Day 58 of Putin's war. An-25 plane crashes in Zaporizhia region, Russia wants to 'occupy all Donbas and southern Ukraine'

22 April, 09:43 AM
A Russian Smerch rocket protrudes from the asphalt of a road near Hostomel, Kyiv Oblast. (Photo:REUTERS/Mikhail Palinchak)

A Russian Smerch rocket protrudes from the asphalt of a road near Hostomel, Kyiv Oblast. (Photo:REUTERS/Mikhail Palinchak)

Today, April 22, is the 58th day of Ukraine's defense against a full-scale Russian invasion. The battle for Donbas, marking the second stage of the invasion, has begun.

19:58 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will visit Moscow on April 25 to meet with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. This was reported by Reuters, citing the secretary-general’s deputy spokesman, Eri Kaneko. Guterres will also hold a working meeting and lunch with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

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19:26 Rafael Mariano Grossi, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will visit the Chornobyl nuclear power plant next week with a team of specialists, the IAEA said on April 22. The agency says that the purpose of the visit is to "intensify efforts to prevent the danger of a nuclear accident" in the context of a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. A group of experts from the organization will arrive visit the Chornobyl nuclear power plant on April 26, deliver equipment and conduct radiological and other assessments. April 26 is the 36th anniversary of the catastrophic explosion and fire at the Chornobyl plant’s Reactor No. 4.

19:18 Ukraine’s armed forces have repulsed several enemy attacks near the city of Kharkiv in the past 24 hours, while in the Izyum area of Kharkiv Oblast the invaders are conducting air reconnaissance of Ukrainian troops' positions, Ukraine’s General Staff reports.

In addition, the invaders are seeking to maintain their tactical position near Kharkiv. The enemy made attempts to advance in the direction of the settlements of Zavody and Dibrivne. The Ukrainian military repulsed all attacks, the General Staff said.

18:12 Ukraine believes that 58 out of 510 Russians were rescued from the cruiser Moskva, which sank in the Black Sea after being hit by Ukrainian Neptun anti-ship missiles, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Alexei Danilov said. He said that "a lot of Russians died on the cruiser," but Russia is not honoring its dead and "simply ignores them."

18:10 Businessman and politician Hryhoriy Surkis has left Ukraine for Poland for medical treatment, his press service said on April 22. It said that he had crossed the border in accordance with current legislation. Earlier, Ukrainian media said that Surkis had been stopped at the border and had been carrying with him 13 undeclared expensive watches.

17:45 Invading Russian troops shot dead Ukrainian civilians using weapons built with components supplied by a French weapons company, Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to the head of the President's Office, wrote on Twitter. He said the components from French company Thales were used in the firing system of the weapon on a Russian armored personnel carrier. The French company bypassed anti-Russian sanctions by supplying components for weapons, rather than weapons themselves, Podoliak said.

16:58 The World Bank will allocate U.S. $4.8 billion to Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said.

"Yesterday, during the ministerial round table, I addressed the World Bank,” Zelensky said. “The result is $ 4.8 billion for the reconstruction of Ukraine. I am grateful that we are heard and supported."

16:57 Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is lying, and Russia has not given up on storming Azovstal, Ukrainia Defense Intelligence Representative Vadym Skibitsky said. He said the Russians plan to use units from the Russian National Guard and the FSB to attack the plant.

16:55 "In order to make up for the losses in the Russian army, preparations are being made for a so-called ‘mobilization’ in Kherson and Zaporizhzhya oblasts,” Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, said during a briefing. “Occupation troops are blocking the exit of the local population from the occupied territories, including conscripts." 

16:50 UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has suggested that the war in Ukraine could last until the end of next year.

"Putin has a huge army, (but) he’s in a very difficult political situation because he made a catastrophic mistake,” Johnson said. “The only option he has now is to keep trying to exhaust Ukrainians with endless artillery shelling."

16:39 The Kremlin is purging the top leadership of the Russian army and navy, Ukrainian intelligence believes. Vadym Skibitsky, a spokesman for Ukraine's Defense Ministry, said that after the defeat of Russian occupation forces on land and the destruction of the Russian Black Sea Fleet's flagship, the Moskva, the Kremlin had launched another phase of purges of its army and navy command.

16:24 Invading Russian forces have set up a torture chamber for Ukrainians at a police station in Kakhovka in the Russian-occupied part of Kherson Oblast. According to ombudswoman Lyudmila Denisova, the Russians are detaining activists, former members of the Anti-Terrorist Operation and Environmental Protection Agency, and men who have not even done military service or taken part in rallies against the occupation. The formal reason for the detentions is "violation of law and order" or "violation of curfew."

16:09 France is sending Ukraine Caesar self-propelled artillery units and MILAN anti-tank weapon, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview with French newspaper Ouest-France.

15:43 In Melitopol in the Russian-occupied part of Kherson Oblast partisans have killed about 100 invading Russian troops, Mayor of Melitopol Ivan Fedorov said, citing data from the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

15:15 The Kremlin can’t think of a way to end its war against Ukraine in a way that doesn’t harm Russian dictator Vlaimir Putin politically, independent Russian-language news site Medusa has reported. Medusa's sources said that the Russian presidential administration's internal political bloc had concluded that there were no "good PR scenarios for withdrawing" from the war that would not lead to a drop in the government's rating.

