Ihor Zhdanov, Information Defence Project, Open Policy Foundation
Informational Defence of Ukraine provides a daily review of the military-political situation in Ukraine as of April 22nd, based on an analysis of open sources.
1. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are preparing for the decisive battle for the Donbas area.
According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the most intensive activity of the occupiers is observed in the direction of Izium to Barvinkove, near the hub railway station Popasna in the Severodonetsk urbanized district, Mariupol, and on the road from Zaporizhzhia to Donetsk.
In the Slobozhanskyi direction, the occupiers continue to partially encircle Kharkiv by units of the 6th Army, Baltic and Northern fleets.
In the Izium direction, the enemy tried to carry out offensive operations in the directions of the settlements of Zavody and Dibrovne to improve the tactical position of the units, but the invaders were not successful.
In this operational area, the russians concentrated up to 25 BTGs from the 1st Panzer Army, the 20th and 35th armies and the 68th Army Corps, and the airborne troops of the russian Armed Forces.
In the Donetsk and Tavriia directions, fighting took place along the entire line of the front.
During the day, the enemy carried out assault operations in the direction of Sloviansk, the enemy was established in the village of Lozove, in the central part of the village of Stepne, and in the areas of Zelena Dolyna and Kreminna. The enemy was unsuccessful at trying to gain a foothold in Rubizhne.
In the area of Popasna, the enemy attempted to carry out assault operations in the direction of the settlement of Novotoshkivske and deep into the settlement of Popasna, but without any success.
In the Avdiivskyi and Kurakhivskyi directions, the occupiers tried to carry out assault operations, but without any success.
In the Mariupol direction, the enemy continued to launch air strikes on Mariupol and blockade Ukrainian units in the Azovstal area.
In the Zaporizhzhia direction, the occupiers carried out assault operations in the direction of the settlement of Zelene Pole, without any success. The enemy strengthened the group by relocating units of the 19th Motorized Rifle Division of the 58th General Army.
At the same time, the battalion tactical group of the 127th Motorized Rifle Division of the 5th Army lost its combat capability and withdrew to recover in the surrounding area.
In the direction of Pivdennobuzhskyi, near the settlement of Oleksandrivka, the enemy are defending their occupied positions.
The total combat losses of the enemy from February 24 to April 22 were approximately: combatants – about 21,200 people were eliminated, tanks – 838 units, armoured combat vehicles – 2162 units, artillery systems – 397 units, MLRS – 138 units, air defence – 69 units, aircraft – 176 units, helicopters – 153 units, motor vehicles – 1523 units, ships / boats – 8 units, fuel tanks – 76, UAVs operational and tactical level – 172, special equipment – 27, TBM / BRBM (tactical ballistic missile / battlefield range ballistic missile) launchers – 4.
2. Information summaries, reviews and assessments of foreign, Ukrainian intelligence and think tanks.
According to UK intelligence in its daily review, russian president putin has announced a blockade of Azovstal with defenders of Mariupol instead of an assault because he considered it more appropriate to move russian forces from the city in another direction, while an assault would sustain heavy losses.
Fighting with heavy weapons continues on the eastern front, and the russians are trying to advance in the Krasnyy Lyman, Buhaiivke, Lyman and Popasna areas to carry out their plans.
According to the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, most of the X-101 missiles fired through the territory of Ukraine did not hit the targets.
The reason for this may be that they are equipped with electronics developed in the 1960s and 1970s. russia’s “newest” missiles use the PGI-2M navigation system, developed in 1977, and “modern” guidance units developed in the 1960s and 1970s.
According to Ukrainian intelligence, the putin regime plans to engage russian guards and the FSB of the russian federation in a further attack on the Azovstal plant in the occupied and encircled Mariupol, which is defended by the Ukrainian Defence Forces.
3. The russian occupiers are violating international humanitarian law and committing genocide against Ukrainians.
The russian aggressors kill Ukrainian children. More than 594 children were injured in Ukraine as a result of full-scale armed aggression by the russian federation. As of the morning of April 22nd, the official number of child victims has not changed – 208. The number of injured has increased to 386.
According to juvenile prosecutors, the most affected children were in Donetsk – 120, Kyiv – 113, Kharkiv – 91, Chernihiv – 66, Kherson – 44, Mykolaiiv – 41, Luhansk – 37, Zaporizhzhia – 25, Sumy – 17, Zhytomyr – 15 and in Kyiv City – 16.
russian occupiers kill and abduct civilians, hold them hostage and torture them. In the temporarily occupied territories, enemy units continue to block the movement of local people, loot and artificially approach the humanitarian crisis – destroy critical infrastructure and block the delivery of humanitarian goods from Ukraine. There have been cases of executions of civilians and volunteers.
