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Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 403: Moscow-linked Kyiv monastery Metropolitan charged with inciting religious hatred, denying Russian aggression

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 403: Moscow-linked Kyiv monastery Metropolitan charged with inciting religious hatred, denying Russian aggression
Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Moscow-linked Kyiv monastery Metropolitan Pavlo is charged with inciting religious hatred and denying Russian aggression. Russia began its semi-annual conscription on April 1, the largest conscription call-up since 2016. IMF approves USD 15.6 bn load for Ukraine as part of USD 115 bn global support package.

Daily overview — Summary report, April 2

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 18.00 pm, April 2, 2023 is in the dropdown menu below:

Situation in Ukraine. April 1, 2023. Source: ISW.

Day 402 of the full-scale russian military aggression continues.
During the day, the enemy launched 2x missile strikes, 25x air strikes and launched 6x attacks from MLRS.
Without the desired results on the battlefield, the enemy continues to cynically wage war against peaceful citizens.
Today, the russian federation again launched missile attacks on civilian objects in the city of Druzhkivka, Donetsk Oblast, and other populated areas of Ukraine, using ballistic missiles. There are wounded among the civilian population.
The probability of further missile and air strikes on the entire territory of Ukraine remains high.
The enemy is concentrating its main efforts on conducting offensive actions on the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Mar’yinka axes. During this day, units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine repelled more than 50x enemy attacks. The battles for the districts of Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Mar’yinka remain the fiercest.
Kharkiv Battle Map. April 1, 2023. Source: ISW.
Volyn’, Polissya, Sivershchyna and Slobozhanshchyna axes: the operational situation has not changed significantly. The top political leadership of the republic of belarus continues to support russian aggression, provides airspace and territory to the enemy. The training of units of the territorial troops of the armed forces of the russian federation continues at the belarusian training grounds. At the same time, no signs of the formation of enemy offensive groups were detected. During the day, the enemy shelled the settlements of Oleksandrivka, Chernihiv Oblast; Baranivka, Volfine, Katerynivka, Kindrativka, Novomykolaivka, Popivka of the Sumy Oblast, as well as Veterinarne, Zybyne, Okhrimivka and Krasne Pershe settlements in the Kharkiv Oblast.
Kupiansk axis: Dvorichna, Kutkivka, Zapadne, Masyutivka, Kupiansk, Pishchane, Krokhmalne and Novoselivske of the Kharkiv Oblast were under enemy fire in the.
Lyman axis: during the day, the enemy conducted unsuccessful offensives in the areas south of Kreminnaya and Verkhnokamyansk. Nevske, Kolodyazi, Dibrova, Belogorivka and Rozdolivka of the Luhansk Oblast were hit by artillery fire.
Bakhmut Battle Map. April 1, 2023. Source: ISW.
Bakhmut axis: the enemy does not stop the assault on the city of Bakhmut. However, our defenders courageously hold the settlement. At the same time, the enemy conducted unsuccessful offensive actions in Bohdanivka, Donetsk Oblast. During the day, the enemy shelled the settlements of Vasyukivka, Orihovo-Vasylivka, Novomarkove, Bakhmut, Ivanivske, Chasiv Yar, Kurdyumivka, Diliivka, New York and Druzhkivka.
Donetsk Battle Map. April 1, 2023. Source: ISW.
Avdiivka and Mar’yinka axes: the enemy unsuccessfully conducted offensive actions in the areas of Avdiivka, Severnoy, Pervomaisky and Mar’yinka. Fired at Avdiivka, Orlivka, Netaylovka, Krasnohorivka, Georgiivka, and Mar’yinka.
Shakhtars’k axis: during the day, the enemy actively used UAVs to adjust artillery fire, shelled the settlements of Pobyeda, Novomykhailivka, Vugledar, Velika Novosilka of the Donetsk Oblast.
Zaporizhzhia Battle Map. April 1, 2023. Source: ISW.
Zaporizhzhia and Kherson axis: the enemy did not conduct active operations, improving defensive lines and positions. He carried out shelling of populated areas, which are next to the line of military confrontation. Among them are Vremivka of Donetsk Oblast; Burlatske, Zatyshsha, Gulyaipole, Zaliznychne, Biloghirya, Mala Tokmachka, Mali Shcherbaki, Kamianske of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, as well as Dudchany, Kachkarivka, Zmiivka, Beryslav, Vesele, Mykolaivka, Burgunka, Kizomys of the Kherson Oblast and the city of Kherson.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. April 1, 2023. Source: ISW.
The russian occupiers continue the forced passporting of the population of the temporarily occupied territory of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast. In particular, in the city of Tokmak, russian invaders are restricting the movement of Ukrainian citizens who have not received passports of the russian federation at checkpoints. The occupiers purposefully and deliberately search vehicles without further opportunity to enter the city. In case of absence of a russian passport, citizens of Ukraine are threatened with a ban on entering the city. In turn, FSB representatives, during house searches, threaten local citizens of Ukraine with job loss and employment problems without a russian passport.
During the day, the Ukrainian Air Force carried out 8x strikes on the concentration areas of the occupiers, and units of missile and artillery troops hit 3x areas of concentration of manpower, weapons and military equipment and 2x enemy ammunition depots.

