Russo-Ukraine War - 25 April 2022 - Day 61
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.
Russia will celebrate what was then the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two on May 9. Russian President Vladimir Putin apparently aims to seize more areas of Ukraine before the anniversary and trumpet the country's military achievement to Russians. However, it may not be easy for Moscow to do so as Ukrainian troops are expected to continue their resistance with military support from the United States and other nations.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met Zelenskyy in Kyiv and pledged new assistance worth $713m for Ukraine and other countries in the region. Washington’s diplomats, withdrawn at the start of Russia’s invasion on February 24, will gradually return to the Ukrainian capital, Blinken says. The trip by Blinken and Austin was the highest-level visit of its kind since the start of the war.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said "when it comes to Russia’s war aims, Russia is failing, Ukraine is succeeding. Russia has sought as its principal aim to totally subjugate Ukraine – to take away its sovereignty, to take away its independence. That has failed. It’s sought to assert the power of its military and its economy. We of course are seeing just the opposite – a military that is dramatically underperforming; an economy, as a result of sanctions, as a result of a mass exodus from Russia, that is in shambles. And it’s sought to divide the West and NATO; of course, we’re seeing exactly the opposite – an Alliance more [united] than I’ve ever seen it and, indeed, new countries considering applying for membership.... In terms of wars won and lost, again, I come back to the proposition that in terms of Russia’s war aims, Russia has already failed and Ukraine has already succeeded because the principal aim that President Putin brought to this, in his own words, was to fully subsume Ukraine back into Russia, to take away its sovereignty and independence, and that has not happened and clearly will not happen.... We want to see Ukraine remain a sovereign country, a democratic country able to protect its sovereign territory. We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine. So it has already lost a lot of military capability, and a lot of its troops, quite frankly. And we want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability. "
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in terms of "their ability to win, the first step in winning is believing that you can win. And so they believe that we can win; we believe that they – we can win – they can win if they have the right equipment, the right support. And we’re going to do everything we can – continue to do everything we can to ensure that that gets there."
White House deputy national security adviser Jon Finer highlighted in a televised interview that Washington had been reviewing all possible means to hold Moscow accountable for what's happening in Ukraine. Pundits say this could even include the possibility of designating Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had recently asked President Joe Biden to do. Finer said "we're looking at that, as we're looking at a whole range of other, additional steps that we could take to hold Russia accountable for the crimes that it's perpetrating on the ground in Ukraine. But I would also say that we are not waiting for those determinations to be made in order to start imposing costs on Russia. Costs that, at this point, outside analysts have said is going to lead to a 15% or more reduction in Russia's GDP over the course of the year and that Russia's own officials are saying the impacts are going to continue to intensify in the weeks and months ahead." Countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism are subject to four main categories of sanctions that include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.
Wolfgang Münchau wrote that some German intellectuals, and many Social Democrats, are openly supporting forcing Ukraine to capitulate. "It is also supported, albeit less openly, by the leaders of German heavy industry and the trade unions. The last thing they want is a long war. That scenario would raise pressure on Germany to agree to a gas embargo, the avoidance of which seems to be the quintessential goal of all politics in Germany. A Ukrainian capitulation, followed by some dodgy peace deal, would really solve the problem for them."
Sweden wants to submit a possible NATO application at the same time as Finland, according to information to the Finnish newspaper Iltalehti. It can take place in mid-May at the earliest, according to the newspaper. According to information to SVT, there is coordination between the countries regarding a possible application. According to the newspaper, the Swedish government has made such a request to Finland. The decision could come during week 20, which begins on May 16, writes Iltalehti. In that case, it would coincide with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö's state visit to Sweden. The Social Democrats have previously announced that the party will make a statement on the NATO issue no later than 24 May. If the party should agree to join the alliance, an expression of interest can be sent in, as the Moderates, Christian Democrats, Liberals and Center Party are already advocating entry. A new security policy analysis was being prepared, to be presented no later than 13 May.
Vladimir Putin called strange the position of EU and US diplomats who openly want a settlement in Ukraine through the victory of Kyiv on the battlefield. The Russian leader noted that, to Moscow's surprise, senior diplomatic officials in Europe and the United States "are calling on their Ukrainian satellites to use all their capabilities in order to win on the battlefield."
