Russo-Ukraine War - 24 April 2022 - Day 60
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.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual head of Eastern Orthodox Christians worldwide, has called overnight for the opening of humanitarian corridors in Ukraine, where he said “an indescribable human tragedy is unfolding”. Bartholomew said “We call once again for an immediate end to the fratricidal war, which, like any war, undermines human dignity”.
Pope Francis appealed again for a truce in Ukraine over the Orthodox Easter weekend, “to ease the suffering of exhausted people”. “Instead of halting, the war has become worse,” the leader of the Roman Catholic Church said as the blue and yellow flag of Ukraine flew among the faithful gathered on St Peter’s Square. “It is sad that on these most holy and solemn days for Christians we hear more of the murderous noise of weapons than that of the bells announcing the resurrection” of Christ. “I renew the appeal for an Easter truce, the smallest tangible sign of a willingness for peace,” he pleaded.
Ukraine’s president spoke of hope and victory for his nation during an Easter Sunday address. Speaking from the ancient St Sophia cathedral, Zelenskyy said, “The great holiday today gives us great hope and unwavering faith that light will overcome darkness, good will overcome evil, life will overcome death, and therefore Ukraine will surely win!” “The Lord and the holy heavenly light are on our side,” he said. “We are going through very difficult ordeals. Let us reach a just end on this path — the beginning of a happy life and prosperity of Ukraine.”
The Financial Times reported that Vladimir Putin had lost interest in diplomatic efforts to end the war, according to three people briefed on conversations with the Russian president. Instead, he appeared set on seizing as much Ukrainian territory as possible.
Ukraine’s president has said Kyiv will withdraw from negotiations if Russian troops kill Ukrainians holed up in a steel plant in Mariupol or conduct referendums for independence in other occupied territories. “If our men in Mariupol are killed, and if these pseudo-referendums are organised in the south, then Ukraine will withdraw from all negotiations,” Zelenskyy said during a news briefing. “I believe that this will not facilitate diplomatic settlement of the situation. This will definitely hinder the end of the war. This will be definitely a wrong step taken by Russia.”
Ukraine’s military said it destroyed a Russian command post in Kherson, a southern city that fell to Russian forces early in the war. The Ukrainian military intelligence agency posted a statement saying the command post was hit on Friday and two generals were killed and one was critically wounded. Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukraine’s president, said in an online interview that 50 senior Russian officers were in the command centre when it came under attack. He said their fate was unknown. The Russian military did not comment on the claim, which could not be confirmed.
Despite Russia making some territorial gains, Ukrainian resistance has been strong across all axes and inflicted a significant cost on Russian forces, the UK Ministry of Defence tweeted in a regular bulletin. “Poor Russian morale and limited time to reconstitute, re-equip and reorganise forces from prior offensives are likely hindering Russian combat effectiveness,” the update added.
Russia has deployed Iskander-M mobile battlefield missile launchers within 60km (40 miles) of the Ukrainian border, according to Ukraine’s military. “Then enemy has increased the number of troops in the Belgorod region by transferring and concentrating additional units,” the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in its daily morning update. “According to available information, Iskander-M launchers have been deployed 60km from the border with Ukraine,” it said, without providing more detail on the location of the systems.
According to the latest update from Ukrainian forces, Russian troops intensified their offensive in Kharkiv Oblast in an attempt to advance, but were forced to retreat to occupied territories, The Kyiv Independent reported.
Russia’s defence ministry has said its high-precision missiles struck nine Ukrainian military targets overnight, including four arms depots in the Kharkiv region where artillery weapons were stored. The ministry also said its missile and artillery forces destroyed a further four such arms depots in the same region and hit a facility in Dnipropetrovsk region producing explosives for the Ukrainian army.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki says his country has supplied Ukraine with more than $1.6bn worth of weapons since the Russian invasion began. Ukrainians “are fighting for us, for Europe, for freedom, for peace in Europe. And let everyone be aware of that”, he told reporters. Polish media reports said the package includes 40 tanks and about 60 armoured cars.
The UK will send 20 AS90 SPHs and 45,000 155mm shells to Ukraine for what senior generals expect will become the largest artillery campaign since the Second World War. Bulgaria has the all-important large caliber (152) shells in quantities that can support Ukraine's defense for months. Bulgaria has been secretly supplying ammo to Ukraine via a "third country", in an attempt to prevent disintegration if the coalition government due to the Socialists' adamant pro-Kremlin objection to arms exports.
Switzerland has held up German arms deliveries to Ukraine by blocking the re-export of Swiss-made ammunition used in Marder infantry fighting vehicles that Kyiv would like to get, Swiss paper SonntagsZeitung reported. The Marder, made by German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall, uses ammunition manufactured in Switzerland, the paper said. Switzerland restricts the re-export of such war material to conflict zones.
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