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Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 427: Intense fighting in Kherson Oblast

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 427: Intense fighting in Kherson Oblast
Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Ukrainian forces are achieving “impressive results” in counter-battery combat on the eastern (left) bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast – A Ukrainian military official. Russian military bloggers deny Ukrainian success in Kherson Oblast. Ukrainian partisans detonated a Russian military checkpoint near Oleshky, Kherson Oblast.

Daily overview — Summary report, April 26

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 18.00 pm, April 26, 2023 is in the dropdown menu below:

Situation in Ukraine. April 25, 2023. Source: ISW.

 
Day 427 of the full-scale russian military aggression has begun.
The russian federation continues to wage a war of aggression. Despite the significant losses, they do not give up plans to occupy our territory. Strikes and fires at both military and civilian targets.
During the past day, the enemy launched 3x rocket strikes, of which 2x rockets are from S-300 air defense system – at the center of the peaceful city of Kupiansk, Kharkiv Oblast. There are dead and wounded among the civilian population, the building of the local history museum was destroyed, next to which there is no military object, and other civilian infrastructure was damaged. The enemy also carried out 13x airstrikes and fired 49x shots from MLRS at the positions of our troops and the critical infrastructure of populated areas.
The probability of launching 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 Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Mar’yinka axes. The units of the defense forces of Ukraine repelled 39x enemy attacks on the specified areas of the front during the past day. The fiercest battles continue for Bakhmut and Mar’’yinka.
Volyn’ and Polissya axes: the operational situation has not changed significantly. There were no signs of the formation of offensive groups.
Kharkiv Battle Map. April 25, 2023. Source: ISW.
Sivershchyna and Slobozhanshchyna axes: the enemy maintains a military presence in the Bryansk, Kursk and Belgorod regions bordering Ukraine. During the day, they carried out artillery and mortar attacks on the settlements of Leonivka, Chernihiv Oblast; Seredyna-Buda, Korenyok, Stukalyvka, Iskriskivshchyna, Novoivanivka, Volfyne, Pavlivka, Kostyantynivka, and Basivka in the Sumy Oblast, as well as Udy, Veterinarne, Zelene, Neskuchne, Strelecha, Ohirtseve, Gatyshche, and Ambarne in the Kharkiv Oblast. Kupiansk axis: Topoli, Kam’ianka, Krasne Pershe, Figolivka, Novomlynsk, Dvorichna, Lyman Pershiy, Kupiansk and Kislivka of the Kharkiv Oblast were subjected to enemy artillery and mortar fire.
Donetsk Battle Map. April 25, 2023. Source: ISW.
Lyman axis: the enemy did not conduct offensive operations. Novoselivske, Nevske, Dibrova, Belogorivka of the Luhansk Oblast and Torske, Yampil, Siversk, Verkhnyokamianske, Spirne and Pereizne of the Donetsk Oblast were hit by artillery fire.
Bakhmut Battle Map. April 25, 2023. Source: ISW.
Bakhmut axis: the enemy continues to conduct offensive actions. Heavy fighting continues for the city of Bakhmut. In addition, during the day, the enemy conducted unsuccessful offensive actions on the axis of the settlements of Bohdanivka, Khromov and Klishchiivka. Vasyukivka, Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Markove, Hryhorivka, Bakhmut, Ivanovske, Chasiv Yar, Bila Gora, Severnye and New York of the Donetsk Oblast were affected by enemy shelling.
Avdiivka axis: the enemy carried out offensive actions near Severna and Pervomaiske settlements of the Donetsk Oblast, without success. Shelled settlements near the contact line, in particular, Novobakhmutivka, Novokalynove, Avdiivka, Lastochkine, Stepove, Tonenke, Vodyane, Netaylove, Pervomaiske, Karlivka and Nevelske of the Donetsk Oblast.
Mar’yinka axis: during the past day, our defenders repelled numerous enemy attacks in the area of the Mar’yinka settlement. Georgiivka, Mar’yinka, Pobyeda, Novomykhailivka and Paraskoviivka of the Donetsk Oblast got under enemy fire.
Shakhtars’ke axis: the enemy did not conduct offensive operations in the. They shelled the settlements of Vugledar, Yehorivka, Pavlivka, Prechistivka, Novoukrayinka, Zolota Niva, Novomayorske, Shakhtarske, Neskuchne and Velika Novosilka of the Donetsk Oblast.
Zaporizhzhia Battle Map. April 25,2023. Source: ISW.
Zaporizhzhia and Kherson axes: the enemy continues to conduct defensive operations. At the same time, during the day, russians shelled more than 40x settlements. Among them are Malynyvka, Mala Tokmachka, Novoandriivka, Mali Shcherbaki, Plavni of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast and Kozatsk, Odradokamyanka, Olhivka, Lviv, Kizomys, as well as the city of Kherson. As a result of two guided air bombs hitting the settlement of Kizomys, more than 10x residential buildings of civilians were damaged. 2x – completely destroyed. the local church and other civil infrastructure were also destroyed.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. April 25, 2023. Source: ISW.
Over the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian Air Force has carried out 6x strikes on areas of concentration of personnel and military equipment of the occupiers, as well as a strike on an anti-aircraft missile complex. Also, 2x enemy reconnaissance UAVs – of the “Zala” type and “Orlan-10” type were shot down.
Over the past day, units of missile and artillery forces hit the anti-aircraft missile complex, 4x personnel concentration areas and the aggressor’s radar station.

