May 1, 2023

Sitrep for Apr. 28 — May 01 (as of 08:30 a.m.)  

RuAF Strikes on the Territory of Ukraine

Over the weekend, rescuers continued clearing the rubble of a destroyed part of the multi-storey residential building hit as a result of a Russian missile strike on the night of Apr. 28 in the town of Uman, Cherkasy region. There is information about 23 killed people, including six children. 17 people were rescued from under the rubble, and two more women are still missing.

Russian TV presenter and propagandist Vladimir Solovyov on his Telegram channel posted a video filmed by one of the residents of the multi-storey building in Uman hit by a missile. He titled this post with the words "Severe strikes on Donbas."

Similarly, the Rossiya-1 [Russia-1] government-owned federal TV channel showed a video by the Ukrainian State Emergency Service with the smoking ruins of the residential building in Uman in the Vesti news TV show. The presenter commented on the video, saying that allegedly “Ukrainian militants hit the territory of Donbas.”

On Apr. 30, an ammunition facility was attacked in Pavlohrad, Dnipropetrovsk region. The videos show a large-scale fire, and sounds of secondary detonation can be heard. There is a large railway junction in Pavlohrad used by Ukrainian forces to supply their troops in Donbas.

On the night of May 1, another series of strikes on the territory of Ukraine took place. Reportedly, Ukrainian air defense successfully shot down all drones and missiles targeting the territory of the Kyiv region. According to Commander-in-Chief of the AFU Valerii Zaluzhnyi, 15 out of 18 Kh-101 and Kh-555 cruise missiles launched by the RuAF were shot down.

An oil depot in Sevastopol (Crimea) was attacked, most likely by an unmanned aircraft, on the night of Apr. 30. A number of videos of a large-scale fire have been posted.

An interview with a Russian general in Crimea has recently been published, in which he says that the air defense of Crimea has been fully upgraded from the S-300 SAM systems to the more modern S-400s. The interview was filmed against the background of an inflatable model of the S-400 system, flapping in the wind.

The village of Suzemka, Bryansk region (about 8.5 km away from the border with the Sumy region of Ukraine), came under artillery fire on the night of Apr. 30. As a result, four people were killed and two more were injured.

The Situation on the Frontline

According to Yevgeny Prigozhin [Russian oligarch, confidant of Vladimir Putin, and the owner of the Wagner Group], Wagner Group mercenaries have advanced by 230 meters in Bakhmut and gained control over 58,000 square meters of the town over the recent days, while only 2.9 square kilometers remain under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (let us remind our readers that one square km contains a million square meters. Therefore, according to Prigozhin, the Wagner Group took only as much as 0.058 square kilometers).

Also, according to Prigozhin, they managed to win these 230 meters at the cost of the lives of 99 fighters of the Wagner Group, and the death toll allegedly would have been five times less if not for “the military-adjacent bureaucrats who limit the amount of ammunition received by the Wagner Group, creating an artificial ammunition shortage.”

According to the DeepState Ukrainian map service, the Wagner Group has reportedly seized the Bakhmut Medical College, located next to a military unit (formerly a military equipment storage base), where we previously reported on fighting taking place. Apparently, the line of contact is currently running along the border of this unit.

Recently, in an interview with a pro-Russian journalist Semyon Pegov (a.k.a. Wargonzo) Prigozhin issued an ultimatum to Sergei Shoigu: either the military solves the problem of the Wagner Group mercenaries' lack of ammunition, or the latter leave their positions in Bakhmut and retreat in an organized manner. In our opinion, this statement is a bluff.

The Ukrainian Terra project has published a video showing how the Ukrainian Armed Forces are using drones. In one of the episodes, you can see a close-quarters battle in which drones not only perform aerial reconnaissance functions but also participate directly in the fight by dropping grenades on enemy soldiers who have taken cover.

A video has emerged showing a man in civilian clothing (presumably a fisherman) sailing on a light inflatable boat on the Dnipro River. At some point, presumably, there is fire from a mortar or other artillery weapon towards him, after which the boat sails further away and suddenly explodes (the drone video does not show any grenade being dropped or projectile hitting him). It is possible that the boat hit a mine. Pro-Ukrainian commentators have put forward a large number of not very plausible versions, including that this was a disguised Russian soldier and that the tube in the boat looked like an RPG or an RPO-A Shmel' flamethrower. However, spinning rods are carried in such tubes, so the man was probably indeed a fisherman.

Deliveries of Western Military Equipment

Reportedly, Greece will receive F-35 fighter jets from the US. (CIT believes that Patriot SAM systems may follow.) This would allow the resumption of talks on transferring S-300 SAM systems from Greece to Ukraine.

The company behind the S.T.A.L.K.E.R video game, together with NAVI and MK Foundation supplied the AFU with 100 Volkswagen Transporter minivans.

The US Department of Defense signed a $4.8 billion contract with Lockheed Martin to manufacture precision-guided MLRS rockets for HIMARS MLRS. The plan is to scale up the annual production volume of the GMLRS M30 and M31 rockets from 6 to 14 thousand. In total, approximately 50 thousand rockets have been produced to date while Ukrainian launchers could shoot about 100 thousand per year. In addition, Lockheed Martin is developing new Extended-Range (ER) GMLRS rockets that can strike targets about 150 km away.

Germany has officially confirmed the transfer of the second IRIS-T air defense system to Ukraine.

This winter there were reports that due to the lack of officers in the Russian Army, an order was given to speed up the completion of the final courses at the higher educational institutions of the Ministry of Defense of Russia so that as many officers as possible graduate ahead of schedule to be sent to the front. Some of them have already had graduations, which were initially planned for the summer.

Last week, Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev was fired from his post as deputy defense minister for logistics. It became known that Colonel General Aleksey Kuzmenkov has been appointed to this position. From 2014 to 2018, he headed the logistics headquarters of the Armed Forces of Russia, from 2018 to 2019 he was the deputy commander of the Southern Military District for logistics, and later served in Rosgvardia [the National Guard of Russia] as deputy director.

Prigozhin offered Mizintsev the post of first deputy of Dmitry Utkin, commander of the Wagner Group.

The photos taken near Berdiansk (Zaporizhzhia region) show tanks of the T-54/55 and T-62M series on trawls.

We have studied the reports of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) and found nothing fundamentally new in any of them.

ISW, which has a pro-Ukrainian position, was quite optimistic regarding the upcoming Ukrainian counteroffensive. However, the authors noted that since the information on the capabilities of the Ukrainian Army is not available, the report was based on the assumption that all declared deliveries of ammunition and military equipment would be fulfilled, otherwise the conclusions should be considered incorrect. According to the report, the Ukrainian Army has organized nine brigades. This is twice as many forces as participated in the Kharkiv operation, but this time Russia had a lot of time to get ready for defense.

CAST (Russian analytical center, known by the bmpd blog on LiveJournal), based on optimistic forecasts for the Russian side, believes that Russia would try to keep the occupied territories, and to strive for negotiations and a truce by the spring of next year. In the future, CAST experts expect a gradual easing of sanctions and a recovery in exports of military equipment after 2027–2028.

The problem with both reports is that they proceed solely from an optimistic forecast for their side, however there are many factors that cast doubt on the reliability of such estimates.