Russia warned the United States against sending more weapons to Ukraine, saying the delivery of arms supplies is “pouring oil on the flames”. In comments made on the Rossiya 24 TV channel, Anatoly Antonov, Moscow’s ambassador to the US, said the delivery of military equipment to Ukraine raised the stakes of the conflict, now in its 61st day. “We stressed the unacceptability of this situation when the United States of America pours weapons into Ukraine, and we demanded an end to this practice”. Antonov added “What the Americans are doing is pouring oil on the flames.... I see only an attempt to raise the stakes, to aggravate the situation, to see more losses.”
The UK Ministry of Defence reported "Russia has made minor advances in some areas since shifting its focus to fully occupying the Donbas. Without sufficient logistical and combat support enablers in place, Russia has yet to achieve a significant breakthrough. Russia’s decision to besiege rather than attack Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant means many Russian units remain fixed in the city and cannot be redeployed. Ukraine’s defence of Mariupol has also exhausted many Russian units and reduced their combat effectiveness. Russia’s Ministry of Defence has proposed compensation payments for the families of deceased service personnel be overseen by military rather than civilian officials. This likely reflects a desire to hide the true scale of Russia’s losses from the domestic population."
At sunset, news came from Belgorod. There, the Armed Forces of Ukraine fired on the border villages Nekhoteevka and Zhuravlevka. “It is already clear that there are injured civilians. So far, these are two wounded: a man with a wound in the arm and a woman in the neck. Ambulances have already left. There is destruction of houses. We will estimate the scale after the house bypass. Everything that is destroyed, we will restore, ” said the governor of the region Vyacheslav Gladkov. Long-range high-precision weapons destroyed six traction substations in the areas of the Krasnoe, Zdolbunov, Zhmerinka, Berdichev, Kovel and Korosten railway stations, through which foreign weapons and military equipment are supplied to the Ukrainian group of forces in Donbass. This was reported in the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Russian aviation hit 82 military targets of Ukraine, including four command posts and 76 areas of concentration of manpower and equipment.
Small advances were reported in the south of Izyum and near Velikaya Novoselka - a concentration of Russian forces had been noticed there and an offensive was expected. On the eve it became known that as a result of a successful attack by the Kreminnaya troops of the DPR and the RF Armed Forces, they liberated Zarechnoye and are approaching Liman. Taking Liman under the control of the allied forces would provide a direct road to Slavyansk from the east. Taking into account the fact that the attack on the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is also coming from Izyum, the prospects for the Ukrainian group were not good. In the LPR, the liberation of the territory also continued: Novotoshkovsky was completely liberated. But there were also unpleasant moments at the front. Over the Balakleysky district of the Kharkov region, the air defense of Ukraine shot down the Su-34 of the Russian Aerospace Forces. In the evening, a video appeared, judging by which, a technical malfunction could also be the cause of the plane's crash. Fortunately, both pilots ejected and were promptly found by the Russian army search and rescue team.
Ukrainian Forces reclaimed the towns of Blahodatne, Kyselivka & Klapaya in the direction of Kherson as Russian Forces were pushed back. This advance put Ukraine within 5 miles of an assault on Kherson and pushing Russia back over the Dnipro River. The advance put them within about 7 miles of the northern edge of the airport at Chornobaivka. It puts them at approximately 20 miles from the bridge over the Dnieper, which is the real objective, 6 miles from Rd T1501 which would cut off Russian forces to the west of Kherson.
Ukrainian officials said Russian forces attempted to storm the Azovstal steel plant, the main remaining Ukrainian stronghold in Mariupol, adding that more than 1,000 civilians are also sheltering there. It was not possible to independently verify the information. Ukrainian authorities denied that Moscow had agreed to a humanitarian corridor to allow wounded soldiers and civilians leave the Azovstal steel plant in the besieged port city of Mariupol. "Unfortunately, there are no agreements on humanitarian corridors from Azovstal today," Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vershchuk said.
Ukraine made an offer to Russia to hold a special round of negotiations in the city of Mariupol, which is under serious attack by Russian forces. Ukraine's presidential office said Sunday that the negotiations would be aimed at discussing the fate of Ukrainian civilians and troops still trapped in the city. It also suggested that the negotiations be held near the Azovstal steel plant, which is the last holdout of Ukraine's defence in the southern port city.
The Russian military is trying to destroy the supply of military-technical assistance to Ukraine from partner countries, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reports in the evening report. "Russian troops are launching missile and bomb strikes on military and civilian infrastructure, including strategic bombers, ships and submarines. They are trying to destroy the ways of supplying military-technical assistance from partner states. To do this, [they] concentrate strikes on railway junctions," said in a statement.
