On the 47th day of the war in Ukraine, tensions escalate. Russia has appointed a new commander in chief of operations, known for atrocities against civilians in other theaters of war.
Russian forces are regrouping for a new phase of the war, a new assault they are preparing in the east, warns the British military intelligence service.However, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has said there will be an offensive not only against Mariupol, but also against the capital Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, writes BBC. In a video posted on the Telegram on Monday, Kadyrov said he would “completely liberate [the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions] … and then take Kyiv and all the other cities.” “I assure you there will be no step back,” he said. The statement comes amid intensified attacks in eastern Ukraine.
Volodymyr Zelensky, in turn, urges Ukrainians to prepare for even stronger Russian attacks. On Monday, the Austrian chancellor will meet Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
There were strong explosions in Nikolaev, a city in southern Ukraine, which people say is the strongest blast they have witnessed since the start of the war. On the other hand, the death toll from the Kramatorsk train station attack rose to 57. More than 1,200 new bodies have been discovered in the Kyiv region.
A train station in eastern Ukraine has been bombed by Russian forces, the head of the railway company said on Monday, according to CNN. “Last night, another railway station in eastern Ukraine was bombed by Russian troops,” Oleksandr Kamyshin told Telegram. As there was a night attack, no casualties were reported. Five locomotives, rails and electric grids were damaged, Kamyshin said. “They continue to strike, targeting the railway infrastructure. There are no casualties among civilians or railway workers,” he said.
As Russian forces retreat to eastern Ukraine, the horrors left behind by them in the localities they have occupied are revealed. In Andriivka, about 60 kilometers from the capital Kviv, 40 people were killed. Among them, Anton Ischenko had just celebrated his 23rd birthday. His family found his body a month later. He was so mutilated that he could only be identified by his clothes.
The total death toll among children in Russia’s war in Ukraine has risen to 183, while 342 others have been injured.
A powerful explosion took place on Sunday night in the Ukrainian city of Nikolaev, a port city with access to the Black Sea located between Kherson and Odessa, in the south of Ukraine.
There were 66 Russian artillery attacks in the Kharkiv region during the night.
Footage captured by drones revealed a town near Kyiv, Horenka where all buildings had been destroyed by the Russian attacks. Only a windmill still stands.
At the same time, the Ukrainian Air Force claims that Sunday was a successful day in terms of anti-aircraft fighting against the Russian army. Ukraine claims that it has managed to shoot down no less than 11 air targets.
Russia’s losses from the start of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine to Monday have reached nearly 19,500, according to the latest figures from the Ukrainian military. The Ukrainian military says it has destroyed 725 tanks, 154 planes, 137 helicopters, 1,387 military vehicles and 347 artillery systems since the beginning of the Russian invasion.
Moreover, Ukrainians mocked the military technique used by Russia. A military man autopsied a drone sent by the Moscow army and crashed. The device is far from amazing. In a viral video on the Internet, a Ukrainian soldier shows how he dismantles an Orlan-10 reconnaissance drone. In the footage, the Ukrainian military shows how a camera was attached to the drone. The camera has the on / off switch attached. The drone has an attached circuit, in which the lenses are attached, including a thermal sensor.
British Defense Ministry: Russia could use phosphorus ammunition in Mariupol
Russia could use phosphorus ammunition in Mariupol, where fighting has intensified, the British Defense Ministry warns in a report released Monday morning on the war in Ukraine, recalling that the Russians used this type of arsenal in the Donetsk region. The British Defense Ministry also said that the Ukrainian army had managed to fight several Russian attacks in the separatist areas of the east, Donetsk and Luhansk, causing more damage to Moscow’s troops: tanks, artillery equipment and armor. At the same time, the Ministry of Defense in London says that the use of unguided missiles by Russia increases the risk of civilian casualties.
Russian general with expertize in Chechnya and Syria, takes over command of the Ukraine invasion
Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed Alexander Dvornikov, a general with field experience in Chechnya and Syria, to command the invasion of Ukraine. Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling spoke to CNN about the significance of the appointment, given that the war in Ukraine has so far been a failure for the Kremlin. “It’s interesting from the point of view of the control and command process. Dvornikov is a typical Russian general. He was mobilized in the east, in the center and in the south and followed the usual path for the top Russian military: infantry command, ordinary military schools. Interestingly, he fought in the war in Chechnya and was the first Russian commander in Syria, at the beginning of Russia’s involvement in that country,” said Hertling.
“Dvornikov has a lot of experience with the kind of actions we’ve seen lately. He is now the commander of the southern military district, which means Chechnya, Dagestan, North Ossetia, Crimea, so he knows the area well. The way he conducted the operations so far has brought him many medals, some given by Putin himself “, the general in reserve added.
