CDS Daily brief (24.04.23) | CDS comments on key events
- Опубліковано: CDS
- Категорія: DailyBrief
Snapshot of the day:
- The Russian army launched attacks on nine regions of Ukraine within the past 24 hours; there were killed and wounded civilians.
- In Kyiv Oblast, over 11,000 facilities have been restored after the Russian invasion, including private homes, schools, healthcare facilities, and administrative buildings.
- The Russian occupation authorities in the temporarily occupied territories of Zaporizhzhia Oblast include 14-year-old children in the unified register of military registration and enlistment for Russian AF.
- Russian occupiers are mining fields in the temporarily occupied territory of the Melitopol district in Zaporizhzhia and prohibiting farmers from working.
- As of April 24, 2023, a total of 2,238 individuals, including 140 civilians, have been released from Russian captivity since February 24, 2022.
- Over 1,373 cultural institutions and 550 cultural heritage sites have been damaged or destroyed due to the Russian war against Ukraine.
- Ukraine’s military spending in 2022 increased by 640%, reaching $44 billion, the largest ever recorded in SIPRI data. The country’s military burden rose to 34% of GDP in 2022, up from 3.2% in 2021. Meanwhile, Russian military spending increased by about 9.2% to $86.4 billion in 2022, equivalent to 4.1% of Russia’s GDP, up from 3.7% in 2021.
- The enemy forces are currently operating in seven different directions: Kupyansk, Luhansk Oblast, Bakhmut city, Avdiivka city, western part of Donetsk – eastern part of Zaporizhzhia Oblasts, western part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, and Kherson Oblast. Active fighting is ongoing in the directions of Kupyansk, Luhansk, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Shakhtarsk.
- The enemy forces, including both regular and irregular troops, are facing significant shortages in personnel.
- On April 24, explosions and heavy machine gun fire were heard in Sevastopol’s Streletsky Bay, which is the base for the 68th brigade of ships of the Russian Federation. About 20 ships, boats, and vessels of the Russian Navy were in the bay at the time of the attack. Boom barriers protect the bay, and even in the case of the detonation of drones from the barrier, the explosion could have damaged the ships near the pier.
- In March 2023, despite being suspended, 737,856 tons of Russian oil products were exported from Black Sea ports to EU and G7 countries. Tankers violating the suspension were detected in both February and March, with 17 out of 28 belonging to shipowners from EU countries.
- A Hungarian vice-speaker recently made a statement suggesting that Russia should have a say in Ukraine’s NATO membership and called for autonomous status for Ukraine’s regions. In response, Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the country does not require Russia’s permission to make decisions about its own sovereignty.
- The Prime Ministers of Poland, Czechia, and Slovakia called on their NATO allies to “lay out a clear and credible path for Ukraine’s membership” and not to leave Ukraine in a grey zone. The three Prime Ministers called for a policy of containment towards Russia and urged the delivery of necessary weapons to Ukraine to defend itself.
- While visiting Kyiv, Estonian PM supported Ukraine’s Peace formula and membership in NATO.
- According to a New York Times report, American military planners have assessed that the weapons delivered to Ukraine fall short of what is needed to make the most of an offensive expected to retake more territory captured by Russia.
- Iran allegedly delivered more than 300,000 artillery shells and a million rounds of ammunition to Russia. Meanwhile, the Chief of Ukraine’s Defence Intelligence said Russians have been stockpiling missiles to disrupt Ukraine’s counteroffensive operation.
- A group of Republican lawmakers called to end an “unrestrained U.S. aid for Ukraine.”
Humanitarian Russian attacks
The Russian army launched attacks on nine regions of Ukraine within the past 24 hours, according to the consolidated information from the regional military administrations.
Consequences of enemy shelling on the morning of April 24:
- At midnight, the Russians fired two rockets at Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, damaging a school and nearby private houses. In Novoukrayinka, two people were injured, and two private homes and an administrative building were damaged. In Bakhmut, two people were killed, and two private houses and a multi-storey building were destroyed.
- In the morning, the enemy shelled with mortars the Bilopillia (1 shell) and Velykopysarivka (9 shells) communities of Sumy Oblast. No casualties were reported.