According to the General Staff, the Russian military continued to carry out offensive operations in the Eastern Operational Zone in order to establish full control over the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and maintain the land route with the occupied Crimea. "The enemy continues to increase the long-range air defense system by moving additional anti-aircraft missile systems from Russia, trying to create stocks of ammunition, logistics and special engineering equipment. The Russian command does not stop searching for ways to replenish the losses of personnel in the units directly involved in the war on the territory of Ukraine, "the General Staff added. Earlier, Ukrzaliznytsia reported that on the morning of April 25, five railway stations in central and western Ukraine came under fire, killing and injuring others.
According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Russians continued to carry out offensive operations in the Eastern Operational Zone in order to defeat the Joint Forces, establish full control over the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and maintain the land route with the occupied Crimea. Russian troops, including strategic bombers, ships and submarines, are launching missile and bomb strikes on military and civilian infrastructure. They are trying to destroy the ways of supplying military-technical assistance from partner states. To do this, concentrate strikes on railway junctions.
Russian enemy continues to increase the long-range air defense system by moving additional anti-aircraft missile systems from the territory of the russian federation, trying to create stocks of ammunition, logistics and special engineering equipment. The russian command does not stop searching for ways to replenish personnel losses in units directly involved in the war on the territory of Ukraine.
There were no significant changes in the Volyn, Polissya and Siversky directions. No signs of enemy offensive formations were found. In the Slobozhanshchyna region, Kharkiv is being partially blocked, its infrastructure is being destroyed, and the positions of the defenders of the Kharkiv region are being destroyed with the use of aircraft and artillery.
In the area of the city of Izyum, the enemy tried to improve the tactical situation in the directions Andriyivka - Zavody and Dibrovne - Kurulka. Carries out measures of logistical support of the group of occupiers. In the Donetsk and Tavriya directions, russian enemy, intensifying shelling with available means of fire destruction, tried to advance deep into the territory of Ukraine in the areas of the settlements of Koroviy Yar and Rubizhne, to develop an offensive in the direction of Zaporizhzhia. It was unsuccessful and suffered losses.
In Mariupol, including strategic bombers, ships and submarines enemy continues to destroy the city, blocking locals and some of our defenders in the area of the Azovstal plant. In the South Bug direction, russian enemy is concentrating its main efforts on the Kherson-Mykolayiv and Kherson-Kryvyi Rih directions. Conducts regrouping of troops, consolidates on the ground, strengthens the grouping of barrel and jet artillery, accumulates ammunition and fuel.
In the temporarily occupied territory of the Kherson region, in the urban-type settlement of Velyka Oleksandrivka, the occupiers announced to the local population that it was necessary to leave the settlement by April 28. Forced evacuation will be applied to residents who do not comply with the order. In the temporarily occupied territory of the Zaporizhzhia oblast, in the city of Enerhodar, employees of the Federal Security Service of the russian federation continue to carry out filtration activities. In the temporarily occupied territories of Kharkiv and Luhansk oblasts, the occupiers are engaged in looting, theft and robbery of the local population. Particular attention is paid to the "removal" of alcoholic beverages and food.
Russia struck Ukraine's Kremenchuk oil refinery with long-range missiles, according to the Russian defence ministry. "High-precision long-range weapons destroyed fuel production facilities at an oil refinery on the northern outskirts of the city of Kremenchuk, as well as petroleum products storage facilities which fuelled military equipment for Ukrainian troops," the ministry said. The governor of the the Poltava region where Kremenchuk is based had said the refinery was destroyed earlier this month.
In Russian cities close to the Ukrainian border, oil depots are suddenly catching fire. In Bryansk, 2 oil storage depots (Civil & Military) suffered explosions and subsequent large fires, which continued more than 12 hours later. While officially unconfirmed, some sources stated that they were caused by UA TB-2 drone strikes. Analysts said that the city, which has a population of about 400,000 people, was in range of Ukrainian Tochka-U missiles. The explosions occurred within 15 minutes of each other, Russian state television said, without speculating on the cause. Ukraine Weapons Tracker reported "According to this account, both sites (One of which is related to a local Russian Military base, another is civilian but larger) were struck successfully by munitions fired by the TB-2. This is, of course, quite a notable blow ~100km deep into Russia."
Putin, addressing the Russian Prosecutor General's Office, said that the FSB "stopped the activities of a terrorist group" that allegedly planned to assassinate a "famous Russian TV journalist." The Kyiv Independent reported Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said it had arrested members of National Socialism/White Power, an alleged neo-Nazi group that is virtually unknown in Ukraine. FSB claimed that the arrested men were plotting to kill Vladimir Solovyov, a TV personality.
