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Ukraine Daily Summary - Friday, 15 April 2022

Russia's immediate goal is to surround 44,000 Ukrainian troops in Donbas -- Kramatorsk, Kostiantynivka likely targets of Russia's increased attacks -- Ukraine repels enemy attacks in the south -- Verkhovna Rada recognizes Russia's actions as genocide against Ukraine -- and more

Ukraine Daily

Friday, 15 April 2022

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Russia’s war against Ukraine


Dmytro Sadofiev goes through his belongings in his kitchen in the town of Borodyanka in Kyiv Oblast on April 6. The town has suffered from a Russian bombing in early March. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin)

Russia’s war against Ukraine has entered its 51st day.

Russian forces suffered several setbacks on April 14 when the Moscow flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet sank after an explosion and fire. Ukraine has repelled eight Russian attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the last 24 hours. The Ukrainian Armed Forces also report that they destroyed four Russian tanks, six armoured transport vehicles, four infantry fighting machines and an artillery system. According to Ukraine’s military estimates, Russian troops continue to suffer heavy losses, including about 19,900 personnel, 160 planes and 144 helicopters, as well as 753 tanks.

Ukraine also continues to brace for further attacks as Russian troops are regrouping in order to support offensive operations in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, most notably the city of Mariupol, with the aim to move the front line to the administrative boundaries of those two regions, and to make another attempt to seize the city of Kharkiv.

Zelensky: Russia’s immediate goal is to surround 44,000 Ukrainian troops in Donbas. Then, Russians will try to seize the Donbas, Zelensky told BBC. “But they are not just taking the territories, they are destroying everything, killing, raping, looting. They are destroying our nation, that’s what they are doing,” said Zelensky.

UK military intelligence: Kramatorsk, Kostiantynivka likely targets of Russia’s increased attacks. According to the latest update by the U.K. Defense Ministry, these two towns in Donetsk Oblast may face similar levels of violence as previously seen in other urban centers. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s continued defense of besieged Mariupol is tying down significant number of Russian troops and equipment, the report says.

30 Ukrainian prisoners of war released in new exchange. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that 17 soldiers, five officers, and eight civilians were released from Russian captivity. Vereshchuk didn’t disclose the number of prisoners of war sent back to Russia. It is the fourth prisoner exchange since Feb. 24.

Ukraine repels enemy attacks in the south. The Ukrainian Operational Command South reports that it has swapped four Russian soldiers for five Ukrainians. As a result of multiple battles in southern Ukraine over the past 24 hours, Russia lost 39 soldiers and four vehicles. These are estimates of Russia’s combat losses, according to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

National Bank of Ukraine resumes sales of foreign currency. The sale of foreign currency was banned on Feb. 24, but starting April 14 Ukraine has permitted the trade of foreign currencies in cash. This is partly to avoid the growth of a blackmarket, reads a statement released by the bank.

Russia says its flagship Moskva has sunk. On the day before, Ukraine said that Moskva was hit by Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles in the Black Sea. Russia claimed that the missile cruiser suffered from a fire that detonated ammunition on board. Russia’s defense ministry said that the ship sank as it was being towed to dock.

Ukrainian parliament allows foreigners to serve in Ukraine’s intelligence agencies during war. The Verkhovna Rada passed amendments to the law regulating the work of Ukraine’s intelligence agencies on April 14.

UN: Nearly 5 million Ukrainians have fled Ukraine in 50 days of war. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, over 7.1 million people have been internally displaced. At least 90% of refugees are women and children, as men of military age were prohibited from leaving the country.

City of Oleshki in Kherson Oblast occupied by Russian forces, says mayor. According to the Mayor of Oleshki Yevhen Ryschuk, the Russian occupiers have already replaced the Ukrainian flag with Russian on the building of the city administration. Oleshki has a population of 24,500 people.

Deputy Commander of Azov Regiment: Blockade of Mariupol can be ended. Svyatoslav Palamar, known under his call sign Kalyna, called for the military and political leadership of Ukraine to “take decisive action.” Earlier, Ukraine’s leadership has said they are doing everything possible for the defenders of Mariupol, who have been encircled.

Verkhovna Rada recognizes Russia’s actions as genocide against Ukraine. The resolution lists the acts of genocide, including Russians’ atrocities in Bucha, Borodyanka and other cities, attacks targeting civil infrastructure, and forced evacuation of Ukrainian children to Russia.

