Russo-Ukraine War - 01 May 2022 - Day 67
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.
Sixty-seven days of heroic opposition of the Ukrainian people to the Russian military invasion continued. US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democrats House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, and House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern appeared with Zelenskyy in the capital, Kyiv. Pelosi urged Ukraine not to back down in the face of “bullies” like Russia. “Do not be bullied by bullies. If they are making threats, you cannot back down. That’s my view of it,” she told a news conference in the Polish city of Rzeszow, a day after talks in the Ukrainian capital with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “We are here for the fight and you cannot fold to a bully.” Pelosi said “We believe that we are visiting you to say thank you for your fight for freedom … Your fight is a fight for everyone. Our commitment is to be there for you until the fight is done”.
A legislative initiative that would allow Washington to involve the US military in the defense of Ukraine in the event that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) are used against the country has been submitted to the House of Representatives of the US Congress. Republican Adam Kinzinger (from Illinois), who is the author of this resolution, announced. According to the proposal, if the United States believes that "the Russian Federation has used chemical, biological or nuclear weapons on the territory of Ukraine, the [American] president has the authority to use the United States Armed Forces as he sees fit and acceptable" to "protect the national interests of the United States and the interests of in the field of security in relation to Ukraine" and for "assistance in the defense and restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine".
The Russian Embassy in Washington on 28 April 2022 had urged the United States to "think its head and stop" preparing provocations with the use of WMD in Ukraine. The statement emphasized that US officials "once again baselessly attribute" to Russia "the presence of undeclared chemical weapons and their use." The embassy also stressed: “We would like to remind [U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security] Bonnie Jenkins that during the special operation, the Russian Defense Ministry received irrefutable information about the preparation by the United States of provocations to accuse the Russian Armed Forces of using weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine.
Many Americans are unhappy with the actions of US President Joe Biden regarding Russia and Ukraine. This is evidenced by the results of an opinion survey conducted by The Washington Post and the ABC television channel. Respondents were asked how they feel about the actions of the American leader on "the situation concerning Russia and Ukraine." 42% said they approve of the course chosen by Biden, 47% are of the opposite opinion. 11% did not answer. Biden's rating had risen over the past two months. In general, 42% of the study participants gave a positive assessment of his work, and 52% gave a negative assessment. 6% did not answer. At the end of February, Biden's work, according to a similar poll, was approved by 37%, which was the lowest since his inauguration. The opposite opinion was then expressed by 55% of respondents, 7% did not answer the question.
Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute of Columbia University, was the Kremlin's economic adviser between 1990 and 1993. He expressed his point of view in an interview published with the newspaper Corriere della Sera. "The big mistake of the Americans is to believe that the NATO alliance will defeat Russia. This is typical American hubris and shortsightedness. It’s even hard to know what ‘defeating Russia’ means since Putin has thousands of nuclear weapons. Do US politicians have a death wish? I know my country well. The leaders are prepared, as is sometimes quipped, to “fight to the last Ukrainian.” It is vastly better to make peace than to destroy Ukraine in the name of ‘defeating’ Putin”.
According to Sachs, Washington is not particularly keen on peace talks. "The United States wants Ukraine to be part of the Euro-Atlantic space from a military, political and economic point of view, and this is the main reason for the conflict," Sachs said, adding that "the United States did not consider the possibility of a compromise either before or after the start of military actions".
German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock said that the lifting of anti-Russian sanctions is possible only in the event of the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine. At the same time, she believes that "peace on the terms that Russia will dictate will not bring the desired security either to Ukraine or to us, in Europe."
Germany’s response to Russia’s war on Ukraine has been hesitant compared to other European countries, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. Berlin should “take the leading role in Europe, especially in questions of Eastern policy,” he said, saying this applied to arms deliveries to Ukraine, sanctions on Russia and granting EU candidate status to Ukraine. Kuleba warned that if Russian President Vladimir Putin wins the war, “Europe will not enjoy stability and security for decades.” However, he said, if Ukraine emerges victorious, this would strengthen Europe for the future.
As many as 1,000 civilians are hiding in the subterranean network, according to Mariupol’s city council. About 300 civilians may remain in the bunkers of the Azovstal metallurgical plant in Mariupol, one of the local residents who managed to get out on his own told TASS. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) took part in the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol in Zaporozhye, the humanitarian organization's Geneva headquarters said. The UN continued the operation to evacuate civilians from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol and is ready to ensure a safe exit for everyone, Saviano Abreu, a representative of the World Organization for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said in a statement.
