April 28, 2023

Sitrep for Apr. 27-28 (as of 09:00 a.m.)

RuAF Strikes on the Territory of Ukraine

On the night of Apr. 28, another massive missile strike took place on the territory of Ukraine.

According to Head of the Kyiv city military administration Serhiy Popko, 11 missiles and two drones were shot down in the area of Kyiv. Fortunately, there were no civilian casualties.

Explosions were reported in Kremenchuk, Poltava, Mykolaiv, Dnipro and the Dnipropetrovsk region.

According to Mayor of Dnipro Boris Filatov, a young woman and a three-year-old child were killed as a result of a missile strike on Dnipro. Apparently, a residential building was hit.

In the town of Uman, Cherkasy region, one of the missiles (or fragments of a downed one) hit a multi-storey residential building, destroying part of it. Head of the administration of the Cherkasy region Ihor Taburets reported that as for 7 a.m., there was information about three killed and eight wounded civilians; rescue work continues.

One of the residents of the damaged part of the building that had not been destroyed showed the aftermath of the strike from inside: fragments of broken windows injured the residents of the apartment, reportedly including children.

According to Commander-in-Chief of the AFU Valerii Zaluzhnyi, 21 out of 23 missiles launched by the RuAF were shot down.

These missile strikes were preceded by Russian attacks on Ukrainian air defense systems with loitering munitions. There were a number of videos showing Russian ZALA Lancet loitering munitions hitting Ukrainian S-300 air defense missile launchers. In some cases, as a result of the strike, anti-aircraft missiles detonated, in others it did not happen. At least three S-300 air defense missile launchers were attacked, and two of them were destroyed.

The Russian side claims that a Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft gun which is also designed to combat UAVs, was hit by a Lancet kamikaze drone. As far as we know, this is the first hit on such a system.

It was also claimed that a Ukrainian Buk SAM system standing in a forest was hit, but the video quality makes it impossible to confirm.

This attack once again demonstrates that the air defense of many countries was not prepared for combat operations with active participation of UAVs. A large number of inexpensive drones may not disable the system, but at least force expensive anti-aircraft missiles to be expended.

The potential of the UAV industry was noted by Vladimir Putin, who claimed that in the future, investment in it could reach 1 trillion rubles (the Russian Ministry of Defense budget is about 3 trillion rubles).

Volodymyr Zelenskyy showed the aftermath of the strikes on Mykolaiv on Apr. 27, which resulted in one person killed and 23 injured.

A residential building and the so-called "Admiralty" building (the administrative building of the Mykolaiv Shipyard) were damaged. In addition, footage of a hit on a single-family residential neighborhood has emerged.

The Situation on the Frontline

Julian Röpcke, a journalist for Bild, studied the situation in Bakhmut and marked on a map that, in his opinion, pro-Russian forces have seized 90-95% of the town at the moment. The Wagner Group was able to advance about 300 meters west of the railway. The situation with the supply of Ukrainian troops becomes even more acute.

Mobilization Update

The Ministry of Defense continues recruiting convicts across Russia for the war in Ukraine, reaching out as far as the remote penal colonies of Siberia and the Far East. According to Pyotr Kuryanov, a human rights activist, 400 convicts from Angarsk penal colony No. 15 were coerced to join the armed forces and taken away.
The Sirena Telegram channel published a video statement by a former inmate of Saint Petersburg's penal colony No. 4, Yuri Yakovlev. He reported that on Feb. 20, representatives of the Russian Ministry of Defense arrived at the colony and recruited 110 people, who were first sent to a training ground and then to the frontline near the village of Vodiane in Donetsk region. According to the former convict, their weapons were provided by a volunteer fighter not officially connected to the Ministry of Defense (the author of the Misha in Donbas Telegram channel). Moreover, the commanders of the unit, which they called Storm Z, were chosen by the fighters from among their own ranks. The assault group was sent into the breach without support, as a result of which many were killed.

