Russo-Ukraine War - 28 April 2022 - Day 64
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-fourth day of the Ukrainian nation's confrontation with the Russian military invasion began. Both sides are mainly using artillery now with little direct contact. "There's just a lot of back and forth" per a senior US defense official "On any given day, it changes ... They [Russia] are making some slow, incremental progress but not enough that it changes the battlefield situation".
A senior US defense official said that there are now 92 Russian battalion tactical groups inside Ukraine. Just more than 20 Russia|n battalion tactical groups outside #Ukraine for rest & refitting - no word on their operational status. "We still assess they're having morale and cohesion problems". Russia still does not have any air superiority over #Ukraine - air space still "so dynamic & so contested". Many of the Russian airstrikes are still being launched from inside Russia.
Russia is making “slow and even… incremental progress” in the eastern Donbas region, though there has been “continued pushback by the Ukrainians.... a lot of back & forth" the official said, noting Russian forces in Ukraine still plagued by logistical issues. "We can see at least one reason why they aren't making a lot of progress... they are still wary of getting out ahead of their supply lines". Spring weather was threatening to muck up #Russia|n efforts in Donbas, eastern Ukraine. "We would expect some of their progress will be slowed, frankly, by mud & weather conditions". He said that US security assistance is focused on giving Ukraine systems with which Ukrainian forces are familiar or can be trained on quickly.
Part of the Russian troops began to withdraw from Mariupol and move in the direction of the Zaporozhye region. At the same time, the army of the Russian Federation continues to shell Mariupol. This was announced by a senior official of the US Department of Defense at a closed briefing for journalists. "We can say that Russian troops are leaving the Mariupol area and moving northwest in the direction of Zaporizhia region. This does not mean that Mariupol is under their control, they continue to strike at the city. They would not do that if they controlled the city," said a senior Pentagon official. He did not specify the number of Russian troops, but said it was "significant".
Canadian politicians have voted unanimously to call Russia’s attacks in Ukraine a “genocide”, with members of parliament saying there was “ample evidence of systemic and massive war crimes against humanity” being committed by Moscow. The Canadian Parliament’s motion said war crimes by Russia include mass atrocities, systematic instances of willful killing of Ukrainian civilians, the desecration of corpses, forcible transfer of Ukrainian children, torture, physical harm, mental harm, and rape.
British defence secretary Ben Wallace said it would be legitimate for Ukrainian forces to target Russian logistics to cripple their supply of food, fuel and munitions but they were unlikely to use British weapons to do so. “Part of defending itself in this type of invasion is obviously where Ukraine will go after the supply lines of the Russian army because without fuel and food and ammunition, the Russian army grinds to a halt and can no longer continue its invasion,” he told BBC. Wallace said the United Kingdom had sent artillery to Ukraine that was being used within Ukraine on Russian forces, but he added that it had not, and was unlikely, to send weapons that could be used for longer-range attacks.
British foreign secretary Liz Truss has described Russia as a “desperate rogue operator with no interest in international norms” as she called for more heavy weapons to be sent to Ukraine. Delivering her annual foreign policy speech at Mansion House, the residence of London’s mayor, Truss said Russia was less rational than the Soviet Union. Although the Soviet Union inflicted “many evils” and regularly used their veto in the Security Council, “even they behaved with some kind of rationality on the world stage”, she said.
"The war in Ukraine is our war – it is everyone’s war because Ukraine’s victory is a strategic imperative for all of us. Heavy weapons, tanks, aeroplanes – digging deep into our inventories, ramping up production. We need to do all of this.... we need to strengthen our collective defence. In the words of President Zelenskyy: “Freedom must be better armed than tyranny.” ... ‘Wandel durch handel’ – the assumption that economic integration drives political change – didn’t work."
The UK Ministry of Defence reported that approximately 20 Russian Navy vessels were currently in the Black Sea operational zone, including submarines. The Bosporus Strait remained closed to all non-Turkish warships, rendering Russia unable to replace its lost cruiser Moskva in the Black Sea. Despite the embarrassing losses of the landing ship Saratov and cruiser Moskva, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet retained the ability to strike Ukrainian and coastal targets.
The full-scale armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine continued. The Russians continued 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 corridor with the temporarily occupied Crimea. The Russians increased the pace of the offensive operation. In almost all directions, the Russian occupiers exerted intense fire.
