April 15, 2023

Sitrep for Apr. 14-15 (as of 09:30 a.m.) 

The main news of the week included the law on digital draft notices (which came into force after being signed by President Putin on Apr. 14) and the leak of secret Pentagon documents, in which nothing more sensational than the lack of anti-aircraft missiles (primarily Soviet ones) on the Ukrainian side has been found yet. We have repeatedly reported that the "elite" units of the Russian paratroopers, marines, and special forces have lost almost all of the most trained soldiers.

The Situation on the Frontline

In the Bakhmut direction, some advancement by pro-Russian forces in the area of Korsunsky Street and the Bakhmut railway station can be noted. However, a part of the town (the one with high-rise buildings) still remains under the control of Ukrainian forces.

Pro-Russian sources post videos showing offensive actions of Russian forces near Nevelske in the Donetsk direction. The 110th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade of the 1st Army Corps of the RuAF (the former 1st Army Corps of the “People’s Militia of the DPR”) advances on Ukrainian positions using tanks followed by IFVs and TOS MLRS hitting the enemy, with fire directions given by a drone. However, despite all efforts, there is hardly any noticeable progress in this direction.

According to the Head of the Ukrainian Military Administration of Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, Sloviansk was hit with S-300 air defense system missiles. As a result of the strike, five multi-story residential buildings, five single-family houses, a store, an economic center, a club, and three cars were destroyed. As for now, eight people are reported to have been killed, and 21 more wounded.

Mobilization Update

Vladimir Putin signed the law on the common register of persons subject to military service, which is introducing digital draft notices. The law was published on the official portal of legal information and thus entered into force.

Despite the promises of Chairman of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Defense Committee Andrey Kartapolov that there would be no conscription in the newly annexed territories, a decree was signed in the so-called LPR on the conscription of citizens born in 1996–2005 for military service in the Russian Army in 2023. To do this, a draft board will be organized, and spring and fall conscription campaigns will be held this year.

Every Friday, Mediazona [an independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian update the data on the losses of the Russian side. As of Apr. 14, based on open sources, they managed to establish the names of more than 20,000 "Russian servicemen" killed in the war in Ukraine. Note that this number includes both former convicts and mercenaries of the Wagner Group who are not officially enlisted in the Russian Army.

Over the past two weeks, 1,820 new names of killed soldiers have appeared on the list, which is the highest number since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. Since January 2023, the names of about 700 killed soldiers have been established weekly, while in 2022, about 250-300 names appeared per week on average.

Recall that volunteers and journalists also study the situation in cemeteries (to date, this has been done in more than 65 Russian settlements) and have long come to the conclusion that their list contains at least two times fewer names of the killed than those buried in cemeteries (and those who are in morgues or remained on the battlefields are also among the dead).

Based on these body counts collected by volunteers, Mediazona, and BBC News Russian, the CIT team makes an independent assessment of the total casualties. We believe that our methodology cannot be extrapolated to recruited convicts, the death toll of which, as well as the killed/wounded ratio, are unknown. Therefore, from the number of those buried, established by obituaries, we subtract 3,000 convicts and start from an estimate of 17,000 people. Applying our methodology, we get 45,000 killed and 140,000 wounded. Thus, our conservative estimate of total Russian casualties is 185 thousand. This also matches the number of 35.5-43.5 thousand killed for the Russian side, which we saw in the leaked Pentagon papers.

The bodies of another 82 Ukrainian servicemen were brought back to Ukraine.

The Russian Ministry of Defense published a video stating that Belarusian military pilots have completed training in Russia under the program for the development and combat use of Sukhoi Su-25 attack aircraft, including the use of special munitions (meaning nuclear bombs).

Yevgeny Prigozhin [Russian oligarch, confidant of Vladimir Putin, and the owner of the Wagner Group] wrote an article in which, among other things, he stated, “The ideal option is to announce the end of the special military operation and inform everyone that Russia has achieved the results it planned ... Theoretically, Russia has already received this fat point by eliminating a large part of the active male population of Ukraine, by intimidating another part of it, which fled to Europe. Russia has cut off the Sea of Azov and a large piece of the Black Sea, seized a fat piece of Ukrainian territory and created a land corridor to Crimea. Now there is only one thing left: to firmly gain a foothold, to claw in those territories we already have”.

In yesterday's sitrep, we reported on a Russian T-90A tank seen in Louisiana. New photos of it have emerged, including a sticker with delivery information, according to which the tank was sent by the Multinational Assessment Field Team from Gdynia (Poland). The final recipient is the Aberdeen Proving Ground, the oldest US Army proving ground in Maryland.

A clearer photo of the T-55 tank spotted in the Zaporizhzhia region yesterday has also appeared.

About a month ago, we wrote about the MT-LB multi-purpose AFV equipped with naval machine gun mounts. A photo has now appeared of an ATS-59G artillery tractor removed from storage with a 2M-3M naval gun turret installed on it.