April 10

Sitrep for April 8-10, 2024 (as of 8:30 a.m. UTC+3)

Frontline Situation Update

Russian forces have advanced in the Avdiivka direction faster than expected—the village of Pervomaiske has already come under Russian control. It is worth noting that the fighting for the village has been going on for over a year and a half. The confirmation of the village's capture is supported by evidence of clashes occurring on its western outskirts. We believe that the Armed Forces of Ukraine may have opted to withdraw from Pervomaiske preemptively, possibly to avoid being cut off from supply routes. At the same time, we still anticipate that the Russian Armed Forces will seize the village of Umanske and move towards the village of Netailove.

Additionally, fighting is taking place on the outskirts of the town of Krasnohorivka (south of Pervomaiske and north of the town of Marinka).

An unusual tank, covered with sheet screens on all sides, participated from the Russian side. This distinctive vehicle has been dubbed the "turtle tank." Photos provided by Russian volunteers allowed for the tracking of this tank to a hangar, which subsequently became a target for the AFU. Video footage shows the destroyed roof of the hangar and the obscured outlines of damaged equipment below, making identification nearly impossible. According to the assumptions of the CyberBoroshno project, the “turtle tank” may have managed to escape from the hangar before the strike.

Russian forces continue their offensive in the Bakhmut direction, successfully gaining control of territory north of Ivanivske and the area between the railway and Bohdanivka.

As illustrated on the maps provided in the analytical thread by the Frontelligence Insight team, these areas, situated in low-lying terrain, facilitate rapid troop movement. However, storming the heights where Chasiv Yar is located presents a significant challenge, as evidenced by a recent video depicting a failed attack. Advancing slightly westward, Russian forces will encounter the Siverskyi Donets-Donbas Canal. Though it may seem insignificant, this water barrier can be transformed into a formidable fortification resembling a mined anti-tank ditch. Moreover, if the AFU, while retreating from the easternmost Kanal district in Chasiv Yar, blow up the only bridge connecting it to the town’s main area, it would further impede any advancement.

Russia’s Sukhoi Su-25 attack aircraft were once again observed in the sky above Bakhmut, with two aircraft heading towards Chasiv Yar. Their presence indicates that the Russian Aerospace Forces retain the capability to offer air support for Russian offensives, posing a significant challenge for Ukrainian forces.

Bild military observer Julian Röpke wrote that Russian forces are using a “double push” tactic, which he described as an attempt to encircle Chasiv Yar while simultaneously launching a frontal assault. Similar tactics were used when attacking other populated areas, where a frontal assault may serve as a distraction in some cases.

A video has emerged showing an unusual Russian attack on Ukrainian positions, with infantry using motorcycles for approach, a tactic also observed near the villages of Terny and Robotyne. This "new tactic" appears to stem from an acute shortage of military vehicles. One of its disadvantages is the fact that only two assault troopers are transported on a motorcycle to enemy positions, including the driver, who, apparently, also joins the attack, abandoning the vehicle. In addition, while motorcycles might not trigger anti-tank mines, they are vulnerable to anti-personnel mines and machine gun fire.

The root of the RuAF problems with equipment is that the Russian defense industry does not keep up with the pace of the war: only a small part of the military equipment and weapons delivered to the frontlines are newly manufactured, while the majority are pulled from storage and refurbished. Logistics issues, such as identifying specific military units' needs and distributing equipment accordingly, might also contribute to these challenges. Observations indicate varying situations across different frontline sectors: some units are adequately equipped, while others face shortages.

Furthermore, a significant problem arises from the decades-old practice of concealing issues, where subordinates assure their superiors that everything is in order, regardless of the actual circumstances. This likely leaves Russia's top military-political leadership without a genuine understanding of the situation. At the General Staff level, there is a belief that the defense industry is meeting the demands for weapon supply. However, in reality, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and T-54/55 tanks are being used on the frontline. Additionally, the Russian system does not tolerate criticism and suppresses all alternative sources of information. For instance, pro-Russian bloggers who report any military shortcomings are accused of discrediting the Armed Forces. The consequences of such practices are now evident: whereas previously, the largest armored columns consisted of 32 tanks and 16 infantry fighting vehicles, attacks were later carried out with columns of three tanks and six IFVs. Now, operations have been reduced to actions involving merely two motorcycles.

In his interview with Bild, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has revealed that Ukraine has developed a new plan for a counteroffensive; however, its implementation hinges on additional supplies of ammunition and equipment, including from the USA.

To date, there have been no further updates on the aftermath of the extensive Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian military air bases on April 5. However, the Astra Telegram channel has managed to identify the name of the individual killed and the six others injured by the detonation of a drone upon crashing.

In response to the increased Russian attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure, the EU has provided Ukraine with 167 generators. Ten of them have a capacity of 1MW each, sufficient to supply power to a medium-sized hospital.

Bekhan Ozdoev, Industrial Director of Weapon Systems at Rostec State Corporation, has stated that the corporation is studying captured Western armored vehicles and their protection systems. They plan to create a new type of ammunition that will "multiply by null" any efforts by adversaries to develop new armor. Such statements suggest a lack of understanding of the current dynamics of warfare, which do not involve tank battles.

The armies of the United States and Poland, influenced by the lessons learned from the war in Ukraine, plan to widely deploy relatively small drones. They are initiating large-scale training programs to instruct soldiers in operating these drones effectively.

Governor of the Belgorod region Vyacheslav Gladkov has proposed making it mandatory for agricultural companies to install anti-drone nets on their equipment. Failure to install such protection would result in the companies being ineligible for compensation in the event of loss or damage to the equipment.

On April 5, Aleksandr Demidenko, a volunteer from Belgorod who helped Ukrainian refugees return home to Ukraine, died in a pre-trial detention center. The Federal Penitentiary Service claims that he committed suicide. In October 2023, Demidenko was detained, and three days later, during a search of his home, a WWII-era grenade and fuses were allegedly found there. In November, details emerged about a second criminal case against him for treason.

It became known that on Feb. 15, in the Khabarovsk region, Oleg Pankov, an activist and human rights defender who assisted wounded soldiers and families of killed soldiers in obtaining the compensation they were entitled to, was arrested for discrediting the Armed Forces. The reason for his arrest is said to be an anti-war video that Pankov allegedly posted on his Telegram channel. However, his relatives claim that he had removed all anti-war posts in the spring of 2022 after being fined for discrediting the Armed Forces. They believe that the true reason for his arrest was his legal assistance to soldiers and their families.