Russo-Ukraine War - 03 May 2022 - Day 69
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-ninth day of the heroic opposition of the Ukrainian people to the Russian military invasion continues. The Russians did not stop conducting 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 between these territories and the temporarily occupied Crimea.
“No-one can assume that the Russian president and government will not on other occasions break international law with violence,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said. In a separate interview with Stern magazine, Scholz was quoted as saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policy was imperialistic and he regarded neighboring countries as its Russia’s backyard. “He wants to expand his territory and push borders with violence,” he said. “He is desperately trying to re-establish Russia’s old significance in a world that has changed.”
Biden stated that Ukrainian forces are “making fools of the Russian military in many instances” with the help of US military aid. Biden called the US military aid to Ukraine a “direct investment” to protect democracy. “Since Russia invaded Ukraine just over two months ago, we have sent more than $3bn in security assistance to Ukraine – alone us, not counting our allies,” Biden said. “That money is a direct investment in defending freedom and democracy itself, because if you don’t stand up to dictators, history has shown us they keep coming… their appetite for power continues to grow.”
“We’re at an inflection point in history. It comes along about every six or eight generations,” Biden said, during the visit to the Lockheed Martin factory in Alabama, adding that “things are changing so rapidly that we have to be in control.” He described the US role in the conflict as fighting the first “real battle” in a civilizational struggle versus Russia and China. “There’s an ongoing battle between autocracy and democracy,” he said, referring to China and Russia as enemies of Western democracies. The conflict in Ukraine, he added, is “the first real battle” in this clash of civilizations.
Russia is already treating the conflict as a de-facto war against NATO, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accusing the US-led military alliance of “essentially going to war with Russia through a proxy and arming that proxy.” Biden also apparently acknowledged on Tuesday that the US was engaged in a proxy war with Russia, telling workers at the Lockheed Martin plant that American weapons shipments were “making it possible for the Ukrainian people to defend themselves without us having to risk getting in a third world war by sending American soldiers.”
Military support to Ukraine by the United States and its allies is helping make the invasion a “strategic failure” for Russia, US President Joe Biden has said. Speaking at a Lockheed Martin factory in Alabama that produces anti-tank Javelin missiles, which have been a crucial asset for Ukrainian forces, Biden credited the workers at the plant for helping Ukraine resist the Russian invasion. “A big part of the reason they [Ukrainians] have been able to keep up fighting and to make this war a strategic failure for Russia is because the United States, together with our allies and partners, have had their back,” he said.
Germany’s opposition leader said during a visit to Ukraine that the country’s battle against Russian invaders was a fight on behalf of freedom everywhere, raising pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to make an appearance in the Ukrainian capital. “These aren’t images you forget in a hurry,” Friedrich Merz, leader of the Christian Democrats, who lost power in last September’s election, said of the destruction. “It’s not enough to see it on television: you have to see it in person to understand the extent of the tragedy.” Merz added: “The Chancellor [Scholz] is right that it’s not just Ukraine that’s being defended here, but democracy and freedom – the very way we live in Germany.”
The UK Ministry of Defence noted that Russia’s defence budget approximately doubled between 2005 and 2018, with investment in several high-end air, land and sea capabilities. From 2008 this underpinned the expansive military modernisation program New Look. However, the modernisation of its physical equipment has not enabled Russia to dominate Ukraine. Failures both in strategic planning and operational execution have left it unable to translate numerical strength into decisive advantage. Russia’s military is now significantly weaker, both materially and conceptually, as a result of its invasion of Ukraine. Recovery from this will be exacerbated by sanctions. This will have a lasting impact on Russia’s ability to deploy conventional military force.
The Russian military said its artillery hit over 400 Ukrainian targets during the last day. Defence Ministry spokesperson Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the targets included artillery positions, troops strongholds and two fuel depots. Konashenkov said Russian aircrafts have hit 39 other targets, including concentrations of troops and weapons and two command posts. Russian strikes apparently targeted the western Ukraine city of Lviv. The strikes happened in multiple directions, after air raid sirens sounded in the city. At least four distinct explosions could be heard from downtown Lviv. Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said the strikes damaged two power substations, knocking electricity off in parts of Lviv. Sadovyi wrote on a messaging app that those in the city should take shelter. Trains coming out of Lviv stopped service.
Oleksandr Kamyshin, the head of the Ukrainian railways, said the Russian strikes have hit six railway stations in the country's central and western regions, inflicting heavy damage. Kamyshin said at least 14 trains were delayed because of the attacks. Dnipro region governor Valentyn Reznichenko said Russian missiles struck railway infrastructure in the area, leaving one person wounded and disrupting train movement. The Ukrainian military also reported strikes on railways in the Kirovohrad region, saying there were unspecified casualties.
