Russo-Ukraine War - 19 April 2022 - Day 54
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.
There are now 76 Russian combat units, known as battalion tactical groups, in eastern and southern Ukraine, up from 65 last week, according to senior United States defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the Pentagon’s assessments of the war. That could translate to about 50,000 to 60,000 troops, based on what the Pentagon said at the start of the war was the typical unit strength of 700 to 800 soldiers, but the numbers are difficult to pinpoint at this stage in the fighting.
The US official said the capture of the besieged southern port city of Mariupol is seen as key to the Russian offensive, and not just because it would deprive Ukraine of a vital port and complete a land bridge between Russia and the Crimean Peninsula, seized from Ukraine in 2014. If Russian forces succeed in taking complete control of Mariupol, that could free up nearly a dozen battalion tactical groups for use elsewhere in the Donbas, they said.
Russia has deployed between 10,000 and 20,000 foreign fighters from Syria and Libya into the Donbas region in addition to Wagner Group mercenaries. All of them fight as infantry since they don’t operate heavy weapons.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow does not plan to change power in Kyiv: "We are not going to change the regime in Ukraine, we have talked about this many times. We want Ukrainians to decide for themselves how they want to live on. We want people to have freedom of choice." Moscow launched the operation also because of the threat to Donetsk and Lugansk: “The Ukrainian army has significantly increased shelling of the republics in violation of all ceasefire regimes. We had no other choice but to recognize them, sign a mutual assistance agreement in response to their request and send their military forces as part of a military operation to protect their lives."
The 54th day of the defense against the Russian invasion saw the Russian army not slowing down the use of missiles against Ukraine. Although Russia should have realized that it will be extremely difficult to restore the missile stockpile in the face of even existing sanctions. Without imports, they can't even do that. And when all the loopholes used to circumvent sanctions are closed, and when even tougher sanctions are imposed, restoring Russia's missile capabilities will be unrealistic. That is, Russian missile strikes lead to only one thing - missile self-demilitarization of the Russian Federation. A similar process is taking place with other Russian weapons. Producing new artillery, aircraft, new helicopters, and cruisers under sanctions will be a daunting task for Russia.
None of the missile strikes has changed the situation for Russia in any fundamental way. And evaluated all together, the conclusion is strategic nonsense. Today's strikes on Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk region and any other Russian strikes mean only one thing: Ukraine, the world and history will take in Russia much more than Russian missiles in Ukraine. Every lost life is an argument only for Ukrainians and other free peoples to perceive Russia as a threat for generations. And any infrastructure can be restored.
It can now be stated that Russian troops have begun the battle for Donbas, for which they have been preparing for a long time, according to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, with a “very large part of the entire Russian army now focused on this offensive”.
The Donbas is Ukraine’s primarily Russian-speaking industrial heartland in the east, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces for the past eight years. Pro-Russian leaders there have declared two independent republics, which Russia recognised before launching its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
In recent weeks, the Kremlin declared the capture of the Donbas its main goal of the war after its attempt to storm Kyiv failed. After withdrawing from the capital, Russia began regrouping and reinforcing its ground troops in the east for an all-out offensive.
In the east and south of ther country, the occupiers are trying to attack a little more thoughtfully lately than before. They are pressuring, looking for a weak spot in the defense of Ukraine to find and enter there with the main forces. Apparently, Russian generals, accustomed to not counting any casualties, have already killed so many Russian servicemen that even they have to be more careful.
U.K. Ministry of Defense reported “Russian commanders will be concerned by the time it is taking to subdue Mariupol. Concerted Ukrainian resistance has severely tested Russian forces and diverted men and materiel, slowing Russia’s advance elsewhere. The effort to capture Mariupol has come at significant cost to its residents. Large areas of infrastructure have been destroyed whilst the population has suffered significant casualties. The targeting of populated areas within Mariupol aligns with Russia’s approach to Chechnya in 1999 and Syria in 2016. This is despite the 24 February 2022 claims of Russia’s Defence Ministry that Russia would neither strike cities nor threaten the Ukrainian population.”
General Valery Zaluzhny reported "The situation in the southern direction is under control. The threat from the sea has been significantly reduced due to the sinking of the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. However, the danger of landing naval and airborne troops remains. In this regard, measures are being taken to strengthen air defense, including through logistical assistance from partner countries. The defense forces are steadily defending Mykolayiv from possible enemy attempts to resume the offensive and destroying the enemy in the suburbs of Kherson. We do not give the enemy the opportunity to move in the direction of Zaporozhye. The heroic defense of the hero city of Mariupol continues. The Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is taking all possible measures to support the defenders of the city. In particular, the destruction of the Saratov landing ship in the port of Berdyansk reduced the risk of landing and fire damage from the sea.