- In the morning, the occupiers shelled the border of Chernihiv Oblast. There were 13 hits, possibly from a self-propelled artillery unit, on Hremiach village. No information has been received about civilian casualties or infrastructure damage.
- The Russians shelled Kherson Oblast 83 times, killing two people and injuring six others. They targeted residential quarters, as well as the territory and building of the educational institution (school) in the village of Bilozerka.
- The enemy attacked 20 towns and villages in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, damaging residential buildings and warehouse facilities of an agricultural enterprise. The enemy carried out 94 artillery attacks, one missile strike, four air strikes, three with MLRS and 10 with UAVs.
- The enemy continued to shell the border area of Kharkiv Oblast. No significant destruction or casualties among the civilian population have been reported.
- Yesterday morning, the enemy attacked Ochakiv in Mykolaiv Oblast. No casualties were reported.
- Russian forces carried out a heavy artillery attack on Nikopol in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast overnight. No people were harmed. Yesterday, five attacks using UAVs to drop munitions were recorded in Nikopol, injuring three people. A municipal building, two residential houses, two utility buildings, a car, and a power transmission line were damaged. The aggressors also targeted the Marhanets community.
The Russian occupation authorities in the temporarily occupied territories of Zaporizhzhia Oblast are including 14-year-old children in the unified register of military registration and enlistment of the Russian Federation, as reported by the mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, on his Telegram channel. The Russian occupiers are taking control of children about to turn 14 to give them Russian passports, and now they are transferring their data to the Kremlin’s voter registry. Fedorov added that the occupiers intend to hand out electronic military enlistment notices to these children in the future. The mayor emphasized that the children in occupied territories are under special threat, as they are brainwashed from an early age to become “slaves and future cannon fodder.” As reported earlier, the Russians have created an electronic register of military conscripts and will distribute electronic enlistment notices in the temporarily occupied territories of Zaporizhzhia. To avoid this, over 2,000 people have left Melitopol.
Russian occupiers are mining fields in the temporarily occupied territory of the Melitopol district in Zaporizhzhia and prohibiting farmers from working. The mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, reported on Telegram that “Occupiers are mining fields and dirt roads in the area of the village of Vesele in the Melitopol district. Now farmers, who were initially forced to sow the land, are prohibited from working in the fields.”
As of April 24, 2023, a total of 2,238 individuals, including 140 civilians, have been released from Russian captivity since February 24, 2022. Ukraine continues to make tireless efforts to secure the release of all military personnel and civilians who are still in captivity, President Volodymyr Zelensky said after a meeting with Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas in Zhytomyr. The President emphasized that the Ukrainian Unified Center for the Coordination of Search and Release of Illegally Detained Persons works around the clock.
Restoration after the Russian attacks/occupation:
In Kyiv Oblast, 11,784 facilities have been fully or partially restored after the Russian invasion, according to the Kyiv regional military administration’s statement on Telegram. The restored facilities include 10,365 private households and apartment buildings, 187 public secondary and preschool education institutions, 100 healthcare facilities, 66 administrative buildings, and centers for providing administrative services. However, Deputy Head of the Kyiv Regional Administration Mykola Boyko emphasized that much work remains to be done given the scale of destruction caused by the Russian army.
According to Halyna Hryhorenko, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy (in an interview with the leading Austrian newspaper Die Presse), over 1373 cultural institutions and 550 cultural heritage sites have been damaged or destroyed due to the Russian war against Ukraine. According to the World Bank’s estimates, the restoration of cultural objects is estimated
to cost $7 billion. Hryhorenko also highlighted that Russians are looting Ukrainian museums and libraries in the occupied territories, emphasizing that they want to erase the Ukrainian language, culture, and national memory. For example, up to 70% of the exhibits were stolen from museums in Kherson. “The theft of works of art is systematic. This has happened in Mariupol and Melitopol. We know this from open sources. It has not been officially confirmed. It will be difficult to hold Russians accountable for this. They keep the exhibits in Crimea. Libraries and museums have also been looted in Kharkiv, Izyum, and Balakliia.”