The satellite recorded a mass grave in the russian-occupied village of Manhush, which is less than 20 kilometers from Mariupol. Up to 9,000 Mariupol residents are thought to be buried in this grave.
According to careful estimates, the total number killed by the russian army in Mariupol is 22,000 people.
russian invaders are launching missile and bomb strikes on civilians, towns and villages. russian troops fired artillery at Kharkiv, the enemy has not eased the pressure on Donbas, and a humanitarian catastrophe looms in the Kherson region.
Kharkiv: at night, the occupiers periodically fired artillery strikes again. Warehouse buildings were on fire in the Kyiv district of the city, no one was injured.
Active fighting continues in the Izium direction.
The Luhansk region: during the day the russian army carried out 11 shellings on the Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Popasna, Rubizhne and Hirske communities. Seven houses were destroyed, four civilians and three policemen were injured.
The Donetsk region: Avdijivka, Mar’inka, Vuhledar – shelling was active. The regional traumatology hospital building is on fire after the “Hrad” attacks on Lyman. There are wounded, their number is being clarified.
The Kherson region: strong explosions were heard on the outskirts of the city at night. Virtually all villages of the Beryslav district –Novovorontsov, Vysokopil, Velykooleksandrivska, Kalynivska TG – and some villages of Kherson district
–Chornobayivska, Stanislavska territorial communities– are on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe.
The Mykolaiiv region: in the evening, Mykolaiiv was attacked by missiles, there is no information about the victims.
International and national investigation of war crimes of the russian-Nazi occupiers. In the Kyiv region, law enforcement officers have already found the bodies of 1,084 civilians, up to 75% of whom were shot. More than 300 bodies have not yet been identified.
The United States is helping to store and gather evidence of russian war crimes in Ukraine.
4. Evacuation of civilians, exchange of prisoners.
Almost three quarters of the population left the controlled territory of the Donetsk region – currently there are about 430,000 people left.
On Friday, April 22, 70 people were evacuated from the Luhansk region, 25 of them left Popasna, although the russians opened fire on the bus.
The russians refuse to open a corridor for civilians in Mariupol, but provide corridors for military captivity, pretending it is the same, Iryna Vereshchuk, the head of the Ministry of Reintegration, has informed.
In its official statement, the European Union responded to the difficult situation in Mariupol, demanding that russia open humanitarian corridors from Azovstal and other parts of the city to other parts of Ukraine.
In a telephone conversation with russian president putin, European Council President Charles Michel called for the creation of humanitarian corridors for Mariupol.
5. Political and socio-economic situation in Ukraine, economic losses due to the russian aggression.
Ukraine’s economy is being rocked by the war, the largest Ukrainian companies are sustaining losses due to the russian aggression. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has said that rebuilding Ukraine after the russian invasion will cost $600 billion. Shmyhal called on members of the International Monetary Fund to donate 10% of reserve assets.
The Ukrainian economy, despite the negative impact of hostilities, is showing first signs of recovery. As of April 22nd, 400 companies have been relocated from the combat zone under the relocation program, 190 of them are already active.
Ukraine is rebuilding infrastructure in the occupied territories. In the Kyiv region of the 37 destroyed or damaged bridges, 11 have already been reopened, 15 more are currently underway, and the authorities are arranging temporary crossings in some places.
Electricity supply has not yet been restored in 112 cities and villages of the Kyiv region, while on April 21st, utilities restored electricity in 27 settlements of the region.
Over the past ten days, 97 large stores in the liberated territories of the Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Kharkiv regions have resumed their operations.
Next week, communications, sewerage, energy and water supply will be restored in Irpin, near Kyiv. After Orthodox Easter, in Irpin, large stores – NOVUS, Fora, Lotok, Bdzhilka and ATB – will be opened.
6. International support and assistance to Ukraine.
Political support for Ukraine. The Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov accused the UN of indulging russian war crimes and said that if Ukraine was provided with the necessary weapons and real sanctions were imposed, the russian aggressors could be expelled from Ukraine in a few months.
He said asked: “How can the UN Security Council, where Moscow is a permanent member, fulfill its peacekeeping mission? What kind of security and cooperation in Europe can we talk about when one of the OSCE member states attacked another and killed thousands of civilians?”