Parliament dissolves pro-Russian Opposition Platform faction following Security Council ban. The Opposition Platform – For Life party’s parliamentary faction, which included 44 lawmakers before Feb. 24, was dissolved. Lawmakers from Ukraine’s main pro-Russian party will keep their mandate. On March 19, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree banning all pro-Kremlin political projects, including the Opposition Platform.

National Bank says yearly inflation may exceed 20%. However, the National Bank kept the current interest rate at 10%. According to the National Bank, prices of goods and services will rise due to disruption of production, problems with logistics, and devaluation of the national currency.

Russia threatens to deploy nuclear weapons in the Baltic if Sweden, Finland join NATO. Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said that if Sweden and Finland join the alliance Russia would have to strengthen its defenses in the region and adding that “there can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic.”

Read our exclusive, on the ground stories

April 14 marks 50 days since Russia launched its brutal all-out war against Ukraine. Here are some of the pictures handpicked by the Kyiv Independent photographer.

The human cost of Russia’s war

At least 198 children killed as a result of Russian aggression. According to Ukraine’s Prosecutor’s Office, at least 198 children have been killed and 355 injured as of April 15. This figure does not take into account children killed and injured in the regions where hostilities are ongoing and in occupied areas. The actual figure is likely considerably higher.

Fedoruk: 85% of excavated bodies from Bucha had gunshot wounds. Bucha Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk believes that Russian soldiers deliberately killed civilians as a majority of uncovered victims’ bodies have bullet holes.

Over 500 civilians killed in Kharkiv since Russia’s invasion, including 24 children. Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Synehubov said Russia continues to shell civilian areas, causing heavy casualties. On April 14, Russia attacked civilian settlements at least 34 times, using multiple rocket launchers and artillery, according to Synehubov.

Donetsk Oblast governor: 238 civilians killed in the region since Feb. 24. According to Pavlo Kyrylenko, 772 people were injured. The actual number of casualties is expected to be much higher as there’s no data from heavily attacked Mariupol and Volnovakha. President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier said “tens of thousands” were killed by Russian forces in Mariupol.

Prosecutor General’s Office: Death toll in Kramatorsk train station attack reaches 59 people, including 7 children. Two children injured by the April 8 Russian strike recently died in the hospital, the prosecutors said. Thousands of civilians were at the railway station in Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, waiting on evacuation at the moment of the attack.

International response

Biden says he is ready to visit Ukraine. A reporter asked the U.S. president on April 14 whether he was ready to go to Ukraine, to which Biden replied, “Yeah.” He also said that discussions are underway regarding other senior U.S. officials’ potential visits to Ukraine.

France to deliver 24 emergency vehicles and 50 tons of equipment for emergency rescue operations to Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter that the delivery is set to arrive in Ukraine on April 15.

Ireland supports EU ban on Russian gas imports. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said “we are strongly in favor of doing everything we can in the context of sanctions against Russia,” which could discourage Moscow from continuing its war in Ukraine. Speaking at a briefing with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, the minister added that Ukraine doesn’t need condolences but needs actions and practical support.

Catholic Church in Ireland collects over $3.5 million. The church began to collect funds to help Ukraine in late March. The funds will be “channelled to assist those who are suffering such devastation to their lives and livelihoods,” according to Catholic Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin.

EU closes loophole allowing arms sales to Russia. According to the EU Commission data, EU countries sold Russia weapons and ammunition worth 39 million euros in 2021, up more than 50% from 2020. The EU banned the export of arms to Russia in July 2014 due to Russia’s occupation of Crimea, but a clause in the sanctions permitted sales under contracts signed before August 2014. Reuters reports that France and Germany were among the largest exporters.

Reuters: British government sanctions close associates of Abramovich. Chelsea Football Club Director Eugene Tenenbaum and David Davidovich were targeted in what the U.K. said is the “largest asset freeze to date.” On the day of the Russian invasion, Abramovich transferred two companies to the men. The government said it had imposed a freezing order on $10 billion worth of assets linked to the two men.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Asami Terajima, Thaisa Semenova, Kostyantyn Chernichkin, Natalia Datskevych, Sergiy Slipchenko, Olena Goncharova, Oleksiy Sorokin, Olga Rudenko, Toma Istomina and Brad LaFoy.

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