She also spoke about the emerging Ukrainian art scene and the need for Ukrainians to tell their own story. “We are still looked at through Moscow’s glasses too often, as part of the Russian or Soviet Empire. This also affects the history of art. Many artists who were born, grew up, and studied in Ukraine in the past were mistakenly called Russians: Kazimir Malevich or Ilya Repin. We are now active in many world-class museums – in New York or London. Ukrainian art is emerging from the shadow of the Empire.” The Deputy Minister’s representative added that it is not possible for Ukrainians to engage in dialogue with [Russian] representatives of a state that kills their citizens and loots their cultural objects. “After the Victory, after receiving compensation, we can engage in dialogue,” Hryhorenko said.
Operational situation General conclusion:
- Russian forces have concentrated their primary efforts on the Avdiivka direction and carried out 28 assaults in the Donetsk direction.
- The enemy forces are operating in seven directions: Kupyansk, Luhansk Oblast, Bakhmut city, Avdiivka city, the western part of Donetsk – the eastern part of Zaporizhzhia Oblasts, the western part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Kherson Oblast,
- At the same time, active fighting continues in the Kupyansk, Luhansk, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Shakhtarsk directions.
- The enemy forces, both regular and irregular, have a significant shortage of personnel.
Change in the line of contact (LoC):
- The units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled over 60 enemy attacks on various fronts.
- The enemy carried out unsuccessful offensives on the outskirts of Hryhorivka, Bohdanivka, and Ivanivske; and conducted offensive actions in the areas of Novokalynove and Pervomaiske in Donetsk Oblast.
- The Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled numerous enemy attacks in the northern and central parts of Maryinka and the area of Novomykhailivka.
- The enemy command is trying to complete the capture of Bakhmut before the start of the counter-offensive by the Defense Forces.
- Despite the active participation of military units from at least three armies of two military districts, two airborne divisions, and support from numerous irregular formations, the enemy has not achieved significant success in the Kupyansk and Lyman directions. These forces suffered substantial losses, and their combat potential was significantly reduced.
- The Russian occupiers are catastrophically short of medical personnel on the battlefield.
Change in enemy disposition:
- Units of the 106th Airborne Division of the Russian Airborne Forces are holding the defense in the area of Yakovlivka.
- Units of the 138th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade are operating near Kupyansk.
- Units of the 2nd Motorized Rifle Division of the 1st Tank Army are deployed along the border of Kharkiv and Luhansk Oblasts.
- The 3rd and 24th Separate SOF Brigades are operating in the areas of Kreminna and Makiivka.
Escalation indicators: not identified
Possible operation situation developments:
- In the short term, the Ukrainian Defense Forces will continue to adhere to their chosen strategy of inflicting maximum losses on the enemy in close combat on the directions where the main enemy forces are concentrated.
- A temporary ceasefire in Ukraine and prolonging the war will only benefit Russia, allowing it to regroup and diminish Western support for Ukraine.
Azov-Black Sea Maritime Operational Area:
- There are 4 enemy ships in the sea. The ships likely returned to their protected bases after the Sevastopol naval drone attack on the morning of April 24. They are patrolling areas near the coasts of Novorossiysk and Crimea. Two Project 636.3 submarines in the area of the firing position near Novorossiysk carry Kalibr missiles and can hold up to 8 missiles.
- In the Sea of Azov, there is a patrol ship (near the Kerch bridge) and two landing craft.
- The enemy’s aviation continues flights from Crimean airfields Belbek, Saky, Dzhankoy, and Hvardiyske over the sea. Six fighter aircraft from the airfields Saky and Belbek were involved in controlling the surface and air situation in the north-western part of the Black Sea waters. Control of the air situation and operational-tactical aviation over the Azov Sea waters were carried out by the A-50U and Il-22 AWACS aircraft.
- On the night of April 24, explosions rang out in Sevastopol, occupied by the Russian Federation. This happened at 03:31 and 03:44, after which heavy machine gun fire was heard towards the sea. The explosion took place in Sevastopol’s Streletsky Bay. This bay belongs to the internal raid of Sevastopol, although it is located outside the main entrance to the Sevastopol Bay and has access to the open sea. The bay is protected by boom barriers, which were additionally installed at the end of 2022 (after the drone attack on October 29, 2022). The bay is the base for the 68th brigade of ships for the protection of the maritime area of the Russian Federation, which consists of anti-submarine corvettes of the 1124 M project and various minesweepers. At the time of the attack, about 20 ships, boats and vessels of the Russian Navy were in the Streletsky Bay; among them, there could be at least three 1124 M corvettes. Even in the case of the detonation of drones from the protective boom barrier of Streletsky Bay (eastern side), the explosion could damage the ships near the pier. Until 06:20, helicopters of the Russian Federation were patrolling over the bay, and the internal raid of Sevastopol was closed for several hours in the morning. The Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed the attack on the morning of April 24, and stated that all “three drones were destroyed and there were no casualties.”