Ukraine warns on potential challenges in Transnistria
The Ukrainian Army General Staff does not rule out the possibility that Russia may set up challenges in Transnistria in order to later accuse Ukraine of aggression against Moldova, Nexta reports. It is not the first time that Kiev claims that Russia is mobilizing its troops in the separatist region of Rep. Moldova for the purpose of challenges. On April 2, Chisinau denied such a scenario.
Austrian Chancellor, meetings with Zelensky, Putin
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer will meet with Putin in Moscow on Monday after a meeting with Zelenski on Saturday. “We are militarily neutral, but we have a clear position on the war of aggression against #Ukraine,” Nehammer wrote of Austria on Twitter. “It simply came to our notice then. We need humanitarian corridors, a ceasefire and a full investigation into war crimes,” he added.
Bellingcat: 150 FSB officers arrested or fired
Journalist Christo Grozev of the independent investigative site Bellingcat said that about 150 officers of the Moscow Secret Service, FSB, were fired or arrested, according to the independent channel Nexta TV. Among them is Colonel-General Serghei Beseda, head of the foreign service.
Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, has been charged with secret service among those who provided Moscow with misinformation about the reality on the Ukrainian front.
Information about these moves began to appear in early March, when journalists reported that the Russian president had “beheaded” the foreign intelligence department of the Federal Security Service and arrested them at home. “Sergei Beseda, the head of the service, and his deputy Bolukh, were placed under house arrest, according to my inside sources,” said Russian investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov.
Western intelligence reports say Putin was expected to make much faster progress in the February 24th invasion of Ukraine.
Kuleba: If we were a NATO member, this war would not have taken place
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba reiterated that it was a strategic mistake for Germany and France to oppose Ukraine’s accession to NATO in 2008. “If we were a NATO member, this war would not have taken place” , said the head of Ukrainian diplomacy during a show on the American television station NBC. Now, Kuleba claims, Ukraine is paying for this mistake and says that if it were a NATO member, the war would not have taken place.
Dmitro Kuleba also accused Germany of failing to support his country, as Berlin continues to think in terms of defensive and offensive weapons when it comes to military equipment. “If we hadn’t wasted a lot of time talking about defense against offense and what Ukraine needs and doesn’t need, then we would be in a different position now, in a much stronger position,” Kuleba said, according to dpa.
On the other hand, Western states continued to announced support for Ukraine. New Zealand will send a Hercules transport plane and a team of 50 troops to Europe to support Ukraine, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday.
The New Zealand government will also contribute financially to the US $ 8.8 million war effort, including a contribution to the United Kingdom for the purchase of weapons and ammunition.
according to the World Bank, Ukraine’s economy could halve due to the war,. Anna Bjerde, the bank’s vice president, says Ukraine needs “massive immediate financial support”.
The EU is preparing a sixth package of sanctions against Russia
EU foreign ministers will discuss the sixth package of sanctions against Moscow in Luxembourg on Monday, but the question of a possible halt to Russian oil and gas purchases still divides the 27. “We have imposed heavy sanctions on Russia and we are in the process of preparing for the sixth wave of such measures,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during a recent visit to Kyiv with European Foreign Minister Josep Borrell. Josep Borrell announced his intention to launch talks on an oil embargo on Monday, “but an official proposal is not on the table,” a senior European official acknowledged on Friday.
From the other side, Russia is threatening to sue if the West tries to force it into default, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia on Monday, sharpening Moscow’s tone in its financial struggle with the West.
“Of course we will sue, because we have taken all the necessary measures to ensure that investors receive their payments,” Siluanov said. “We will present in court the documents confirming our efforts to pay both in foreign currency and in rubles. It will not be an easy process. We will have to prove our case very actively, despite all the difficulties”, he added.
The Times: Sweden and Finland are ready to join NATO
Russia has made a “huge strategic mistake”, given that Finland and Sweden appear to be ready to join NATO at the earliest in the summer, reports The Times, citing US officials. US officials say Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO has been “a topic of discussion and several sessions” for both Nordic states. Officials spoke about this last week with the foreign ministers of the North Atlantic alliance, discussions in which Sweden and Finland also participated, according to The Times.
In retort, Kremlin warned on Monday that Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO will not bring stability to Europe. “I have repeatedly said that the alliance remains a tool for confrontation, and that its future expansion will not bring stability to the European continent,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said when asked about the possibility of Sweden and Finland to join NATO.
Turkey to set up airline just for Russian tourists
Turkish authorities want to set up a special airline to transport Russian tourists to tourist resorts, according to a report quoted by Turkish journalists, BBC reported.
“The escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has caused problems in Turkey’s tourism sector, as both markets have been very important for business,” the Turkish newspaper Sabah wrote, citing reports by Russia’s Interfax news agency.
The new airline will be based in Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. “Thanks to this airline, we will be able to attract another million Russian tourists,” the publication said. In addition, Turkish Airlines has agreed with Russian tour operators to book seats for Russian tourists on their planes.
Turkey is known as a major travel destination for the Russians.