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Russo-Ukraine War - 20 April 2022 - Day 56

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A number of claims and counterclaims are being made on the Ukraine-Russia conflict on the ground and online. While GlobalSecurity.org takes utmost care to accurately report this news story, we cannot independently verify the authenticity of all statements, photos and videos.

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.

The fifty-sixth day of the opposition of the Ukrainian people to the Russian military invasion continued. The Russians were trying to continue the offensive in the Eastern Operational Zone in order to establish full control over Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The Russians intensified the use of operational and tactical aircraft and air reconnaissance, inflicting systematic air strikes on military and civilian targets, in particular using long-range aircraft.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki responded to the question of whether the US goal in Ukraine is an unequivocal military defeat of Russia and the victory of Kiev. "I think we've made it pretty clear that we're going to do everything we can to ensure that Putin and Russia recognize this as a strategic defeat," she said, when asked if Washington was committed to that, so that "Russia obviously lost."

The British Ministry of Defence said fighting was intensifying in Ukraine’s Donbas region “as Russian forces seek to break through Ukrainian defences”. The ministry said in its latest intelligence briefing “Russian attacks on cities across Ukraine show their intent to try and disrupt the movement of Ukrainian reinforcements and weaponry to the east of the country”. It added that Russia’s air activity is likely to remain low in northern Ukraine, but that “there is still a risk of precision strikes on priority targets” throughout the country.

Despite statements that the second phase of a special military operation has begun, there is no massive offensive on the fronts. However, active hostilities in some directions are noted. The Russian military was slowly but surely moving in the direction of Izyum, getting closer to Slavyansk, as well as to the settlement. long. Successes are confirmed by the two sides of the conflict. It is reported about taking several n.p. east of the Izyum-Slavyansk highway, the RF Armed Forces are approaching the cities of Svyatogorsk and Leman. The battles are heavy, the Armed Forces of Ukraine suffer losses. Every day there is news that Ukrainian nationalists are blowing up bridges as they retreat. In the LPR, according to the Ukrainian side, they now control about 20% of the territory. According to the head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov , today the city of Rubizhnoye has completely passed under Russian control. In Popasna, the battle for the city continues. Today there are no significant changes. The Russians did not take active action in the Volyn and Polissya areas. There was a possibility of missile strikes by units of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on military and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine using the airfield network and the airspace of the Republic of Belarus. In the northern direction, no signs of formation of an offensive group by the Russians were found. The protection of the joint part of the border with Ukraine was carried out by Russians units in an enhanced mode.

In the Slobozhansky direction, the occupiers were strengthening groups of army aircraft near the State Border of Ukraine. In the territory of the Belgorod region, the equipment of helicopter landing sites had been completed, where more than 90 attack and multi-purpose helicopters were concentrated.

The Russians continues to partially blockade Kharkiv, trying to carry out fire damage to units of Ukrainian troops and critical infrastructure. The Russians regrouped troops in the Izium direction. In the area of the settlement Dibrovne the Russians carried out offensive actions, and had partial success. Russian invaders had partial success in their offensive in the direction of Dibrovne, south of temporarily-occupied Izyum. This is according to General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine operational information given at 18:00 on 20 April 2022. In the area of the settlement of Stara Hnylytsia the offensive was unsuccessful, as a result of the fire the Russians suffered losses and withdrew. In addition, the attempt to take control of the village of Dovhenke was unsuccessful. The Russians retreated with losses. As a feature, the actions of the Russians in this direction in the military uniform of the Ukrainian model were noted.

Units of the occupiers continue to replenish stocks of logistics from the territory of the Russian Federation. Additional units of the occupiers are being transferred. Thus, at the Kupyansk-Sortuvalny railway station, the unloading of the echelon with weapons and military equipment and the movement of artillery units were recorded.

In the Donetsk and Tavriya directions, the Russians were reconnoitering the routes of advance and preparing for further offensive operations in the direction of the settlement of Lyman and the exit to Slovyansk from the northeast. The Russians continued to increase the number of troops in this direction. Units from the 90th Tank Division, the 41st General Army and the 232nd Rocket Artillery Brigade of the Central Military District were relocated from the territory of the Russian Federation.

