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Ukraine Daily Summary - Tuesday, 12 April 2022

Ukraine can lift siege of Mariupol if it receives heavy weapons -- Possibility of a Russian offensive on Kyiv will depend on fighting in Donbas -- Russia ‘using weapons smuggled by Iran from Iraq’ -- and more

Ukraine Daily

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

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Russia’s war against Ukraine


The village of Novoselivka, located outside Chernihiv, is seen totally destroyed by Russian bombs and shells on April 9, 2022. (Anna Myroniuk)

Zelensky: Ukraine can lift siege of Mariupol if it receives heavy weapons. In his latest address, President Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized that while he believes Ukraine will receive “almost all weapons necessary,” Ukrainian lives are lost the longer the West delays their delivery. He also added that EU sanctions must be so strong that “even words about weapons of mass destruction from the Russian side are no longer heard.”

Ukrainian Azov regiment, without evidence, claimed on April 11 that a drone had dropped a poisonous substance in Mariupol but said there were no “disastrous consequences” for affected people. The claim followed a call by Russia’s proxies in the Donbas to use chemical weapons against Azov.

Defense Ministry: Possibility of a Russian offensive on Kyiv will depend on fighting in Donbas. According to Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzianyk, Russia kept units in the Gomel region of Belarus and the Bryansk and Kursk regions of Russia to stretch Ukraine’s defenses up north. Russia has almost completed its preparations for a new attack in eastern Ukraine, Motuzianyk said.

Vereshchuk: 1,700 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians are held by Russian forces. Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that 500 of those are women. “They force them to stand, don’t let them sit down. They shave their heads, they force them to undress every day for checkups. They humiliate their human dignity. I know facts of rape, I saw spines that had been beaten,” she said. The Kyiv Independent could not immediately confirm these claims.

EU delegation to Ukraine returns to Kyiv from Poland. Several other European embassies had also returned to Kyiv after Russian troops withdrew from its vicinity in early April.

Ukraine’s security service says it detained a Russian agent who worked in Poroshenko’s administration. He used to work at ex-President Petro Poroshenko’s administration and the General Staff, and his task was to get classified information, the SBU said.

UK intelligence: Fighting in eastern Ukraine to intensify over next 2-3 weeks. According to the latest update posted by the UK Defense Ministry, Russia continues to refocus its efforts on Ukraine’s Donbas with further fighting around Kherson and Mykolaiv and a renewed push towards Kramatorsk. British intelligence predicts that Russian forces will continue to withdraw from Belarus in order to redeploy in support of operations in eastern Ukraine.

The Guardian: Russia ‘using weapons smuggled by Iran from Iraq’ against Ukraine. Russia is receiving military hardware sourced from Iraq for its war effort in Ukraine with the help of Iranian weapons smuggling networks, according to the Guardian findings. The weapons that have been reportedly dispatched include RPGs and anti-tank missiles, as well as Brazilian-designed rocket launcher systems.

Energoatom: Russian troops caused damage worth Hr 18.3 billion ($620 million) to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. Ukraine’s nuclear power monopoly said on April 11 that Russian troops had damaged the plant while shelling and seizing it in early March.

UN: Almost two-thirds of Ukrainian children have fled their homes. About 4.8 million out of 7.5 million children had to leave their homes, said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s emergency programs director, upon his return from Ukraine. Additionally, the UN confirms the deaths of 142 children but the number is “almost certainly higher,” according to Fontaine.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer holds talks with Putin, tells Russian dictator Vladimir Putin sanctions will remain in place as long as Ukrainians are being killed. He added that in Ukraine, he “saw the immeasurable suffering caused by the Russian war.” Nerhammer is the first EU official to visit Russia since Feb. 24.

State Emergency Service: Almost half of Ukraine needs to be demined. Up to 300,000 square kilometers need to be examined and possibly demined, according to Oleh Bondar, representative of the State Emergency Service.

Read our exclusive, on the ground stories

As Russian troops have withdrawn from Ukraine’s northenmost region, significant destruction has been uncovered. Russian airstrikes targeted both high-rise buildings in Chernihiv and small houses in nearby villages, leaving many people in the regional capital and its suburbs dead, injured, and without a home. The Kyiv Independent talked to some of the Russian airstrike survivors. Read their story here.

Ukrainian marines defending Mariupol came out with a public statement criticizing President Volodymyr Zelensky and the army command. The soldiers accused the country’s leadership of abandoning them in the besieged port city with no ammunition left. The Kyiv Independent could not contact the brigade directly to confirm the message posted on their official Facebook page.

Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi was forced to respond with a short statement on April 11. “We are doing everything possible and impossible to win and to save the lives of soldiers and civilians (in Mariupol),” wrote Zaluzhnyi. “Military operations shouldn’t be a topic for a public discussion.” Read the story here.

The human cost of Russia’s war

AP: More than 10,000 civilians died in Mariupol, according to mayor. Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko told Associated Press on April 11 that more than 10,000 civilians have died in the Russian siege of his city, and that the death toll could surpass 20,000 after weeks of attacks. It is not possible to determine the exact death toll. Boychenko added that there were still 120,000 civilians in Mariupol.

Governor Haidai: Russian forces shell Luhansk Oblast overnight on April 12. Luhansk Oblast Governor Serhiy Haidai reported that Russian forces attacked Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Kreminna, Novodruzhesk, Rubizhne, damaging at least 12 residential buildings and four infrastructure objects in the region. One person was killed in Lysychansk and three others were injured as a result of the shelling.

Russian shelling of Kharkiv and nearby settlements leaves 8 dead, including a child. Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Synehubov reported that a 13-year-old child was among the deceased, another 19 people are injured. Russian forces used delayed action mines on the city and work is underway to defuse them. Mines were found scattered around civilian residences and playgrounds.

Russia shells Donetsk Oblast, killing 3. Numerous settlements were bombed by Russian troops, resulting in eight injuries and three deaths, said Donetsk Regional Military Administration Head Pavlo Kyrylenko. According to Kyrylenko, seven more deaths were recorded in Mariupol on April 11. The total number of casualties in Mariupol and Volnovakha remains unknown.

International response

Truss: UK working with partners to verify details of possible chemical attack in Mariupol. “Any use of such weapons would be a callous escalation in this conflict and we will hold Putin and his regime to account,” said U.K.’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. The U.S. also expressed concern over the use of chemical weapons in Ukraine, although they cannot confirm it yet and will continue “to monitor the situation closely,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement on April 11.

France declares 6 Russian agents persona non grata. After a thorough investigation, France’s Foreign Ministry announced that its General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI) revealed on April 10 “a clandestine operation carried out by Russian intelligence services on our territory,” the ministry said in a statement. According to French authorities, six Russian agents used diplomatic cover to advance Russian interests in France. The Ministry did not elaborate on details of the Russians’ operation.

Biden spokesperson says US president not planning to visit Kyiv. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell have recently visited Kyiv. French President Emmanuel Macron said he would only visit Ukraine “if it triggers something.”

Japan imposes more sanctions on Russia. The country imposed additional sanctions against Russia on April 12, freezing the assets of 398 Russian citizens including President Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters, Katerina Tikhonova and Mariya Vorontsova, according to a news release from Japan’s Foreign Ministry.

Polish PM says EU sanctions against Russia are too weak, calls for stronger ones. Mateusz Morawiecki said at a meeting with his Belgian counterpart Alexander De Croo on April 11 that the sanctions not only failed to stop Russia from pursuing its war but also stimulated some of Russia’s economic processes instead of ruining its economy.

France sends a team of forensics police officers to Ukraine to assist in war crime investigations. The team will begin its work on April 12 in the Kyiv Oblast, where multiple counts of Russian war crimes were reported. France is the first country to send international forensics on the ground, French ambassador Etienne de Poncins said on April 11.

German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall ready to send tanks to Ukraine if government approves. Rheinmetall can send up to 50 old Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine if the German government approves the transfer, Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger told German media on April 11. The first shipment could take up to six weeks. German Armed Forces have decommissioned the old Leopard 1 tanks, using the Leopard 2 model instead.

Russian oil embargo could be part of sixth round of EU sanctions. The Foreign Ministers of Ireland, Lithuania and the Netherlands said on April 11 that the EU is drafting proposals for the bloc’s oil embargo on Russia, although there is still no agreement regarding the measure. “The EU is spending hundreds of millions of euros on importing oil from Russia, which is certainly contributing to financing this war. We need to cut off that financing. The sooner, the better,” said Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, as quoted by Reuters.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Alexander Query, Anna Myroniuk, Thaisa Semenova, Oleg Sukhov, Sergiy Slipchenko, Olena Goncharova, Oleksiy Sorokin, Olga Rudenko, Toma Istomina and Brad LaFoy.

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