Russo-Ukrainian war, day 46: Kharkiv under attacks from Russian jets and artillery, UK sends 120 armored vehicles to Ukraine

Ukraine war

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun
Russian jets and artillery intensified attacks on Kharkiv. The Russian army continued to conduct offensive operations in the Donetsk direction though with no success. Russian missile hit a nitrate acid tank at Rubizhne creating a huge toxic cloud. Russia bans Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. UK sends 120 armored vehicles to Ukraine.

Morning report day 46 – April 10

The report is based on media reports, expert analyses, and official information posted online.

Situation

According to information from the General Staff as of 06.00 10.04.2022, supplemented by its 18:00 assessment.

“Russia continues to conduct full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine. It is trying to break through the defenses of the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the area of ​​the city of Izium and establish full control over the city of Mariupol. Also, Russian occupiers make attempts to improve the tactical position of the divisions in the Mykolayiv direction.Ukraine war

There is still a high probability that the enemy will involve sabotage and reconnaissance groups to carry out sabotage of transport infrastructure.

The enemy continues to launch missile strikes on civilian targets throughout Ukraine.

No significant changes in the position and activity of the Russian forces were recorded in the Volyn, Polissya and Siversky directions.

In the Slobozhansky direction, the Russian forces continue to partially blockade the city of Kharkiv, shelling the city using jet and barrel artillery systems and mortars. The Russian occupiers are moving additional units to the city of Izium to strengthen the group in this direction.

  • In order to covertly move the occupation units in the Kharkiv oblast, the enemy is carrying out electronic suppression of cellular networks. In order to increase the number of troops, up to two battalion tactical groups of the Russian enemy were moved from the Belgorod region to the Shevchenkiv district of the Kharkiv oblast.
  • The arrival of repair and restoration crews from the territory of the Russian Federation (Yaroslavl region) to carry out repair and restoration works of railways in the temporarily occupied territories of the Kharkiv region is noted.

In the Donetsk and Tavriya directions, the enemy is carrying out artillery and mortar shelling in most areas. It carries out assault operations in the city of Mariupol, strikes airstrikes, and tries to capture the central part of the city.

  • The Russian enemy continues to conduct offensive operations in the Donetsk direction. The main efforts of the Russian occupiers are focused on taking control of the settlements of Rubizhne, Popasna and Novobakhmutivka. At the same time, the Russian invaders continue to strike at the settlements of Vuhledar and Novoselivka Druha. They are trying to resume the offensive in the Novotoshkivsky, Stepny and Marinka districts.
  • In the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, Ukrainian soldiers repulsed eight enemy attacks and destroyed four tanks, eight armored units and seven units of enemy vehicles.

In the Pivdennyi Buh direction, Russian forces once again tried to establish control over the village of Oleksandrivka. It was not successful. It lost to the company’s tactical group of personnel and equipment.

  • Russian forces continue to fire artillery at Novovorontsovka, Maryanske, Novohryhorivka and Shevchenkove.
  • The occupiers do not stop trying to keep positions and borders on the administrative border of the Kherson region
  • Operational Command “South” report as of Saturday 9 April 14:00: “In the Mykolayiv and Kherson directions, our troops hold the territories liberated from the enemy. Russian forces continue both artillery shelling and information attacks on the civilian population, trying to blame the shelling on units of the Armed Forces. During the night in the southern direction, the enemy lost 12 soldiers and 2 pieces of equipment.
  • The situation in the Black Sea has not changed significantly. Russian naval groups continue to blockade ports and exert psychological pressure by threatening landings. There is also a high probability of missile strikes on critical infrastructure.”

Thirteen air targets were hit by the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine the day before: three planes, one helicopter, five UAVs and four cruise missiles.

Ukrainian defenders are defending themselves and are gradually pushing back enemy troops in certain areas.“

Russian forces attacked the positions of border guards in the Luhansk Oblast with kamikaze drones, Ukrayinska Pravda reports.

