Russo-Ukraine War - 26 April 2022 - Day 62
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 sixty-second day of the resistance of the Ukrainian people to a Russian military invasion continued. The UK estimated that 15,000 Russian troops had been killed since the war started, defence secretary Ben Wallace said. Wallace told the House of Commons that the UK estimated that Russia had lost 2,000 armored vehicles – including 530 tanks – & 60 helicopters & fighter jets “Ukraine clearly believes that it can win, and so does everyone here,” US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said as he kicked off talks in Germany with officials from more than 40 other countries.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has warned that the conflict in Ukraine risked escalating into a third world war and that NATO was “in essence” engaged in a proxy war with Moscow by supplying Kyiv with weapons. In a wide-ranging interview broadcast on state television, Lavrov said the risk of a nuclear conflict must not be underestimated and that the core of any agreement to end the conflict in Ukraine would depend largely on the military situation on the ground.
Russia, Lavrov said, was doing a lot to uphold the principle of striving to prevent nuclear war at all costs. “This is our key position on which we base everything. The risks now are considerable,” Lavrov said. “I would not want to elevate those risks artificially. Many would like that. The danger is serious, real. And we must not underestimate it.”
British armed forces minister James Heappey has said he does not believe there is an imminent threat of escalation in the war. “Lavrov’s trademark over the course of 15 years or so that he has been the Russian foreign secretary has been that sort of bravado. I don’t think that right now there is an imminent threat of escalation,” Heappey told BBC Television.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Lavrov’s warnings of a nuclear conflict only “meant Moscow senses defeat” and urged the West to keep supporting Kyiv. “Russia loses last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine,” Kuleba wrote. “Thus the talk of a ‘real’ danger of WWIII. This only means Moscow senses defeat in Ukraine. Therefore the world must double down on supporting Ukraine so that we prevail and safeguard European and global security.”
The US authorities consider any statements regarding the possibility of using nuclear weapons dangerous and unproductive, and are taking measures to ensure that the situation around Ukraine does not get out of control, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said. We have now reached what Lyndon Baines Johnson used to call "nut-cutting time".
- Russia had declared attacks on Russian territory off limits.
- Ukraine has seemingly attacked targets in Russia.
- NATO has declared attacks on NATO territory as off limits.
- UK Minister James Heappy says attacks on Russian logistics targets OK.
The British authorities considered it acceptable for Ukraine to strike at objects located on the territory of Russia. This was announced on the air of the BBC radio station by the Deputy Minister of Defense of the United Kingdom, James Heappy. He is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for the Armed Forces), responsible for armed forces activity including operations, operational legal matters, force generation and international defence engagement. Responsibilities include operations and operational legal policy. James was appointed Minister for Defence Procurement on 16 December 2019, having previously served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister.
Heappey said it is "entirely legitimate" for Ukraine to target Russia's logistics and supply lines. "Firstly, it's the Ukrainians who take the targeting decision not the people who manufacture or export the kit in the first place," Heappey said in an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "And secondly, it is entirely legitimate to go after military targets in the depth of your opponent to disrupt their logistics and supply lines."
Speaking separately to Times Radio, the minister was asked about the UK's support of Ukrainian attacks in Russian territory. Mr Heappey replied: " Of course we do… In war, Ukraine needs to strike into its opponent's depth to attack its logistics lines, its fuel supplies, its ammunition depots, and that's part of it."
Asked specifically if British weapons could be used to launch attacks on Russian soil, the armed forces minister said: "I think it is certainly the case that things that the international community are now providing to Ukraine have the range to be used over the borders. But that's not necessarily a problem. Ukraine is targeting what I would say are completely legitimate military targets to disrupt Russian logistics. And you know the fact is that they make those choices just as the Russians make the choices to indiscriminately bomb Ukrainian towns and cities."
Russia knows it would end up in direct conflict with the 30-member alliance - potentially even triggering a third world war - if it chose to attack Ukraine's weapons supply lines on the soil of a NATO state.
The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, asked "Do we understand correctly that for the sake of" disrupting the logistics of military supplies "Russia can strike at military targets on the territory of those NATO countries that supply weapons to the Kyiv regime? After all, this directly leads to death and bloodshed on the territory of Ukraine. As far as I understand, Britain one of these countries".
The diplomat called the statements of the Deputy Minister of Defense of Great Britain James Heappy about the admissibility of Ukraine striking military targets on the territory of the Russian Federation monstrous and crossing all conceivable boundaries. "This is a monstrous statement that the Deputy Minister of Defense of Britain allowed himself to make. In the same way that they set the course and agenda for everyone else, other countries - members of NATO, the EU, you can even say Brussels, because everyone understands that we are talking about a single conglomerate," she said on the air of the program "Evening with Vladimir Solovyov" on the TV channel " Russia-1 ".
“It seems to me that they seem to be biting the bit, competing to see who will supply the most weapons and everything that can be used to kill to Ukraine. And at the same time they say that they are for peace and for the need to end hostilities. Not It turns out. Illogical. I would say contradictory," the diplomat stressed.