Military Updates

Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief shares a video showing British 105-mm howitzers L119 in action. Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Army Valerii Zaluzhnyi has shared a video that shows British 105-mm howitzers L119 in action, destroying Russian military equipment. “Our artillery troops used the British L119 howitzers during a combat mission. They destroyed the enemy’s SPG-9 “Spys” (Soviet automatic anti-tank grenade launcher) along with ammunition. In addition, they damaged the enemy’s 2B9 “Vasilek” mortar.”

Russian military chief Gerasimov “pushing limits of how far Russia’s leadership will tolerate failure” – UK intel. The UK Ministry of Defence says Russian Army-General Valery Gerasimov’s winter offensive to extend control over the Donbas region has failed, leading to tens of thousands of casualties and possibly raising Russian leadership’s concerns about his future as Chief of the General Staff.

The US will not provide Ukraine with ATACMS long-range missiles, General Milley says. Pushing Russian forces out of the entire territory of Ukraine this year will be a challenging task and is highly unlikely, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the US Army General Mark A. Milley said in his interview with Defense One.

According to British Defence Intelligence, (last 48 hours): 

  • While Russia has suffered up to 200,000 casualties since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a significant minority of these have been due to non-combat causes.
  • On 27 March 2023, a Russian Telegram news channel reported there have been ‘extremely high’ numbers of incidents, crimes, and deaths linked to alcohol consumption amongst the deployed Russian forces.


  • Other leading causes of non-combat casualties likely include poor weapon handing drills, road traffic accidents and climatic injuries such as hypothermia. Russian commanders likely identify pervasive alcohol abuse as particularly detrimental to combat effectiveness. However, with heavy drinking pervasive across much of Russian society, it has long been seen as a tacitly accepted part of military life, even on combat operations.

Losses of the Russian army 

Losses of the Russian Army. Source: Euromaidan Press.


One killed, four injured in Russian shelling of Kherson Oblast. On 1 April, one civilian was killed, and four were injured in the Russian shelling of Kherson Oblast, according to the Kherson Regional Prosecutor’s Office. Head of the Presidential Office, Andrii Yermak, has added that the Russian rocket hit a private house in Kherson and Kozatske town. The final number of casualties is being clarified as the shelling continues, the prosecutor’s office said.

Russia is risking the life of imprisoned Ukrainian civic journalist on a hunger strike. Iryna Danilovych has been on full hunger strike for ten days, yet the prison authorities in Russian-occupied Crimea are refusing to hospitalize her and provide urgently needed medical care.  The Russian occupation authorities’ refusal to provide a proper examination and treatment for an excruciating ear infection is already tantamount to torture, and they are now risking Iryna’s life.


Ukraine ordered 100 Rosomak armored vehicles from Poland – Polish PM. On 1 April, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reported on Twitter that the Ukrainian Army purchased 100 Polish KTO Rosomak armored vehicles. He said the Ukrainian order would be financed through EU and US funds. The PM didn’t provide the contract’s overall cost or further details. The KTO Rosomak is a wheeled multi-purpose armored vehicle manufactured in Poland as a licensed variant of the Finnish Patria AMV vehicle.