Military Updates

Ukrainian paratroopers destroy Russian ammo depot in Donetsk Oblast: VIDEO. According to the Command of the Ukrainian Air Assault Forces, Ukrainian paratroopers have destroyed a Russian ammunition depot in Donetsk Oblast with combat drones. “The paratroopers of the 79th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade of the Ukrainian Airborne Assault Forces continue to carry out combat missions in Donetsk Oblast. During combat operations, maroon berets from Mykolaiv are actively using drones.

Russian troops intensify artillery attacks, change air asset usage tactics – Ukrainian military. The Russian military is not assaulting the positions of Ukrainian troops in the Lyman-Kupiansk sector, but it is the “record holder” in terms of the use of the tube and rocket artillery, according to Col Serhii Cherevatyi, the spokesperson for the Eastern Grouping of Forces: “Over the past day [Apr 24], the enemy carried out 432 strikes with various types of artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, carried out 13 air raids, and launched missile attacks,” he said on the national telethon, ArmyInform reports.

Russian daily casualties down by 30% in April following heavy losses in Jan-Mar 2023 – UK intel. In its latest intelligence update, the UK Defense Ministry says that Russia’s daily casualty rate in the Russo-Ukrainian war likely fell by around 30% in April 2023, following exceptionally heavy Russian casualties over January-March 2023.

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

https://twitter.com/DefenceHQ/status/1651164650401067008

  • Heavy, short-range combat continues in the western districts of the contested Donetsk Oblast town of Bakhmut. A key development over the last week has been fighting on the outskirts of the town, especially near the village of Khromove, as Ukraine seeks to maintain control of its 0506 supply route.

 

  • Ukraine’s other resupply options into Bakhmut are likely complicated by muddy conditions on unsurfaced tracks.

 

  • With the town having now been under attack for over 11 months, the Ukrainian defences of Bakhmut have now been integrated as one element of a much deeper defensive zone, which includes the town of Chasiv Yar to the west.

Losses of the Russian army 

Losses of the Russian Army. Source: Euromaidan Press.

Humanitarian 

Russia’s war in Ukraine has killed 8,574 civilians, UN says. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has recorded 8 574 civilian deaths in Ukraine since Russia invaded 13 months ago but says the real toll is far higher. From 1 to 23 April 2023, the OHCHR documented 405 civilian casualties in Ukraine: 104 killed and 301 injured. The casualties were mainly caused by explosive weapons with wide area effects, mines, and explosive remnants of war. The OHCHR has said it believes that the actual figures are considerably higher, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed, and many reports are still pending corroboration. “This concerns, for example, Mariupol (Donetsk Oblast), Lysychansk, Popasna, and Sievierodonetsk (Luhansk Oblast), where there are allegations of numerous civilian casualties,” the OHCHR added.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1650763876974067713

Environmental

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1650857586751836161

Ukraine rejects Russia’s claim. of attacking Crimea’s civilian infrastructure as “deceitful manipulation.” In a commentary to Suspilne TV, the Main Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine spokesman Andrii Yusov called the statement of the Russian Defense Ministry about Ukraine’s alleged violation of the humanitarian corridor and attack on the civilian infrastructure of Crimea “a deceitful manipulation by the aggressor state.” “The recent events in Crimea concerned exclusively military facilities and are in no way related to the grain deal, which includes Ukrainian ports and civilian ports, when it comes to the territory controlled by Ukraine. When it comes to the recently mentioned events in Crimea, we are talking about the occupied territory and military facilities of the occupiers. Ukraine complies with its international obligations, including fulfilling all obligations related to the grain corridor,” he emphasized.

