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Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 407: Zelenskyy visits Poland, brings back a new military assistance package

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 407: Zelenskyy visits Poland, brings back a new military assistance package
Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Zelenskyy visits Poland, brings back a new military assistance package. Russia makes advances in Bakhmut; Ukrainian forces say will withdraw from Bakhmut to avoid encirclement if necessary. US announces new 2.6 billion USD package of military aid for Ukraine.

Daily overview — Summary report, April 6

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 18.00 pm, April 6, 2023 is in the dropdown menu below:

 
The 407th day of the wide-ranging armed aggression of the Russian Federation against our state has begun.
During the past day, the enemy fired 3 rockets and 29 air strikes, fired 51 bombings from battalion jet systems.
The probability of further missile and air strikes throughout Ukraine remains high.
The opponent continues to focus the main efforts on the offensive in the Lymansky, Bakhmutsky, Avdiiv and Marine directions. Over the past day, more than 60 enemy attacks were repelled. In the epicenter of combat remain bakhmut, avdííí вихvka and marínka.
Kharkiv Battle Map. April 5, 2023. Source: ISW.
In the Volyn, Polissya, Siversʹk and Slobožanshchyna directions, the operational environment without significant changes, no signs of the formation of offensive groups of the opponent have been detected. The Russian Federation continues to use the airspace and the territory of the Republic of Belarus, its military infrastructure.
 During the day, the opponent carried out the shelling of the settlements of tur, leonívka, pecen вgi chernihiv region; Middle-Buda, stukalívka, bezsalívka and wolfine sumy region, as well as odnorobívka, udi, red star, veterinary, kozaca lopanʹ, lipcí, neskučne, ogírceve, zibine and bočkove on harkív гомiní. Popoli, Figolivka, Dvoríčna, Mas кеtívka, Kupiansk, Kucherivka, Krokhmalne, Brestove Kharkiv region and Novoselívske and Stelmakhivka of Luhansk region.
Donetsk Battle Map. April 5, 2023. Source: ISW.
In the Lyman direction, the opponent led unsuccessful offensive actions in the areas of Nevsky and Serebryansk forestry. Artillery shelling suffered makííí облаvka, nevsʹke, bílogorívka lugansk region and terni, zaríčne, torsʹke, spírne and rozdolívka in donetskčiní.
Bakhmut Battle Map. April 5, 2023. Source: ISW.
In the Bakhmut direction, the enemy is trying to take full control of the city of Bakhmut, continues to storm it. Also, during the past day, the opponent was conducting unsuccessful offensive actions in the area of Bogdanivka and Ivanivka settlements. Defense Forces units repelled about 20 enemy attacks on the mentioned area of the front.  More than 15 settlements were affected by enemy shelling, including, vas рkívka, mínʹkívko, oríkhovo-vasilívka, novomarkove, grigorívka, bahmut, ivanívsʹke, times yar, novodmitrívka, white mountain, kleban-bull, toretsk and noises of donetsk region.
The opponent was leading offensive actions in Avdiíí Наvsʹkomu and Maryí мnsʹkomu directions
in the areas of novokalynovoy, avdiíívka and marinka donetsk region, had no success. Only near Mariinka carried out more than 25 unsuccessful attacks. At the same time, enemy shelling suffered novokalinove, berdyčí, lastočkine, avdií ,vka, netajlové, pervomajske, krasnogorívka, georgííívka, marinka and victory.
In the Shakhtar direction during the day, the enemy did not conduct offensive actions. To adjust the fire of artillery actively used bpla. He carried out shelling of the settlements of Novomihaylívka, Vugledar, Prečistívka and Great Novosílka of Donetsk region.
Zaporizhzhia Battle Map. April 5, 2023. Source: ISW.
In the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson directions, the opponent increases in the fortification of the defensive borders and positions. Shelling at more than 35 settlements. Among them are Vremivka and Novopil Donetsk region; Malinivka, Zaliznične, Gulyajpilske, Mala Tokmachka, Novopavlivka, Kamianske Zaporizhzhia region, as well as Novooleksandrivka, Gavrilivka, Novoberislav, Kozatske, Mykolaivka, Lvivka, Ivanivka, Antonivka, Stepanivka and Chernobayivka of Kherson region.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. April 5, 2023. Source: ISW.
The opponent continues to use medical facilities of temporarily occupied territories for his own purposes. Yes, the local hospital of the small bílozerki in the Zaporizhzhia region, the occupants have arranged for a military hospital. Currently, Russian doctors work in a civil medical institutions. They provide their services exclusively to Russian soldiers. As of April 2 this year, there were about 80 invaders with wounds of varying severity under treatment.
The Defense Forces aviation carried out 17 strikes in the focus areas of occupiers’ personnel and military equipment over the past 24 hours.
At the same time, our defenders destroyed the Russian helicopter Ka-52 and 2 BPLLA types “Orlan” and “Supercam”. Missile and Artillery units hit 2 control points, 3 ammunition warehouses, 3 air defense positions and 4 enemy radio-electronic combat stations