IMF approves USD 15.6 bn load for Ukraine as part of USD 115 bn global support package. In its press release published on 31 March, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said its board had approved a four-year $15.6 billion loan program for Ukraine as part of a global $115 billion package as “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to have a devastating economic and social impact.”

Munitions, anti-tank rockets in next USD 2.6 bln US pledge for Ukraine – Reuters sources. A new $2.6 billion US military aid package that could include munitions, air surveillance radars, anti-tank rockets, recovery vehicles, and fuel trucks for Ukraine’s fight against Russia is expected to be announced as soon as April 3, three US officials told Reuters on 31 March.

Slovenia’s PM signs joint declaration supporting Ukraine’s intention to join NATO. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Robert Golob, signed a joint declaration supporting the Ukrainian intention to join the EU and NATO “as soon as conditions allow,” according to Ukraine’s Presidential Office. In the declaration, the leaders of Ukraine and Slovenia also condemned Russia’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, stressing that it undermines the foundations of the UN Charter.

New Developments

SBU charges Moscow-linked Kyiv monastery abbot with inciting religious hatred and denying Russian aggression. Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) has served a suspicion notice to Metropolitan Pavlo (Petro Lebid) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP). The agency charges him with fomenting religious enmity, justifying and denying Russian armed aggression against Ukraine.

Passions in the Lavra: why the Ukrainian state broke its patience with the Moscow-aligned Orthodox Church. A perfect storm is brewing in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, Ukraine’s most holy site. As the Russian-backed Ukrainian Orthodox Church resists eviction orders, we talk to experts on both sides of the barricades to understand why Ukraine declared holy war on the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine and whatsoever could come out of it.

An exhibition dedicated to Russian war crimes in Ukraine opens in New York on Bucha liberation anniversary. On 31 March, an international exhibition “Ukraine. Crucifixion. Tribunal” opened at 866 United Nations Plaza, 100 meters from the UN headquarters in New York. The exposition is dedicated to the invasion of Ukraine and the establishment of a Special International Tribunal, which will prosecute Russia for its crime of aggression.

Zelenskyy imposes sanctions on 240 Russian, Iranian individuals, former Motor Sich president, and 410 companies. According to UkrInform, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has enabled the decision of the National Security and Defense Council to impose personal sanctions on 240 Russian and Iranian individuals and former president of “Motor Sich” Vyacheslav Boguslaev, accused of state treason in Ukraine.

Lukashenka tries to uphold Belarus’ sovereignty narrative despite de-facto Russian occupation – think tank.  The US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War says Belarus ruler Aliaksandr Lukashenka, also known in Russian as Alexander Lukashenko, keeps making high-profile statements to present de-facto Russian-occupied Belarus as a sovereign state.

Ukraine to boycott Olympic tournaments with Russian or Belarusian athletes. According to Ukraine’s Secretary of the Cabinet of Ministers, Oleh Nemchinov, Ukrainian athletes will boycott Olympic tournaments where Russian or Belarusian athletes are competing. Nemchinov announced this decision on a national telethon, stating that Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers had approved the proposal put forth by Ukraine’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Vadym Huttsait, to only participate in qualifying competitions for the 2024 Olympics where Russians or Belarusians are not present.

Risks from Russia falling apart far less than risks from it remaining in one piece, Russian commentator says


  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of  April 1, 2022:

Russian, Ukrainian, and Western sources observed on April 1 that the Russian winter offensive has failed to achieve the Kremlin’s goals of seizing the Donetsk and Luhansk oblast administrative borders by March 31. Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov had announced on December 22 that Russian forces were focusing most of their efforts on seizing Donetsk Oblast, and Russian forces launched their winter offensive operation in early February along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna-Lyman line and on select frontlines in western Donetsk Oblast.[1] The UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) observed that Gerasimov has failed to extend Russian control over Donbas during his appointment as the theater commander in Ukraine and has achieved only marginal gains by expending mobilized personnel.[2] Ukrainian intelligence representative Andriy Yusov stated that Gerasimov missed the Kremlin’s deadline to capture Donbas by March 31.[3]

