Situation as of 8:00 a.m. on April 17, 2023.
● Russian troops continue to gradually advance in Bakhmut, destroying the remains of the city in the process of street fighting.
● The Russian command is trying to strengthen its positions and prepare for defense in anticipation of a counteroffensive of the Armed Forces.
● On April 13, the Black Sea Security Conference was held in Bucharest (Romania) at the level of foreign ministers and defense ministers of the countries participating in the International Crimean Platform.
Russian troops do not stop trying to capture Bakhmut and surround Avdiivka. Street battles continue in Bakhmut, in which Russian troops use “scorched earth” policy. They gradually move forward, seizing control of completely destroyed neighborhoods. Currently, fighting is taking place in the area of the railway station.
The Russian command is concentrating its efforts on the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions, refraining from large-scale attacks on other areas of the front. In this way, it is probably trying to preserve forces to counter the expected counteroffensive of the Armed Forces. The Ukrainian military seeks to undermine the enemy’s logistics before launching an offensive. They attack Russian military facilities in the temporarily occupied territories.
The troops of the Russian Federation do not stop artillery shelling, air and missile strikes on the territory of Ukraine. On the territory of the Donetsk region, the loss of civilians in a week amounted to at least 15 people killed and 44 people wounded (including 15 killed and 24 wounded due to a rocket attack on Sloviansk on April 14). In the Kherson region, civilian casualties were 6 dead and 18 wounded. In Kharkiv region, 2 civilians were killed and 7 people were injured as a result of shelling; 5 more people were injured as a result of detonation on mines. On the night of April 16, 2 teenagers were killed in the Mykolaiv region as a result of rocket fire. On the same night, 2 people were wounded as a result of shelling in the territory of the Sumy region. In addition, shelling continues in the Chernihiv, Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk regions (where 3 people were injured in the Nikopol region on April 12).
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS
On April 10, the Ukrainian side returned 100 defenders from Russian captivity, including representatives of the Naval Forces, the State Border Guard Service, the National Guard of Ukraine, as well as defenders of Mariupol, Azovstal and Hostomel. Another major exchange took place on April 16, as a result of which Ukraine returned 130 people, most of whom were servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Also among those released are representatives of the Territorial Defence Forces, the National Guard, the State Border Service and others. A significant number of returned defenders were considered missing. Some of the released have numerous injuries and illnesses.
The Russian military documented on video the brutal execution (beheading) of a captured Ukrainian soldier. The video was actively shared in social networks, in particular in pro-Russian communities.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ordered Russia to pay 5 billion dollars in compensation to Naftogaz of Ukraine for losses caused by the seizure of assets of Naftogaz Group companies in Crimea in 2014. The Russian side must implement the relevant decision in accordance with its obligations under international law. In the event of Russia’s refusal to compensate for damages, Naftogaz has the right to initiate enforcement of the decision on the territory of the states where the assets of the Russian Federation are located.
On April 15, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi by several decrees put into effect the decision of the National Security and Defense Council on the introduction of personal sanctions against 438 individuals and 254 legal entities. According to the first decree, sanctions are imposed against a number of Russian scientists and entrepreneurs, as well as the companies ” Gazpromneft’-Tsifrovyye Resheniya”, “RT-Invest transport systems”, “Innotekh Group of Companies” and others. The second decree applies sanctions against 87 people associated with sports, including citizens of the Russian Federation, Belarus and Ukraine. The daughter of the head of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, Sergei Shoigu – the president of the Federation of Triathlon of the Russian Federation, Ksenia Shoigu, was included in the sanction list; Minister of Sports and Tourism of Belarus Serhii Kovalchuk; Russian figure skater Ilia Averbukh, etc.
FOREIGN POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal paid a visit to Canada and the USA. In Ottawa, he held meetings with Vice President Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland. The subject of the meeting was the renewal of the Free Trade Agreement, Ukraine’s receipt of a new military aid package, approval of the sanctions and compensation mechanism, etc. In the USA, substantive meetings were held with the ministers of defense, finance, trade and transport.
The Ministerial Roundtable took place during the World Bank’s regular Spring Meetings. According to its results, it was agreed that the G7 countries will provide support to Ukraine in the amount of more than 5 billion dollars. Switzerland will also provide 1.8 billion francs over the next six years. Denmark is creating a special fund and plans to fill it with 1 billion euros. Spain, Ireland, Japan, Lithuania, Latvia, Iceland, and the Netherlands will also provide additional support to Ukraine.
On April 12-13, the First Black Sea Security Conference of the International Crimean Platform was held in Bucharest, which was attended by more than 40 states. The main goal of the event was to develop a common vision of challenges and threats, to develop a strategy for ensuring security in the Black Sea region. In addition, on the sidelines of the Conference, a tripartite meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense of Romania, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine was held, who discussed the security situation in the region, particularly in the context of the destabilization efforts of the Russian Federation, and adopted a corresponding joint statement.
International partners continue to support Ukraine in the war against Russia and provide new packages of defense and financial assistance. Canada has announced a new defense aid package for Ukraine, which includes assault rifles, automatic weapons and various ammunition. The German government transferred another batch of military aid to Ukraine, including the DACHS armored engineering vehicle, Zetros trucks, mobile antenna systems, reconnaissance drones and ammunition. Finland and Pakistan also provided aid to Ukraine. In turn, the World Bank allocated an additional $200 million in financial aid to Ukraine for energy recovery. The Japanese government will provide Ukraine with 3.5 billion US dollars in direct budget support in 2023.
The Polish Sejm adopted a resolution expressing support for the prosecution of those who committed war crimes in Ukraine and the creation of a special tribunal. Costa Rica joined the coalition of countries to establish the Special Tribunal for the Russian Crime of Aggression in Ukraine, currently the coalition includes 34 countries.
This week, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi met with the bipartisan delegation of the US Senate consisting of Joseph Manchin, Lisa Murkowski and Mark Kelly, who arrived in Ukraine. In addition, the head of state held telephone conversations with French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammed Shia’ Al-Sudani. The leaders discussed the situation at the front, current defense challenges facing Ukraine and the intensification of interstate cooperation.
The information in the newsletter is collected from official sources—reports of state authorities of Ukraine, Ukrainian and international news agencies. The accuracy of the data is carefully checked by the project team and corrected in case of fake news.