Russo-Ukraine War - 12 April 2022 - Day 48
On 24 February 2022, Ukraine was suddenly and deliberately attacked by land, naval and air forces of Russia, igniting the largest European war since the Great Patriotic War. The military buildup in preceeding months makes it obvious that the unprovoked and dastardly Russian attack was deliberately planned long in advance. During the intervening time, the Russian government had deliberately sought to deceive the world by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
"To initiate a war of aggression... is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." [Judgment of the International Military Tribunal]
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" in Ukraine in response to the appeal of the leaders of the "Donbass republics" for help. That attack is a blatant violation of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. Putin stressed that Moscow's goal is the demilitarization and denazification of the country.
Ukraine said Russia is likely to try and capture the besieged port city of Mariupol as fears rise over an expected offensive on the eastern Donbas region. Russia has nearly completed its buildup for a renewed assault on Donetsk and Luhansk, Ukraine’s defence ministry says. The governor of Luhansk said Russia is moving military vehicles closer to the front lines. Russian forces are reinforcing around the Donbas region, notably near the town of Izyum, but have not yet launched a full offensive, Pentagon officials said. A senior U.S. defense official reported that Russia's 8-mile long convoy of military and supply vehicles near the Donbas is just under 40 miles north of Ukraine's Izyum. The convoy was heading south, but was forced to stay on paved roads because of spring weather.
Russian forces continue to withdraw from Belarus to redeploy in support of operations in eastern Ukraine, according to the latest intelligence briefing from the UK’s Ministry of Defence. “Russian attacks remain focused on Ukrainian positions near Donetsk and Luhansk with further fighting around Kherson and Mykolaiv and a renewed push towards Kramatorsk,” the ministry added. It says fighting in the east will intensity over the next two to three weeks.
Ukraine says it is checking unverified information that Russia may have used chemical weapons while besieging the southern port city of Mariupol. The UK also says it is trying to verify the reports after Ukraine’s far-right Azov battalion alleged that a Russian drone had dropped a “poisonous substance” on troops and civilians in Mariupol. “I would like to remind world leaders that the possible use of chemical weapons by the Russian military has already been discussed … at that time, it meant that it was necessary to react to the Russian aggression much harsher and faster,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. “Russian troops left behind tens if not hundreds of thousands of dangerous objects,” he added.
The operational-tactical aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces destroyed 32 Ukrainian military facilities in a day, including the Buk-M1 air defense system and the S-300 system radar. This was announced by the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense Igor Konashenkov. “Russian air defense systems shot down two unmanned aerial vehicles in the air in the areas of the settlements of Berdyansk and Melitopol. In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, the following have been destroyed: 130 aircraft, 99 helicopters, 244 anti-aircraft missile systems, 443 unmanned aerial vehicles, 2139 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 241 installations of multiple launch rocket systems, 917 field artillery guns and mortars, as well as 2046 units of special military vehicles.
“During the night, high-precision air and sea-based missiles destroyed: an ammunition depot and a protected hangar with Ukrainian aircraft at the Starokonstantinov military airfield in the Khmelnytsky region, as well as an ammunition depot near the village of Gavrilovka, Kiev region."
Various terrorist or sabotage acts can arrange the Ukrainian special services in the border regions of Russia. Vladimir Dzhabarov , First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs of the Federation Council, stated this on the air of the radio station Moscow Speaks. According to him, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) may be involved in the damage to the railway tracks in the Belgorod region. Other attacks are not excluded. “The Belgorod region is also bordering Ukraine, and I do not exclude that the SBU will continue to plan various terrorist or sabotage acts on Russian territory, ” Dzhabarov said.
In the Shebekinsky district of the Belgorod region, bordering the Ukrainian Kharkiv region, on April 12, damage to the railway tracks was recorded, as a result of which no one was injured. Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation A.I. Bastrykin instructed the head of the Western Interregional Investigation Department for Transport of the Investigative Committee of Russia P. S. Vymentz to promptly investigate the circumstances of damage to the railway tracks in the Belgorod Region and submit a report on the results.
Another group of volunteers has been formed in Chechnya to take part in the liberation of Donbass from neo-Nazis. A group of 300 people became the third to go to fulfill their duty to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine. The brigade includes not only representatives of Chechnya, but also volunteers from many subjects of Russia, said the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov. “To participate in a special operation in the Donbass and Ukraine, 300 more volunteers moved out from Grozny as part of the third stage. Among them are not only Chechens, but also representatives of other nationalities from the regions of Russia. Under the flag of the fight against fascist evil spirits in Ukraine, there is an association of patriots of Russia, ” the Chechen leader wrote in his Telegram channel.
Jerome at Military Land reported additional units of Azov and Ukrainian Volunteer Corps have arrived to the eastern Ukraine to support Ukrainian Army and National Guard. Saboteurs blew up a railway bridge near the border in Belgorod Oblast, disrupting a Russian supply route to Ukraine. The convoy of Russian army have been moving towards Izium for the third day, and it’s kinda a déjà vu to the Kyiv one. Russian army continues to strengthen its forces near Izium and prepares the offensive operation in the area. Ukrainian 36th Marines Brigade reportedly made a successful breakthrough inside Mariupol and linked up with Azov Regiment.
