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CDS Daily brief (28.04.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • On April 28, the Russian military launched a series of missile strikes on Ukraine. A rocket hit a residential high-rise building In Uman. The impact killed 23 people. In the Dnipro, a private residential building was destroyed during the shelling, and a mother and her child were killed.
  • Ukraine handed over to the Committee of the Red Cross a list with the names of 19,000 Ukrainian children taken to Russia. Ukraine expects ICRC to directly visit children and that Ukraine is awaiting their visit to Russia and other states.
  • Ukraine has demanded that Russia open humanitarian corridors for residents of temporarily occupied territories who wish to leave for the territory controlled by Ukraine.
  • During the two months of forced evacuation, 370 Ukrainian children have been relocated to safer regions from Donetsk Oblast.


  • Russian military command is increasing its efforts in Bakhmut, aiming to capture the city by May 9th for propaganda effect. They are transferring reserves to the area;
  • Russian forces in the Bakhmut area have intensified their attacks with 24/7 air and artillery strikes;
  • The tactics of Russian missile strikes on targets in Ukraine have also changed, with energy infrastructure no longer being the primary focus. Missiles are now launched at different altitudes, with multiple changes in flight trajectory and careful consideration of the terrain relief on the routes to targets to complicate the work of Ukraine’s air defense systems.
  • Despite retaining the ability to carry out massive missile strikes, the enemy is economizing on precision weapons.
  • The Kremlin is interested in prolonging the war, allowing it to accumulate and deploy additional resources, including mobilizing and training additional personnel and creating a group of up to 815,000 soldiers.
  • The transition of the Defense Forces to a counterattack is expected to further exhaust the offensive potential of the Russian Federation, ultimately leading to its defeat.


  • Ukraine currently has 12 million tons of grain intended for export. Still, due to export blockades by some European countries and the instability of the “grain corridor,” Ukraine may not be able to export this production before the new harvest.
  • While Ukraine’s Defense Minister has stated that the country is almost ready for the long- awaited counteroffensive, the Foreign Minister has urged caution in perceiving it as a decisive battle. This statement aims to manage expectations, as there have been several articles and comments suggesting the possibility of a stalemate resulting from Ukraine’s counteroffensive, as well as calls for a negotiated solution.
  • Ukraine’s Peace Formula is the only way for peace, as stated by the Presidents of the Czech and Slovak republics, and the White House security spokesman.
  • With a Russian court decision to send Andrey Kizevalter for compulsory treatment “in a medical organization providing psychiatric care in inpatient conditions,” punitive psychiatry as a political tool is back in Russia.
  • Russian ambassadors in Spain and Moldova have been summoned for lies and denying the sovereignty of an independent country.
Humanitarian aspect:

Russian attacks

On the night of April 28, Russian troops launched a massive missile attack on Ukraine with missiles and drones. The attacks were aimed at Uman, Dnipro, and Kyiv Oblast, resulting in destroyed houses, casualties, and injuries. In Uman, a rocket hit a residential high-rise building, killing 23 people. The defense forces destroyed 21 out of 23 Russian cruise missiles and two UAVs in the morning. The Russians launched the missiles from the Tu-95 strategic aircraft in the Caspian Sea.

