HEADS-UP: Sourced from Russian State-Controlled Media
The war in Ukraine is first and foremost a mass event. In addition to crises, such events also bring opportunities. For Eastern Europe, it is an opportunity to trade equipment.
Slovenia has agreed to send the «M84» tanks left over from the Yugoslav army to Ukraine. Meanwhile, Slovenia demanded compensation from Germany, as the main beneficiary of these shipments. It wanted new «Leopard 2» tanks and «Puma» armored infantry fighting vehicles, as well as «Boxer» armored personnel carriers. However, Germany refused to supply such expensive equipment and offered Slovenia outdated «Marder» BMPs and «Fuchs» armored personnel carriers from the Bundeswehr reserves. Thus, Slovenia wanted to upgrade its armament under the noise of war.
These speculations come amid the developing Russian military operation in Ukraine.
Over the past 24 hours, Russian artillery and missile forces have launched strikes against 1,285 military facilities in Ukraine, including 9 fuel facilities and 37 control points. 1221 strong points of Kyiv’s forces have been hit.
Additionally, a strike with Kalibr cruise missiles “destroyed up to a battalion of enemy personnel with weapons and military equipment near Miliorativnoe railway station”, the Russian military said.
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system was destroyed near Novoselka as well as a command post and an area of Ukrainian manpower and military equipment concentration near Aleksandrovka. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, up to 80 nationalists, as well as more than 23 armoured vehicles and cars, were destroyed in the strike on Aleksandrovka.
Operational-tactical aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces hit 58 military assets of Ukraine. Among them: 4command posts, 3 fuel depots, and 51 areas of Ukrainian manpower and military equipment concentration.
Russian 9K58 «Smerch» multiple-launch rocket systems operate in the area of operation in Ukraine.
Most of the strikes come from the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine. For example, Russian rocket artillery is working on AFU (Armed Forces of Ukraine) facilities in the vicinity of Mykolaiv.
The office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the Russian army has occupied 42 populated areas in the last 24 hours. The assistant to the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Olena Symonenko, noted that all of these settlements were in the Donetsk region. She stated: «We have more than 3,500 settlements occupied today. This is almost 30% of the territory where military operations are taking place».
The Kyiv government with a full support of MSM actively works to hide its losses. Nonetheless, actions of leaders of pro-Kyiv forces indicate the real situation on the frontline. For example, one of the leaders of the SOF (Special Operate Forces) Regiment “Azov Kiev” Zhorin announced the mobilization to his regiment. Most likely, the regiment will be replenished with new recruits.
On April 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a statement about blockading «Azovstal» in Mariupol and ordered to avoid a direct storm of it. Thus. Russia once again proposed the remaining garrison of Kyiv’s forces, including members of radical nationalist formations like “Azov”, in this industrial area to lay down arms.
Despite attempts by the Russians to take control of Mariupol territory and ensure the safety of civilians, the possibility of further fighting remains open, as Ukrainian fighters remain at «Azovstal». Kyiv’s forces entrenched there still have mortars with a kill radius of 9 km. 1478 militants surrendered, and more than 2000 militants are under blockade. The Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation stated that it will take at least 3-4 days to defeat «Azovstal» in the case of a direct storm of it.
It is interesting to pay attention to a statement by Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic, in the light of this situation. He said that «the administrative building of «Azovstal Iron and Steel Works», which is of special strategic importance, has been taken under control, and the remaining Nazis are blockaded under a thick layer of concrete and iron on the factory territory, and I am certain that these walls are the last thing they will see in their lives.” The statement is very expressive, but it is the Chechens who play a special role in the blockade of «Azovstal». Chechen security forces work very precisely and accurately on houses where the AFU forces are concentrated. In the video, one of commanders explains that the work is not done yet. Kadyrov’s enforcers share information that from the «Azovstal» side Mariupol has been completely cleared.
In addition to the Russian troops, DPR units are actively involved in mopping up «Azovstal». A soldier in the video says that “now there is an expansion of the flanks and, most importantly, the cover of the main advance group, which is mopping up and liberating this sector of the plant.”
Meanwhile, the evacuation of civilians from Azovstal through humanitarian corridors continues. In total, more than 140 people were evacuated. Five fighters from the Azov regiment also used the corridor.
The 57th day of the Russian Armed Forces’ special operation in Ukraine was also notable for advances of Russian-led forces in the northern sector of the region of Donbass. In particular, Russian-led forces liberated the village of Kremenna in Luhansk Oblast. Offensives from Izyum to Barvenkovo and Sloviansk are underway. The Severodonetsk-Lysychansk grouping and the AFU grouping near Sviatogorsk monastery are under threat of encirclement. Fierce fighting on the border of Luhansk and Donetsk Regions is still going on for Popasna. the AFU forces remain in the western part of the city, but in the coming days, it appears they will have to retreat.