Russo-Ukraine War - 17 April 2022 - Day 53
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.
As the Russia-led war on its neighbouring country Ukraine entered its 53rd day, the Russian ultimatum for the last remaining Ukrainian forces in Mariupol to surrender expired, as Moscow seems poised for a major strategic victory in the southeastern port city. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that the remaining Ukrainian forces in Mariupol are still fighting and continue to defy the Russian demand that they surrender. The urban area of Mariupol had seen some of the fiercest fighting and worst civilian suffering, with bodies littering destroyed streets and thousands hunkered down in atrocious conditions underground. The Russians believe that there are about 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers left in Mariupol, and they say that they are now going to be continuing to take full control of Mariupol as a result of their ongoing military operation.
“The entire urban area of Mariupol has been completely cleared and remnants of the Ukrainian [armed] group are currently completely blockaded … Their only chance to save their lives is to voluntarily lay down their arms and surrender,” said Igor Konashenkov, the ministry’s chief spokesman.
Zelenskyy threatened to withdraw from the peace negotiations with Russia if Ukrainian fighters trapped in the port city of Mariupol are killed by Russian forces besieging the city. "What they are doing right now … could put a stop to any form of negotiation,” Zelenskyy said in an interview with a Ukrainian news website. “There are troops there who absolutely hate them, and I don’t think they will let them live,” the Ukrainian leader said, referring to the fact that many of the fighters trapped in the city are part of the nationalist-dominated Azov Batallion.
Ludmila Denisova, Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights, says that the Russians are planning to hold an independence referendum in Kherson during May 1-May 10 to create another DNR and LNR like statelet in southern Ukraine. Preparations for an illegal referendum on the proclamation of the so-called "Kherson People's Republic" continue in some territories temporarily occupied by the occupiers. To falsify its results, it is planned to use personal data of residents of the region, which are collected by the occupiers during the issuance of so-called "humanitarian aid". Residents are also spreading information that after the announcement of the results of the pseudo-referendum, their "mobilization" into the armed forces of the Russian Federation will begin.
Ukraine’s military says Russian troops are having significant problems with provisions and there was growing discontent among the deployed soldiers. “Russian servicemen constantly complain about the lack of rotation, equipment that constantly breaks down, the quality of the fuel supplied, and food,” said Oleksandr Shputun, representative of the General Staff of Armed Forces of Ukraine. Shputun said Russian soldiers were continuing looting and violent actions against the civil population of the occupied territories, actions he said their commanders encouraged. More than 50 cases of unauthorized abandonment of field camps by personnel were noted during training activities before the deployment of units to take part in the war with Ukraine at training grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation.
The British Ministry of Defence said Russian forces are still redeploying combat and support equipment from Belarus towards eastern Ukraine, including locations close to Kharkiv and Severdonetsk, it said in its latest intelligence update. “Though Russia’s operational focus has shifted to eastern Ukraine, Russia’s ultimate objective remains the same. It is committed to compelling Ukraine to abandon its Euro-Atlantic orientation and asserting its own regional dominance,” it added.
The Russians did not take active action in the Volyn and Polissya areas. In the Seversky direction, there was still a possibility that the Russians will use sabotage and reconnaissance groups and launch missile strikes from the territory of the Russian Federation on elements of the military and civilian infrastructure of Ukraine. In the Slobozhansky direction, the Russians continued to partially blockade Kharkiv, trying to fire on the positions of units of Ukraine troops and critical infrastructure.
In the Donetsk and Tavriya directions, the Russians intensified hostilities. They continued to launch missile and bomb strikes on the city of Mariupol, including with the use of Tu-22M3 strategic bombers. The occupiers tried to carry out assault operations near the seaport and the Azovstal plant. In the South Bug direction, the Russians continued to focus efforts on maintaining their positions. In the area of the settlement of Vasylivka, Zaporizhia region, it was noted that the Russians, probably to carry out provocations, draws the letters Z on the equipment and sets Ukrainian flags.
Information about the destruction of the Moscow missile cruiser by Ukraine has gained considerable public response in Crimea. There is growing distrust among the population about the information disseminated by the official Russian media. Due to lack of human resources, the Russians were trying to involve locals in the temporarily occupied territories. Thus, in the city of Izyum, the forced mobilization of men had begun.
Zelenskyy called on US President Joe Biden to visit his country. “I think he’s the leader of the United States and that’s why he should come here to see,” Zelenskyy said during an interview with US outlet CNN. “It’s his decision, of course,” Zelenskyy he added that any plans would depend on the security situation in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s president said he had invited the French president to visit his country to see for himself evidence that Russian forces have committed genocide. “I just told him I want him to understand that this is not war, but nothing other than genocide. I invited him to come when he will have the opportunity. He’ll come and see, and I’m sure he will understand.” Macron had so far avoided using the term genocide to describe atrocities committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.
Pope Francis has called on world leaders to hear calls for peace during an “Easter of war”, including conflict-ravaged Ukraine. “May there be peace for war-torn Ukraine, so sorely tried by the violence and destruction of the cruel and senseless war into which it was dragged,” the pontiff said during his traditional Easter Sunday Urbi et Orbi address on St Peter’s Square at the Vatican. “Our eyes, too, are incredulous on this Easter of war,” he said. “May the leaders of nations hear people’s plea for peace.”
Ukraine has asked G7 nations for $50bn in financial support and is also considering issuing 0 percent coupon bonds to help it cover a war-linked budget deficit over the next six months, the president’s economic adviser, Oleh Ustenko, said. The European Union is allocating 50 million euros ($54m) in humanitarian aid to support people affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Jerome at Military Land reported
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