  • In Cherkasy Oblast, around 4 am, Russians attacked Uman. Two cruise missiles hit a high- rise residential building and warehouse buildings and damaged about 10 multi-storey residential buildings. According to the latest information, 23 people, including four children, were killed in the attack. The rescue operation is ongoing, and a DNA laboratory has been set up to identify citizens killed due to Russian shelling. At least 17 people were injured, and rescuers evacuated 70 people, while another 110 citizens received psychological assistance.
  • 7 cruise missiles were shot down over Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Two people, a woman and her 2-year child, were killed in Dnipro due to a Russian missile attack. Three people were injured. A private enterprise building was also destroyed as a result of the attack. A 70- year-old woman was injured.
  • 11 cruise missiles and 2 UAVs were shot down in Kyiv‘s airspace. Debris damaged the power line in the Obolon district and the road surface. Debris from a Russian missile damaged a nine-story residential building in Ukrainka, Kyiv Oblast. A child was injured and hospitalized.
  • On the morning of   April 28,   Russian aircraft   targeted the   Semenivka enterprise in Chernihiv Oblast, resulting in one recorded explosion, likely from a FAB-500 bomb. Later that afternoon, Russian aviation struck the border area of Chernihiv Oblast again, with three rockets fired, possibly KAB, from two planes over the village of Kostobobriv. Eight civilian houses were damaged, with two of them catching fire. Information about potential casualties is currently being clarified.
  • In Donetsk Oblast, there were 25 shelling attacks by the enemy on 14 settlements, resulting in damage to 14 residential buildings, including 8 multi-storey buildings, 3 buildings of the city hospital, a school, a kindergarten, a power transmission line, a garage, 2 farm buildings, and 2 cars. One person was injured.
  • The Russian armed forces shelled a kindergarten in the border town of Vovchansk in Kharkiv Oblast, and the building was partially destroyed, reported by the press service of the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office.
  • In Kherson Oblast, Russian occupiers carried out 61 shelling attacks in one day, hitting Kherson six times (39 shells). Overall, Russian troops targeted areas of 27 populated areas. Two people were killed, and three were wounded. The enemy once again struck Kizomys, dropping five guided bombs on the village. The Russians shelled Odradokamianka; a 60-year-old woman died on the spot from injuries sustained, while her 73-year-old husband suffered severe injuries. 94 people were evacuated from the territory liberated from the Russians in the Kherson oblast during the day.

Ukraine provided the International Committee of the Red Cross with a list of 19,000 Ukrainian children who were deported to Russia, according to Maria Mezentseva, the head of the Verkhovna Rada’s permanent delegation to PACE. Mezentseva stated that the International Committee of the Red Cross has the authority to directly visit children and that Ukraine is awaiting their visit to Russia and other states.

Dmytro Lubinets, the Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada, suggested on a national telethon that the United Nations could establish a mission to retrieve Ukrainian children deported by Russia. He stated that the UN should create an effective mechanism, such as a mission that physically goes to Russia and retrieves the Ukrainian children. If Russia does not allow the mission, Lubinets believes that the issue of excluding Russia from the UN Security Council should be raised, and at a maximum, Russia should be excluded from the organization altogether.

During a UN Security Council meeting in the Arria formula, Ezekiel Heffes, the Director of Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, emphasized that overcoming the consequences of the abduction and forced deportation of Ukrainian children by Russian occupiers will require massive efforts from the international community over many years. He stressed the importance of taking concrete steps to prevent these crimes and holding those responsible accountable. Heffes explained that abducted and deported children often suffer from extreme violence, exploitation, and cruel treatment, leading to long-term physical, psychological, and emotional consequences. He recommended that UN member states enhance the protection of children from the horrors of war and improve their respect for children’s rights. He emphasized that parties must fulfill their obligations under international agreements, and this issue should not be subject to debate, either at the UN or elsewhere.

Currently, Ukraine is working independently to return the children deported by Russia, and international partners are showing a willingness to help, but the results are weak, President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a joint press conference with the presidents of the Czech Republic, Petr Pavel, and Slovakia, Zuzana Čaputová, in Kyiv.

Occupied territories

Ukraine demands that Russia open humanitarian corridors for residents of temporarily occupied territories who wish to leave for the territory controlled by Ukraine. Vice Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk made the statement, criticizing Russia’s decree allowing for the deportation of non-

Russian citizens from occupied territories starting in July 2024. However, Russia is not currently engaging in negotiations regarding opening humanitarian corridors.


During the two months of forced evacuation, 370 Ukrainian children have been relocated to safer regions from Donetsk Oblast, according to Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories, Iryna Vereshchuk. Vereshchuk previously emphasized that the government’s resolution on the forced evacuation of children from conflict zones was the first such document in global practice and had a positive effect.

