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Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 429: Another massive missile attack on Ukraine overnight

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 429: Another massive missile attack on Ukraine overnight
Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

23 cruise missiles targeted Ukraine overnight; 21 destroyed by air defense; dozens of casualties as rescue works continue. Russian forces reportedly use new tactics to complicate Ukrainian air defenses’ ability to detect Russian missiles. Ukrainian partisans conducted three separate attacks in occupied territories on April 26-27.

Daily overview — Summary report, April 28

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 18.00 pm, April 28, 2023 is in the dropdown menu below:

Situation in Ukraine. April 27, 2023. Source: ISW.

 
Day 429 of the full-scale russian military aggression has begun.
Glory to Ukraine! The four hundred and twenty-ninth day of large-scale armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine has begun. The russian aggressor does not abandon his intentions to occupy our territory, continues to wage a war of aggression. The enemy continues to use terror tactics, while ignoring the laws and customs of warfare, strikes civilian objects.
Today, russian terrorists launched another massive missile attack on Ukraine. Information about the consequences is currently being clarified.
Last day, the enemy carried out 8x missile and 31x air strikes, carried out 56x rounds from MRLS on the positions of our troops and populated areas. Civilians suffered, private residential buildings and other civilian infrastructure were destroyed and damaged.
The threat of further missile and air strikes on the entire territory of Ukraine remains high.
The enemy continues to focus its main efforts on conducting offensive actions on the Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Mar’yinka axes. During the past day, they carried out more than 65x attacks on the specified areas of the frontline, but all of them were repelled by units of the defense forces. Bakhmut and Mar’yinka remain at the epicenter of hostilities, our soldiers bravely defend themselves.
Volyn’ and Polissya axes: the operational situation has not undergone significant changes. There were no signs of the formation of offensive groups.
Kharkiv Battle Map. April 27, 2023. Source: ISW.
Sivershchyna and Slobozhanshchyna axes: during the past day, the enemy carried out airstrikes on the settlements of Seredyna-Buda and Chernatske; carried out mortar and artillery shelling of Gremyach settlements of Chernihiv Oblast; Novovasylivka, Ukrainyske, Baranivka, Bachivsk, Kucherivka, Volfine, Oleksiivka, and Myropyllya in the Sumy Oblast, as well as Basove, Bugaivka, Kozacha Lopan, Strelecha, Hlyboke, Gatyshche, Vovchansk, Vilkhuvatka, Bologivka, Dvorichanske, and Kolodyazne in the Kharkiv Oblast.
Kupiansk axis: the enemy did not carry out offensive actions, actively using unmanned aerial vehicles to adjust artillery fire. Kam’ianka, Krasne Pershe, Figolivka, Novomlynsk, Dvorichna, Zapadne, Lyman Pershi, Doroshivka, Berestov in the Kharkiv Oblast and Novoselivske in the Luhansk Oblast got under enemy artillery and mortar fire.
Donetsk Battle Map. April 27, 2023. Source: ISW.
Lyman axis: the adversary conducted unsuccessful offensive actions in the area of the settlement of Dibrova and Serebryansk forestry. Makiivka, Nevske, Dibrova, Belogorivka of the Luhansk Oblast and Terny, Verkhnokamianske, Spirne of the Donetsk Oblast were hit by artillery fire.
Bakhmut Battle Map. April 27, 2023. Source: ISW.
Bakhmut axis: the enemy continues conducting offensive operations. Fighting continues in the city of Bakhmut. In addition, during the past day, the enemy conducted unsuccessful offensive actions on the axis of Bohdanivka. Vasyukivka, Orihovo-Vasylivka, Hryhorivka, Khromovka, Bakhmut, Chasiv Yar, Ivanovske, Predtechine, Kostyantynivka, Severnye, Pivdenne, Nelipivka and New York of the Donetsk Oblast were affected by enemy shelling.
Avdiivka axis: the adversary carried out offensive actions in the areas of Avdiivka, Severna and Pervomaiske settlements of the Donetsk Oblast, without success. They shelled the settlements of Novokalynove, Stepove, Berdychi, Lastochkine, Avdiivka, Severne, Vodyane, Pervomaiske of the Donetsk Oblast.
Mar’yinka axis: during the past day, our defenders repelled enemy attacks in the areas of Krasnohorivka and Mar’yinka settlements. At the same time, Krasnohorivka, Georgiivka, Mar’yinka, Paraskoviivka and Novomykhailivka of the Donetsk Oblast got under enemy fire.
Shakhtars’ke axis: the enemy did not carry out any offensive operations the last day. They carried out airstrikes on Vugledar and Velika Novosilka, shelled the settlements of Bogoyavlenka, Novoukrayinka, Zolota Niva, Prechistivka, and Vugledar in the Donetsk Oblast.
Zaporizhzhia Battle Map. April 27, 2023. Source: ISW.
Zaporizhzhia and Kherson axes: the enemy is on the defensive. In the meantime, they carried out shelling of populated areas, which are next to the line of military confrontation. Among them are Vilne Pole, Novopil’ of the Donetsk Oblast; Olhivske, Gulyaipole, Mala Tokmachka, Orihiv, Novoandriyivka and Kam’ianske of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast; Kherson and Beryslav, Kherson Oblast. Also last day, at night, the enemy launched a missile attack on Mykolaiv.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. April 27, 2023. Source: ISW.
The invaders continue to suffer losses, including non-combat losses. Thus, on April 24, 20x invaders died in one of the units of the enemy located in the Melitopol district of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, as a result of poisoning due to the use of an unknown substance.
Over the past day, the aviation of the Defense Forces made 7x strikes on areas of concentration of personnel and military equipment of the occupiers, as well as a strike on the enemy’s anti-aircraft missile complex.
At the same time, our defenders shot down 6x enemy UAVs of various types.
During the past day, units of missile and artillery forces hit 2x control points, an area where the enemy’s manpower was concentrated, an anti-aircraft defense system, an ammunition depot, and 2x artillery units.