Satellite images from April 8 show a Russian military convoy 8 miles long moving south through the city of Veliky Burluk, CNN reports. Velykyi Burluk is located east of Kharkiv, not far from Ukraine’s border with Russia

During the last 24 hours, the Ukrainian General Staff has reported on the Russian manning and logistic challenges:

  • Due to significant sanitary losses of personnel and equipment, the invaders deployed military hospitals and repair centres for military equipment in the temporarily occupied territories of Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts. At the same time, given the constant influx of wounded servicemen of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, there is a shortage of qualified medical personnel in the Russian hospitals. In addition, the enemy has problems with stocks of medicines, the replenishment of which is almost impossible. Also, the personnel of repair centres to restore enemy equipment are forced to work around the clock in the absence of a stable supply of spare parts and units.
  • Measures of the Russian occupation administrations to forcibly mobilize the population in the temporarily occupied territories are intensifying in Luhansk oblast.

According to British Defense Intelligence, (last 24 hours):

  • In response to mounting losses, the Russian armed forces seek to bolster troop numbers with personnel discharged from military service since 2012.
  • Efforts to generate more fighting power also include trying to recruit from the unrecognised Transnistria region of Moldova.
  • Russia’s departure from northern Ukraine leaves evidence of the disproportionate targeting of non-combatants including the presence of mass graves, the fatal use of hostages as human shields, and mining of civilian infrastructure.
  • Russian forces continue to use IEDs to inflict casualties, lower morale, and restrict Ukrainian freedom of movement. Russian forces also continue to attack infrastructure targets with a high risk of collateral harm to civilians, including a nitrate acid tank at Rubizhne.

As of Sunday 10.04.2022, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:Russian losses

  • personnel – more than 19300 people (+200),
  • tanks – 722 units (+17),
  • armored combat vehicles – 1911 units (+16),
  • artillery systems – 342 (+7),
  • multiple rocket launchers – 108 (no change)
  • air defense means – 55 (no change),
  • aircraft – 152 (+2),
  • helicopters – 137 (+1),
  • automotive technology – 1384 (+21),
  • vessels/boats – 7 units (no change),
  • fuel and lubricant tanks – 76 (no change),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 112 (no change)
  • Special equipment – 25 (no change)
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (no change)

Humanitarian  

Russia revokes registration of Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, Reuters reports. Russia’s justice ministry said on Friday it had revoked the registration of 15 foreign organisations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW).

“The Russian units of the organisations, which also included the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, “were excluded due to the discovery of violations of the current legislation of the Russian Federation,” the ministry said in a statement. The decision, which did not give details of any violations, was announced days after New York-based HRW said it had found “several cases of Russian military forces committing laws-of-war violations” in Ukraine.”

4,441,663 refugees have been registered as of 8 April according to UNHCR. The UN says that so far Poland has taken in 2,564,994 refugees, Romania 678,081, Hungary 413,888, Republic of Moldova 406,611, Russia 389,845, Slovakia 310,989 and Belarus 19,096 (no changes since April 7). Among those who fled Ukraine are also Ukrainian nationals with dual citizenship. An additional 113,000 people moved to the Russian Federation from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions between 21 and 23 February.

OHCHR recorded 4,149 civilian casualties in Ukraine as of midnight of April 8. 1,766 were killed (including 139 children) and 2,383 injured (including 215 children).

177 children were killed, and 336 children injured, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of 8 a.m. on April 10.

Agreed humanitarian corridors allowed for the evacuation of 4,532 people on 9 April. According to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine:

3425 people arrived at Zaporizhzhia by their own transport or evacuation buses from Mariupol and Berdyansk. Among them: were 192 Mariupol residents; and 3233 residents of cities of Zaporizhzhia oblast (Pology, Vasylivka, Berdyansk, Tokmak, Melitopol and Energodar). Today, we managed to release the buses seized by the occupiers and therefore evacuate 529 residents of Melitopol using this transport.