The battalion tactical group from the 150th Motorized Rifle Division lost its combat capability and was withdrawn to the recovery area. The Russians tried to gain a foothold in the western and northwestern parts of Rubizhne, but failed. They carried out assault operations in the direction of Novotoshkivske, but was unsuccessful. The Russian occupiers carried out assault operations in the area of the village of Popasna.

In the Zaporozhye direction, with the support of artillery fire, the Russians resumed the offensive in the direction of the village of Temyrivka. In the Zaporozhye region, there are also active actions. Progress is noted along the watershed to the east of Gulyai-Polye. Here, Russian forces managed to occupy the settlements: Makarovka, Storozhevoe, Rovnopol, Novoselka. In Mariupol, the cleansing of Azovstal continues. Today, a green corridor was organized again, which was used only by residents of the border areas with the plant. At the same time, the militants continue to appeal to the world community, with the thesis of saving themselves and their families, who are hiding with the militants. A Ukrainian Tochka-U was shot down over Shakhtyorsk - there are dead. In the South Bug direction, Russians artillery units fired on the positions of Ukrainian units. In addition, the army and operational and tactical aircraft of the Russians carried out fire damage to individual objects.

The Russians tried to continue the assault in the direction of the village of Alexandrovka, but were unsuccessful. There were no signs of preparation of the armed forces of the so-called “Transnistrian-Moldavian Republic” to take part in the armed aggression against Ukraine. At the same time, the involvement of law enforcement agencies of this unrecognized state entity in conducting subversive and terrorist activities on the territory of Ukrainian State was not ruled out.

Air strikes continued on the infrastructure of the city of Mariupol, with the Russians carrying out assault operations near the seaport and the Azovstal plant. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the eventual retreat of Russian forces from Mariupol would reveal “far worse” atrocities than the “death, destruction and atrocities” left in Bucha. Ukraine is ready to hold a “special round of negotiations” with Russia in the besieged city of Mariupol without any conditions, negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted. He said the talks could be “one on one. Two on two. To save our guys, Azov, military, civilians, children, the living and the wounded”.

Ukraine's deputy prime minister said that an agreed humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians from the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol did not work as planned, blaming Russian forces for not holding their ceasefire. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk also said Russian-organised buses failed to deliver evacuees on time to the point where Ukrainian buses and ambulances were waiting. Ukrainian officials estimated that about 1,000 civilians were sheltering underneath the vast Azovstal steel plant, which is the last Ukrainian stronghold in the southeastern port city of Mariupol.

The Interdepartmental Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation for Humanitarian Response stated “Today, April 20, 2022, the Russian Armed Forces opened a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of civilians from the territory of the Azovstal metallurgical plant in Mariupol, which, according to the statements of the Ukrainian side, was supposedly located there, and also offered the military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, militants of nationalist battalions and foreign mercenaries to lay down their arms and voluntarily surrender. We are forced to state that the declared humanitarian operation by the Kiev authorities was cynically disrupted, no one used the indicated corridor. The commanders of the nationalist battalions did not use another opportunity to save themselves and the lives of their subordinates. At the same time, the Kiev authorities ignored the Russian initiatives, showed an inhumane attitude towards the Ukrainian servicemen and did not give them the only correct order - to stop senseless resistance and lay down their arms.”

A commander for Ukrainian marines fighting in Mariupol appealed for extraction from their last stronghold in the Azovstal steel factory, saying his forces were “may be facing our last days, if not hours”. In a Facebook post, Serhiy Voluna from the 36th Separate Marine Brigade said “the enemy is outnumbering us 10 to one”. He added “We appeal and plead to all world leaders to help us.... We ask them to use the procedure of extraction and take us to the territory of a third-party state.”

Ukrainian sources claimed that servicemen of the 36th Separate Marine Brigade, together with other units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Guard, successfully carried out a joint special operation to evacuate border guards and police officers to the Azovstal plant. The Nikolaev marines and military personnel of "Azov" came out on armored vehicles to the territory of the seaport, where there were fighters of the State Border Service and several units of the National Police. The latter were running out of ammunition. The servicemen reportedly fought their way to the fighters of the State Border Service and the National Police, successfully provided fire cover and transported about 500 fighters of the State Border Guard Service and the NPU to the territory of the Azovstal enterprise. During the implementation of the planned special operation, the manpower of the invaders was seriously damaged.