Russia detains prominent Crimean Tatar activist. On 25 April, Abdureshit Dzhepparov, a human rights defender and activist, was arrested by Russian Security Service in Qarasuvbazar (Bilohirsk) city in occupied Crimea, following a search that lasted for three hours, according to Refat Chubarov, the head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis.

Support

The EU allocates another €1.5 billion to Ukraine under our annual macro-financial assistance package. 

New Developments

Leaked documents reveal Moscow’s strategy to increase influence in the Baltic states. Leaked Russian documents have revealed the Kremlin’s strategy to increase its influence in the Baltic states, according to an international research network led by German media outlets NDR, WDR, and Süddeutsche Zeitung, with the Estonian media outlet Delfi involved in the research, ERR.ee reported. Tagesschau.de quoted German security experts, who consider the documents to be authentic. The documents, written by the Russian government-affiliated think tank Presidential Directorate for Cross-Border Cooperation in the summer of 2021, outline a plan to avoid increasing NATO’s influence in the region by strengthening Russia-friendly NGOs, tightening economic relations, and influencing public opinion against NATO’s presence.

Polish airline says it refused boarding to Russian tennis player – Reuters. A Russian tennis player was refused boarding to a flight conducted by LOT Polish Airlines, in an incident that drew an outraged reaction from the athlete on social media, as per Reuters. On 24 April, player Vitalia Diatchenko said she wasn’t allowed boarding on a LOT flight from Cairo to the tournament in Corsica, with German airline Lufthansa also refusing to sell her a ticket.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1650873501908074498

Ukrainian-Crimean Tatar partisan movement eliminates Russian military unit in Kherson Oblast. According to the National Resistance Center of Ukraine, the Atesh partisan movement has carried out a successful operation in the occupied territory of Kherson Oblast. “In particular, on Monday evening, 23 April, a checkpoint near a military infrastructure object near Oleshky city was blown up,” the center said. The guerrilla fighters used a homemade explosive device to eliminate a unit of Russian troops that was patrolling the area.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1651007178294333441

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of  April 25, 2022:

Senior US and EU officials assess that Russian President Vladimir Putin would remain unwilling to negotiate in response to a successful Ukrainian counteroffensive. The New York Times (NYT) reported on April 24 that a senior European official stated that the chances of Putin “backing down” in response to a successful Ukrainian counteroffensive are “less than zero.”[1] The official stated that Putin would likely mobilize more soldiers to fight in Ukraine. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Celeste Wallander said that there is “very little evidence” to suggest that Putin would alter his strategic goal of subjugating Ukraine “politically, if not fully militarily.” US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby told Voice of America on April 25 that the US is increasing security assistance to Ukraine because the US expects that Russia will attempt to go on the offensive as the weather improves.[2]

A Ukrainian military official claimed on April 25 that Ukrainian forces are achieving “impressive results” in counter-battery combat against Russian forces on the Russian-occupied eastern (left) bank of the Dnipro River.[3] Spokesperson for the Ukrainian Southern Operational Forces Nataliya Humenyuk stated that Ukrainian forces hit and destroyed Russian artillery systems, tanks, armored vehicles, and air defense systems. Humenyuk added that Ukrainian forces are working to clear the frontline on the east bank in a “counter-battery mode.” Humenyuk added that Russian forces are evacuating civilians from the Dnipro River bank area to move in Russian units, which is simplifying Ukrainian operations.

Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin denied ISW’s April 22 assessment about limited improvements in Wagner’s relations with the Russian military command ahead of the planned Ukrainian counteroffensive. ISW previously assessed that the Russian military command may have partially repaired its strained relationship with Prigozhin to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to halt offensive operations ahead of the planned Ukrainian counteroffensive.[4] ISW had also observed a dramatic change in the nature of Prigozhin’s public interactions with the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Kremlin as early as beginning of April.[5] Prigozhin stated that ISW’s assessment is a “fake,” noting that he would not “exchange ammunition for [his] guys even for friendship with God.”[6]

Prigozhin’s continued instance on his distaste for the Russian military leadership contradicts the change in Prigozhin’s rhetoric as well as the sudden influx of artillery ammunition after months of reported shell hunger in Bakhmut.[7] Russian independent outlet Mozhem Obyasnit (We Can Explain) also reported that Prigozhin’s companies earned a record amount of income in 2022 from their contracts with the Russian MoD despite his feud with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.[8] Prigozhin has repeatedly acknowledged cooperation with troops subordinated to the Russian MoD and is receiving mobilized personnel to reinforce his flanks. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed that his eldest son fought in the war with Wagner, which ISW assessed to be an information operation to mend the relationship and possibly increase or demonstrate Prigozhin’s loyalty to the Kremlin.[9] All these factors indicate that Prigozhin – despite his claimed independence and pride – needs to retain the favor and support of the Kremlin and the Russian MoD to sustain his operations.