According to an official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the ultimate goal of the collective West implies "world domination over everyone, complete control over any state, any political force, any person who has at least some influence anywhere." The diplomat stressed "This is their vision - where they should strive. This is a program. Their maximum program, minimum program and, in principle, the goal of all existence is absolute permissiveness. And they proclaimed this as part of their global agenda".
According to her, in order to prevent such a scenario, Russia needs to protect the national "state red lines, those barriers that cannot be crossed."
The provocation by London of the Kyiv regime to use Western weapons against the Russian Federation, in the event of an attempt to implement them, will lead to a proportional response. This was stated on Tuesday in the Russian Ministry of Defense, commenting in this way on the statements of the Deputy Minister of Defense of Great Britain James Heappy that the British government considers it acceptable for Ukraine to strike at "legitimate military targets" on the territory of the Russian Federation.
"We would like to emphasize that London's direct provocation of the Kyiv regime to such actions, in the event of an attempt to implement them, will immediately lead to our proportional response. As we warned, the Russian armed forces are in round-the-clock readiness to deliver retaliatory strikes with long-range precision weapons at the centers of acceptance of the corresponding decisions in Kyiv," the ministry said. The Ministry of Defense also added that "advisers from among the citizens of one of the Western countries located in Ukrainian decision-making centers in Kyiv "will not necessarily be a problem" in Russia's decision-making on retaliatory actions.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a ceasefire agreement “as soon as possible” during talks with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. He also met Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin agreed “in principle” to UN and International Committee for the Red Cross involvement in the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine’s Mariupol. Kyiv urged Guterres to push for Mariupol evacuations, with tens of thousands still stranded in the besieged port city.
Russia is suspending natural gas deliveries to Poland beginning Wednesday morning 27 April 2022 after Poland refused a demand to pay for its supplies in Russian rubles, Polish officials said. Poland’s state gas company, PGNiG, said it was notified by Russian gas giant Gazprom that deliveries through the Yamal-Europe pipeline would stop. Polish Climate Minister Anna Moskwa stressed that Poland was prepared for such a situation after working for years to reduce its reliance on Russian energy sources. She said the country has been effectively independent when it comes to Russian gas for some time.
Russia’s Rosneft failed to sell oil in a jumbo tender after demanding prepayment in rubles, meaning the country’s top oil producer will need to find ways to divert more crude to buyers in Asia through private deals. Rosneft was unable to award a tender to sell 6.5 milliontonnes of Urals, Siberian Light, Sokol and ESPO Blend oil loading from Russian ports in May-June because there were no bids from buyers.
Russia’s defence ministry said its forces struck more than 90 military targets in Ukraine overnight, killing at least 500 soldiers and destroying dozens of armored vehicles, artillery and other military equipment. The ministry also said its troops had hit two ammunition depots in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region. Rocket troops and artillery of the Russian Ground Forces completed 1,299 fire missions in a day during a special military operation in Ukraine, said Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry. So, according to him, 37 command posts, 114 strongholds of Ukrainian troops, 983 areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment, 139 positions of Ukrainian artillery and 21 ammunition depots were hit.
Russia continued its full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine. Russian forces 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 forces continued to launch missile and bomb strikes on military and civilian infrastructure.
In the Slobozhansky direction, Russian groups from the 6th Combined Arms Army of the Western Military District, the coastal troops of the Baltic and Northern Fleets continued to partially block Kharkiv and fire on it. In the Izium direction, Russian units and subdivisions of the 1st Tank Army, the 20th and 35th Combined Arms Armies, the 68th Army Corps and the Airborne Forces, supported by artillery, are advancing in the direction of Barvinkove. In order to reconnoiter the positions of Ukrainian troops, Russian forces continued to use UAVs in this area.
In the areas of the Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, Russian occupiers continued to hold field camps to restore combat readiness and train units. According to available information, up to five Battalion Tactical Groups of Russian forces were in the immediate vicinity of the state border of Ukraine in this area.
In the Donetsk direction, Russian forces were taking active action along almost the entire line of contact. The main efforts are focused on taking control of Rubizhne, Popasna and Marinka. In the Severodonetsk direction, as part of the regrouping of troops in the direction of Kreminna, Russian occupiers moved to a tank battalion from the 90th Tank Division, as well as a pontoon-bridge unit from the 12th separate engineering brigade of the Central Military District. To develop the offensive in the direction of the settlement of Lyman, Russian forces were building up a group of troops.
Russian invaders did not stop artillery shelling and air strikes on Mariupol. The blocking of units of Ukrainian troops in the area of the Azovstal plant continued.
In the South Buh and Tavriya directions Russian forces continued to hold the occupied frontier, in some areas it tried unsuccessfully to improve the tactical position, improves the engineering equipment of its positions and carries out shelling of positions of our armies.
In the transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova, units of the operational group of Russian troops had been put on alert "Full", the security forces have been transferred to a reinforced mode of service. In the Volyn, Polissya and Siversky directions, certain units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus performed tasks to strengthen the protection of the Ukrainian-Belarusian border.