Russia struck a military airfield near Ukraine's southwestern city of Odessa with missiles, destroying missiles and ammunition supplied to Ukraine by the United States and its European allies, the defence ministry said. "High-precision Onyx missiles struck a logistics centre at a military airfield in the Odessa region through which foreign weapons were being delivered," the defence ministry said. Russian missiles and artillery also struck various military targets across Ukraine, including command centres, arsenals, and an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system.
The Luhansk regional military administration said that so far Ukrainian forces managed to hold back a push by Russian forces in various areas across the region, including in places such as Rubizhne and Popasna. Seemingly the Russians are unable to make any serious gains in pushing towards the big prize for them – the urban centers of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk. Russian forces on the southern axis continued to regroup, likely in preparation for ground assaults in the direction of Kryvyi Rih, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhzhia.
In the Slobozhansky direction, the Russians operated as a group of the 6th General Army of the Western Military District, the 41st General Army of the Central Military District, and the coastal troops of the Baltic and Northern Fleets. The city of Kharkiv continued to experience air strikes and shell artillery.
Russian forces entered the outskirts of Lyman from the East, and have taken control of Yampil’ and have continued south towards the Siverskyi Donets river. Ukrainian artillery attack on Russian command headquarters near Izium on April 30 likely disrupted Russian operations on the Izium axis and may hinder Russian offensives from there for the next few days. In the Izyum direction, the Russians, by forces of separate units of the 1st Tank Army, the 20th General Army of the Western Military District; 29th, 35th, The 36th Combined Arms Army and the 68th Army Corps of the Eastern Military District and Airborne Forces conducted offensive operations in the direction of Izyum - Barvinkove. Suffers losses. To support their actions, the Russians moved a battery of 240-mm Tulip heavy self-propelled mortars and a unit armed with Tornado rocket-propelled grenade launchers from the Belgorod region to the Izyum area.
In the temporarily occupied territories of Kharkiv region, the Russians continued to carry out filtration measures. To do this, it additionally involved units of the Rosguard. In the Donetsk and Tavriya directions, groups of Russians troops, by forces of separate units of the 1st and 2nd Army Corps, the 8th and 58th Combined Arms Armies of the Southern Military District; 5th Combined Arms Army and Pacific Fleet of the Eastern Military District; The 2nd and 41st Combined Arms Armies and the 90th Tank Division of the Central Military District and Airborne Forces are conducting offensive operations on a certain section of the line of contact. The Russians carried out air strikes and artillery shelling of Ukrainian troops' positions.
The main efforts of the Russians continue to focus on the offensive in the Lyman, Severodonetsk, Popasna, Avdiivka and Kurakhiv areas in order to take full control of the settlements of Rubizhne, Popasna and the development of the offensive in the direction of the Lyman, Siversk and Slovyansk. In order to improve the system of logistics, the Russians continued to deploy in certain areas warehouses with ammunition, fuel and lubricants, as well as organized a point for repair and restoration of damaged equipment.
At the same time, on some borders, the Russians carries out the equipment of the second line of defense. In the city of Mariupol, the Russians continued to block units of Ukrainian troops in the area of the Azovstal plant. They carried out fire damage by artillery and tanks on the territory of the metallurgical plant.
Ukrainian commanders say Russian forces backed by tanks have begun storming the sprawling Azovstal steel plant, the last pocket of resistance in battered Mariupol. It is being hit with artillery fire and air strikes, Kiev's fighters said. How many Ukrainian fighters were holed up inside was unclear, but the Russians put the number at about 2,000 in recent weeks, and 500 were reported to be wounded. A few hundred civilians also remained there, according to Kiev. “We’ll do everything that’s possible to repel the assault, but we’re calling for urgent measures to evacuate the civilians that remain inside the plant and to bring them out safely,” Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment, said.
In the Tavriya direction, the Russians continued to conduct demonstrations and maneuvers in order to restrain the actions of units of the Defense Forces and prevent their transfer to other directions. In the South Buz direction, the Russians were fighting with the 8th and 49th Combined Arms Armies, the 22nd Army Corps, the Black Sea Fleet Coast Guard and the Airborne Forces to improve the tactical situation, and continued to fire on units of Ukrainian troops. The Russians were regrouping troops, increasing the system of fire damage, air defense and logistics.
In the Volyn, Polissya and Seversky directions, certain units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus continued to carry out tasks to strengthen the Ukrainian-Belarusian border in the Brest and Gomel regions. In the area of the settlement of Khmelivka, Sumy region, the activities of an Russians sabotage and reconnaissance group were exposed.
Ships of the Black Sea Fleet in the Black and Azov Seas continued to launch missile strikes on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, to isolate the area of hostilities, reconnaissance and fire support in the coastal direction.
Units of the Ukraine Defense Forces continue to inflict losses on the Russians. Thus, according to available information, as a result of effective and coordinated actions of defenders of Ukraine, units of the 38th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation lost about 60 percent dead and wounded.
