Russo-Ukraine War - 14 April 2022 - Day 50
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.
TASS reported "The cruiser "Moskva" sank while being towed in a storm - Russian Defense Ministry.... During the towing of the Moskva cruiser to the port of destination, the ship lost its stability due to damage to the hull received during the fire from the detonation of ammunition. In the conditions of stormy seas, the ship sank," the military department said. "Neptune missiles guarding the Black Sea caused very serious damage to the Russian ship. Glory to Ukraine!" Odesa regional governor Maksym Marchenko said.
The crippling of the Moskva is "quite a serious blow, I would say, to the morale of the Russian navy and the Russian armed forces in general", FRANCE 24 chief international affairs editor Robert Parsons said, reporting from Kyiv. "All those Russian ships on the Black Sea now will know that they are in range of Ukrainian missile fire," Parsons continued. "That is potentially a ground changer – and certainly will put in serious doubt the possibilities of a Russian amphibious attack against the city of Odesa in the south of Ukraine."
Russia said the crew of its Black Sea fleet flagship was evacuated and measures were being taken to tow the stricken ship back to port after an explosion of ammunition on board that Ukraine said was caused by a missile strike. Russia said a fire aboard the Moskva, a warship that would typically have 500 sailors on board, forced the crew to evacuate the vessel but made no mention of an attack.
Vladislav Shurygin, a military expert and member of the Izborsk Club, had reported : “An emergency situation occurred on the cruiser, a fire and explosion of ammunition in an artillery turret located on the bow of the ship. After that, the struggle for survivability began. The crew was removed, only the emergency parties remained, as there was a danger that the fire would spread to the main ammunition, to the missiles. This was avoided, and in the morning the control of the cruiser was restored, and by lunchtime it went to Sevastopol on its own, about which our public was warned by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, who “reassured” everyone, saying that the Russian cruiser was afloat and moving towards Sevastopol. True, a couple of minutes before Kirby's message, Ukraine reported that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had attacked the Moskva cruiser, it caught fire, there was an explosion, at the moment it turned over and was sinking. We see that the process of "sinking" is very extended, apparently for many years."
The loss of the ship would be a major military and symbolic defeat for Russia as its troops regroup for a renewed offensive in eastern Ukraine after retreating from much of the north, including the capital. Russia said a fire aboard the Moskva, a warship that would typically have 500 sailors on board, forced the entire crew to evacuate the vessel. It later said the fire had been contained and that the ship would be towed to port with its guided missile launchers intact.
The last major fire on an active combat ship of the Russian Navy occurred on December 12, 2019, when the aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov caught fire during repair work in Murmansk. The fire was extinguished the next day. Then two people died, 14 were injured. The last major incident of this kind on a ship or submarine at sea occurred on July 1, 2019. Then, as a result of a fire at the nuclear deep-water station AS-31 (unofficially known as "Losharik") in the Barents Sea, 14 sailors died. The submarine is still under repair. The Russian Navy last lost a warship or submarine at sea in an accident in 2000, when the Kursk nuclear submarine sank during an exercise. It killed 118 people.
Guards missile cruiser "Moskva" is the flagship and the largest warship of the Black Sea Fleet. It was put into operation in 1983 under the name "Slava" and received its current name in 1996. "Moskva" is the lead representative of the project 1164 "Atlant", according to which the cruisers "Marshal Ustinov" and "Varyag" were also built. Another ship of this type, "Ukraine", was never completed. Project 1164 Atlant cruisers are among the largest ships of the Russian Navy - the displacement of one such ship exceeds 11 thousand, each of them is equipped, in particular, with 16 launchers of P-1000 Vulkan anti-ship missiles, as well as the S-300F "Fort". In addition, they carry other missiles, as well as artillery and anti-submarine weapons.
US State Department official Victoria Nuland defended President Joe Biden's labeling of alleged atrocities committed in Ukraine as genocide. "I am going to predict that what President Biden called it is what we will ultimately likely find when we are able to gather all of this evidence," she said in an interview with CNN. "What is happening on the ground is not an accident," Nuland said. "It is an intentional decision by Russia, by its forces to destroy Ukraine and its civilian population." Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was "right" to describe Russia's aggression in Ukraine as "genocide" after US President Joe Biden used the term. French President Emmanuel Macron refused to apply the label to the actions of Russian forces, saying it wouldn't help de-escalate the situation.
Major General Igor Konashenkov , spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said at a briefing that among the targets hit were four artillery batteries and eight command posts, as well as an ammunition depot. He added that since the beginning of the special military operation, 131 aircraft, 104 helicopters, 245 anti-aircraft missile systems, 448 unmanned aerial vehicles, 2,188 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 248 multiple rocket launchers, 957 field artillery guns and mortars have been destroyed, as well as 2088 units of special military vehicles. Konashenkov, said that operational-tactical aviation of the Russian Federation hit seven military facilities of Ukraine, in particular: in the Privolye region, a missile and artillery weapons depot, in the areas of Velikaya Novoselka, Teminovka, Ivanovka, Kramatorsk, Bogorodichnoye six areas of accumulation of manpower and armored vehicles of the Ukrainian 54th separate mechanized and 128th mountain assault brigades. According to him, 132 objects were hit by rocket troops and artillery, including: 8 command posts, 110 strongholds and areas of accumulation of manpower, 4 artillery batteries, an ammunition depot.
