April 4, 2023

Sitrep for Apr. 3-4 (as of 10:00 a.m.) 

RuAF strikes on the territory of Ukraine

In yesterday's sitrep we reported about Russian strikes on Kostiantynivka on Apr. 2, we forgot to note that we last saw the use of BM-27 Uragan MLRS in October last year. We attribute this to forced pauses in using various types of weapons while waiting for the production of munitions or the repair of unusable ones. Under the conditions of the protracted invasion, 9K720 Iskander ballistic missiles were the first to run out. Starting from the fall, cruise missiles began to be used less often, BM-30 Smerch MLRS were hardly used, and 9K515 Tornado-S MLRS strikes are carried out about once a month.

On the evening of Apr. 3, the city of Odesa and the Odesa district were again attacked with kamikaze drones. In the videos filmed by the local residents, one can hear the work of Ukrainian anti-aircraft autocannons or machine guns and the sounds of Shahed kamikaze drones’ engines and explosions in the distance. According to some evidence, there were several explosions, and the Shkolny airfield is assumed to have been the target again.

Later, the Air Force of Ukraine Telegram channel reported that a total of 17 loitering munitions were launched by the RuAF, 14 of which were shot down.

According to the Head of the Ukrainian Military Administration of Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, Russian forces hit Avdiivka: a local female resident traveling on a bus damaged by a shell was killed, and its driver was injured.

In the aftermath of the shelling of Chasiv Yar, two residential buildings were completely burned down, and three more houses were damaged.

Attacks within Russian territory were also reported. On the evening of Apr 3, the Head of the Bryansk region, Aleksandr Bogomaz, said that due to a drone attack in the Sevsky district, its military commissariat [enlistment office] (about 25 km from the border) had been damaged. Another drone attacked a building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The strategic significance of these attacks is questionable.

The situation on the frontline

A video showing the raising of the flags in Bakhmut, which had been previously published by Yevgeny Prigozhin [Russian oligarch, the confidant of Vladimir Putin and owner of the Wagner Group], was geolocated next to the building of the district administration (the building of the city administration was almost completely destroyed). Some experts (for example, Julian Röpcke) suggest that the next line of defense for Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut will lay along the railroad that runs through the entire city.

Following Prigozhin's (unreasoned) claim that "legally speaking" the Wagner group had captured Bakhmut, Ukrainian officials, including General Syrskyi, said that Bakhmut remains under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and Russian forces are still a long way from capturing the town. However, judging by the map, the situation for the Ukrainian forces has become even direr.

A video has surfaced showing the consequences of the abnormal weather in the Donetsk region, which were mentioned yesterday. Due to the rapid melting of a large amount of snow, soldiers have to man trenches staying knee-deep in water.

The US representative to NATO, Julianne Smith, has stated that the US expects an offensive operation by the Armed Forces of Ukraine within the “next few weeks” (it may mean more than four weeks).

The Ministry of Defense of Russia has published a video reporting that TOS-1A MLRS capable of using thermobaric warheads are being transferred under the command of the Airborne Forces. During the current invasion, we have seen these MLRS used during assaults on cities, for example, in Mariupol and the Vuhledar direction.

During his address to the Federal Assembly, Vladimir Putin announced the creation of the Defenders of the Fatherland Fund to support the combatants and veterans of the war in Ukraine and their families. The Agentstvo.Novosti [Agency news] Telegram channel has discovered that the fund is headed by the alleged Putin's first cousin, once removed Anna Tsivileva.

Videos of the explosion of the bust figurine presented to Maxim Fomin, a pro-Russian so-called “military correspondent” better known under his pseudonym Vladlen Tatarsky, as well as videos from the scene after the explosion have appeared. The case has been reclassified as a terrorist attack, and journalist Roman Popkov together with the Navalny headquarters, are accused of organizing it.

Putin posthumously awarded Fomin the Order of Courage, and the Wagner group enlisted him in their ranks (probably to pay compensation to his relatives).

The car of Maxim Zubarev, who until recently headed the pro-Russian administration of the village of Akimovka, Zaporizhzhia region, was blown up in Melitopol on Apr. 3. According to the information at the time of this report, he was alive but seriously injured.

The Moscow Times has calculated that NATO’s aid to Ukraine has already exceeded the Russian military budget for 2023 ($65 billion vs. $63.7 billion).

On Apr. 4, Finland is set to become a member of NATO. According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, this is the fastest ratification process in the history of the alliance.

Poland delivered several MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine (it was previously reported that Poland planned to supply four aircraft). Slovakia has already delivered 4 fighter jets out of the 13 originally promised.

Near the Romanian city of Satu Mare, not far from the Ukrainian border, the German automotive and arms manufacturer Rheinmetall is building a maintenance facility for repairing the equipment delivered to Ukraine. It will serve Western self-propelled guns, trucks, Leopard and Challenger tanks, Marder infantry fighting vehicles, and Fuchs armored personnel carriers.

Another exchange of prisoners of war took place: 12 people (two of them civilians) were returned to Ukraine, including five seriously wounded, while the Russian side did not announce anything.