In what was widely perceived as a propaganda move without any substantial evidence, the FSB said that the assassination had been ordered by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). Russian FSB fabricated a "plot" to kill Russian TV propagandist Solovyov. One of the "evidences" is neonazi inscription on a book. Signed by "Signature unclear". Yes, FSB got an order to sign it with a "signature unclear" - and did so!
“Members of the criminal group give confessions about the preparation of the murder of Solovyov, after which they planned to hide abroad ,” the FSB reported. During the searches, six Makarov pistols, eight Molotov cocktails, improvised explosives, an RGD-5 grenade, a sawed-off hunting rifle, more than 1,000 cartridges of various calibers, as well as drugs, fake Ukrainian passports, nationalist literature and paraphernalia were confiscated from the terrorists. A criminal case has been initiated.
Russian authorities know by their last names curators from Western intelligence agencies who work with Ukrainian security agencies and apparently give advice on the murder of Russian journalists, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. Speaking about the preparations abroad for the murder of Russian journalists, the head of state noted that Moscow "is known by name to curators from Western services, primarily, of course, from the US CIA, who work with Ukrainian security agencies." "Apparently, they give such advice," Putin said.
One of the detainees said that the group had been discussing the potential assassinations of the director general of the Sputnik news agency, Dmitry Kiselyov, the editor-in-chief of Sputnik and RT, Margarita Simonyan, and her husband, the prominent film director and TV presenter Tigran Keosayan, as well as TV hosts Olga Skabeeva and Evgeny Popov. “The murders of people who spread propaganda were discussed, that is, Solovyov, Kiselyov, Skabeeva and Popov, Keosayan, Simonyan,” he said.
Commenting on the news, Simonyan said: “All people are mortal, and to die for not being silent, but for having the luxury of speaking the truth and protecting your Motherland in a way you find right and possible is no scarier than slowly going out from an incurable disease or from inevitably getting old. My attitude towards it is philosophical and Christian.”
"The Security Service of Ukraine is systematically working to strengthen the security of our state and does not intend to seriously comment on the new fantasies of the Russian secret services, which are simply inventing another achievement for the Russian audience. Mr. Solovyov is not a public figure, but an ordinary propagandist - a Russian analog of Goebbels - who will be held accountable for his crimes in international courts after Ukraine's victory," the Security Service said.
Satellites recorded the third place of mass burial near Mariupol. The excavated trenches appeared on the territory of the cemetery of the Russian-occupied village of Stary Krym, 5 km from the city. The length of the trenches reached more than 200 meters, according to "Schemes" (Radio Svoboda). Earlier, "Schemes" reported that the satellite recorded two mass graves near Mariupol: in Mangush west of the city and in the village Vynohradne - east.
The German defense concern Rheinmetall sent a request to the German authorities for the sale of 88 Leopard 1A5 tanks to Ukraine. This was reported by the newspaper Die Welt. The application was received at the end of last week by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection and was forwarded to the Federal Security Council. This body includes German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the ministers of foreign and internal affairs, defense, finance, economy, economic cooperation and justice. If the application is approved, the tanks could be sent to Ukraine "within a few weeks." At the same time, it is specified that the first delivery, consisting of 22 tanks, can be carried out within six to eight weeks, the remaining 66 tanks can be gradually transferred to Kyiv by the end of 2023.
At the same time, it is indicated that in addition to the application for the sale of 88 Leopard tanks, a request was sent to the German authorities from Rheinmetall for the sale of 100 Marder infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine and an application from Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) for the export of 100 PzH 2000 self-propelled artillery mounts. In addition, it is specified that the cost of used Leopard 1A5 tanks is about €115 million. Together with the offer of 100 Marder infantry fighting vehicles worth €150 million and self-propelled artillery installations worth €1.8 billion, the total value of the transaction could be about €2 billion.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed that Warsaw had handed over tanks to Kyiv. He stated this on the Polsat TV channel. Answering the host's question whether Poland sent its tanks to Ukraine, the head of the Polish government said: "Yes." However, he refused to give any details. "I will not talk about it today. We will report everything in due time. For security reasons, first of all, our Ukrainian neighbors and friends, we will not talk about it," Morawiecki said.