The greatest activity is observed in Slobozhansky and Donetsk directions. No significant changes in the activities of Russian units were noted in the Volyn and Polissya areas. By maintaining an appropriate set of troops, the Russians were trying to ensure the maintenance of the reserves of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the northern direction and prevent their movement to the Eastern Operational Zone. In the Slobozhansky direction, the Russian group continued to strike and fire artillery on the city of Kharkiv.
The main efforts of the Russians were focused on the Izium direction. The Russians were trying to launch an offensive in the directions of Sulyhivka - Nova Dmytrivka and Andriivka - Velyka Komyshuvakha. In order to strengthen the advancing group, the Russians additionally moved airborne units to the city of Izyum, as well as up to 500 units of equipment. In the Donetsk direction, the Russian group continued to take active action on the line of contact. The main efforts are focused on surrounding the Defense Forces. To achieve this goal, in the Lyman direction, the Russians improved their tactical position, trying to develop an offensive on the village of Lyman. The Russians were carrying out preparatory measures for forcing the Seversky Donets River.
In the Severodonetsk direction, the Russians were attacking the settlement of Orikhove. In the Avdiivka direction, in order to capture Maryinka and Ocheretyn, the Russians exerted intense fire. In the Kurakhiv direction, with the support of artillery, the Russians were conducting an offensive in the directions of Staromayorske - Velyka Novosilka and Lyubimivka - Zelene Pole. In the Tavriya direction, Russian units continued to conduct demonstrations and maneuvers in order to mislead and prevent the transfer of Ukrainian troops to other areas.
The occupiers continue to use Melitopol airfield for the base and flight of Su-25 attack aircraft, Ka-52 attack helicopters and Mi-8 transport and combat helicopters. In the South Buz direction, the Russian group focused on the Kherson-Mykolayiv and Kherson-Kryvyi Rih directions. As a result of the assault, the Russians established themselves in the area of the settlement of Tavriyske, trying to carry out a fire defeat on the positions of Ukrainian troops in the areas of the settlements of Oleksandrivka and Nova Zorya. In the areas of settlements Stanislav and Molodetske Russians increased the units of rocket and tube artillery. In order to correct and assess the results of the fire damage, the Russians conducted air reconnaissance in the area of the settlement of Zatoka.
During the previous day, eight air targets were hit by anti-aircraft missile units of the Air Force and the Land Forces: one plane, one cruise missile and six UAVs of operational and tactical level. The Russians continued to suffer losses on land. In the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts alone, six Russian attacks had been repulsed in the past 24 hours, five tanks, one artillery system, twenty-two armored vehicles, one car and one anti-aircraft gun had been destroyed.
Authorities in Moldova’s pro-Russian breakaway region of Transnistria said shots were fired from Ukraine towards a village that houses an ammunition depot, the latest report to raise concerns that Russia’s war might expand. The United States has repeatedly warned Russian forces could launch “false-flag” operations to create a pretext for invading other countries.
The Ukrainian militants from the neo-Nazi battalions who have settled in Azovstal should be brought to justice. This was announced by the official representative of the People's Militia of the DPR, Eduard Basurin, on the air of the 60 Minutes program on the Rossiya 1 TV channel. According to him, war criminals who are hiding in the cellars of Azovstal in Mariupol cannot be allowed to evacuate. “They need to be judged so that the whole world can see that they are not people, but creatures. They are ready to kill from babies to old people. Be sure to judge and show the whole world what they have grown in Ukraine,” Basurin said.
The authorities of the Kherson region guarantee the supply of water to the Crimean peninsula and will not allow the resumption of the water blockade. This was announced on April 28 by the deputy chairman of the military-civilian administration of the region, the head of the committee for saving the Kherson region "For Peace and Order" Kirill Stremousov. “Kherson region is ready and will be guaranteed to provide water supplies to Crimea through the North Crimean Canal, which was jointly built by the hands of our grandfathers. We will not allow a repetition of the water blockade of Crimea , ”RIA Novosti quotes him as saying. Stremousov also noted that at the moment, local officials and Ukrainian radicals who ordered the water blockade of Crimea or are involved in it are being detained in the region.
Poland is discussing with the US administration the upcoming action for "reunification" with Western Ukraine. This was stated by the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation Sergey Naryshkin . “According to information received by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Washington and Warsaw are working out plans to establish Poland’s tight military-political control over “their historical possessions” in Ukraine. The first stage of "reunification" should be the entry of Polish troops into the western regions of the country under the slogan of their "protection against Russian aggression." Currently, the modalities of the upcoming mission are being discussed with the administration of Joe Biden. According to preliminary agreements, it will take place without a NATO mandate, but with the participation of "willing states". Warsaw has not yet been able to agree with potential members of the “coalition of like-minded people ,” Naryshkin is quoted by the SVR press bureau.