However, the occupying forces refused to allow buses to evacuate people from Berdyansk, Tokmak and Energodar on a pre-agreed route. The transport returned to Zaporizhzhia. Tomorrow we will try to get to the mentioned cities again to evacuate the citizens.

578 people were evacuated from the cities of Luhansk oblast: Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk, Rubizhne, Kreminna and Popasna.

Approximately 15,000 people are reported as missing as of 9 April, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights states. The precise numbers are not available yet due to ongoing fighting in a number of the regions of Ukraine.

Environment

Due to the war in Ukraine, products are becoming more expensive almost all over the world, VoaNews reports citing the UN. From February to March, the food price index rose by a record 12.6%. “Ukraine and Russia account for about a third of world wheat exports, 20% of corn and about 80% of sunflower oil exports. And countries such as Egypt and Lebanon import more than 70% of wheat from the two warring states. The impact of this conflict will be felt almost all over the world, “said the director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

How Putin’s war is affecting the world economy, is exemplified by DW. The effects of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine are being felt around the globe. Food and fuel prices are rising everywhere, and some countries have already seen rioting.

  • Shopping is increasingly expensive. German consumers are feeling the pinch of the rising cost of living. The consequences of the war in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia have not gone unnoticed. In March, Germany’s inflation rate hit its highest level since 1981. The German government is keen to press ahead quickly with an embargo on Russian coal, but it is still wrangling over whether to ban imports of Russian gas and oil.
  • Rush to fill up in Kenya. Cars wait in line at gas stations in Nairobi. Here, too, people are noticing the effects of the war in Ukraine. Fuel is expensive, and in short supply – not to mention the food crisis. At the UN Security Council, Kenya’s UN ambassador Martin Kimani expressed concern, comparing the situation in eastern Ukraine to the changes that took place in Africa after the end of the colonial era.
  • Who will secure supplies to Turkey? Russia is the world’s largest producer of wheat. Because of the ban on Russian exports, the price of bread is now rising in many places – including here, in Turkey. International sanctions are disrupting supply chains. Ukraine, too, is one of the five biggest exporters of wheat in the world, but the war with Russia means it can’t ship supplies from its ports on the Black Sea.
  • Wheat prices are soaring in Iraq. A worker piles up sacks of flour at the Jamila market, a popular wholesale market in Baghdad. Wheat prices have skyrocketed in Iraq since Russia invaded Ukraine, as the two countries account for at least 30% of the world’s wheat trade. Iraq has remained neutral so far, but pro-Putin posters have now been banned in the country.
  • Protests in Lima. Demonstrators have clashed with police in the Peruvian capital Lima. They are protesting against the rise in food prices, among other things. The crisis has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. Peruvian President Pedro Castillo temporarily imposed a curfew and a state of emergency, but when these were lifted, the protests resumed.
  • State of emergency in Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, too, people have taken to the streets to express their anger. A few days ago, some even tried to storm the private residence of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Mounting protests against the rising cost of living, fuel shortages, and power cuts prompted the president to declare a national state of emergency, and to ask India and China for help procuring the resources his country needs.
  • The Scots have had enough! There have been protests against rising food and energy prices in Scotland, too. All over the UK, trade unions have been organizing demonstrations to protest the rising cost of living. Brexit had already resulted in price increases in many areas of life, and the war in Ukraine will only make things worse.
  • How much is the fish? The British have reason to worry about their beloved national dish. Around 380 million portions of fish and chips are eaten in the UK every year. But the tough sanctions now mean that prices for white fish from Russia, cooking oil, and energy are all rising. In February 2022, the UK inflation rate was 6.2% year-on-year.
  • Economic opportunity for Nigeria? A trader in Ibafo, Nigeria, packages flour for resale. Nigeria has long wanted to reduce its reliance on imported food, and to make its economy more resilient in other areas as well. Could the war in Ukraine provide opportunities for Nigeria? Aliko Dangot, Nigeria’s richest man, recently opened the country’s largest fertilizer plant, and is hoping he will have plenty of buyers.
For those who still believe that doing the right thing – stopping the war and ending suffering – is not worth the costs, arguing that “the war doesn’t affect me” or that “NATO should not become involved”, the message is that you are wrong. Additionally, the costs and consequences will only increase with time.