Anders Åslund wrote "It now appear clear that the Russian announcement almost two days ago that more than 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol had surrendered was false. Some surrendered, perhaps 100-200 soldiers, but Russia failed to seize Mariupol.
The Russian Ministry of Defense issued a refutation of the fake about a heart attack by Minister Sergei Shoigu . Leonid Nevzlin , former co-owner of YUKOS, who lives in Israel, spread information about this. “This is not the first time that the Ukrainian and Western media are trying to “put” Shoigu in a hospital bed, ” commented the publications in the Russian Defense Ministry. “ We have repeatedly refuted the misinformation about his heart attack and resignation, and also analyzed the fake order about his media activity.”
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko rejected Russian claims of the capture of the port in the southeastern Ukrainian city. "I consider it a false report," Boychenko told German broadcaster ARD by videolink. "My stance is, of course, skeptical; Russian lies we hear at every turn, which is why I recommend using only verified information.... We are firmly convinced: Mariupol was, is and will remain a Ukrainian city.... "Our defenders have been defending the city for over 50 days, and Mariupol has grown close to the hearts of Ukrainians. That's how it is and that's how it will stay."
Rainy weather in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region could favour the army in its fight against invading Russian forces, which are preparing an offensive in the region, a senior Pentagon official said Thursday. Rain has battered Donbas for several days and is expected to continue, alongside warming temperatures. "The fact that the ground is softer will make it harder for them to do anything off of paved highways," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
FRANCE 24 international affairs editor Douglas Herbert said "Until now the war has been fought [...] mostly in northern Ukraine and in the towns north of Kyiv – the towns from which Russian forces, after being unable to enter the capital, had to retreat. The terrain is now going to shift dramatically, and the types of terrain and battlefields that the war is now going to be waged on in the east is really open terrain," Herbert continued. "As we speak, the Russian forces – the depleted Russian forces – are having to replenish their equipment, to regroup, re-array and redeploy, preparing essentially for what is expected to be a massive, massive and extremely brutal, assault on western Ukraine. And [the Ukrainians] want to be ready for it."
Another Russian village located near the border with Ukraine was shelled on Thursday, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the Belgorod Region, has claimed. Earlier it was reported that two Ukrainian helicopters were responsible for an attack on the border village of Klimovo in Bryansk Region, and in a separate incident a border crossing some 40km southwest of Klimovo was shelled. The village of Spodaryushino in Belgorod Region was also targeted, Gladkov wrote on Telegram. “There are no injuries or fatalities among the civilian population,” he said, adding that damage to property was also avoided. The residents of Spodaryushino and the nearby village of Bezymeno have been evacuated to safety, while additional security personnel were deployed at both locations, according to the governor. It was the second reported attack on Russian territory from Ukraine on Thursday. Earlier in the day, seven people, including a pregnant woman and a child, were injured in an apparent airstrike on the village of Klimovo in Bryansk Region, some 10km north of the border.
Russia warned NATO that if Sweden and Finland joined the military alliance then Russia would have to bolster its defences and that there could be no more talk of a "nuclear free" Baltic. "There can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored," said Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council. "Until today, Russia has not taken such measures and was not going to," Medvedev said.
Russia already has nuclear weapons in the Baltic region, Lithuanian Defence Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said. Anusauskas told Lithuania's BNS wire that nuclear weapons have been deployed in Russia's Kaliningrad exclave on the Baltic Sea since before the current crisis. "The current Russian threats look quite strange, when we know that, even without the present security situation, they keep the weapon 100 km from Lithuania's border," the minister said. "Nuclear weapons have always been kept in Kaliningrad ... the international community, the countries in the region, are perfectly aware of this ... They use it as a threat," he was quoted.
The United States needs about a month to send a full $800 million military aid package to Ukraine, a senior Pentagon official said Thursday. According to him, weapons and equipment are already being prepared for shipment. It is planned to train the Ukrainian military in handling new types of weapons in Europe. Earlier, the Pentagon announced that the United States is sending Ukraine 200 M113 armored personnel carriers, 11 Mi-17 military helicopters, 18 155-mm howitzers and 40 thousand artillery shells, as well as 300 Switchblade loitering shells, 500 missiles for Javelin anti-tank systems and thousands of other anti-tank systems. "
Alexander Kamyshin, CEO of Ukrainian Railway, said that Russian shelling affects "from at least one to three stations" per day, but the railway workers keep repairing tracks, bridges and stations "because that's the lifeline of the country and that's the lifeline of passenger traffic and of humanitarian aid." Kamyshin said "After the real army, railwaymen are the second army of Ukraine.... We start repairing the tracks once the shelling is over and in a few hours we are ready to move on." Kamyshin did however say the railway workers have also suffered. "We lost 94 people and 99 are injured."
In the Ukrainian town of Bucha, near Kyiv, French forensic experts have joined Ukrainian authorities in exhuming and identifying bodies from mass graves. Police say 720 bodies have been found near the capital from where Russian forces retreated, and more than 200 people are missing. Some bodies had their hands tied behind their back and some were apparently shot at close range.
Jerome at Military Land reported
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