The deputy commander of the Azov battalion, a Ukrainian regiment holed up in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, says Russian forces have started to storm the facility. Sviatoslav Palamar told The Associated Press news agency that reports in Ukrainian media that the site – the last holdout of Ukrainian resistance in a city otherwise controlled by Moscow’s forces – was being attacked were “true”. Mariupol patrol police chief Mykhailo Vershinin was quoted by Ukrainian television as saying that the Russian military “have started to storm the plant in several places”. The development came almost two weeks after Putin ordered Russia’s military not to storm the plant, but rather block it off. About 200 civilians remain trapped underground there despite a UN-brokered evacuation.
More than 200 civilians are still holed up with fighters in a huge steel plant in Ukraine’s southeastern city of Mariupol, according to its mayor. Vadym Boychenko said that a total of about 100,000 civilians are still in the port city, which has been occupied by Russian forces.
Russia’s defence ministry said its forces struck a logistics center located at a military airfield near Ukraine’s southwestern city of Odesa with high-precision missiles. The ministry said the facility housed weaponry provided to Kyiv by its Western allies. “Hangars containing unmanned Bayraktar TB2 drones, as well as missile weapons and ammunition from the US and European countries, were destroyed,” it said in a statement.
Ukraine’s prosecutor general accused Russian forces of using rape as a tactic of war and described Putin as “the main war criminal of the 21st century”. Visiting the devastated town of Irpin near Kyiv, Iryna Venediktova said Ukraine was collecting information on allegations of rape, torture and other suspected war crimes by Moscow’s troops. Asked whether rape was a deliberate Russian strategy in the war, she told a news conference she was “sure” it was a “strategy” intended to scare Ukrainian civilians and force the country to capitulate. She provided no specific details of the rape allegations.
The situation in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova remained difficult. Units of the operational group of Russian troops continued to be in full combat readiness. Armed formations of the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova were serving in an enhanced mode. Preparations were underway for the evacuation of the families of officers of the task force of the Russian troops.
The government of the separatist Moldovan region of Transnistria accused Ukrainian forces of attempting to destroy broadcast facilities in the region. “According to information from specialists, the drone with the dangerous cargo started on the Ukrainian side,” a statement by the Interior Ministry of the pro-Russian separatist region said. The drone was destroyed, the statement added.
The Kremlin says that Putin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron during talks by phone between the pair that the West must stop supplying weapons to Ukraine. Putin argued Kyiv’s allies could help end “war crimes [and] massive shelling of towns and settlements in Donbas”, leading to civilian casualties, by halting military aid to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government and “exerting appropriate influence” on the Ukrainian president, according to a readout of the call published by Moscow.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the country’s Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada: "When my country faced the threat of invasion during the Second World War, our parliament – like yours – continued to meet throughout the conflict, and the British people showed such unity and resolve that we remember our time of greatest peril as our finest hour. This is Ukraine’s finest hour, an epic chapter in your national story that will be remembered and recounted for generations to come. Your children and grandchildren will say that Ukrainians taught the world that the brute force of an aggressor counts for nothing against the moral force of a people determined to be free."
Johnson set out a new package of military aid worth 300 million British Pounds ($374m), to support Ukraine’s defence. The package includes electronic warfare equipment, a counter-battery radar system, GPS jamming equipment and thousands of night vision devices.
A Slovak company will repair damaged Ukrainian military equipment following a request from Kyiv, the defense ministry said. The state-run Konstrukta-Defense firm has “concluded a contract with the Ukrainian side on repairing and modernizing Ukrainian military technology,” defense ministry spokeswoman Martina Koval Kakascikova said. The first lot will consist of dozens of BRDM-2 armored reconnaissance vehicles. Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger and Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad earlier declared their willingness to help Ukraine with damaged weaponry. Based in Lieskovec in eastern Slovakia, Konstrukta-Defense repairs vehicles and military technology of all categories used by Slovak armed forces. The company also produces self-propelled gun howitzers.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that Moscow is ready for talks with Ukraine, state news agency TASS reported. “The President of Russia outlined the principled approaches to negotiating with Ukrainian representatives, emphasizing that, despite Kyiv's inconsistency and unwillingness to work seriously, the Russian side is still open to dialogue,” the Kremlin said in a readout of the call.
Last week, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was ready to hold talks with Putin. “It doesn't matter whether I want it or not. During the last three years which I had, which people gave to me, I was ready to discuss with the Russian president the end of the war. Now it is the same signals (Russia's statements about talks with Ukraine) that they were sending before they had launched a large-scale invasion. I underline once again that they are not ready for peace settlement,” Zelenskyy said.
At least 24,200 Russian soldiers have so far been killed in Ukraine, the Ukrainian military claimed. In addition, the Ukrainian troops destroyed 1,062 Russian tanks, 2,567 armoured personnel vehicles, 475 artillery systems, 162 multiple launch rocket systems, the Ukrainian General Staff said in a statement. The Ukrainian forces also destroyed 194 aircraft, 155 helicopters, 291 UAVs, 10 naval vessels, among other weapon systems, the statement added.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|