Legal

Bodies of 132 civilians are found with bullet wounds in a new war crime site, the Mirror reports. The bodies of 132 civilians were found shot dead in a new suspected ‘war crime site’ in Ukraine, according to reports. The mayor of Makariv in Kyiv Oblast said the bodies were found with bullet wounds. About 40% of the town has reportedly been destroyed after Ukrainian troops recaptured it on March 22, the Mail reports.

In Melitopol, the Russian occupiers ask Ukrainians to join the Russian army, Ukrayinska Pravda reports citing the Mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov. “Since yesterday, at the checkpoints on the outskirts of the city, the Russian occupiers are offering Ukrainian men, our residents, to join the Russian army. If they refuse, they release them. But we clearly understand that today they offer, and tomorrow they will forcibly issue a machine gun and send it to the trenches. As of April 7, more than 100 people have been abducted by Russian occupiers and collaborators in Melitopol.War crimes

5629 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 2651 crimes against national security were registered as of April 10. 938 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, 87 of them are destroyed fully.

According to the General Staff:

“In the settlements of the Melitopol district of the Zaporizhzhia oblast, Russian invaders continue to search the homes of civilians. Check documents, the availability of road transport, and food stocks. They interrogate the workplaces of close relatives and demand information about former law enforcement officers, servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and members of the Anti-Terrorist Operation / Joint Forces Operation.

In the town of Nova Kakhovka, the occupiers use the capacity of local printing houses to prepare campaign materials (brochures, booklets, posters, forms) for the so-called “referendum on the establishment of the Kherson People’s Republic.”

Support

120 armored vehicles and anti-ship weapons: new agreements between Britain and Ukraine, European Truth reports. “Boris Johnson has offered Ukraine military assistance in the form of 120 armored vehicles and new anti-ship missile systems to support Ukraine at this crucial stage, while Russia’s illegal offensive continues,” the British government said. The government stressed that this aid is new, it is allocated in addition to the previously announced tranche of military equipment worth 100 million pounds, which includes anti-aircraft missiles Starstreak, anti-tank weapons, and more. Johnson also reaffirmed Ukraine’s economic support, guaranteeing another $ 500 million in a World Bank loan to Ukraine. Britain has also provided £ 394 million to ensure the continued operation of vital humanitarian services for Ukrainians.

Global donors pledge 9.1 billion euros to support Ukrainian refugees, Reuters reports.

Donors including the Canadian government and the European Commission on Saturday pledged a combined 9.1 billion euros in donations, loans and grants to support refugees fleeing the war following Russia’s invasion. The fundraising event in Warsaw, Poland, yielded 1.8 billion euros to support internally displaced people inside Ukraine and 7.3 billion euros for refugees who have fled the country to neighbouring states.”

Russian shipyards stop the production of ships due to a lack of foreign components, the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU) claims. The Russian shipyards are in a critical situation regarding the implementation of existing contracts for the construction and maintenance of warships due to both difficult financial situations and the lack of foreign components.

In particular, JSC “Eastern Shipyard” (Vladivostok) must fulfill government orders totaling 35 billion roubles for the construction and delivery of two oil tankers, two small missile ships, two mobile sea berths, and repair and maintenance of ships and boats of various types. All work was suspended from the beginning of April. A letter from the military representative to the Russian Ministry of Defense indicates a total lack of foreign components including steering columns, navigation systems, and radio stations. The authors stated that it is impossible to find Russian or Asian substitutes for imported components.