More than 60% of the promised M777 #Howitzers have been transferred to Ukrainian forces, per a senior US defense official. A 2nd group of +50 Ukrainian troops training on the Howitzers started, with additional training being done outside of #Ukraine on other systems on the M113 armored personnel carrier & with radar systems. Once trained -by US, others- these Ukrainian troops will train other Ukraine forces.
US President Joe Biden asked Congress for $33bn more for Ukraine, saying it was “not cheap” but that Washington could not stand by in the face of Russia’s “atrocities and aggression.” Biden stressed that the US was “not attacking Russia” despite Moscow’s “disturbing rhetoric,” even as he said that already the US has supplied Ukraine with 10 lethal anti-armor weapons systems for every tank Russia has sent into the country. “We’re not attacking Russia. We are helping Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression,” Biden said.
The vast funding request includes over $20bn for weapons, ammunition and other military assistance, as well as $8.5bn in direct economic assistance to the government and $3bn in humanitarian and food security aid. Biden requested from Congress new powers to seize and repurpose Russian oligarchs’ assets. “We need this bill to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom,” Biden said at the White House. “The cost of this fight – it’s not cheap – but caving to aggression is going to be more costly.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement: “When the House takes up this request, we look forward to a strong, bipartisan vote,” she said. “The House is working on every front to support Ukraine. Today, we send to President Biden’s desk legislation to revive the consequential Lend-Lease initiative that turned the tide of World War II and will ensure the efficient delivery of further supplies to Ukraine and other Eastern European nations,” she stated. “Yesterday, the House passed new legislation to seize assets belonging to sanctioned Russian oligarchs who are funding this invasion and sell them to fund Ukraine’s eventual reconstruction,” she added. “Today, and every day, Congress and the Country remain ironclad in our commitment to backing the brave people of Ukraine as they carry on this righteous fight.”
Germany’s Bundestag lower house of parliament overwhelmingly approved a petition backing the delivery of weapons including heavy arms to Ukraine. “Alongside the broad economic isolation and decoupling of Russia from international markets, the most important and effective means to stop the Russian invasion is to intensify and speed up the delivery of effective weapons and complex systems including heavy arms,” it read. The petition was backed by both the three parties in the governing coalition, as well as the opposition conservatives, passing with 586 votes in favor, 100 against and seven abstentions, according to Bundestag Vice President Wolfgang Kubicki.
NATO is ready to maintain its support for Ukraine in the war against Russia for years, including help for Kyiv to shift from Soviet-era weapons to modern Western arms and systems, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday. He spoke after the Kremlin warned that Western arms supplies to Ukraine, including heavy weapons, posed a threat to the security of the European continent "and provoke instability". "We need to be prepared for the long term," Stoltenberg told a youth summit in Brussels. "There is absolutely the possibility that this war will drag on and last for months and years."
Bulgaria can replace its entire Russian gas supply from other sources and will not face a gas shortage in the coming winter, Deputy Prime Minister Assen Vassilev has said. Russia’s Gazprom cut Bulgaria and Poland off from its gas on Wednesday for refusing to pay in roubles. Bulgaria consumes about 3 billion cubic metres of gas per year, of which over 90 percent coming from Russia. “We can replace the entire Russian gas supply with gas supply from the southern gas corridor, plus LNG deliveries in Greece and Turkey, and that plan is being executed right now,” Vassilev, who is also finance minister, told reporters in Brussels. “There will be no supply problem, even in the winter.”
Ukraine and Bulgaria reached an agreement on transporting Ukrainian grain via the Bulgarian port of Varna, Zelenskyy has said after talks with Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov. He gave no timeline and provided no details of the volumes of grain to be shipped via Varna on the Black Sea. Ukrainian exports have been hit by Russia’s invasion. “Bulgaria will be more than happy to have Varna as a logistics hub for grains and sunflowers and distribute all the grains that you cannot through your ports,” Petkov told a joint news conference in Kyiv.
Russia’s losses in Ukraine amount to 22,800 servicemen, including 400 in the past 24 hours, Ukraine’s General Staff of Armed Forces said. Moscow also lost 970 tanks, 2,389 armoured vehicles, 187 planes and 155 helicopters since the invasion began on February 24, it said.