Friday, 22 April 2022
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Russia’s war against Ukraine
Ukrainian serviceman passes by a building destroyed by a bomb in the town of Borodyanka in Kyiv Oblast on April 6, 2022. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)
U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal met in Washington D.C. on April 21. Biden wrote that the meeting was “to convey our continued commitment to support Ukraine in the face of Russia’s brutal war of aggression.” Shmyhal is the highest-ranking Ukrainian official to visit the U.S. since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Zelensky about lifting Mariupol blockade: ‘We’re preparing, but we need weapons.’ Ukraine’s military is preparing to unblock Mariupol through diplomatic or military means, but the country needs the right weapons from its allies, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on April 21. Mariupol has been besieged since early March, while Russia has repeatedly blocked evacuation of civilians.
Ukraine’s airforce destroys 15 Russian aerial targets. Yuriy Ignat, a Ukrainian air force spokesman, said Ukraine shot down 9 UAVs, three planes, and three helicopters over the past 24 hours.
Washington Post: Pentagon says Ukraine has more tanks on the ground than Russia. Ukrainian forces have more tanks in Ukraine than the Russians do, “and they certainly have the purview to use them,” said an undisclosed senior U.S. defense official quoted by the Washington Post.
Nearly three quarters of government-controlled Donetsk Oblast population displaced. Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said the region’s population, previously at around 1.6 million, has been reduced to 430,000 since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion. In Kramatorsk, the largest city in the region after Mariupol, only 40,000 remain of a population that typically numbers 200,000, Kyrylenko said.
19 Ukrainian POWs released in new exchange. Deputy PM Iryna Vereshchuk said that two officers, eight soldiers and nine civilians were released from Russian captivity. Some of them have been wounded. Vereshchuk didn’t disclose the number of Russian POWs that Ukraine sent to Russia in return. It is the sixth prisoner exchange since Feb. 24.
Russia fires missiles at Khortytsia Island in Zaporizhzhia. According to the regional military administration, eight civilians were injured as a result of attacks.
Russia has occupied 42 settlements in Donetsk Oblast. Olena Symonenko, an aide to the chief of staff to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said on April 21 that Russia had captured additional Ukrainian settlements in Donetsk Oblast, making it more difficult to deliver humanitarian aid there. She noted that 3,500 Ukrainian settlements are currently under Russian occupation.
Chemical plant and defense research building burn down in Russia. The plant and research facility are located in separate towns, Kineshma, 335 kilometers north-east of Moscow and Tver, about 170 kilometers northwest of Moscow. The source of the fires are yet to be determined, but both buildings reportedly sustained damage. The casualties of the chemical plant are unknown, while the research facility had at least seven deaths and 25 injuries.
Russian lawmaker proposes to force Ukrainian POWs to donate blood to injured Russian soldiers. Sergey Leonov proposed the move while speaking with reporters on April 21.
World Bank estimates infrastructure damage to Ukraine at $60 billion. The estimate only accounts for the damage so far, and will rise further as the war continues, said World Bank President David Malpass. While addressing a World Bank conference on Ukraine’s financial assistance needs, President Volodymyr Zelensky estimated that Ukraine will need $7 billion per month to make up for economic losses.
Russia shells Kharkiv region over 50 times. Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Synehubov reports that the region was under fire from artillery and multiple rocket launchers which resulted in two civilian casualties.
CNN: Russia replenishes forces on the front line. According to an undisclosed senior U.S. defense official quoted by CNN, Russia continues to bolster its forces in eastern Ukraine, bringing the total number of its battalion tactical groups to 85. Most of them are being deployed to the Donbas, the official said.
UK intelligence: Russia seeks to achieve military successes before annual May 9 ‘Victory Day’ parade. “This could affect how quickly and forcefully they attempt to conduct operations in the run-up to this date,” the British Defense Ministry wrote. The ministry added that Russian troops are advancing towards Kramatorsk, the largest urban area in Donbas under the Ukrainian flag.