New developments

  1. Only Putin can stop the war, so negotiations with him are needed says President Zelensky, Ukrinform He stated that Ukraine has no choice but to sit down at the negotiating table with Vladimir Putin, as only he can stop the war. Only President Putin decides when this war will end, Zelensky said.
  2. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Saturday, CNN reports. “The Prime Minister has travelled to Ukraine to meet President Zelenskyy in person, in a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people. They will discuss the UK’s long term support to Ukraine and the PM will set out a new package of financial and military aid, a Downing Street spokesperson said.”
  3. Sweden Democrats leader wants the party to change on NATO membership if Finland applies to join the alliance, ReutersThe leader of Sweden’s second-biggest opposition party will should neighbour Finland apply to join NATO, suggest that his party change its stance towards favouring a Swedish membership, he told daily Svenska Dagbladet. A change of stance by the Sweden Democrats party would mean a swing to a parliamentary majority in favour of long-neutral Sweden joining the alliance.”

Assessment

On the War

The Institute for the Study of War published the following Special Edition: Russian Military Capabilities Assessments” Saturday 09 April:

“The Russian military is attempting to generate sufficient combat power to seize and hold the portions of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts that it does not currently control after it completes the seizure of Mariupol. There are good reasons to question the Russian armed forces’ ability to do so and their ability to use regenerated combat power effectively despite a reported simplification of the Russian command structure. This update, which we offer on a day without significant military operations on which to report, attempts to explain and unpack some of the complexities involved in making these assessments.

 

We discuss below some instances in which American and other officials have presented information in ways that may inadvertently exaggerate Russian combat capability. We do not in any way mean to suggest that such exaggeration is intentional. Presenting an accurate picture of a military’s combat power is inherently difficult. Doing so from classified assessments in an unclassified environment is especially so. …

 

We assess that the Russian military will struggle to amass a large and combat-capable force of mechanized units to operate in Donbas within the next few months. Russia will likely continue to throw badly damaged and partially reconstituted units piecemeal into offensive operations that make limited gains at great cost. The Russians likely will make gains nevertheless and may either trap or wear down Ukrainian forces enough to secure much of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, but it is at least equally likely that these Russian offensives will culminate before reaching their objectives ….

 

The US Department of Defense (DoD) reported on April 8 that the Russian armed forces have lost 15-20 percent of the “combat power” they had arrayed against Ukraine before the invasion. This statement is somewhat (unintentionally) misleading because it uses the phrase “combat power” loosely. The US DoD statements about Russian “combat power” appear to refer to the percentage of troops mobilized for the invasion that is still in principle available for fighting—that is, that are still alive, not badly injured, and with their units. … Combat Power encompasses much more than the total number of troops physically present with units and is one of the keys to understanding why Russian forces have performed so poorly … despite their large numerical advantage. It is also the key to understanding the evolving next phase of the war. …

 

The dozens of Russian battalion tactical groups (BTGs) that retreated from around Kyiv likely possess combat power that is a fraction of what the numbers of units or total numbers of personnel with those units would suggest. Russian units that have fought in Ukraine have taken fearful damage. …} Units with such levels of losses are combat ineffective—they have essentially zero combat power. A combination of anecdotal evidence and generalized statements such as these from US and other NATO defense officials indicates that most of the Russian forces withdrawn from the immediate environs of Kyiv likely fall into the category of units that will remain combat ineffective until they have been reconstituted.

 

Reconstituting these units to restore any notable fraction of their nominal power would take months. The Russian military would have to incorporate new soldiers bringing the units back up toward full strength and then allow those soldiers time to integrate into the units. It would also have to allow those units to conduct some unit training, because a unit is more than the sum of individual soldiers and vehicles. … It takes time even for well-trained professional soldiers to learn how to fight together, and Russian soldiers are far from well-trained. The unit would also have to replace lost and damaged vehicles and repair those that are reparable. The unit’s personnel would need time to regain their morale and will to fight, both badly damaged by the humiliation of defeat and the stress and emotional damage of the losses they suffered. These processes take a long time. They cannot be accomplished in a few weeks, let alone the few days the Russian command appears willing to grant. Russian forces withdrawn from around Kyiv and going back to fight in Donbas in the next few weeks, therefore, will not have been reconstituted. At best, they will have been patched up and filled out not with fresh soldiers but with soldiers drawn from other battered and demoralized units. A battalion’s worth of such troops will not have a battalion’s worth of combat power.