14:16 For the first time since 2003, Japan has described the Kuril Islands an illegally occupied territory. This definition is contained in a new issue of the Blue Book on Diplomacy, the government's guide to the country's foreign policy, which has been published annually by the Japanese Foreign Ministry since 1957. The Kuril Islands were occupied by the Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War, and Russia still occupies them.

14:13 The United Kingdom will reopen its embassy in Kyiv in a show of support for Ukraine, UK news channel Sky News has reported. The UK moved its embassy from the Ukrainian capital in February. The ambassadors of the EU, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, the Vatican, Moldova, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan have already returned to Kyiv.

13:58 The bodies of 1,084 civilians, up to 75% had been shot dead, have so far been recovered in the parts of Kyiv Oblast that fell under occupation by the Russian army, the head of the regional police has reported.

"I want to say that now the number of bodies that have been examined by investigators and taken to forensic facilities is 1,084,” said Kyiv Oblast Police Chief Andriy Nebytov. “These are civilians who had nothing to do with territorial defense or other military formations."

More than 300 bodies have not yet been identified. Between 50 and 75% of these people were killed by small arms, including assault rifles and sniper rifles.

13:52 The chairman of Office of the President Andriy Yermak has said he doubts Russia will be able to occupy Donbas and the south of Ukraine completely – goals announced today by a senior member of the Russian military.

"They think they can capture the Donbas and the south of Ukraine, counting on economic pressure being put on our state,” Yemak wrote in his channel on the Telegram messenger service.

“We have our own scenarios for the defense of Ukraine, and I want to remind you that many of the Kremlin's plans have already been destroyed by the work of our army and people."

Yermak added that Russia's war against Ukraine was a war for freedom, and that the Ukrainian people would win it.

13:45 New mass graves have been discovered in Borodyanka and Havronshchyna in Kyiv Oblast. On April 20, the bodies of two 35-year-old men and a 15-year-old girl who were brutally shot by the invaders were found on the territory of a local hospital in Borodyanka, the press service of the regional police reports. The bodies of six more people were found at a second burial site – four men and two women. The Russian soldiers had run over the head of one of their victims with an armored personnel carrier.

At another burial site found in the Havronshchyna area with the bodies of a woman and a child. The Russians murdered them when shooting at a car with two families trying to evacuate. The woman and a child were killed and other passengers were injured.

13:30 "Russia has dramatic problems, sanctions are causing enormous damage to the Russian economy, and a string of military defeats can no longer be papered over with state propaganda,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said. “A cold peace that is not bound by an agreement will not free Russia from the sanctions regime," the German chancellor added.

13:27 Invading Russian troops have shelled the regional trauma hospital in Lyman in Donetsk Oblast, setting it on fire, according to the head of the Donetsk regional military administration. Russia attacked the hospital with Uragan multiple rocket launcher systems. The attack caused fires and destruction to both the hospital and nearby residential buildings. Rescuers and sappers have extinguished the fire and neutralized explosive remnants. No casualties were reported.

13:02 Russia is refusing to open a humanitarian corridor to allow civilians to leave the Azovstal plant in order to put pressure on the Ukrainian military, Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine Iryna Vereshchuk has said. She said the occupiers have only opened a corridor for Ukrainian defenders to surrender by, but that this is not needed because the Ukrainian soldiers do not want to surrender.

12:34 Several of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's friends have mysteriously "disappeared" after the start of the war against Ukraine, German tabloid Bild has reported. The newspaper said some of Putin's allies have lost "their freedom or their lives."

12:20 One person has been killed as a result of the crash of an An-26 plane in the Zaporizhzhya Oblast, the regional administration reported. It said two other people were injured in the crash.

11:53 Invading Russian forces have fired on Slavyansk, and could use cluster bombs on the strategic Donetsk Oblast city, the head of Slavyansk military-civil administration Vadym Lyakh said.

⚡⚡⚡ 11:19 Russia has named the goals of the "second stage" of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine: full occupation of the Donbas and southern Ukraine, and the creation of a land corridor to Crimea. According to Russian news agency Interfax, Major General Rustam Minnekaev, acting commander of Russia’s Central Military District, said Russia might also carry out a second invasion of Moldova due to "pressure on the Russian-speaking population."

10:33 Invading Russian forces are trying to advance deep into Zaporizhzhia Oblast, and may still attempt to reach the city of Zaporizhzhia itself, according to the Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration. The administration also said the enemy is constantly shelling villages in the oblast.

⚡⚡⚡ 10:20 An AN-26 plane crashed in Vilnia district of Zaporizhzhia region this morning, according to Zaporizhzhia Oblast Administration. It said the aircraft was performing a technical flight. There are casualties, and details are being clarified. The administration promised to report further later.