“Sanctions on Russian oil products”.
- In March 2023, the export of Russian oil products from Black Sea ports to EU and G7 countries amounted to 737,856 tons. Although it was supposed to be fully suspended. In February 2023, 11 violating tankers were detected, and 17 in March.
- 17 out of 28 violating tankers, or 60.7%, belong to shipowners from EU countries such as Greece and Italy. 6 out of 28 violating tankers fly flags of EU countries such as Malta and Greece. From March 31 to April 10, 2023, a possible new anchorage area was detected outside the territorial waters of Greece. It Is not “traditionally” in the Laconian Gulf, but in the so-called Myrtoan Sea between the islands of Kythira and Milos. The presence of the Greek tanker AGIOS NIKOLAOS, IMO 9820283, with a trajectory for anchorage, was recorded there.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 24.04.23
Personnel – almost 187,080 people (+660);
Tanks – 3,683 (+8);
Armored combat vehicles – 7,139 (+8);
Artillery systems – 2,849 (+12)
Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 539 (0); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 289 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 5,753 (+23); Aircraft – 308 (0);
Helicopters – 294 (0);
UAV operational and tactical level – 2,413 (+11); Intercepted cruise missiles – 911 (0);
Boats/ships – 18 (0).
According to a press release from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Ukraine’s military spending in 2022 increased by 640% compared to the previous year, amounting to $44 billion. This increase was the largest ever recorded in SIPRI data for a single year in a country’s military spending. As a result of the increase and the damage caused by the war, Ukraine’s military burden (military spending as a percentage of GDP) rose to 34% of GDP in 2022, up from 3.2% in 2021. Meanwhile, Russian military spending increased by about 9.2% to $86.4 billion in 2022, equivalent to 4.1% of Russia’s GDP, up from 3.7% in 2021, according to SIPRI.
Total global military expenditures reached $2.24 trillion in 2022. The top three countries with the highest military spending were the United States, China, and Russia. They accounted for 56% of the global total. Military expenditures increased by 13% in Europe, reaching a Cold War-era high.
“We do not need Russia’s permission to become a member of the Alliance. At the same time, it is dangerous when individual Hungarian politicians try to make the security of the Euro-Atlantic space dependent on Moscow’s whims,” a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to a comment by a deputy speaker of the Hungarian parliament. The Hungarian far- right party, “Our Homeland Movement,” has repeated Russian propaganda about minority suppression in Ukraine and has called for territorial autonomy for the Transcarpathian region and other areas. “We do not see any circumstances that would allow us to support NATO expansion at the expense of Ukraine… Without the risk of war, Ukraine’s accession is possible only if Russia approves it as a certain agreement,” a party representative said. This issue has been a source of tension between Hungary and Ukraine for some time, with Hungarian right-wing parties advocating for the absorption of Ukrainian territories with pockets of Hungarian ethnic minorities.
The Prime Ministers of Poland, Czechia, and Slovakia have urged their NATO allies to provide a “clear and credible path for Ukraine’s membership” and to offer security guarantees to prevent Ukraine from becoming a “gray zone.” In an op-ed in Foreign Affairs, they argued that gray zones create opportunities for authoritarian regimes to sow instability and increase tensions, and that NATO must be the anchor of a transatlantic community promoting democratic values, security cooperation, and peaceful dispute resolution. The leaders emphasized the need for a solid foundation for European security, stating that “the future of European security depends on it.”