 

The Russian armed forces likely have few or no full-strength units in reserve to deploy to fight in Ukraine because of a flawed mobilization scheme that cannot be fixed in the course of a short war. The Russians did not deploy full regiments and brigades to invade Ukraine—with few exceptions as we have previously noted. They instead drew individual battalions from many different regiments and brigades across their entire force. … The decision to form composite organizations drawn from individual battalions thrown together into ad hoc formations degraded the performance of those units, as we have discussed in earlier reports. It has also committed the Russian military to replicate that mistake for the duration of this conflict because there are likely few or no intact regiments or brigades remaining in the Russian Army, Airborne Forces, or Naval Infantry. The Russians have no choice but to continue throwing individual battalions together into ad hoc formations until they have rebuilt entire regiments and brigades, a process that will likely take years.

Reports of Russian efforts to mobilize new conscripts for current operations are also somewhat (unintentionally) misleading. The Russians cannot expect to benefit from the roughly 200,000 conscripts and reservists they are currently mobilizing until late summer or fall at the earliest. If they send those people to fight sooner than that, they will suffer disproportionate casualties while adding little to the effective strength of any units they join.

 

The Ukrainian government and military appear to share the general assessment offered above. Oleksiy Arestovich, the chief advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, claimed on April 9 that the Ukrainian military has destroyed 20 BTGs and rendered 40 more combat ineffective. We cannot track individual BTG effectiveness that precisely, but this estimate that approximately one-third of the 180 BTGs Russia has available in and around Ukraine are combat ineffective is consistent with what we have observed.

 

Ukrainian officials also report that Russian recruitment and mobilization efforts are going poorly. Morale is a key element of combat power, and consistent reports indicate that the morale even of elite Russian units remains very low. … We have previously reported other instances of Russian soldiers and units refusing orders to fight or return to Ukraine after being pulled back.

 

Most of these reports are anecdotal and unconfirmed, but the picture they paint is coherent and accords with the observable performance of the Russian military in Ukraine to date. The Russians technically have enough healthy soldiers with weapons to pose a significant threat to eastern Ukraine, and they may wear down the Ukrainian defenders by sheer weight of numbers, although likely at a hideous cost. But all indications are that the effective combat power of Russian reinforcements that might go to eastern Ukraine will be a small fraction of what the number of soldiers and units would indicate, and the outcome of the fight is therefore far from clear. It is important to avoid allowing the shorthand DoD briefers and others understandably use to describe available Russian forces to lead to exaggerated estimates of the actual military capabilities of Russian forces.

 

The Russians are apparently attempting to resolve one of the problems from which their initial invasion suffered by making Southern Military District Commander General Alexander Dvornikov the single overall commander of operations in Ukraine. … The lack of a single overall commander clearly hindered the cooperation of Russian forces operating along various invasion axes. The designation of Dvornikov as the overall commander makes sense now given that the announced Russian main efforts are almost all in his area of responsibility.

 

This simplification of the Russian command structure may not resolve all of Russia’s command problems, however. Most of the reinforcements flowing into the Donbas region are drawn from other military districts, for one thing. The active Russian offensive drive from Izium to the southeast relies on the concentration of Russian forces around Kharkiv that draws in turn on the logistics hub of Belgorod in Russia—both in areas nominally under Zhuravlyov’s control. Russian forces will likely continue to struggle to establish coherent and efficient command and control arrangements for the foreseeable future.