Read our exclusive, on the ground stories
Ukraine and the world have spent weeks in anticipation of the battle for Donbas, “the second phase” of Russia’s all-out war on Ukraine. With the drastic intensification of hostilities in Donbas and neighboring areas, President Volodymyr Zelensky on April 18 finally confirmed the beginning of Russia’s large-scale offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Read our explainer on what to expect from the battle in Donbas, Russia’s new offensive.
The human cost of Russia’s war
Mariupol City Council: Up to 9,000 Mariupol residents could be buried in Manhush. According to the authorities, satellite images of a mass grave in Manhush, a town 20 kilometers west of the besieged port city, published by Maxar suggest that 3,000-9,000 people could be buried there. In total, up to 22,000 Mariupol residents may have already been killed by Russia’s offensive, according to preliminary estimates, the council said.
Satellite imagery shows 985-foot-long mass grave in village near Mariupol. RFE/RL journalists obtained satellite images showing what looks like a place of mass burial — a 300-meters (985 foot) long trench. Earlier, advisor to the mayor of Mariupol Petro Andryushchenko said that in a village about 20 kilometers away from Mariupol, the Russian military arranged a mass burial for the killed Ukrainians. When the images confirmed his report, he said that even he was shocked by the scale of it.
World Bank to provide Ukraine with grant of almost $96 million. Ukraine’s Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko signed an agreement with the World Bank for a grant to assist Ukraine with economic recovery, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced on his Telegram on April 21.
US to provide $500 million budgetary assistance to Ukraine. U.S. President Joe Biden announced on April 21 an accelerated program to allow Ukrainian refugees into the United States and $500 million in direct economic aid to the Ukrainian government. Earlier, Finance Minister Sergii Marchenko said that Ukraine’s state budget deficit would likely increase from $2.7 billion in March to $5-7 billion in April and May.
Biden announces additional $800 million military aid to Ukraine, US ban on Russian ships. Biden said on April 21 that it “sent an unmistakable message to Putin: He will never succeed in dominating and occupying all of Ukraine.” Some of the weaponry sent to Ukraine would be kept secret. Biden also announced a ban for Russian ships to enter American ports.
UK sanctions additional 26 Russian individuals and enterprises. The U.K. has imposed sanctions on a number of Russian military leaders, including the so-called “butcher of Bucha.”
EU committed to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine, says Michel. President of the European Council Charles Michel told European Pravda that the EU had agreed to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine but there won’t be many announcements about it. He added that he was convinced that Ukraine would win against Russia.
Estonia becomes first country to officially recognize Russia’s actions in Ukraine as genocide. The Estonian parliament, on April 21, approved a resolution calling Russia’s aggression and subsequent war crimes against Ukraine an act of genocide and urged other countries to do the same. The Latvian parliament, following Estonia, also approved a resolution calling Russia’s aggression and subsequent war crimes against Ukraine an act of genocide. Lawmakers also allowed revoking Latvian citizenship for people with multiple citizenships who support war crimes.
Pentagon develops drone system for Ukraine. The Phoenix Ghost drone system was developed to meet Ukrainian needs as it is fighting Russia, with a minimal amount of training needed for Ukrainian forces, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on April 21. The new U.S. military aid package includes 121 such systems.
Israel to supply protective equipment for Ukrainian rescuers. Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved the delivery of bulletproof vests and helmets on April 20 to Ukrainian rescue services, according to Reuters. The move marks a shift in Israel’s position to providing equipment to Ukraine amid Russia’s war.
Florence + the Machine releases music video shot in Kyiv, dedicated to Ukraine. The U.K. band dedicated the video for the song titled “Free” to the “spirit, creativity, and perseverance of our brave Ukrainian friends.” Acclaimed British actor Bill Nighy is featured in the video.
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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Alexander Query, Thaisa Semenova, Oleg Sukhov, Illia Ponomarenko, Sergiy Slipchenko, Olena Goncharova, Oleksiy Sorokin, Olga Rudenko, Toma Istomina, Lili Bivings and Brad LaFoy.