Russian ultranationalists are continuing to advocate for the Kremlin to adopt Stalinist repression measures. Russian State Duma Parliamentarian Andrey Gurulyov – a prominent Russian ultranationalist figure within the ruling United Russia Party – stated that Russia needs to reintroduce the concept of the “enemy of the people.”[10] This concept designated all the late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s opposition figures as the enemies of society. Gurulyov frequently shares extreme opinions on Russian state television but the rhetoric among the ultranationalists is increasingly emphasizing the need for the targeting and elimination of Russia’s internal enemies. Former Russian officer Igor Girkin and Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin often echo similar calls to prosecute Russian officials who are hoping to end the war via negotiations with the West. Such attitudes indicate that the ultranationalist communities are expecting Russian President Vladimir Putin to expand repression and fully commit to the war.

The Kremlin continues to avoid adopting overtly repressive measures likely out of concern for the stability of Putin’s regime. The Russian government withdrew a bill from the Russian State Duma that would have increased taxes from 13 to 30 percent for Russians who have fled the country.[11] Russian ultranationalists have repeatedly called on the Kremlin to nationalize property belonging to Russians who had “betrayed” the country by fleeing, but the Kremlin appears to remain hesitant to introduce such unpopular measures. Unnamed sources told Russian independent outlet Verska that the Russian presidential administration does not support the return of capital punishments in Russia – another issue that recently reemerged in Russian policy discussions.[12] The Kremlin could use the threat of the death penalty to scare Russians into supporting the war effort (or remaining passively resistant to it), but Putin likely remains hesitant to destroy his image as a diplomatic and tolerant tsar. ISW previously assessed that Putin relies on controlling the information space to safeguard his regime much more than the kind of massive oppression apparatus of the Soviet Union and that Putin has never rebuilt an internal repression apparatus equivalent to the KGB, Interior Ministry forces, and the Red Army.[13]

Russian civil rights groups OVD-Info, Memorial, and Rus Sidyashchaya (Russia Behind Bars) issued a legal challenge to the Russian censorship law against discrediting the Russian military on April 25. OVD-Info announced that its lawyers filed 10 of 20 planned complaints against the law to the Russian Constitutional Court in hopes that the court will rule the law unconstitutional.[14] The complaints centered around individual cases of alleged discreditation, including one case wherein authorities fined a man 50,000 rubles (about $612) for holding a sign calling for peace.[15] A fringe group of at least 20, mostly smaller, pro-war Russian milbloggers amplified a call for the Russian government to repeal the censorship laws on April 11 following the prosecution of a Russian medic for telling battlefield truths.[16] OVD-Info and other human rights organizations are most likely to face prosecution under Russian censorship laws. The Russian government is unlikely to repeal or strike down these laws without direction from the Kremlin, but challenges like OVD-Info’s demonstrate continued resistance to domestic censorship and repression.

Key Takeaways

  • Senior US and EU officials assess that Russian President Vladimir Putin would remain unwilling to negotiate in response to a successful Ukrainian counteroffensive.
  • A Ukrainian military official claimed on April 25 that Ukrainian forces are achieving “impressive results” in counter-battery combat against Russian forces on the Russian-occupied eastern (left) bank of the Dnipro River.
  • Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin denied ISW’s April 22 assessment about limited improvements in Wagner’s relations with the Russian military command ahead of the planned Ukrainian counteroffensive.
  • Russian ultranationalists continue to advocate for the Kremlin to adopt Stalinist repression measures.
  • The Kremlin continues to avoid adopting overtly repressive measures likely out of concern for the stability of Putin’s regime.
  • Russian civil rights groups OVD-Info, Memorial, and Rus Sidyashchaya (Russia Behind Bars) issued a legal challenge to the Russian censorship law against discrediting the Russian military on April 25.
  • Russian sources claimed that Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks on the Svatove-Kremmina line.
  • Russian forces continued to conduct ground attacks in and around Bakhmut and along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City frontline.
  • Russian milbloggers continued to issue vehement denials that Ukrainian forces established sustained positions on east (left) bank Kherson Oblast.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) is attempting to financially incentivize Russian prisoners to fight in Ukraine, offering them compensation equivalent to that of Russian volunteers.
  • The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported that Ukrainian partisans detonated a Russian military checkpoint near Oleshky.
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