April 19, 2023

Sitrep for Apr. 18-19 (as of 08:30 a.m.)  

Strikes on the Territory of Ukraine

On the night of Apr. 18, Snihurivka, Mykolaiv region, was attacked by Geran (Shahed-131) kamikaze drones. Industrial infrastructure was damaged.

According to Andriy Yermak, Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, five Shahed loitering munitions were shot down in the Zaporizhzhia region on Apr. 18.

Another air attack by Shahed drones happened during the night of Apr. 19 in the Odesa region. The Air Force of the AFU reported that 10 out of 12 drones were shot down, and there were no casualties, but a drone hit caused a fire at a civilian infrastructure facility.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Mark Krutov investigated a strike supposedly at a military facility in Rubizhne, Donetsk region (we wrote about it at the beginning of the week). Internet users geolocated the site of the hit as the territory of a former hosiery factory. Satellite images showed that this area had been hit before. Mark also managed to find and geolocate photos taken near this factory in the summer of 2022: on one of them, 200 meters away from the factory, volunteers from Russia were handing armor vests and tactical kits to "LPR" fighters, and on another one, 400 meters away from the building damaged by the strike, we can see a position of the 208th Cossack Regiment of the "LPR People's Militia."

The headquarters of the Group of Troops “Dnepr” [Dnieper/Dnipro], which was visited by Vladimir Putin, has been geolocated. It turns out that it was not located in Henichesk but in the "Primorsky" children's camp in the village of Shchaslyvtseve in the Kherson region, on the Arabat Spit. The distance from this location to the frontline is approximately 130 km, confirming that this trip carried practically no risk to the president.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Avdiivka, where he presented awards to soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Recall that Avdiivka is located on the line of contact at the moment.

There have been new developments in the ongoing discussions surrounding the interview conducted by Vladimir Ovechkin [the founder of Gulagu.net, a Russian anti-corruption, and anti-torture human rights organization and website] with former convicts who became Wagner Group mercenaries. The Vyorstka media outlet managed to contact one of the interviewees in the video, Alexey Savichev. It has been revealed that Vladimir Osechkin paid Savichev, who found himself in a difficult financial situation, for the interview. This, in our opinion, further discredits the statements made by Alexey during the interview.

Mobilization Update

On Apr. 18, the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] swiftly passed new amendments to the law on citizenship in both the second and third readings. The new amendments prohibit renunciation of citizenship if an individual has an unfulfilled obligation to the Russian Federation arising from federal law. Thus, those who went abroad without completing their military or mobilization service will no longer be able to renounce their Russian citizenship.

There was a large salary gap between mobilized servicemen and those contract soldiers who enlisted voluntarily. The latter would earn 30-40 thousand rubles a month, and the former — 195 thousand, plus a 100 thousand sign-up bonus. At the federal level, a decision has been made to even out the payments, and now corresponding resolutions have begun to be adopted in the regions. For example, in the Novosibirsk region, volunteer soldiers are promised a salary of about 200,000 rubles a month and two sign-up bonuses (a federal and a regional) totaling 295,000 rubles.

The former Head of the "DPR", State Duma member Aleksandr Borodai stated that he admits the possibility of a second wave of mobilization in Russia. In his opinion, it is necessary to gather maximum forces in order to win a quick and effective victory so he does not exclude another wave of mobilization. Mobilized soldiers recruited during the first wave greatly strengthened Russian forces on the line of contact, but it was not enough to win in a short time. According to him, Ukraine is accumulating a large strike group for a counteroffensive and is going to throw it into combat in the second half of May.

Despite the fact that it is the first statement about the coming second wave of mobilization made by an official, in our opinion, it conveys Borodai's personal view of the situation and is not intended to prepare Russian society for the second wave.

The pro-Kremlin media outlet Baza [linked to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs] reports that at the end of March, policemen (600-700 people) from the Moscow Special Regiment, which specializes in dispersing rallies and protest marches, were given machine guns and were sent to shooting grounds. After that, they were sent to a medical evaluation board. Probably, these policemen will protect objects in the occupied territories.

Deliveries of Western Military Equipment

On Apr. 14, Minister of National Defense of Canada Anita Anand announced on social networks that all the tanks that Canada intended to supply to Ukraine had already arrived in Poland. Four Leopard 2A4 tanks were delivered in early February, with another four recently handed over. In addition, a Bergepanzer 3 Büffel (Buffalo) armored recovery vehicle was also sent to Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov posted a video showing AMX-10 RC armored fighting vehicles supplied by France, which have been put into service with the marines. This is not the first such publication; we have already seen these armored vehicles in Ukraine at the end of March.

Germany has delivered the first Patriot SAM system and missiles for it to Ukraine. This system can be put on combat duty at the end of April — the beginning of May this year. Delivery of several Patriot SAM systems from the Netherlands is also expected.

The Washington Post published another article based on the Pentagon secret data leak. It states that the Egyptian government planned to secretly produce and ship 122mm Sakr-45 rockets to Russia. According to the documents, enough copper and other materials were purchased to produce up to 40,000 rockets, but after a visit of the US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other US officials with a request for selling 152mm and 155mm shells for Ukraine, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi decided to suspend the plan of supplying rockets to Russia.

We do not know how reliable this information is, but given that Egypt has long been receiving large annual military aid from the United States, such weapons deliveries to Russia seem too risky.

A video captured the arrival of three Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets in Iran. Perhaps, these are the same aircraft that had originally been produced for Egypt but were promised to Iran after the cancellation of the purchase. The Center for Strategic and International Studies, citing its sources, reports that Moscow plans to supply Iran with a total of 60 such fighters.

A new video appeared, showing a Russian BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle trying to evacuate a broken Ural truck. Ukrainian soldiers from the 25th Brigade of the AFU spot the IFV from a drone and destroy it.