Sitrep for Apr. 12-13 (as of 08:30 a.m.)
First of all, in response to the video sent by our viewers, which is allegedly related to the AFU attack on the Zaporizhzhia NPP in October 2022, we note that it was made in a completely different place (near Nova Kakhovka) and was analyzed in one of our January sitreps.
The Situation on the Frontline
Everything is still relatively quiet on the entire frontline. A significant share of videos filmed at the front show drone attacks. Both Ukrainian and Russian operators have gained considerable experience in using them and learned to do it more efficiently.
The DeepState Ukrainian Telegram channel confirms the presence of Russian airborne units north and south of Bakhmut, but they have not been seen in the town yet. Besides, such rotation has so far not resulted in an intensification of offensive operations by the Wagner Group mercenaries.
As expected, on Apr. 12, the law on “digital draft notices” was signed by the Federation Council [the upper chamber of the Federal Assembly, the Russian parliament]. After signing by the President, it will be published and come into force.
Andrey Kartapolov, one of the co-authors of the proposed law, chairman of the State Duma Committee on Defense, made a new statement, according to which this law was aimed at creating an effective system of mobilization deployment (which contradicts all of his previous statements).
It cannot be ruled out that the US may have all the information about Russia's mobilization resources in the near future.
Also, an amendment was adopted by the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia], which allows 18-year-old citizens of Russia to sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense from the first day of conscription (and be sent to the front). Previously, it was required to serve for at least three months for this.
Secret Data Leak
The Washington Post published an article stating that the source of the leak of classified documents was a US Defense Department employee who worked at a military base. Being a big fan of weapons, he gathered like-minded people on his server and discussed, among other things, secret information about the pandemic. He also published classified documents and even talked about how difficult it was to copy them as they were only accessible at a classified facility where personal phones were not allowed.
Also, citing these documents, The Washington Post reports that according to Pentagon analysts, the war will not end in 2023 as neither side has sufficient forces for the final victory.
Journalists who investigated the classified documents noted that NATO special forces were present in Ukraine. Several countries, such as the United Kingdom and Latvia, confirmed this. However, judging by the number of special forces fighters (only a few dozen), those are not combat units, but rather embassy or other important facility security personnel and instructors.
Deliveries of Western Military Equipment
It became known that the United States will get 500,000 155mm artillery shells from South Korea, and in turn the US will be able to supply more of its ammunition to Ukraine. Thus, Korea will keep maintaining formal neutrality.
The Ukraine Weapons Tracker project examined a video showing 2A36 Giatsint-B towed 152mm field guns and, based on their coloring, concluded that those are the guns which Finland bought from the USSR in the late 1980s. The shipment of these weapons from Finland to Ukraine has never been reported.
The researchers also noted that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have Finnish Apilas [Armor-Piercing Infantry Light Arm System] anti-tank weapons at their disposal.
The Belarusian Hajun project reports that on the evening of Apr. 11, a train carrying military vehicles was spotted in Gomel; there were, at least, 10 outdated GAZ-66 trucks among the vehicles. Their wheels were painted white, which means that they had been removed from long-term storage. The authors suggest that they may be equipped with mounted 2B9 Vasilek 82mm gun-mortars. This is likely a part of Belarusian military assistance to Russia.
Following the Belgorod and Kursk regions, Victory Day parades and other festive events on May 9 were canceled in the annexed Crimea. The occupation administration of the captured part of the Kherson region also announced the cancellation of the parade.
It is disputable if the AFU are ready to hit a concentration of vehicles prepared for a parade in Russia’s regions close to Ukraine (if they decided to hold a parade there).
Founder of Gulagu.net [a Russian anti-corruption, anti-torture human rights organization and website] Vladimir Osechkin stated that the former fighter of the Wagner Group who fled to Norway, Andrey Medvedev, allegedly identified Wagner mercenaries in the video with the execution of a Ukrainian prisoner of war "by their characteristic callsigns, the way they talk, and what they voice over the radio." We do not agree with such an assessment: this communication style and callsigns are typical for both professional military personnel and "volunteer fighters" and mercenaries of the Wagner Group.
According to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, the counteroffensive of the AFU is likely to be postponed until this summer. It is impossible to say unequivocally which side time is now on. During this extra time, Ukraine can receive more ammunition, as well as get more military personnel retrained in Western countries. On the other hand, Russia will be able to produce ammunition and military vehicles, as well as implement a mobilization call mechanism using digital draft notices, call up and prepare a certain number of people to prevent a situation like during the "Kharkiv operation", when the frontline collapsed.