorossiysk
  • The presence of large amphibious ships in the Black Sea:
    • LST “Cesar Kunikov” – 45 km southeast of Cape OPUK
    • LST “Olenegorski Gornyak” – 5 km south of Cape MYSHAKO;
    • LST “Orsk” – Feodosia;
    • LSTs “Georgy Pobedonosets”, “Pyotr Morgunov”, “Yamal”, “Minsk” – Novorosiysk;
    • LSTs “Kaliningrad” and “Korolyov” – Sevastopol.
  • ‘Azov”, “Nikolai Filchenkov”, “Novocherkassk” of the Black Sea Fleet are undergoing repairs in SEVASTOPOL.
  • Enemy aviation continues to fly from the Crimean airfields of Belbek, Saki, Dzhankoy and Hvardiyske. Four fighter jets were involved in monitoring the surface and air situation in the northwestern part of the Black Sea: two Su-30SM (BELBEK), one Su-30 and one MiG- 29K (SAKY). 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.
  • The enemy military transport aviation performed flights to transfer personnel and military cargo to Dzhankoy and Belbek airfields.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 13.04.23

Personnel – almost 180,590 people (+540);

Tanks – 3,646 (0);

Armored combat vehicles – 7,053 (+10);

Artillery systems – 2,777 (+10)

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 535 (0); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 283 (+1); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 5,637 (+7); Aircraft – 307 (0);

Helicopters – 293 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 2,3349 (+5); Intercepted cruise missiles – 911 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

International diplomatic aspect

“The time has come to develop a comprehensive security system for all the states of the [Black Sea] region, which are frightened by a maniac on the loose. The time has come to make the Black Sea what the Baltic became – a NATO sea. This war proved that the security of the region is indivisible – a threat to one is a threat to all,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister addressed the Black Sea Security Conference under the auspices of the Crimean Platform. “The Black Sea will never be a NATO sea. It should be a sea of cooperation, interaction, and security,” Putin’s mouthpiece said.

It’s a traditional Orwellian phrase, for it’s Russia, not NATO, who started an unprovoked war against Ukraine and illegally occupied territories of another two states, Georgia and Moldova. The illegal annexation of Crimea poses an existential threat to Ukraine. It poses a grave danger, including a nuclear one, to the region and Europe as a whole. The illegal annexation allowed Russia to project its power to the Mediterranean and the MENA region. Therefore, Ukraine will never agree on a territorial “concession.” “Every time you hear anyone from any corner of the world saying that Crimea is somehow special and should not be returned to Ukraine, as any other part of our territory, you have to know one thing: Ukraine categorically disagrees with these statements,” Dmytro Kuleba said.

The representatives of many countries gathered in Bucharest believe it is high time to change it. While the regional states cannot cope with Russia alone, non-Black Sea actors should step in. The experts and representatives of NATO states talked about a comprehensive Black Sea strategy of NATO and the necessity to update the E.U. Maritime Security Strategy. The expert community called on the Alliance to set up a Joint Multinational Headquarters responsible for training, planning, and coordination of all military activities of the Allies and Partners in the Black Sea Region. The Alliance should strengthen its permanent, sustainable presence along NATO’s Eastern flank and the rotational presence of warships and military aircraft of non-Black Sea countries. The experts proposed establishing a Joint Naval Platform in the Black Sea for regular patrols to promote the Freedom of Navigation, protect Sea Lines of Communications, and carry out other non-combat operations in the Black Sea. It was underlined that it’s time to launch a maritime demining coalition to cope with the consequences of Russia’s aggression and secure the safety of the Sea Lines of Communications. The experts called on the E.U., U.S., and other partners to address the circumvention of sanctions and impose a new package against the Russian ports on the Black Sea shore and the Sea of Azov. There was a consensus that Europe Whole, and Free and at Peace is possible with the restoration of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova. The Foreign and Defence ministers of the three countries signed a joint declaration of supporting each other in repelling the Russian aggression and advancing Ukraine and Moldova’s integration into the E.U. and NATO.

The E.U. has established a €1 billion fund to reimburse member states for ammunition donated to Ukraine. Poland will send an undisclosed number of MIG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. Earlier, Germany greenlighted the transfer of jets, 23 of each it sold two decades ago.

Fifteen employees of the Russian Embassy in Norway have been expelled for “engaging in activities that are not compatible with their diplomatic status,” which means espionage. “Russia currently poses the greatest intelligence threat to Norway. We take this very seriously and are now implementing measures to counter Russian intelligence activities in our country,” the Norwegian Foreign Minister stated.

“We urge Washington not to delay issuing visas to our delegation, including our journalists. Failure to issue visas violates the obligations of the United States as the host country of the U.N. headquarters, hindering the proper, full functioning of the world organization,” Russia’s Ambassador to the U.S. said. Though the United Nations didn’t prevent Russia from assuming the presidency over the Security Council, the U.S. may deny Moscow its ability to use this important international body for lies and propaganda purposes. Russia’s Foreign Minister will only be able to participate in the meetings with a U.S. visa.

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