Military assistance to Ukraine. Representatives of 14 countries, including Ukraine, sent liaison officers to a task force in Stuttgart, which receives requests from the government in Kyiv and organizes the delivery of weapons and supplies from various countries.
The United States has begun supplying multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) to Ukraine and is working with other NATO allies to provide Ukraine with more jet systems.
France will supply a batch of Milan anti-tank missiles and Caesar self-propelled artillery units to Ukraine. The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, stated this in an interview with Ouest-France.
Dozens of Ukrainian soldiers in the UK are learning to drive 120 British armoured vehicles before returning with them to take part in the war against russia. The British military is also teaching Ukrainian counterparts in Poland how to use anti-aircraft missiles.
On Wednesday April 20th, the Israeli Minister of Defence authorized the supply of helmets and vests to Ukrainian rescue services amid the russian aggression. Thus, for the first time since the start of a full-scale war, Israel will hand over defence assistance to Ukraine.
Financial assistance to Ukraine. The United States will provide additional direct financial assistance to Ukraine – $500 million.
7. Ukrainian-russian negotiations.
The leaders of the negotiating groups between Ukraine and russia held talks in recent days, and at the same time, the russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, said that the talks had allegedly stopped.
A Ukrainian official on condition of anonymity told Ukraiinska Pravda that Ukraine had issued an ultimatum to russian negotiators that a so-called “referendum” by the Russian occupiers in the Kherson region would put an end to the talks.
Sergei Lavrov told a news briefing that the Russians are not negotiating security guarantees and do not influence the list of countries that Ukraine sees as its security guarantors.
In addition, when asked about Zelenskyy’s statement that the destruction of Mariupol’s defenders by the russian military would put an end to the talks, Lavrov said that “russia will not tolerate ultimatums.”
8. Statements, provocations and fakes of Russian aggressors.
The deputy commander of the Central Military District of russia, as quoted by TASS, has said that the task of russian troops in the “second phase of the special operation” is to establish “full control over the Donbas and Southern Ukraine.”
According to the military official, during the “second stage of the special operation” the russian army should establish “full control over the Donbas”, which will create a land corridor to the Crimea and affect vital facilities of the armed forces. And “control over the south of Ukraine will give the russian armed forces another way out to Transnistria, where the facts of oppression of the russian-speaking population are noted,” said the deputy commander of the Central Executive Committee of the russian federation.
Law enforcement officers urge believers to be especially vigilant at Orthodox Easter, because the enemy can arrange provocations.
In this regard, the people are strongly advised to refrain from mass gatherings in religious buildings, and church leaders have been asked to minimize the number of people present at festive services.
Ukraine has recorded another act of nuclear terrorism by russia. The South Ukrainian nuclear power plant has become a new target, the security of which was threatened by russian cruise missiles.
So, on April 16th, over the platform of the station, there were three cruise missiles, let out probably from the territory of Belarus in the direction of Mykolaiiv. One of them was recorded by PAES surveillance cameras.
9. Political and socio-economic situation in russia, the impact of international sanctions on it.
Socio-political situation in russia. According to Medusa, citing sources in the russian presidential administration, russia does not understand how to end the war through negotiations and without putin’s poll ratings collapsing.
The domestic political bloc of the russian federation has come to the conclusion that there are currently no “good PR scenarios for overcoming the war” for russia that would not lead to a fall in the government’s ratings.
New sanctions and restrictions against russia. According to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in an interview with Spiegel, Germany cannot give up russian energy because it will severely damage its economy and not help stop the war in Ukraine.
By the end of this year, the Netherlands will completely abandon the purchase of russian gas and russian coal.
The negative impact of sanctions on the russian economy. According to the International Monetary Fund, russia is expected to lose sixth place among the world’s economies in 2024, ahead of Indonesia in terms of purchasing power parity.
Analysts at the Central Bank of russia said that the recession in the russian economy in the current environment will be greater in scale and duration than during the coronavirus pandemic. In contrast to the short-term “COVID19 crisis” recession that occurred in the second quarter of 2020, the current decline is likely to be transformational, structural in nature and will be larger in scale and duration than in any former scenario.
Due to the closure of stores of international networks in russia, the owners of commercial real estate are seeing falling incomes – they expect annual income to fall by one third.
Sweden’s SKF, the world’s largest bearings manufacturer, has announced a complete exit from russia, where it has a plant. The Swedish company Essity, which produces such personal care products as Zewa and Libresse, is leaving russia due to the conditions of doing business in the aggressor country.
The American glass manufacturer Guardian Industries, which has two plants in russia, has announced its withdrawal from the russian assets.