In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, Russian troops have destroyed: 140 Ukrainian aircraft, 106 helicopters, 498 unmanned aerial vehicles, 254 anti-aircraft missile systems, 2397 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 261 multiple rocket launchers, 1038 field artillery pieces and mortars, 2244 units of special military vehicles, the Russian Defense Ministry reported. Russian air defense systems shot down a Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter near the village of Koroviy Yar. Two Ukrainian drones were shot down over the settlements of Izyum and Novobogdanivka. The missile forces of the Russian Armed Forces carried out strikes on four command posts, an ammunition depot and places of concentration of enemy manpower in the area of the settlements of Novaya Dmitrovka and Vysokiy, the Russian Ministry of Defense reports. Aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces during the day hit 73 military facilities of Ukraine, including two depots of rocket and artillery weapons and ammunition in the areas of the settlements of Shevchenko and Komar on the territory of the DPR occupied by Ukraine. The Russian Aerospace Forces attack destroyed the Osa-AKM air defense system in the area of the village of Yazykovo.

Ukraine’s president said the war in Ukraine would already be over if its army had all the weapons it needed. “If we had access to all the weapons we need, which our partners have and which are comparable to the weapons used by the Russian Federation, we would have already ended this war,” Zelenskyy said in his night-time address. He added it was “unfair” his country was still forced to ask for “what its partners have been storing somewhere for years”. He said “If they have the ammunition that we need here and now, it is their moral duty first of all to help protect freedom”.

Norway will donate about 100 air defence systems to Ukraine, with the Scandinavian country’s defence minister saying that “the country is depending on international support to resist Russian aggression.” Bjørn Arild Gram said Norway had donated French-made Mistral short-range missile systems, which currently are being phased out by the Norwegian Armed Forces, “but it is still a modern and effective weapon that will be of great benefit to Ukraine”. The weapons have already left Norway, which previously has donated 4,000 anti-tank missiles, protective equipment and other military equipment to Ukraine, he added.

Deputy Inspector General of the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) Markus Laubenthal spoke out against the supply of heavy weapons by the German authorities to Kiev. “In order to manage the armed forces, as well as to train new military personnel, we need weapons systems ,” he said. Laubenthal also pointed out that the Marder-type infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) required by the Ukrainian side are needed by the Bundeswehr to fulfill the obligations of Germany, including within the framework of the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO). At the same time, he added that the BMP Marder cannot simply be transferred to Kiev. “Then the Bundeswehr would have nothing left to send a contingent to the NATO rapid reaction force if they need support,” he said. The German authorities decided to transfer the tanks to the states of Eastern Europe, which will supply Ukraine with Soviet weapons. Germany will not supply heavy weapons to Kiev. Instead, Berlin will hand over modern tanks to Eastern European countries ready to send Soviet-era weapons to Ukraine.

The Kremlin's spokesman said Russia has presented Ukraine with a draft document outlining its demands as part of peace talks and is now awaiting a response from Kiev. Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters that Russia has passed on a draft document containing “absolutely clear, elaborate wording” to Ukraine and now “the ball is in their court, we’re waiting for a response.” Peskov didn't give further details. He blamed Ukraine for the slow progress in negotiations, and claimed that Kiev constantly deviates from previously confirmed agreements. “The dynamic of work on the Ukrainian side leaves much to be desired, the Ukrainians do not show a great inclination to intensify the negotiation process," he said.

Western governments jointly warned about a potential threat of increased malicious cyber activity by Russia against critical infrastructure. The cybersecurity agencies of the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – which together form the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance – said the war could expose organisations everywhere to cyber crime. “This activity may occur as a response to the unprecedented economic costs imposed on Russia as well as materiel support provided by the United States and US allies and partners,” the US Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said in a statement on its website.

Germany will stop importing oil from Russia by the end of the year, the country’s foreign minister has said. “We will halve oil by the summer and will be at zero by the end of the year, and then gas will follow, in a joint European road map, because our joint exit, the complete exit of the European Union, is our common strength,” Annalena Baerbock said after a meeting with her Baltic counterparts.

Ukraine’s State Border Guard estimates that 1.1 million Ukrainians who fled the country have returned since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion. Spokesman Andrii Demchenko said that Poland has recorded an “increased influx” of people entering Ukraine in recent days.

Jerome at Military Land reported

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Page last modified: 17-10-2022 19:16:38 ZULU