Military Updates

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1651525795502858240

Russia plans to recruit 400,000 more troops for war against Ukraine – WP citing leaked documents. The leaked documents obtained by The Washington Post reveal that Russian officials are struggling to recruit more troops for the ongoing war against Ukraine without further angering the public. The military is urgently seeking to enlist 400,000 additional troops throughout 2023 for the war. The Russian military started the full-scale invasion in February 2022 with a force of around 150,000 and has since mobilized over 300,000 more troops.

Like previous weapons, F-16s will not provoke Russia to “escalate” – Ukraine’s FM. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister has urged the international community to supply F-16 fighter jets to deter Russian aggression, noting that this would not provoke Russia to “escalate” as was previously claimed about other types of weapons that Ukraine had received.

Expectations for counter-offensive are “overheated. This is a marathon,” Ukrainian Defense Minister says. In his interview for the RBC outlet, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said that expectations of a counteroffensive “are overheated.” Both Ukrainian society and the West have overheated expectations, the Minister said, because, in any case, this war is a marathon and is not going to end in a matter of days or weeks. Also, when the counteroffensive begins, nobody will know about it.

EU ambassadors again failed to agree on joint procurement of ammunition for Ukraine – media. EU ambassadors again failed to agree on joint purchases of ammunition on Wednesday, 26 April 2023, and it is unclear whether a compromise will be reached on Friday, a Western diplomat told Polish RMF FM. The EU has promised Ukraine 1 million artillery rounds by the end of the year, both from the warehouses of EU countries and as part of joint purchases. However, so far, deliveries from warehouses are very slow. The countries have sent less than 40,000 ammunition rounds, while the joint purchases remain not agreed.

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

https://twitter.com/DefenceHQ/status/1651590861992361989

  • Last week, Russian media reported that the annual Russian International Army Games will not take place in 2023. Pitched as the ‘War Olympics’, the games have symbolised Russia’s attempt to re-establish the military at the heart of popular culture. The festival-like event is particularly known for the Tank Biathlon.

 

  • Russia has likely cancelled the games mainly because it is concerned the event would be seen as frivolous in wartime. Russian nationalist commentators, including former intelligence officer Igor Girkin, fiercely criticised the Russian Ministry of Defence (MOD) for going ahead with the 2022 iteration.

 

  • There is also a realistic possibility that due to losses in Ukraine, the Russian MOD is concerned a shortage of tanks, tank crews and other skilled personnel will risk the Russian team’s usual domination of the medals table.

Losses of the Russian army 

Losses of the Russian Army. Source: Euromaidan Press.