Operational situation General conclusion:
  • Russian military command is increasing its efforts in the area of Bakhmut, trying to capture the ruins of the city by May 9th in order to achieve a propaganda effect. Reserves are being transferred to the area around the city.
Change in the line of contact (LoC):
  • Units of the Defense Forces repelled more than 65 enemy attacks on various fronts.
  • Heavy fighting continues for the city of Bakhmut. The enemy unsuccessfully carried out offensive actions in the areas of Dibrova and Serebryansk forestry, towards Bohdanivka, in the areas of Avdiivka, Severne, Pervomaiske, Krasnohorivka, and Maryinka.
  • The enemy forces of the Western Military district have switched to the defense in the Kupyansk direction. There were combat clashes with Ukrainian Defence Forces reconnaissance groups near Novoselivske, Vilshany, and Krokhmalne.
  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled enemy attacks near Orihiv-Vasylivka, Bohdanivka, Ivanivske, Avdiivka, Severne, Pervomaiske, and Maryinka; and counterattacked near Krasnohorivka.
  • The enemy slightly advanced near the railway north of Avdiivka, on the southwestern approaches to Avdiivka and near Krasnohorivka. They attacked northeast of Vodyane, near Nevelske, toward Pivnichne, but did not succeed. The enemy engaged in positional battles in the forest near Vuhledar and in the area of Mykilski Dachy.
  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to strike at the enemy rear objects and troop concentrations on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast, north of Korsunka, southwest of Rybalske, at the Russian observation post in the village of Kozachi Lagery.
Change in enemy disposition:
  • The 305th Artillery Brigade of the 5th Army was transferred from the Zaporizhzhia Oblast to reinforce the units of the PMC “Wagner” in Bakhmut.
  • The troops of the Eastern Operational Command, which were operating in the Shakhtarsk and Zaporizhzhia directions, suffered significant losses in the previous battles, which limit their combat readiness.
  • The enemy has additionally established three brigade defense lines and up to five battalion defense zones within a 20-kilometer zone in front of the Crimean isthmuses and a 30-kilometer zone beyond them. Troops from the “Crimean Defense” forces have already been deployed to some of them.
  • In the area Medvedivka village, the enemy has deployed a field storage and repair base for weapons and military equipment at the corps level, where a reserve of combat vehicles is stored, capable of deploying 1-2 motorized infantry brigades (up to 720 units of main types of weapons and military equipment, including artillery systems, MLRS, and automotive equipment).
Escalation indicators:
  • Russian forces in the area of Bakhmut have switched to 24/7 air and artillery strikes, combining various forces, means, and ammunition;
  • The enemy has intensified pressure on the positions of the Ukrainian 3rd separate assault brigade and 92nd separate motorized brigade in the area of the T0506 highway near Khromove.
  • The enemy has changed its tactics of missile strikes on targets in Ukraine. Objects of energy infrastructure are no longer considered critical. Missile launches now involve different altitudes, multiple changes in flight trajectory, careful consideration of the relief of the terrain on routes to targets, and other measures to complicate the work of Ukraine’s air defense systems. The use of “Kalibr” missiles has been resumed.
Possible operation situation developments:
  • Ukrainian Defense Forces, in the short term, will adhere to their chosen strategy of inflicting maximum losses on the enemy in close combat on the main thrust directions;
  • The enemy retains the ability to carry out massive missile strikes but is noticeably economizing on precision weapons.
  • The Kremlin is interested in prolonging the war, which will allow it to accumulate and deploy additional resources, including mobilizing and training additional personnel and creating a group of up to 815,000 soldiers; as the main goal of the war, the eradication of Ukrainian statehood, has not been achieved;
  • The transition of the Defense Forces to a counterattack will further exhaust the offensive potential of the Russian Federation, ultimately leading to its defeat.
Azov-Black Sea Maritime Operational Area:
  • There are 13 enemy ships in the sea. They patrol areas near the coast of Novorossiysk and Crimea. The frigate “Admiral Makarov” and the corvettes “Vyshny Volochyok” and “Grayvoron” (with up to 24 “Kalibr” missiles) are in the Black Sea waters, ready to use missile weapons.
  • Up to eight missile carriers may be ready for deployment at the Black Sea and Caspian Sea naval bases.

The Black Sea has four missile carriers capable of carrying up to 20 missiles: one corvette “Ingushetia” and submarine pr. 636.3 are in Novorossiysk; two submarines pr.636.3;

The Caspian Sea has four missile carriers capable of carrying up to 32 missiles, including the frigate “Dagestan” and the corvettes “Uglich,” “Veliky Ustyug,” and “Grad Sviyazhsk.”