09:49 Russia’s losses since it launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces

·       Personnel – 21,200

·       Tanks - 838

·       Armored combat vehicles - 2162

·       Artillery systems - 397

·       Reactive volley fire systems (RLS) - 138

·       Air Defense Systems (ADS) - 69

·       Aircraft - 176

·       Helicopters - 153

·       Vehicles – 1,523

·       Ships / boats - 8

·       Tankers with fuel and lubricants (Fuel) - 76

·       Drones (UAVs) of operational and tactical level - 172

·       Special equipment - 27

·       Launchers of operational-tactical missile systems and tactical missile systems (OTRK / TRK) - 4

09:34 The US State Department has rejected Russia's claims to have captured the city of Mariupol.

"We understand that Ukrainian forces continue to hold their ground, and there is every reason to believe that the show of President Putin and his defense minister to the media, that we saw in recent hours, is even more misinformation,” said Pentagon spokesman Ned Price.

He said the Kremlin's plan for the Ukrainian soldiers in Azovstal is to "try to starve them out” by surrounding the plant. He said the United States was "using its levers of influence on the Russian Federation" to save the Ukrainian soldiers trapped in Mariupol.

09:20 The embassy of Uzbekistan has relocated from Lviv to Kyiv, the country’s ambassador said.

"We have just returned from Lviv, in our diplomatic cars,” said ambassador Alisher Kurmanov. “Ambassador Alisher Kurmanov and all diplomats, including technical staff will work on a full-time basis (in Kyiv)."

09:09 The Pentagon has announced the start of supplies to Ukraine of its latest Ghost combat drones. According to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, quoted by Voice of America, the Ghost drones "are very much in line with what the Ukrainians need in the Donbas."

08:39 About 50 dead Russian soldiers and about 220 wounded were taken to a regional hospital in Luhansk Oblast on April 20, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The dead and wounded were brought to central district hospital in Novoaidar, the General Staff said.

In addition, a battalion tactical group of the 136th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 58th All-Military Army of the Southern Military District, operating in the Kurakhiv area, suffered significant casualties (up to 250 men), the General Staff said.

08:00 Russian authorities in Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Crimea decided to completely close the entrance and exit from the peninsula from April 30 to prevent the disruption of the spring conscription campaign there, Ukraine’s General Staff reported.

07:09 Fighting in the Donbas has intensified along all along the front line, Ukraine’s General Staff reports. The enemy is carrying out assault operations in the area of ​​the settlement of Zarichne and attempting advance in the area of ​​the settlement of Rubizhne. Defensive battles with the enemy continue in the areas near Novtoshkivske and Popasna. The invaders are continuing to try to storm Ukrainian positions in the area of ​​Maryinka, with support from artillery.

06:55 Finland is likely to apply for NATO membership in the coming weeks, by the end of spring, Finnish MP and Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja said.

05:35 Russia in 2024 may drop out of the top six economies in the world due to sanctions, according to an updated IMF forecast, being overtaken by Indonesia.

04:56 Vladimir Putin himself has decided to give orders in Russia's war against Ukraine, according to open-source investigative team Bellingcat journalist Christo Grozev. He said the Russian dictator "no longer trusts anyone" and has decided to become the supreme commander in the war with Ukraine.

04:43 Three quarters of the residents of Donetsk Oblast have left their homes, the head of the Donetsk regional military administration Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Ukrainian TV.

"Until Feb. 24, 2022, 1,670,000 people lived permanently in the part of Donetsk Oblast that was under the control of the Ukrainian authorities. Now there are about 430,000. If we take, for example, Kramatorsk, the largest city in the region after Mariupol, there are a little more than 40,000 (people left there) out of 200,000,” Kyrylenko said.

03:54 The Kremlin planned to deport Ukrainians to concentration camps in western Siberia and force them to build cities, National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said in an interview with NV.

03:28 Ukraine’s Air Force Command reports that on April 21 Ukraine’s air defenses shot down 15 enemy aircraft, including:

·       3 warplanes (Su-34, Su-35, Su-25);

·       3 helicopters (two Mi-8 and one Ka-52);

·       9 unmanned aerial vehicles (Orlan-10).

02:55 The World Bank estimates the damage to Ukraine's buildings and infrastructure from Russia’s invasion to be worth U.S. $60 billion. This estimate does not include the growing economic costs to Ukraine's economy. Bank President David Malpas gave the estimate at a ministerial roundtable in support of Ukraine.

01:49 President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine needs support of up to U.S. $7 billion a month. President was speaking via video link at the Ministerial Round Table in Support of Ukraine in the framework of the Spring Meetings of 2022 of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

00:35 Mayor of Kharkiv Ihor Terekhov has declared that the city administration is ready to help with the evacuation of inhabitants of areas that are under constant attacks by enemy troops. Terekhov also urged citizens not to leave bomb shelters and shelters unnecessarily.

"I want to appeal to all residents of Pivnichnoyi Saltovka, Pyatihatki and other areas that are under constant fire from the Russian aggressor,” Terekhov said. “Yes, it’s not easy, but we are ready to evacuate you. I beg you, decide to save your lives. We will take you out and settle you in the proper conditions.”

00:02 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russian occupation forces are collecting data from Ukrainians to falsify "referendums" held in occupied parts of Ukraine. He advised people living in such areas not to cooperate with the invaders.

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