At least 80 civilians, including women and children, were rescued from the territory of Azovstal thanks to the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian Defense Ministry reported. "Civilians evacuated by Russian servicemen from the Azovstal plant who wished to leave for areas controlled by the Kyiv regime have been handed over to representatives of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross," the military department stressed. Approximately 100 civilians were evacuated from the territory of the Azovstal plant and headed to Zaporozhye, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said. Metropolitan Mitrofan of Gorlovsky and Slavic (UOC) took part in organizing the exit of civilians from the territory of the Azovstal plant in Mariupol. According to Vladimir Legoyda, head of the Synodal Department of the Moscow Patriarchate for Relations between the Church, Society and the Media, the RCP already has experience in conducting various humanitarian actions in this region.
Getting a full picture of the unfolding battle in eastern Ukraine has been difficult because air raids and artillery barrages have made it extremely dangerous for reporters to move around. But Western military analysts suggested that the offensive there was going much slower than planned. Russian troops and the separatists appeared to have made only minor gains in the month since Moscow said it would focus its military strength in the east.
Official Ukrainian sources said artillery strikes on a Russian military headquarters may have injured the senior general in the Russian Army, Valery Gerasimov, along with killing or wounding dozens of other military personnel, many of them senior members of the officer’s corps. Putin had sent Gerasimov to the region to take personal control of his push to grab territory in eastern Ukraine, after the Russian army abandoned its plans to take Kyiv at the end of March in favour of a concentrated assault on the Donbas region of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Valery Gerasimov is not to be confused with the unrelated Maj Gen Vitaly Gerasimov, chief of staff of the 41st Army, who was killed outside the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, along with other senior officers, on 07 March 2022. The chief of staff's injury came just one day after Russian Major General Andrei Simonov, 55, was killed in Kharkiv, according to an adviser to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. He was Russia's ninth general to have been killed since the start of the invasion.
A statement from Ukraine’s Army General Staff (AGS) said a pair of surprise bombardments hit Russian military command centers in the Izyum area of Kharkiv region. Russian political scientist Valery Solovey said: “Gerasimov received a shrapnel wound in the upper third of the right shin without a bone fracture. The fragment was removed, there is no danger to [his] life.” Founder of independent Conflict Intelligence Team Ruslan Leviev said an eyewitness at the airport had seen Gerasimov board the plane unaided. 'The source confirms that it was Gerasimov who flew away,' he posted. 'But he went on board himself, alive and well.'
According to Ukrainian news reports, Gerasimov had been sent from Moscow to the command post near Izyum on April 29 to take personal command over the major Russian offensive in the sector. Ukrainian news reports following the strikes said that among the dead was Maj. Gen. Andrei Simnov, head of the Russian Army’s radio-electronic combat division. Oleksiy Arestovych, a presidential administration advisor estimated the number of Russian officers and command center staff personnel killed and wounded in the strikes at between 100 and 300 men.
The UK Ministry of Defence reported since seizing the southern city of Kherson in early March, Russia has sought to legitimise its control of the city and surrounding areas through installing a pro-Russian administration. Recent statements from this administration include declaring a return to Ukrainian control “impossible” and announcing a four-month currency transition from the Ukrainian hryvnia to the Russian rouble. The Russian rouble is due to be used in Kherson from today. These statements are likely indicative of Russian intent to exert strong political and economic influence in Kherson over the long term. Enduring control over Kherson and its transport links will increase Russia’s ability to sustain its advance to the north and west and improve the security of Russia’s control over Crimea.
The Russians continued to conduct full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine and offensive operations in the Eastern Operational Zone. In the Volyn and Polissya directions, the Russians did not take active action. There was a threat that the Russians will launch missile strikes on military and civilian infrastructure located in Ukraine from the territory of the Republic of Belarus, as well as provocations in areas near the state border of Ukraine, accusing Ukrainian defense units.
In the northern direction, the Russians fired on Ukrainian positions near the village of Senkivka. To clarify the position of Ukrainian troops in the Sumy direction, the Russians conducted air reconnaissance using UAVs. In the future, demonstration actions along the state border of Ukraine, as well as the resumption of fire damage to Ukrainian units and infrastructure in the border areas in this direction are not excluded. In the Slobozhansky direction, the Russians fired mortars at the positions of the Defense Forces in the areas of the settlements of Uda and Prudyanka. The Russians also suffered casualties in the area of the village of Stary Saltiv.