The European Union’s executive is drafting proposals for an oil embargo on Russia, although reports indicate there is no agreement yet. French bank Societe Generale said it will quit Russia and take a 3 billion euros ($3.3bn) hit from selling its Rosbank unit to a firm linked to a Russian oligarch. Separately, Origin Energy said the Australian government confirmed the company is not breaching sanctions against Russia at a gas project in the Northern Territory, where its partner has a Russian oligarch shareholder.
Russia is receiving munitions and military hardware from Iraq for its war effort in Ukraine, with the help of Iranian weapons smuggling networks, the Guardian reported. This includes rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles, and Brazilian-designed rocket launcher systems, as well as an Iranian-made Bavar-373 missile system, similar to the Russian S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile system, which was donated to Moscow by Tehran.
The chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, State Duma deputy Gennady Zyuganov , made a statement in which he called on the progressive forces of the world to solidarity against the background of the war unleashed by NATO against Russia.
Putin spoke extensively on the conflict in Ukraine at a joint news conference with Lukashenko during a Cosmonautics Day visit to the Vostochny space launch facility in Russia’s far east. He claimed Western sanctions imposed on Moscow in a bid to make it change course have failed, the Russian president said, adding the “blitzkrieg on which our foes were counting on did not work”. He blamed Ukraine’s “inconsistency” for derailing talks between the two sides, suggesting the discussions had reached “a dead end”. Putin also said Ukrainian allegations that Russian servicemen killed civilians in Bucha were false.
“Our task is to fulfil and achieve all the goals set, minimising losses. And we will act rhythmically, calmly, according to the plan originally proposed by the General Staff,” Putin said during the joint televised news conference with Lukashenko. He added Moscow’s goals were “clear and noble”. The Ukrainian side in the negotiations behaves in such a way that it is impossible to reach agreements, therefore the special operation in Ukraine will continue until it is fully completed. Putin recalled that Kyiv publicly refused to comply with the Minsk agreements. Therefore, it was impossible to continue to endure the genocide of the population in Donbass, the president said. A clash with anti-Russian forces bred in Ukraine was inevitable.
Putin reiterated that Russia’s actions in several regions of Ukraine were intended only to tie down enemy forces and carry out missile strikes with the purpose of destroying the Ukrainian military’s infrastructure, so as to “create conditions for more active operations on the territory of Donbass.” While thanking the Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine for their “heroic service to their homeland,” and for protecting Russia’s interests, Putin stated that “a confrontation with the forces that were being brought up by the West in Ukraine, a confrontation with radical nationalists and neo-Nazis in Ukraine, was inevitable” and that it was only a matter of time.
“They were preparing and waiting for their hour. And, as I’ve said, we aren’t going to let them do that. That’s the logic of our actions,” the Russian president explained, adding that seeing Ukrainian soldiers wearing SS Galicia patches –a division of the Nazi forces that were responsible for numerous slaughters of Russian, Jewish, Ukrainian and Polish civilians during WWII)– in Donbass only further proves that “the timing of Russia’s operation was correct, or else there would’ve been even more of them.”
German President Steinmeier said that "a return to normality with Russia under Putin is impossible." Commenting on the special operation carried out by the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine, the German President also said that the West would have a hard time, and Western countries would have to “carry the burden” because of Russia. As long as Vladimir Putin is president in Russia , it will not be possible to speak with Moscow as before.
Zelenskyy doesn't want to meet Steinmeier in Kyiv at the moment, given Steinmeier's close ties to Russia in recent years. The "Steinmeier Formula", named after the Federal President and ex-Foreign Minister, proposed that the eastern Ukraine regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, which are controlled by Putin's henchmen as self-proclaimed "people's republics", should be granted a temporary special status once elections have taken place there.
As foreign minister, he had close contacts with, among others, Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov (72). Steinmeier was also a big supporter of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and is considered the architect of the federal government's Russia-friendly policy. Steinmeier had wanted to travel to Kyiv "to send a strong signal of European solidarity with Ukraine," as he said. "I was ready for it. But obviously, I have to admit, that was not wanted in Kyiv.”
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that from February 24 to April 11, the number of people who left Ukraine reached 4,615,830. During the day, 68,095 people crossed the borders of neighboring states. During this period, 433,083 refugees arrived in Russia, 2,645,877 in Poland, 701,741 in Romania, and 428,524 in Hungary.
The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine says more than 870,000 people who fled abroad in the wake of Russia’s invasion have since returned to the country. Andriy Demchenko, a spokesman for the service, said between 25,000 and 30,000 Ukrainian nationals were now returning each day, including a growing number of women, children and the elderly.
Tens of thousands of people have likely been killed in Russia’s assault on Mariupol, Zelenskyy tells South Korea’s parliament. In an earlier interview with Al Jazeera, Zelenskyy said of the 500,000 population in Mariupol, “something like 400,000 have either been evacuated or killed. Now the population is about 100,000 and there are bodies of people all around the streets”. Mariupol’s mayor said the latest estimate of civilian casualties there stands at about 21,000 people. The mayor of Bucha said authorities in the Ukrainian town have found 403 bodies of people they believe were killed by Russian forces.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine says that Russia has lost 19,500 personnel, 732 tanks and 157 aircraft since the start of its invasion on February 24.
Pope Francis said that the war in Ukraine is marked by “the forces of evil” because it was leaving in its wake abominations such as the massacre of civilians. “The present moment leaves us deeply troubled, because it is marked by the forces of evil,” he said in a message. “The suffering inflicted on so many frail and defenceless persons; the many civilians massacred and the innocent victims among the young; the desperate plight of women and children … All this troubles our consciences,” he added.
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