Military Updates

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1643450133319757825

Russia drops dozens of GPS-guided bombs on Ukraine every day, Ukraine’s Air Force spox says. Russian Aerospace Forces use 20 guided bombs against Ukraine every day, and there is nothing that Ukraine can do to defend itself from this threat. Ukraine’s Air Force spox Yurii Ihnat said in his interview on Ukrainian TV, Ukrainska Pravda reported.

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

  • As claimed on Russian social media, the Russian MoD has highly likely dismissed Colonel-General Rustam Muradov as commander of the Eastern Group of Forces (EGF) in Ukraine.
  • The EGF under Muradov has suffered exceptionally heavy casualties in recent months as its poorly conceived assaults repeatedly failed to capture the Donetsk Oblast town of Vuhledar. The operations attracted intense public criticism from across the spectrum of Russian commentators – including Muradov’s own troops.

 

  • Muradov took over the EGF after its disastrous attempt to assault Kyiv from the north-west during the initial full-scale invasion. He is the most senior Russian military dismissal of 2023 so far, but more are likely as Russia continues to fail to achieve its objectives in the Donbas.

Losses of the Russian army 

Losses of the Russian Army. Source: Euromaidan Press.

Humanitarian 

Russia’s neighbors and other countries hosting large numbers of Russian anti-war exiles need to take seriously the dangers they could pose – Opinion. 

Environmental

Ukraine offers 10 bcm of gas storage to EU for next winter. “We want to offer our storages to Europeans,” Naftogaz CEO Chernyshov announced, saying this “would make Ukraine an energy backup for the EU”.

Russia flouts UN order and begins carrying out the death sentence against Crimean Tatar civic journalist. A week after it took over the presidency of the United Nations Security Council, Russia has flouted the express order of the UN’s Committee against Torture and set about killing the second Crimean Tatar political prisoner in two months, after torturing Dzhemil Gafarov to death.  Amet Suleimanov was taken into custody in the evening of 6 April 2023 despite a heart condition which, even according to Russian law, should preclude imprisonment.  It is unlikely that he can survive the gruelling journey to a Russian prison colony, let alone imprisonment there, making this a death sentence without any crime.

Bulgarian Defense Ministrry: the Russian army is committing systematic war crimes in Ukraine. This is one of the conclusions in the 2022 Bulgaria’s State of Defence and the Armed Forces report, approved and made public by the Ministers Council on Apr 3.

Support

Ukraine, Poland sign memorandum on reconstruction in Warsaw. On 5 April, during the visit of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Warsaw, Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Poland’s Ministry of Economic Development and Technology signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Poland to send Ukraine armored vehicles, mortars, MANPADs, four more MiG-29s – Zelenskyy. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced that Poland will provide a new military assistance package, which is “very necessary right now.” He announced it on 5 April during his visit to Poland at a press conference with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne reports.

Poland to send six more MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine – Duda. On 5 April, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and First Lady, Olena Zelenska, arrived in Wasaw to meet Polish President Andrzej Duda and his wife, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, presidential adviser, Marcin Przydacz, reported.

US announces new 2.6 billion USD package of military aid for Ukraine. On 4 April 2023, the United States announced a new $2.6 billion package of military aid for Ukraine. New security assistance for Ukraine includes the authorization of the US Presidential Drawdown of security assistance with more ammunition for US-provided HIMARS, air defense interceptors, and artillery rounds that Ukraine is using to defend itself, as well as anti-armor systems, small arms, heavy equipment transport vehicles, and maintenance support essential to strengthening Ukraine’s defenders on the battlefield valued at up to $500 million, the US Department of Defense said.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1643715223054852099

Croatia to send over USD 540,000 in aid to Ukraine. Croatia will provide over $540,000 to Ukraine as a part of NATO’s aid package, Foreign Minister of Croatia Gordan Grlić-Radman said during a meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Brussels, UkrInform reported. During today’s session, we, together with Finland and Sweden, will discuss comprehensive and long-term assistance to Ukraine. It includes financial commitments within a broad aid package, for which Croatia will provide half a million euros,” the minister said.