Location of Large landing ships:

  • LLSs “Cesar Kunikov”, “Korolyov”, “Minsk”, “Olenegorsky Gorniak”, and “Piotr Morgunov” – 20 km southwest of Anapa;
  • LLS “Kaliningrad” – Sevastopol;
  • LLSs “Georgy Pobedonosets” and “Yamal” – Novorossiysk;
  • LLS “Orsk” – Feodosia.

Under   repair   in   Sevastopol   are   the    LLSs   “Azov”,    “Nikolay   Filchenkov”,   and “Novocherkassk”.

  • A patrol ship is located near the Kerch Bridge in the Azov Sea.
  • The enemy aviation continues flights over the sea from the Crimean airfields Belbek, Saky, Dzhankoy, and Hvardiyske. Six fighter aircraft were involved in controlling the surface and air situation in the northwestern part of the Black Sea’s waters, based in Saky and Belbek airfields. Control of the air situation and management of operational-tactical aviation over the Azov Sea were carried out by the A-50U and Il-22 AWACS aircraft.
  • On April 27th, the “Mozhaysk” submarine of the 636.3 project (equipped with the universal shipborne missile system “Kalibr-PL”) was launched at the shipyard “Admiralteiskie Verfi” (St. Petersburg). This is the fifth of six submarines of the 636.3 project being built for the needs of the Pacific Fleet.
The “Grain initiative”.
  • The remains of Ukrainian grain intended for export amount to 12 million tons. Due to the export blockade by some European countries and the instability of the “grain corridor”, Ukraine may be unable to export this production before the new harvest. This was stated by the CEO of IMC, Alek Lissitsa, during a discussion on “The ban on the import of Ukrainian grain: consequences and ways to solve the crisis”, organized by CASE Ukraine. Of these, 3 million tons go through the ports of Odessa, 2 million tons through the Danube, and 1 million tons through the western border,” he said. Lissitsa noted that if the maritime corridor and Danube ports worked unimpeded, there would be no problems with exporting grain from Ukraine.”…Romania has taken a position that transit is allowed, but in June the Romanians will export their own grain. They will be joined by Serbia and other Balkan countries, as well as Hungary. Therefore, it is currently unknown whether there will be opportunities for Ukrainian grain exports there,” he added. In addition, it is unknown what will happen on May 18: whether the “grain initiative” will be extended or not. The Russians have already set new demands and may block the agreement.”
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 28.04.23

Personnel – almost 189,460 people (+540);

Tanks – 3,694 (0);

Armored combat vehicles – 7,181 (+3);

Artillery systems – 2,905 (+18)

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 543 (+1); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 294 (+1); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 5,819 (+14); Aircraft – 308 (0);

Helicopters – 294 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 2,467 (+6); Intercepted cruise missiles – 911 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

Ukraine, general news

82% of young people in Ukraine have reported war-related losses, with power outages (46%), decreased income (36%), and deterioration of mental health (29%) being the most common issues, according to a study by the analytical center Cedos presented by Ivan Verbitsky. Other concerns raised by respondents included strained relationships with friends and family, displacement, death of loved ones, and damage to housing.

International diplomatic aspect

“Preparations [for the counteroffensive] are coming to an end… In a global sense, we are ready in a high percentage mode. The next question is up to the General Staff … As soon as it is God’s will, the weather, and the commanders’ decision, we will do it,” Ukraine’s Defence Minister stated. Earlier, NATO’s Secretary-General announced that allies and partner countries had delivered more than 98% of the combat vehicles promised to Ukraine, including 230 MBTs, more than 1,550 armored vehicles, other equipment, and “vast amounts of ammunition.”

However, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister urged caution in interpreting the counteroffensive as a decisive battle. “A decisive battle is one that will lead to the complete liberation of Ukrainian territories. This conclusion can be made at the end, not at the beginning of the battle… If one counterattack is needed – there will be one; if two or more are needed – it will be like this. This is not a conflict that can be frozen,” said Dmytro Kuleba. This statement aims to manage expectations amidst various articles and comments suggesting the possibility of a stalemate resulting from Ukraine’s counteroffensive. Some have called for a “negotiated” solution, which ignores the genocidal nature of the war and the unwillingness of Ukrainians to accept territorial “compromises.” It is also a fallacy to believe in a “diplomatic” solution, as it overlooks the fact that Russia has a history of not honoring treaties, from the U.N. Charter to bilateral agreements, and that any document would be insufficient to stop its revisionist policies.