Humanitarian 

PACE recognizes forced deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia as genocide. In Strasbourg, a resolution entitled “Deportations and Forced Displacements of Ukrainian Children and Other Civilians to the Russian Federation or to the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine: Creating Conditions for Their Safe Return, Ending These Crimes, and Holding Those Responsible Accountable” was passed at a plenary session of The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Thursday, according to “European Truth”.

Russian school textbooks delete Kyiv and ‘explain the inevitability’ of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Russia’s minister of education, Sergei Kravtsov has presented something described as a new 11th Grade history textbook for schools in Russia and occupied Crimea.  This new book contains sections on what Russia is calling the ‘special military operation’ with even the few excerpts already seen making it clear that the material pushes a seriously distorted, and often openly false, picture of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.  This should come as no surprise, as earlier textbooks are just as misleading about Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014. The main difference lies in the ferocity of state repression against anybody, including children, who dares to question the official version and the sheer weight of proven facts that teachers and students will be required to ‘not see’ and/or deny.

Russia hits residential area in Mykolaiv with missiles killing at least one, injuring 23. During early hours 27 April, Russian forces launched a missile strike on the southern city of Mykolaiv, targeting residential areas with four missiles. As of 07:00, reports confirm one civilian fatality and 23 injuries resulting from the Russian attack.

https://twitter.com/ZarinaZabrisky/status/1651895410443550722

Environmental

Energy system restoration improved economic growth forecast for 2023 from 0.3% to 2% – NBU. According to the press service of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), the NBU has revised its economic recovery forecast for Ukraine this year from 0.3% to 2%, considering the rapid restoration of the energy system. The regulator notes that the economy will return to growth this year, which will accelerate in the coming years against the backdrop of reduced security risks. The economic growth forecast for 2023 has been improved from 0.3% to 2% due to the rapid restoration of the energy system and soft fiscal policy. The NBU expects no significant electricity deficits, except for local and situational deficits in the second half of the year.

Russian troops established fighting positions on the roofs of occupied reactor buildings — UK Intelligence. Imagery shows that by March 2023, Russian forces had established sandbag fighting positions on the roofs of several of the six reactor buildings at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the occupied part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the UK Intelligence update states.

Russian troops established fighting positions on the roofs of occupied reactor buildings — UK Intelligence

Ukraine PM presents Pope Francis with photo album of Russian crimes. According to a statement released by Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, he met with Pope Francis on Thursday and presented him with a photo album documenting Russian crimes in cities including Bucha and Borodianka in Ukraine. Shmyhal stated that the album vividly demonstrates the hatred and cruelty of the aggressor that came to Ukrainian lands. During the meeting, Shmyhal expressed hope that the Vatican would join efforts to implement President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s peace formula, “including the process of returning prisoners and deportees, restoring justice and recording the end of the war.”

Support

14,000 Ukrainian troops have returned home after receiving training in UK. During a House of Commons session on Ukraine, UK Defence Minister Andrew Murrison stated that the UK is actively working to pursue war crimes related to Russia’s war against Ukraine, SkyNews reports. He mentioned that 14,000 Ukrainian troops have returned to Ukraine after receiving training in the UK. Furthermore, Mr. Murrison stated that the UK will continue to provide military support to Ukraine and spend £2.3bn this year to assist them. He made it clear that the UK will stand by Ukraine for as long as necessary.

Ukraine and Italy discuss joint production of air defense systems and Ukraine’s EU membership during the Prime Minister’s visit. Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal visited Italy on 26 April 2023, meeting with Italian Prime-Minister Giorgia Meloni, Italian President Sergio Mattarella and visiting the defense enterprise Rheinmetall Italia. During this visit, he said that Ukraine and Italy are considering the possibility of joint production of air defense systems that will protect infrastructure from enemy drone attacks.

New Developments

Iranian ships transported 300,000 artillery shells, 1 million rounds of ammunition to Russia in six months – WSJ. Russian ships are transporting large amounts of Iranian-made artillery shells and ammunition across the Caspian Sea to resupply Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. Cargo ships have transported over 300,000 artillery shells and 1 million rounds of ammunition from Iran to Russia in the past six months. Intelligence on these shipments has been passed on to the US, WSJ writes. The last shipment of weapons known to have crossed the Caspian Sea to Russia left Iran in early March aboard the cargo ship Rasul Gamzatov, carrying 1,000 containers with 2,000 artillery shells.