In the Izyum direction, the Russians tried to conduct offensive operations, were unsuccessful, and suffered losses in manpower and equipment. In the Donetsk and Tavriya directions, the Russians tried to establish full control over the settlements of Rubizhne and Popasna, were unsuccessful, and suffered losses. The Russians unsuccessfully carried out assault operations in the area of the settlements of Ozerne and Marinka. The Russians also suffered losses in the area of the settlements of Vremivka and Zelene Pole. In the South Buz direction, the Russians were fighting with the forces of certain units in order to reach the administrative borders of the Kherson region and create favorable conditions for the attack on Mykolayiv and Kryvyi Rih.
The main efforts of the Russians focused on the Kryvyi Rih direction. They fired artillery at the positions of Ukrainian units in the Tavriysky, Osokorivka, Trudolyubivka and Knyazivka districts. In the Nikolaev direction the Russians carried out regrouping of divisions. In order to clarify the situation and identify the positions of Ukrainian units, the Russians conducted air reconnaissance with the involvement of UAVs in the eastern part of Mykolayiv and the north-western part of Kherson regions. The Russians continued illegal actions against the citizens of Ukraine in the temporarily occupied territories. They hinder the free movement of Ukrainian citizens to the territory of Ukraine not occupied by the Russians. The invaders also continued to try to form a system of so-called power in the temporarily occupied territories.
Missile troops and artillery of the Russian Armed Forces hit 786 areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in a day and destroyed up to 200 nationalists, said the official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, Major General Igor Konashenkov. In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, 145 aircraft, 112 helicopters, 672 unmanned aerial vehicles, 281 anti-aircraft missile systems, 2,703 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 312 multiple rocket launchers have been destroyed.
The Ministry of Defense reported about the defeat of seven Ukrainian military facilities by high-precision missiles of the Russian Aerospace Forces. Among them are four areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment, as well as three depots of rocket and artillery weapons and ammunition in the areas of the settlements of Berezovoe in the Donetsk People's Republic, Slatino and Barvenkovo in the Kharkiv region.
Aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces destroyed two Ukrainian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems in the areas of the settlements of Zaporozhye and Artemovsk. Two warehouses of ammunition and fuel were hit in the areas of the settlements of Privolnoe and Shevchenko in the Zaporozhye region, as well as 15 strongholds and areas of concentration of manpower and equipment, the Ministry of Defense reported.
Konashenkov announced the destruction by Russian air defense of two Ukrainian Su-24M aircraft, as well as 12 drones and two Tochka-U missiles. In addition, two Ukrainian missiles of the Smerch multiple launch rocket system were destroyed over the settlement of Semyonovka in the Kharkiv region.
For a week in the south of Ukraine, the servicemen of the Russian Guard detained 94 people involved in the activities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine and nationalist organizations. According to the press service of the department, 12 caches with weapons and ammunition were found. 4 units of military and special equipment, 236 firearms, 13 grenade launchers, 92 hand grenades, 57 shells and mines, more than 200 thousand ammunition, 3 improvised explosive devices, over 10 kg of explosives were confiscated.
The runway at the main airport in Ukraine’s Odesa has been destroyed in a Russian missile attack, officials said, as Ukrainian forces in the east of the country fought village by village to hold back Moscow’s advance. In a late-night video address, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the newly constructed runway in the strategic Black Sea port had been knocked out, but pledged to rebuild it. “We will, of course, rebuild it. But Odesa will never forget Russia’s behaviour towards it,” he said. Regional officials said the missile was launched from the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula and said the airport could no longer be used. Maksym Marchenko, the governor of Odesa region, said Russian forces had used a Bastion missile in the attack.
As of April 26, the total amount of documented direct infrastructure damage to Ukraine stood at £70.3 billion ($87.9 billion) with large amounts of residential buildings and roads in particular destroyed by Russian forces, according to the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE). The damage has been verified as part of an open-source data campaign by the KSE to document the damage done by the invasion as part of its 'Russia Must Pay' series.
Ukraine’s president said Russia had lost more than 23,000 soldiers in what he described as a “senseless war”. Speaking in his night-time video address, Zelenskyy said Ukraine had destroyed more than 1,000 Russian tanks, almost 200 planes, and nearly 2,500 armoured vehicles during the conflict. He added that “thousands more Russian soldiers will be killed and thousands wounded in the coming weeks”.
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