The three Prime Ministers recalled George Kennan’s call for a “policy of containment toward the Soviet Union,” the principles of which “can be applied today, with military strength, hard-hitting sanctions, Russia’s isolation, and transatlantic unity serving as key tenets of our strategy.” “The people of Ukraine are watching our recurring discussions about the type of weapons we hesitate to ship; as some of us might be tempted by war fatigue, the Ukrainians continue to defend their country and their lives,” Petr Fiala, Eduard Heger, and Mateusz Morawiecki wrote.
“I am here with a message of firm belief – belief in your victory, belief in Ukraine that is a prosperous liberal democracy and a free market-economy belonging to the Euro-Atlantic community,” Estonian PM said while visiting Kyiv. “Your fight, loss, and sacrifice have made it crystal clear – the way to lasting peace is to end grey areas in European security… So, for peace in Europe, we need Ukraine in the European Union, we need Ukraine in NATO,” Kaja Kallas said. In the Joint Declaration of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and the Prime Minister of Estonia, the sides agreed to “work together to establish a path that will help bring Ukraine closer to NATO membership and pave the way for Ukraine to join NATO as soon as conditions allow.”
“We have a common strategic goal: to ensure peace in Europe for future generations. This goal now depends on the speed of your decisions and their implementation. We will remove all paper walls. We will overcome all procedural obstacles. We will speed up every process. We will destroy any delays on the way between the decision on the provision of weapons and their arrival at the border of Ukraine,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister called on his European colleagues.
According to leaked information from Teixeira, while there has been an increase in the delivery of necessary weapons to Ukraine, the reinforcements are still not enough to meet American military planners’ assessments of what Ukraine needs to retake territory captured by Russia in the coming weeks, as reported by The New York Times. “Tragically, influences in the Biden White House also seem to want this [another frozen conflict that would offer Putin hope of offramps and negotiations]. Sullivan, Burns, Kerry, treating this like the Cold War where the evil they know is better than the uncertainty of victory, even if it means undermining the counteroffensive against a war criminal regime,” Garry Kasparov, a prominent Russian opposition leader, twitted. “Ukraine needs long-range fires and jets to free all its territory and people and end this war. Everyone understands this, including SecDef Austin, who has been trying his best. But the politicians don’t want to burn figurative bridges with Putin–or real bridges to Crimea.” The politician on the Biden Administration to “give everything now for Ukraine to win,” for the “national security of the U.S. can be served in no better way than Ukraine defeating Russia decisively. Any result with Russia still occupying Ukraine will be a huge loss for the U.S. and all democracies.”
Over the past half of a year, Iran delivered more than 300,000 artillery shells and a million rounds of ammunition to Russia, the WSJ wrote. The Chief of Ukraine’s Defence Intelligence said Russians have been stockpiling missiles to disrupt Ukraine’s counteroffensive operation. “For the most part, they will target the formations of groups of our forces,” Kyrylo Budanov said.
Meanwhile, representatives of America’s far corners of the political spectrum are increasingly united in their calls on the Biden Administration to stop supporting Ukraine. In addition to the call of about thirty progressive lawmakers to “avoid a prolonged conflict” and pair the support for Ukraine with a “proactive diplomatic push” last autumn, nineteen Republican lawmakers called to end an “unrestrained U.S. aid for Ukraine.” They threatened to “adamantly oppose all future aid packages unless they are linked to a clear diplomatic strategy designed to bring this war to a rapid conclusion.” Mirroring the Kremlin’s narratives, the lawmakers called the Russian invasion of Ukraine “a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine” and doubted it was in the “strategic interest of the United States.”
The Russian spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, has rejected claims that Russia’s war against Ukraine was unprovoked. Peskov recently stated that the main goal of the so-called special military operation is to “ensure the safety of all residents of Russia,” which, in his mind, should include the “population living in the territories of the new Russian regions.” The Kremlin is randomly offering justification for the illegal invasion, ranging from “genocide” of the so-called Donbas people to the intention of stopping NATO’s expansion towards Russian borders. However, Peskov did not elaborate on how the conflict started with the illegal annexation of Crimea and the covert operation of Russian intelligence officers. Alexander Boroday and Igor Strelkov/Girkin, the former “head” of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and its first defense “minister,” are Russian citizens and intelligence operatives. They recently admitted that their actions started the war and that they did not intend to protect “compatriots” in Ukraine but to seize all of Ukraine.
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