Ukraine aims to be fully prepared for EU accession in two years, says Ukraine’s PM. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has stated that Ukraine is confident of its victory in the war and has an ambitious plan to be fully ready for EU accession within two years. The prime minister has further mentioned that Russia has caused unprecedented destruction in Ukraine, which Europe has not seen since World War II. The restoration of Ukraine will be a victory not only for Ukraine but also for the European economy in the 2020s, Shmyhal added.

Leaked US docs show Russia can fund Ukraine war for another year despite sanctions. Leaked US military documents obtained by The Washington Post reveal that Russia can fund the war in Ukraine for at least another year, despite heavy and increasing sanctions. The assessment, which appears to date from early March, indicates that some of Russia’s economic elites, while not agreeing with the country’s course in Ukraine, are unlikely to withdraw support for President Putin.

Ukrainian partisan underground eliminated another Russian collaborationist in occupied Melitopol. In south-Ukrainian Russian-occupied city of Melitopol, a traitor policeman was blown up by Ukrainian partisan underground. This was stated by Ukrainian mayor of Melitopol Ivan Fedorov, who is on the government-controlled territory, and also confirmed by the Russia video. 42-year-old Alexander Mishchenko was was the deputy head of an occupational police department and was guarding the occupation administrator of the city Galina Danilchenko.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of  April 27, 2022:

The Russian military command appears to be reshuffling the leadership of command organs associated with force generation, sustainment, and logistics. Several prominent Russian milbloggers claimed on April 27 that Colonel General Aleksey Kuzmenkov, Deputy Head of the Russian National Guard (Rosgvardia), has replaced Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev as Deputy Defense Minister of the Russian Federation for Logistics.[1] A Wagner-affiliated milblogger claimed that Mizintsev’s dismissal may be a result of a combat readiness check of troops of the Northern Fleet carried out by former commander of the airborne (VDV) forces and Wagner affiliate Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky, who was recently re-appointed to an unspecified command role in Ukraine.[2] The milblogger claimed that Teplinsky’s inspection revealed that troops in certain places of the front were not receiving necessary weapons.[3] The Wagner Group has experienced significant issues with dealing with the Russian logistics enterprise, and Teplinsky’s reported role in identifying issues with supply may portend a renewed focus of Russian sustainment organs on providing Wagner with necessary logistical support, as Teplinsky’s affiliations with Wagner are well-established.[4] ISW previously reported on September 24, 2022, that Mizinstev replaced Army General Dmitry Bulgakov as Head of Logistics and that Mizintsev previously was the head of the Russian National Defense Control Center and oversaw command of the 150th Motorized Rifle Division (8th Combined Arms Army, Southern Military District) during Russian operations in Mariupol in spring 2022.[5] Russian milbloggers additionally reported that former Head of the 8th Directorate of the Russian General Staff (State Secret Protection) Yuri Kuznetsov will become Head of the Main Directorate of Personnel of the Russian Ministry of Defense and that Stanislav Gadzhimagomedov, Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Department of the Russian General Staff will replace General Oleg Gorshenin as Head of the National Defense Control Center.[6] Official Russian sources have not yet confirmed these changes.

The three command organs that are reportedly receiving new leadership as part of this reshuffle are noteworthy because they are associated with managing aspects of Russian force generation, troop sustainment, and logistical oversight. The Russian National Defense Control Center is the body responsible for coordinating the actions of the Russian Armed Forces and is essentially the nerve center of the entire Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD). Alongside the coordination actions of the National Defense Control Center, the organs responsible for personnel and logistical oversight facilitate critical troop sustainment functions. The Russian General Staff may be scrambling to enact these changes as fear over a Ukrainian counteroffensive mounts in the Russian information space. These changes also suggest that existing commanders in charge of these functions failed to properly facilitate Russia’s winter offensive, which has largely culminated without making substantial gains. However, these changes are unlikely to effectively set conditions for Russian forces to respond to a Ukrainian counteroffensive in a timely manner. These changes may be part of a wider effort to reform and formalize the Russian Armed Forces over the long term.