"In recent weeks, the enemy has regrouped its forces and assets in the east and is trying to break through the defenses in several directions, concentrating its main efforts on Izyumsky. The military command strengthens the defense, especially anti-tank and anti-aircraft. Russia's "liberator" has sharply worsened the humanitarian situation in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts."
The armed forces of the Russian Federation, through Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshchuk, brought an appeal to the soldiers remaining at Azovstal to surrender. The statement from midnight on April 20 will be continuously communicated to Ukrainian formations via radio channels. "Through the operational communication channels, this statement is immediately communicated to the Ukrainian side through the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Ukraine Vereshchuk Irina Andreevna," Mizintsev said.
The commanders of the armed formations remaining at Azovstal are not ready to lay down their arms without an order from Kyiv, fearing a tribunal and execution, Mizintsev said. "According to the content of the radio intercepts, the commanders of the armed formations remaining at Azovstal, realizing the hopelessness of their situation, are ready to lay down their arms, but only on the appropriate order (command) from Kyiv. Without receiving such an order, the commanders of the Ukrainian armed formations cannot make a decision on their own, since for these actions in Ukraine, they are awaiting a military tribunal with a sentence, up to execution," Mizintsev said, speaking about the reasons why no one left Azovstal along the humanitarian corridors.
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation called on the Kiev authorities to influence the militants in observing the silence regime for the withdrawal of civilians, if any, at Azovstal. This was announced by the head of the National Defense Control Center of the Russian Federation, Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev. "If the commanders of the Ukrainian armed formations refuse to lay down their arms, we call on the Kiev authorities to influence the militants in guaranteed observance of the silence regime for the withdrawal of civilians, if any, are on the territory of Azovstal," he said. The general noted that the Russian side guarantees the safe evacuation of all civilians without exception and their movement as part of humanitarian convoys in any direction they choose.
The Pentagon said US allies have helped bolster Ukraine’s fleet of fighter aircraft by donating spare parts needed to make more of the jets operable as fighting with Russia heats up in the country’s Donbass region. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters "They have received support to get some of their fixed-wing aircraft more operable again,” Kirby said. “Look, the proof’s in the pudding there. They right now have available to them more fixed-wing fighter aircraft than they did two weeks ago. That’s not by accident. That’s because other nations who have experience with those kinds of aircraft have been able to help them get more aircraft up and running.”
The government in Berlin will pay the German military-industrial complex to produce weapons for Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said after talks with G7 members. He added that the Bundeswehr has no weapons left to spare for Kiev from its own stockpiles, and will need a large-scale rearmament program. “We initially supplied Ukraine with weapons from our stocks. Now we must recognize that our capabilities have reached their limits,” Scholz said. “Therefore, we are creating a special fund so that our army, after many years of savings, will finally be well-armed, and we are investing on a large scale in the Bundeswehr’s capabilities.”
Russia’s invasion has damaged or destroyed up to 30 percent of Ukraine’s infrastructure at a cost of $100bn, a Ukrainian minister said, adding reconstruction could be achieved in two years using frozen Russian assets to help finance it. Ukraine is developing a comprehensive plan that envisages the reconstruction of the destroyed, modernization of state structures and the maximum acceleration of Ukraine's development. It is not just about the amount of physical work - to build housing, rebuild businesses, start a new business that will work to rebuild infrastructure and renew economic relations in our country. But also about rethinking how our country will develop in the future. What industries can be the basis of growth after the war. What solutions and resources are needed to increase the level of processing in Ukraine and not trade in raw materials, as it was before. Which cities will become the locomotives of economic and technological growth, pulling the surrounding areas.
General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that the total combat losses of the enemy from 24.02 to 19.04 were approximately: personnel - about 20,800 people were eliminated, tanks - 802 units, armored combat vehicles - 2063 units, artillery systems - 386 units, MLRS - 132 units, air defense means - 67 units, aircraft - 169 units, helicopters - 150 units, automotive equipment - 1495 units, ships / boats - 8 units, fuel tanks - 76, UAV operational and tactical level - 158. Special equipment - 27. OTRK / TRK launchers - 4.
The irretrievable losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine amount to more than 23,000 people. This was reported by the Russian Ministry of Defense. The department clarified that these data on the true losses of the Ukrainian army, the National Guard and foreign mercenaries who arrived are reliable and obtained from real Ukrainian documents. “Today, the real documented irretrievable losses of the Ukrainian side amount to 23,367 people ,” the Russian defense ministry said, emphasizing that the data was obtained from Ukrainian secret documents. “The Russian Ministry of Defense has reliable data on the true losses of the Ukrainian army, the National Guard and foreign mercenaries who arrived. obtained from real Ukrainian documents , ”they specified.
In the evening the President of Ukraine signed a traditional decree on awarding heroes. 192 servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were awarded state awards, 24 of them posthumously.
Jerome at Military Land reported
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