The White House security spokesman, John Kirby, commented on the recent phone conversation between Volodymyr Zelensky and Xi Jinping, emphasizing that any negotiated peace must come from a position of strength. “If there’s going to be a negotiated peace, it’s got to (be) when President Zelensky is ready for it … where he can do it from a position of strength. We certainly would welcome any effort to arrive at a just peace, as long as that peace could be just, could be sustainable, and could be credible,” Kirby stated. “Ukraine has the exclusive right to decide about the modalities of the future peace talks to achieve lasting and just peace for the generations to come, and express their support to President Zelenskyy’s Peace Formula towards a Global Peace Summit to be convened when conditions are ripe,” the Joint Declaration by Presidents of Ukraine, the Slovak and the Czech Republic’s reads.

Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the head of the U.S. European Command, faced intense questioning on the Armed Services Committee hearing. The senators worried Kyiv wouldn’t have enough firepower to counter Russian troops this summer. “It’s going to be trench warfare, and it’s going to involve tanks… it may well be too late [a delivery of Abrams MBTs later summer or early Autumn],” Senator Angus King said. “I think it’s reflective of the political decision to drag our feet in what we’re supplying to Ukraine. It’s just a repeated story that we’re seeing over and over again throughout the course of this war,” Senator Tom Cotton expressed his frustration. The Russian Ministry of Defence posted a photo of a missile launch with the words – “right to the target.”

It happened shortly after a devastating assault on the central Ukrainian town of Uman, resulting in the deaths of at least 23 civilians, including four children. “Uman is not only a brilliant city of Ukraine. It is the town where Rabbi Nahman of Braslav is buried. And it is, for this, a holy place for Jewish thought. What Putin and Russians just did is a crime, plus a profanation, plus a slap on the face of all Jews around the world,” Bernard-Henri Lévy, a French philosopher, twitted.

Spain’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the Russian ambassador over a video shared by the embassy that falsely claimed Spanish troops were fighting in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Moldova’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the Russian ambassador for a more serious reason. Former Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev responded to an entrance ban by saying that he had no plans to visit Moldova and that “there is no such country anymore.” He accused local leaders of selling Moldova to Romania and becoming traitors to their homeland. Medvedev called on Moldova’s leadership to decide whether they are Moldovans or Romanians, while insisting that they must respect the sovereignty of the Transdniestrian Moldavian Republic, which is a Russian proxy entity similar to the so-called Donets and Luhansk People’s Republics. Russia has not honored its commitment to “complete withdrawal of the Russian forces from the territory of Moldova by the end of 2002,” as stated in the Istanbul (OSCE) Document of 1999.

Russia, relevant news

Punitive psychiatry has resurfaced in Russia as a court has ordered Andrey Kizevalter to undergo compulsory psychiatric treatment “in a medical facility providing inpatient psychiatric care.” Kizevalter was accused of pouring yellow and blue paint, which are the colors of the Ukrainian flag, on a banner featuring the St. George ribbon, a black and orange stripe that symbolizes Russian nationalism, in the shape of the letter “Z” (a symbol of Russian aggression), and the words “We don’t abandon our own.”

Punitive psychiatry was widely used as a suppression tool in the Soviet Union until 1988. After 1988, almost two dozen “specialty psychiatric hospitals” of the Ministry of Interior were either subordinated to the Healthcare ministries or closed, and over 776,000 people were removed from the “psychiatric” register. The prosecution of anti-Soviet propaganda and slander against the Soviet system, considered “socially dangerous activities,” was also removed from the Criminal Code. “Punitive psychiatry is a system used by the state to punish people they don’t like. This system is multifaceted. Firstly, it is a system of intimidation and suppression, where individuals are warned that if they continue their work, they will be put in a psychiatric hospital… Secondly, people who are deemed undesirable by the authorities are put in psychiatric hospitals, and drugs are used to “treat” them, even though these people are entirely normal and healthy. The use of drugs undermines the health of these individuals, and they leave hospitals already sick. The third, broader concept of punitive psychiatry is what is happening, in my opinion, throughout the former Soviet Union, where the authorities use psychiatry to remove certain people from society,” said Robert van Voren, a well-known human rights activist who has specialized in the subject of punitive psychiatry for decades.

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