Romania announces USD 800,000 assistance package to Ukraine. The government of Romania will provide Ukraine with $800,000 in assistance through NATO’s program to strengthen the country’s defense capabilities, Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu announced during a ministerial meeting of NATO countries, NewsMaker reported.

Spain to send six Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine in the second half of April – Reuters. The six Leopard 2A4 tanks promised for Ukraine will leave Spain in the second half of April, Defence Minister Margarita Robles told state broadcaster TVE on 5 April, pushing back the estimated shipment date, Reuters reports. Spain had committed to sending 10 Leopards to Ukraine. Last month Robles said the six repaired tanks would be sent after 9 April.

New Developments

Kremlin keeps trying nuclear threats to deter Western arms supplies to Ukraine – ISW. In its latest assessment of the Russian offensive campaign, the US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says that the Kremlin “continues to attempt to employ nuclear threats to deter Western military aid provisions to Ukraine ahead of Ukraine’s planned counteroffensive.”

Ukrainians to start training on Abrams tanks “relatively soon,” US defense official says. Training for Ukrainians on US M1-A1 Abrams tanks has not yet started, but will begin “relatively soon,” a senior US defense official told reporters on 4 April, CNN reported. “Abrams training has not yet begun…We are still working on the equipment procurement, so we haven’t we have not yet begun the training, but I would expect that that will happen relatively soon,” the official said.

UK blocks broadcast of UN meeting in which Russia’s children’s commissioner is due to speak. – CNN. The UK has blocked a webcast of a UN meeting on Wednesday in which Russia’s children’s commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova is due to speak. She is accused of war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over an alleged scheme to deport Ukrainian children.  Russia has called the informal meeting to discuss the “evacuation” of Ukrainian children from the war zone.

Chinese Ambassador to EU Fu Cong said China was not on Russia’s side in the war in Ukraine. “‘No limit’ is nothing but rhetoric,” he said, referring to last year’s statement about the countries’ relationship.

Ukrainian hackers spend USD 25k of Russian crowdfunded drone money on sex toys. In an edgier operation of the Russo-Ukrainian cyberwar, Ukrainian hackers from the Cyber Resistance group broke into the Aliexpress account of a Russian blogger who collected money to buy drones for the Russian army and spent it to order $25,000 worth of sex toys instead of drones. This was reported in their Telegram group.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1643652974957215745

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-april-5-2023*

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of  April 5, 2022:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Ukrainian forces will withdraw from Bakhmut to avoid encirclement if necessary, but do not yet assess the need to do so. Zelensky stated during a press conference in Poland on April 5 that Ukrainian troops face a very challenging situation in Bakhmut, and that Kyiv will make the “corresponding decisions” if Ukrainian troops risk encirclement by Russian forces.[1] Zelensky’s statement is in line with other recent statements by Ukrainian officials that Ukrainian military command will order a withdrawal from Bakhmut when and if they deem a withdrawal to be the most strategically appropriate option. While it remains to be seen whether Ukraine’s defense of Bakhmut and its efficacy in fixing Russian forces in the area is worth Ukrainian losses (and we will likely be unable to assess this until observing the Ukrainian spring counteroffensive), Ukrainian military leadership continues to clearly signal that Ukrainian forces are still not encircled and have the option to withdraw as necessary.[2]

Russian President Vladimir Putin framed Russia’s efforts to consolidate control of occupied territories of Ukraine as a matter of internal security and rule of law during a meeting with the Russian National Security Council on April 5. Putin called for the continued economic, legal, and social integration of occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts into the Russian Federation and emphasized the importance of Russian “restoration” efforts in occupied areas in facilitating the integration process.[3] Putin also accused Ukraine of threatening civilians in occupied areas and highlighted recent ”terrorist attacks” against occupation officials and law enforcement agencies, referring to Ukrainian partisan attacks against occupation organs.[4] Putin emphasized the need for intensified law enforcement operations to guard against such attacks and called for the increased participation of local Ukrainian citizens in law enforcement processes, explicitly encouraging collaborators and informants in occupied areas. Putin has notably invoked the concept of “terrorism” and threats to Russian domestic security to justify domestic repressions and is likely setting conditions for further repressions and law enforcement crackdowns in occupied territories using similar framing.[5]