Sweden will transfer to the Armed Forces of Ukraine a batch of self-propelled guns. Archer FH77 BW L52 is a 155mm self-propelled howitzer manufactured by BAE Systems Bofors in Karlskoga, Sweden. During the late 1970s, the Swedish army bought 15.5 cm Habits 77A. A new version, 15.5cm Hubits 77B was developed by Bofors mainly for export to India. In the early 1990s, the Swedish army bought 51 15.5 cm Haubits 77B. These were in service until the next generation of artillery pieces developed, a wheel-mounted fully automatic howitzer with a 52-caliber barrel called the ARCHER. The heart of the system is a fully automated 155 mm/L52 gun howitzer and a M151 Protector remote controlled weapon station mounted on a modified 6×6 chassis of the Volvo A30D, all-terrain articulated hauler.
British Defense Minister Ben Wallace, speaking in Parliament, denied reports that British AS90 self-propelled howitzers would be supplied to Ukraine. Britain is to send to Ukraine armoured vehicles able to fire missiles against invading Russian aircraft, Wallace said. Ukrainian forces had been using UK-donated Starstreak high velocity and low velocity missiles against Russian forces for over three weeks, he told parliament. "We shall be gifting a small number of armoured vehicles fitted with launchers for those anti-air missiles," Wallace said. "These Stormer vehicles will give Ukraine forces enhanced short-range anti-air capabilities both day and night." Fears of escalating the conflict mean that NATO members including Britain are limited in what military hardware they can send to Ukraine. Wallace said Britain's military contribution so far included 5,000 anti-tank missiles, five air defence systems with over 100 missiles and 4.5 tonnes of plastic explosive.
Italy considered large weapon supplies to Ukraine, including Panzerhaubitze 2000 155mm self-propelled howitzers, M109 155mm self-propelled howitzers, Centauro wheeled tank-destroyers and Iveco Light Multirole Vehicles. There are no official decisions yet but the goal is to inspect and collect much heavier weapons than those delivered so far. As for machine guns, anti-tank rockets and ammunition, the certain thing is that they will once again enter the aid list, as was already authorized in the decree a month ago.
The country's availability would be M109 guns, 221 of which underwent a refresher program in the early 1990s. For twenty years they have therefore been in reserve, for the most part placed in the Lenta depot, in the province of Vercelli. Those left now would require rehabilitation work that could take months. Possibility for Italy of the ultra-modern Pzh 2000, German-made howitzers is not too easy given the small amount of vehicles of this kind available, only 70.
The government list could also add some Centauro armored battle cars, with eight-wheel drive and a cannon. Capable of dealing with tanks, the problem in this case would be the ammunition: the Centauro armored cars use 105 millimeters, not present in Ukraine. Not to mention the lengthy training the crews would need. The simplest way would be the old M113 tracked vehicles for the transport of troops, soon to be sent by the United States as well. Another easy-to-recover action would be the one regarding the mine-proof Iveco Lince off-road vehicles with light armor, with a very minimal need for crew training.
The price of nitrogen-based fertilisers has gone up from $200-300 per tonne to $1700. They constitute the largest product group. Their production is based on mixing nitrogen from the air with hydrogen from natural gas to create ammonia. The next stages are the production of ammonium nitrate: the fertiliser.
According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, the total combat losses of Russia from 24.02 to 25.04 were approximately: personnel - about 21900 persons were liquidated, tanks - 884, APV - 2258, artillery systems – 411, MLRS - 149, Anti-aircraft warfare systems - 69, aircraft – 181, helicopters – 154, vehicles - 1566, boats / cutters - 8, fuel tanks - 76, UAV operational-tactical level - 201. special equipment - 28. mobile SRBM system - 4. Russian enemy suffered the greatest losses (of the past day) in the Sievierodonetsk direction (30th independent motorized infantry brigade of the 2nd Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District of the Armed Forces of Russian federation).
More than 5.2 million Ukrainians have fled the country since Russia launched its invasion two months ago, with over 45,000 joining their ranks in the past 24 hours, the United Nations said. In total, 5,232,014 people have fled Ukraine as refugees since February 24, according to the latest data from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. That marked an increase of 45,270 over Sunday’s figure. The outflow had slowed since the start of the war. Since the beginning of April, just under 1.2 million Ukrainians have fled the country, after some 3.4 million left in March. The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) said an additional 218,000 citizens of third countries—largely students and migrant workers—have also fled to neighbouring countries since the invasion began. Women and children account for 90 percent of those who have fled abroad, with men aged 18 to 60 eligible for military call-up unable to leave.
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