The Ministry of Health of the Vladimir region sent a letter to the heads of medical organizations in the region demanding to provide lists of doctors who are ready to “immediately leave for the Krasnodar region for a at least a one-month period” to work in a field hospital deployed by the Federal Center for Disaster Medicine in Anapa. Perhaps, this is due to the anticipation of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Furthermore, in preparation for the counteroffensive, local commanders have started to deny the mobilized soldiers leave promised by the president.

Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the deportation of residents of occupied territories who pose a threat to Russia's security (advocating for violent changes to the foundations of Russia's constitutional order, financing the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and participating in unauthorized actions). Such individuals (with Ukrainian passports or passports from the so-called DPR and LPR) will be deported and banned from entering Russia.

The Security Service of Ukraine has published a recording of a conversation between a Russian soldier and his wife, in which he confesses to killing Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs). It is claimed that this is Yevgeny Suchko from the Novgorod region, mobilized in the fall of 2022, but it is not specified how his identity was discovered. He justifies the killing of POWs by saying that after torturing them in order to obtain information, Russian soldiers see no point in holding the POWs captive, so orders are given to "dispose of" them. Commenting on the video of the decapitation of a Ukrainian POW (published on Apr. 11, but judging by the foliage, filmed last year), we have already written that, in our opinion, not only Wagner Group mercenaries but also Russian Armed Forces soldiers are capable of such acts. The published conversation serves as indirect evidence of this.

Deliveries of Western Military Equipment

According to the commander of the Ukrainian Air Force Mykola Oleschuk, the second battalion of the MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile systems has been put on combat duty.

Poland has simplified the export of drones to Ukraine since Apr. 28. It will no longer be necessary to obtain individual permits for the transportation of each batch of drones. This should speed up deliveries because volunteers buy most of the drones through Poland.

A video of a Ukrainian soldier has appeared, in which the chassis of a T-54 or T-55 tank can be identified by the rollers and the distance between them. In this case, this is a BTS-4 recovery vehicle donated to Ukraine.

Evidence has emerged of the use of the Iranian Dehlavieh anti-tank guided missile system, which is an analog of the Russian Kornet-EM ATGM system, by Russian soldiers. It can be distinguished by its typical red stripes, which represent the missile's thermobaric warhead.

In February, there were complaints in pro-Russian Telegram channels about Russian ATGMs that either malfunction or do not fire at all. Apparently, these missiles were in storage for a long time and were poorly maintained.

During the reform of the Russian “special military operation” chain of command in January 2023, we mentioned that even though General Aleksandr Lapin was dismissed as commander of the Central Military District, he received the post of Chief of Staff of the Russian Ground Forces. Thus, Lapin can again be among the commanders of the "special military operation" and appear on the frontline, as if the commander of any group of troops is absent for some reason, his duties are performed by the chief of staff of this group of troops.

Apparently, that’s what happened: pro-Russian reporter Andrey Medvedev has published photos of General Lapin's visit to the frontline.

Pro-Russian “military correspondent” Romanov writes: “Lapin is back at it again. Coming with inspection visits again. The soldiers have missed 2 days of training in preparations for the inspection. Beards are to be shaved off, MultiCam uniforms are to be taken off, and don’t forget to fill out all the notes and reports.”

Personnel changes are taking place in the Russian Ministry of Defense. Some of the pro-Russian bloggers link them to Putin's recent trip to the Kherson region (we do not think so, since Putin visited the deep rear, more than 100 km away from the frontline). In particular, Deputy Minister of Defense for Logistics Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev was fired.

Pro-Russian “military correspondent” Alexander Sladkov notes that the appointment of Mizintsev to this position looked strange, since he did not have the right experience for the job. The reason for his dismissal is also not entirely clear: Mizintsev stayed in this position for less than a year, so the wording “failed to perform”, in his opinion, was not a suitable reason.

There is a pervasive system of concealing the state of equipment and staffing in the Russian Armed Forces. To build a truly effective logistics chain, it would be necessary to go against the entire system, so whoever were to undertake this task would not rise to a high rank. Therefore, it is unlikely that such personnel changes will greatly improve the Russian Armed Forces.