Putin also attempted to portray Russia as a respected world power against the backdrop of Chinese officials downplaying close relations with Russia. Putin held a televised meeting presenting ambassador credentials to the heads of 17 diplomatic missions on April 5, during which he highlighted Russia’s close relationship with Syria and cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), likely as part of ongoing Russian efforts to appeal to non-Western states.[6] Putin stated that Syria is a reliable partner with whom Russia reached several unspecified agreements during Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s recent trip to Russia on March 14. Putin berated ambassadors from the United States and European Union (EU) states and claimed that the West is responsible for the war in Ukraine and geopolitical confrontation with Russia.

Chinese Ambassador to the EU Fu Cong stated on April 5 that the Russian–Chinese joint statement declaring there were “no limits” to their ties released in February 2022 was misrepresented, calling “no limits” a “purely rhetorical statement.”[7] Fu added that China does not support Russia’s war in Ukraine and is not providing Russia weapons. Fu’s statement is consistent with ISW’s March 21 assessment that Putin has not been able to secure the benefits from the no-limits bilateral partnership with China which he likely hoped for when meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Moscow between March 20 and March 22.[8]

The Kremlin is likely increasingly struggling to maintain loyalty among lower-level regional authorities as it continues to place the onus on funding the war on Russian federal subjects. Independent Russian outlet Verstka reported on April 5 that the Kremlin is developing a “program of privileges” in regional administrations to maintain loyalty among lower-level local officials.[9] Verstka stated that the Russian presidential administration demanded that regional administrations create “initiative groups” to cater to the needs of regional civil servants, and that regional vice-governors are being encouraged in an oddly framed measure to install vending machines in administration buildings, secure preferential bank loans for employees, and offer officials free city parking.[10] Verstka reported that these measures in large part are meant to mitigate growing discontent about the continued costs of the war.[11] ISW has previously observed that the Kremlin has repeatedly placed the onus on Russian regional authorities to mobilize and fund the war, and Russian regions continue to bear the brunt of the Kremlin’s decision-making demographically and economically.[12] Such efforts are likely meant to pay lip service to the burden placed on regional entities but are unlikely to stimulate a significant increase in support for the war at the regional and local levels.

Putin dismissed Colonel-General Nikolai Grechushkin from his post as Deputy Head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations on April 5.[13] ISW has also previously reported on recent investigations into and arrests of Russian Rosgvardia leadership, including Rosgvardia’s naval department head and Deputy Commander of Rosgvardia’s Central District.[14] Rosgvardia was notably created using personnel and resources from a variety of Russian security and military services, including the Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM). The Kremlin may be attempting to oust a slate of Rosgvardia and EMERCOM officials that have fallen out of Putin’s favor in an effort to crack down on Russian domestic security control.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko arrived in Moscow on April 5 to meet with Putin and will meet with the Supreme Council of the Russia-Belarus Union State on April 6. Neither the Russian nor Belarusian governments published readouts by the data collection cutoff for this publication. ISW will provide updates on the meeting in the April 6 update.

Key Takeaways

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Ukrainian forces will withdraw from Bakhmut to avoid encirclement if necessary, but do not yet assess the need to do so.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin framed Russia’s efforts to consolidate control of occupied territories of Ukraine as a matter of internal security and rule of law during a meeting with the Russian National Security Council.
  • Putin also attempted to portray Russia as a respected world power against the backdrop of Chinese officials downplaying close relations with Russia.
  • Putin dismissed Colonel-General Nikolai Grechushkin from his post as Deputy Head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations on April 5.
  • Russian and Ukrainian forces continued to engage in positional battles along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line.
  • Russian forces likely made gains in and around Bakhmut and continued offensive operations along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City frontline.
  • Russian businessmen may be assuming a larger role in supporting the Russian MoD’s efforts to form irregular volunteer formations.
  • Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova continues to deny international allegations that Russia is forcibly deporting Ukrainian children to Russia.
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