The leader of Transnistria Vadim Krasnoselsky suggested elements in Ukraine were to blame for a series of recent attacks in the region. “As the first conclusions of urgent operational and investigative measures suggest, these attacks can be traced to Ukraine … I presume that those who plotted these attacks pursue the goal of drawing Transnistria into the conflict. I can say for sure that these attempts will fail”.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry voiced concern about the situation in Transnistria and condemned what it said were attempts by Moscow to drag the region into Russia’s war. The ministry said in an online statement that a series of incidents, which included several explosions, “coincided with the statements of the Russian military command about their plans to occupy the entire south of Ukraine and establish a land corridor to the Transdniestrian region of Moldova.” It said “Ukraine strongly supports the territorial integrity of Moldova in its internationally recognised borders, condemns attempts to involve the Transdniestrian region of Moldova in Russia’s … full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and calls for a de-escalation of the situation”.
Ukraine's partners will hold monthly consultations on providing military assistance to Ukraine, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said. Defense chiefs of the US and other Western countries met at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany to discuss further military aid to Ukraine, two days after US pledges of more military aid to Kiev.The United States pledged to move “Heaven and Earth” to help Ukraine win its battle against Russia. The talks in Germany, which reportedly included some 40 NATO and non-NATO countries, aimed to synchronize and coordinate security assistance to Kiev that includes heavy weaponry, like howitzer artillery and well-armed drones and ammunition.
German Chancellor Scholz had come under increasing attack, from his own coalition partners and the German press, for backing out of the commitment to help Ukraine with the required firepower — especially Marder and Leopard tanks — to take on the powerful Russian army. This has also put Germany’s standing in the European Union under a cloud, given that more Western countries such as the US and the Czech Republic are delivering heavy weapons to Ukraine. The Netherlands was the last country that agreed to dispatch German-built heavy weaponry to Ukraine which is desperately seeking military aid to combat Russian attacks.
The turnaround was complete for the man who had boldly declared “Zeitenwende” – meaning a turning point in German foreign policy—just three days after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a “special military operation” in Ukraine. Zeitenwende meant that Germany had to return to hard power, because soft power alone was not credible. For decades, in a policy followed by a succession of Scholz’s predecessors, Germany had made trade and commerce the focal point of its ties with Russia, hoping they were enough to maintain peace in Europe. Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder still had close relations with Moscow, in line with the policy of “Wandel durch Handel” or change through trade.
German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said Germany had approved the delivery of Gepard tracked vehicles [not tanks] equipped with anti-aircraft guns from the stocks of company KMW. Lambrecht also said that Berlin was working to train Ukrainian soldiers on German soil. "We are working together with our American friends in training Ukrainian troops on artillery systems on German soil," the minister said. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Germany reversed this long-standing policy of not sending weapons to conflict zones, which traced its roots back to the end of World War II.
The German defense concern Rheinmetall, in addition to the planned delivery of 88 Leopard 1A5 tanks, intends to sell Ukraine 20 more modern Leopard 2 tanks, which are in service with the Bundeswehr, the Handelsblatt newspaper reported.
The Dutch government will provide a “limited number” of armoured howitzers to Ukraine to support its war effort, ANP news agency has reported, citing the Dutch defence minister. The howitzers, described as among the most powerful the Dutch army has, are to be delivered in cooperation with Germany, the report said. The plans of the Dutch government to transfer self-propelled artillery installations to Ukraine caused discontent in the ranks of the Dutch army, the Telegraaf newspaper reported. "The military fears that such a donation will be at the expense of restoring the potential of the already extremely depleted Dutch artillery," the publication notes, citing Niels van Wunzel, chairman of the Dutch Officers' Association.
Switzerland’s government said it had vetoed the re-export of Swiss-made ammunition used in Gepard anti-aircraft tanks that Germany is sending to Ukraine. The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) confirmed it had received two requests from Berlin to transfer to Ukraine ammunition it had previously received from Switzerland. One concerned 35mm ammunition for the Gepard tank, the Reuters news agency quoted SECO as saying, and the other concerned 12.7mm ammunition. “Both inquiries by Germany as to whether the ammunition received from Switzerland may be transferred to Ukraine were answered in the negative with reference to Swiss neutrality and the mandatory rejection criteria of Swiss war material legislation,” SECO said.
The UK intends to supply Ukraine with high-tech Brimstone class missiles.
Canadian authorities will provide Ukraine with eight armored vehicles. Anita Anand, head of the Canadian Ministry of Defense, wrote about this on Twitter. "Today we announce that Canada has signed a contract to [supply Ukraine] eight armored vehicles manufactured by [Canadian company] Roshel," she said. The minister specified that the armored cars would be handed over to Kyiv "as soon as possible." Roshel designs and manufactures smart armored vehicles for SWAT and law enforcement.
The UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) said it now expected some 8.3 million people to flee Ukraine this year, revising up its previous projection. UNHCR spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo’s update came after the agency had initially planned for about four million refugees in the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion in late February but this figure was surpassed last month. She said more than 12.7 million people had now fled their homes since Russia invaded Ukraine two months ago, including 7.7 million people displaced internally and more than five million who have left to other countries.
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