Russian forces continued offensive operations in Mariupol, along the Izium-Sloviansk axis, and around Rubizhne and Popasna in the last 24 hours but made few gains.

 

Key Takeaways

  • Russia is unlikely to be able to mass combat power for the fight in eastern Ukraine proportionate to the number of troops and battalion tactical groups it sends there.
  • The Russian military continues to suffer from devastating morale, recruitment, and retention problems that seriously undermine its ability to fight effectively.
  • The outcome of forthcoming Russian operations in eastern Ukraine remains very much in question.

Russian forces abandon tanks in hasty withdrawal that may indicate ‘collapse of will’, SkyNews reports. A western official has been providing some interesting comments on intelligence from the ground in northern Ukraine.

“They said Russian forces had abandoned “a lot” of tanks, vehicles, and artillery in a “hasty” withdrawal. Vladimir Putin’s operations had been “disastrous”, the official said, and the abandonment of vehicles may be a sign of a “collapse of the will to fight“.

 

“We can confirm that there are no longer units in northern Ukraine,” they told a news conference. It has been a pretty hasty withdrawal by Russian forces and there’s a lot of Russian equipment which has been abandoned in that hasty withdrawal and that’s only going to exacerbate the challenge they have in terms of the refurbishment and reconstitution of their forces as they remove them both into Belarus and Russia.

 

Some of its kind of unclear as to why it’s been abandoned because you might have thought there is some of these vehicles are still usable and you think they would have been able to take and I think there’s something around the collapse of morale and the collapse of the will to fight.”

Russian troops “regrouping” before advancing toward Kharkiv, CNN reports citing Major-General Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s Chief of Defense Intelligence (DIU). The Russian military is regrouping in the east of Ukraine and plans to advance toward the city of Kharkiv, the Chief of DIU told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Friday. They are regrouping towards the Ukrainian city called Izium via Belgorod. They are moving through Belgorod. They get additional troops in Belgorod to compensate for their losses in Ukraine, he said.

“They plan to advance towards Kharkiv first of all. They will try to finish off the city of Mariupol and only after that, they might try to initiative advances towards Kyiv,” he said. Budanov called on Ukraine’s allies to provide “really serious” military support to help it counter the Russian offensive. He said heavy artillery, anti-aircraft missile systems and combat planes were needed to use “against Russian ground forces”.

 

“Ukraine needs really serious support in heavy armament, and we need it not tomorrow, we need it today,” he said. Budanov said the weaknesses of the Russian military were on display in Ukraine. Russia’s troops were “defeated” in the Kyiv region and its military effort hampered by logistics, he said.”

Consequences and what to do? 

The U.S must ensure that Ukraine’s forces have the weapons they need to win” the Washington Post Editorial Board argues.

“… The impending offensive, centered on eastern Ukraine, is pivotal. Ukrainian success could blunt Mr. Putin’s ambitions lastingly; Russian success could lead to a renewed push on Kyiv.

 

The United States and other Western democracies must ensure that Ukraine’s forces have the weapons they need to win. Troop recruitment is no problem; Ukrainians have mobilized to fight for a cause that belongs to them and to everyone who believes in international law, self-determination and human rights. Ukraine’s achievements so far also vindicate NATO’s strategy of economic sanctions against Moscow and military support for Kyiv — $1.7 billion of which the Biden administration has sent since Feb. 24.

 

NATO’s own success has raised a need for recalibration. Ukraine has far exceeded initial expectations, which were that it would be able to hold off the Russian army for a while until switching to guerrilla warfare against a presumed occupation. Now, planners must scramble to equip Ukraine for something more like a conventional war. Kyiv’s forces still need rifles, drones, grenade launchers and shoulder-fired antitank and antiaircraft weapons. More important for the coming fights, however, will be tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, long-range surface-to-air missiles — and antiship missiles to counter Russia’s navy in the Black Sea. Nor should NATO rule out aircraft, both fixed-wing and attack helicopters.