Russian milbloggers fretted that Russian forces must finish their offensive operations in Bakhmut and Avdiivka to prepare for the Ukrainian counteroffensives they expect between Orthodox Easter on April 16 and Soviet Victory Day on May 9.[4] Milbloggers highlighted their disappointment that there have not been any decisive battles throughout the winter and observed that Russia will not be capable of continuing a large-scale offensive operation if it is unable to secure Bakhmut and Avdiivka in the coming weeks. Deputy Head of the Main Directorate of the Russian National Guard (Rosgvardia) in occupied Donetsk Oblast Alexander Khodakovsky stated that he agrees with former theater commander Army General Sergey Surovikin that Russia needs to shift to defensive positions.[5] (ISW is not aware of any publicly reported statement Surovikin has made along these lines.) Khodakovsky noted that failures during the offensive cause manpower losses and spark negative sentiments among the personnel, and argued that unnamed actors may be attempting to continue the offensive for personal reasons rather than taking a rational approach to the issue. Khodakovsky’s comment likely implies that Gerasimov is pursuing personal interest in sustaining the offensive in order to retain favor with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Khodakovsky’s recent appointment on March 30 as regional Rosgvardia deputy head and the return of Surovikin (at least by proxy) to the information space may indicate that Gerasimov’s unsuccessful theater-wide offensive may already be costing him favor with Putin.

Khodakovsky’s and milbloggers’ requests for Russian forces to prioritize defensive operations are not unreasonable and indicate that nationalist groups are sensible to the changing dynamics on the frontlines. ISW had long assessed that the Russian winter offensive is unlikely to be successful due to persistent failures of the Russian command to comprehend the time and space relationships involved in such a campaign.[6] ISW also assessed that Russia would lack the combat power necessary to sustain more than one major offensive operation in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, and ongoing recruitment campaigns in Russia and occupied Ukrainian territories may indicate that Russia is preparing for reserve shortages.[7]

Growing Russian speculation about Russian military command changes likely indicates that Russia may soon reshuffle its senior military command due to the failed winter offensive. Russian milbloggers claimed on April 1 that the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) recalled Russian Airborne (VDV) Forces commander Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky from leave on March 30 after the Russian MoD reportedly replaced him with Lieutenant General Oleg Makarevich on January 13.[8] The Russian MoD never confirmed Teplinsky’s dismissal, and it is likely that the MoD placed him on leave so it could recall him to command the VDV whenever it deemed necessary. Russian milbloggers claimed that Teplinsky immediately flew to the Russian Joint Grouping Headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar Krai to assume command of the VDV and that he is already planning future operations.[9] One milblogger claimed that Chief of the General Staff of the Ground Forces and former Central Military District (CMD) Commander Colonel General Alexander Lapin flew with Teplinsky to the Joint Grouping Headquarters.[10] The Russian MoD replaced Lapin with Lieutenant General Andrey Mordvichev as CMD commander officially on February 17 following intense public criticism of Lapin for his management of the Svatove-Kreminna line in the fall of 2022.[11] It remains to be seen if Lapin will regain a role commanding forces in Ukraine, however. Russian sources speculated starting on March 27 that the Russian MoD has also recently dismissed Eastern Military District (EMD) Commander Colonel General Rustam Muradov in response to intense criticism of his command over significant losses in offensive operations near Vuhledar in early 2023.[12] ISW has previously observed that intensified Russian speculation about changes in military command has corresponded with real changes in Russian commanders, although not necessarily following the exact claims of Russian sources.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian, Ukrainian, and Western sources observed that the Russian winter offensive has failed to achieve the Kremlin’s goals of seizing all of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts by March 31.
  • Growing Russian speculation about Russian military command changes likely indicates that Russia may soon reshuffle its senior military command due to the failed winter offensive.
  • Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks along the Svatove-Kreminna line.
  • Russian forces did not make any confirmed gains in or around Bakhmut and continued offensive operations along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City frontline.
  • Russian forces continued to build defenses in occupied southern Ukraine.
  • Russia began its semi-annual conscription on April 1, the largest conscription call-up since 2016.
  • Russian occupation officials continue to deport Ukrainian children to Russia under rest-and-rehabilitation schemes.
  • Russian nationalist figures criticized Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for failing to pursue the Union State between Russia and Belarus efforts since mid-1990s.
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