Western officials expressed confidence in Ukraine’s ability to conduct a successful counteroffensive. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated on April 27 that NATO has trained and equipped more than nine new Ukrainian brigades, emphasizing that Ukrainian forces are in a “strong” position to retake captured territory in their upcoming counteroffensive.[7] Stoltenberg also stated that NATO and its partners have delivered over 98 percent of promised combat vehicles to Ukraine, totaling over 1,550 armored vehicles, 230 tanks, and other unspecified equipment.[8] US European Command (EUCOM) Commander General Christopher Cavoli stated that the US has been working closely with Ukrainian forces to develop a counteroffensive plan, including developing techniques to surprise Russian forces.[9]

Russian forces are reportedly using new tactics to complicate Ukrainian air defenses’ ability to detect Russian missiles. Russian forces conducted four Kalibr missile strikes on Mykolaiv City on April 27, and Ukrainian sources reported that Russian forces directed the missiles using different terrain features, different heights of launches, and multiple trajectory changes to complicate their detection by Ukrainian air defenses.[10] The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) acknowledged that Russian forces conducted a sea-based, long-range, high precision missile strike on April 27, following its recent notable silence about Russian missile and air strikes as part of its broader missile campaign in Ukraine.[11] ISW previously assessed that Russia‘s missile campaign to degrade Ukraine‘s unified energy infrastructure definitively failed and that Russian forces appear to have abandoned the effort.[12] Russian forces maintain the capability to renew their missile campaign if they desire, and Russian forces may employ these tactics in order to conserve their stocks of high precision missiles in the event of a renewed missile campaign.

Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov appears to have launched a renewed campaign for national attention. Kadyrov publicized that he met with several prominent Russian officials – including Russian National Guard Federal Service Director Viktor Zolotov, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Presidential Administration Head Anton Vaino, and Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Alexander Bortnikov – on April 26. Kadyrov claimed that he discussed topics including relations between Russian regions and the federal government with Bortnikov and that Bortnikov thanked him personally for the stable situation in Chechnya.[13] Kadyrov also continues to draw heavily on Chechen soldiers’ role in Ukraine to bolster his own image. Kadyrov claimed on April 26 that Chechen Akhmat-1 Special Purposes Mobile Unit (OMON) security officers with extensive combat experience departed to replace their comrades in Ukraine.[14]

Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin met with Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu and Iranian Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani in New Delhi, India on April 27.[15] Belarus’s ongoing efforts to build relationships with countries that have either supported or not condemned Russia’s war in Ukraine likely aim to build a coalition of non-Western countries and deepen pathways to help Russia evade Western sanctions, on which ISW has previously reported.[16] The Belarusian Ministry of Defense (MoD) stated that Khrenin and Li discussed the status of an “all-weather” comprehensive strategic partnership between Belarus and China as well as prospects for cooperation in military and general spheres.[17] The Belarusian MoD’s mention of an “all-weather” partnership closely mirrors Russian efforts to frame the Sino-Russian relationship as a “no limits” partnership despite existing Chinese reservations. The Belarusian MoD stated that Khrenin and Ashtiani noted the existence of “significant potential and prospects” to strengthen military contracts and increase practical cooperation.[18]

Key Takeaways

  • The Russian military command appears to be reshuffling the leadership of command organs associated with force generation, sustainment, and logistics.
  • The three command organs that are reportedly receiving new leadership as part of this reshuffle are noteworthy because they are associated with managing aspects of Russian force generation, troop sustainment, and logistical oversight.
  • Western officials expressed confidence in Ukraine’s ability to conduct a successful counteroffensive.
  • Russian forces are reportedly using new tactics to complicate Ukrainian air defenses’ ability to detect Russian missiles.
  • Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov appears to have launched a renewed campaign for national attention.
  • Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin met with Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu and Iranian Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani in New Delhi, India on April 27.
  • Russian forces conducted defensive operations in the Kupiansk direction and limited ground attacks near Kreminna.
  • Russian forces did not make any confirmed gains in or around Bakhmut but may be transferring additional reserves to the Bakhmut area.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line.
  • Russian forces are further militarizing the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) to defend against possible Ukrainian counteroffensive operations.
  • The Washington Post reported that leaked US intelligence documents state that Russian military leaders aim to enlist 815,000 soldiers while balancing concerns about critical labor shortages.
  • Ukrainian partisans conducted three separate attacks in occupied territories on April 26-27.
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