 

Providing such equipment swiftly is always easier said than done, in part because Ukrainian forces are accustomed to Russian-style weaponry and would need time-consuming training to take advantage of advanced Western-made equipment. Still, the United States and its allies must err on the side of speed and creativity. An example is the Senate’s recent unanimous approval of a lend-lease bill modeled on the law that enabled swift US supply for the anti-Hitler coalition in Europe before the country entered World War II.

 

Another: Slovakia’s recent declaration that it will provide Ukraine with a Soviet-made S-300 long-range air defense system, with which Ukraine is already familiar. The United States will replace them for Slovakia by deploying a more modern, US-made Patriot battery, including troops to operate it. This bolsters Patriots in Slovakia already staffed by Dutch and German troops. Also exemplary is the Czech Republic’s decision to send Soviet-made tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, and Britain’s offer to help with antiship weapons. Unfortunately, Germany balks at supplying 100 Marder light tanks, ostensibly because its own military cannot spare them.

 

Ukraine pleads for weapons not only because it needs them to fight now, but also because it is transitioning to a prolonged war. So comes a political gut check to its supporters: Are we with it for the duration? In response, the United States and its fellow democracies must not equivocate.”

Assessment by Hans Petter Midttun

“President Zelensky stated that Ukraine has no choice but to sit down at the negotiating table with Vladimir Putin. Only Putin decides when this war will end.” The statements allow for several interpretations.

Firstly, the statements could be interpreted as a sign of weakness, and the realisation that Ukraine will not be able to defeat Russia. Reading between the lines, this might also be the reflection of a President disillusioned from the West’s inability (or unwillingness) to provide Ukraine with the tools needed to expel Russian forces from Ukraine, or of anxiety that the support promised might arrive too late to impact the forthcoming Russian offensive.

Secondly, it might reflect his assessment of Russia’s sincerity and will to negotiate peace. Intelligence shows that Russia is preparing for a massive offensive in the east. They would not be preparing for a new offensive if they were ready to withdraw and give up Ukraine. All indicators show that Putin by no means has given up. As previously stated, the campaign objectives and timeline might have temporarily shifted, but Russia’s long-term strategic aim remain the same.

Thirdly, and more likely, this is a statement from a president that is going through the motion of peace talks because it is expected of him from the international community, fully knowing that Ukraine cannot accept the Russian terms (which remain more or less the same since 24 February). There is nothing to negotiate about. Ceasefires do not bring peace. Even if Ukraine were to give up the territory presently under Russian occupation in exchange for Russian “promises”, it would not bring peace. Russia has started a war to eradicate Ukraine, the nation and its language, culture, history and ultimately, its people. The President of Ukraine cannot possibly negotiate an agreement or “compromise on something that leads to this.

This interpretation is in line with recent statements from Ukraine’s Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov who said Ukraine “… want to liberate the enemy-occupied territories as soon as possible. To do this, we need other weapons.” Ukraine will no longer accept a “Minsk Agreement 3.0” signed under duress and the barrel of a gun and imposed upon them by the very same countries that today hesitate to provide the weapons needed.

Ukraine, the UK, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, the Chez Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Romania recognise that there can be no peace before Russia is evicted from Ukraine, and its ability to wage war against its neighbours has been eliminated. Hopefully, the rest of NATO will come around and acknowledge the same before long. Ultimately, it is up to Putin to decide if and when Russia give in. Either before or after the Russian economy collapse. Or before or after NATO becomes militarily engaged.

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” Both statements are relevant for the resolution of the war. There is no easy way to force Russia to give in and withdraw. The strategy we choose to achieve it, however, decides the scope and scale of suffering Ukraine and Ukrainians must endure. Waiting for the financial effects of the sanctions to kick in will result in unspeakable suffering in both Ukraine as well as the world beyond. Ultimately, it will also lead to the destabilization of the West.

 

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