As Russians mercilessly attack Donbas, Ukraine uncovers more Russian war crimes on liberated territories

8 April, 12:52 PM
Borodianka, Kyiv Oblast (Photo:NV/ Oleksandr Medvedev)

Borodianka, Kyiv Oblast (Photo:NV/ Oleksandr Medvedev)

The Centre for Defense Strategies (CDS) is a Ukrainian security think involved in security studies, defense policy research and advocacy. This is CDS’s analysis of the main events of Russia’s war against Ukraine as of April 7.

Humanitarian aspect
More than 464 Ukrainian children have become casualties of Russia's full-scale Russian war against Ukraine. 167 have been killed, and over 297 have been injured, according to the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine.

Ten humanitarian corridors have been agreed upon between the sides to evacuate residents of the Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, and Donetsk regions. А total of 4,676 people have been evacuated today. 3,256 people (1,205 Mariupol residents and 2,050 residents of Berdyansk, Melitopol, Polohy, Vasylivka) reached Zaporizhzhia via personal vehicles and buses through the humanitarian corridors. In the Luhansk region: 1,420 people were evacuated from Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, Rubizhne, and Kreminna.

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As a result of a Russian airstrike at Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, three evacuation trains were blocked, that were meant to evacuate Ukrainians from combat zones. The passengers of these blocked trains have been temporarily resettled at the station. Oleksandr Kamyshyn, head of Ukrzaliznytsia, said that the attack damanged as the only Ukrainian-controlled railway exit from Slovyansk, Kramatorsk, and Lyman.

The mayor of Dnipro, Borys Filatov, advised city residents who had previously left, not to return; and to start evacuating women, children, and the elderly.

President Volodymyr Zelensky announced today that the towns and villages of the Kyiv region, liberated from Russian occupation, will be restored as soon as possible.


Meanwhile, rescuers have begun to find the first bodies of civilians buried under the rubble of houses in Borodyanka, Kyiv region. Casualty counts are currently being tallied.

Earlier, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Iryna Venediktova, stated that in Borodyanka, the situation with civilian casualties would turn out to be even worse than in Bucha.


According to the mayor, Anatoly Fedoruk, almost 90% of the dead civilians in Bucha were found to have bullet wounds, not shrapnel.

This confirms the earlier stated horrendous crimes of the Russian invasion forces, and the deliberate execution of Ukrainian civilians. Irpin continues to be cleaned and demined after the Russian invaders. However, it is too early to return to the town. According to Irpin mayor Olexandr Markushyn, today, rescuers are finishing the removal of civilian bodies. The police forces, along with the prosecutor's office, will be exhuming and burying local residents who had been buried in their own yards during the occupation in the city cemetery.

Their identities will be established by neighbor testimony, as well as DNA examination.

Irpin's infrastructure and parks are being demined. By the end of the week, the temporary safe crossing route to Irpin on the site of a destroyed bridge will be restored. The town is also reopening a fire station, and all critical utilities are already operating. Within a week, the town services will repair roads, restore electricity and sewage, and provide water. Only then will the town be declared safe for habitation.

According to Mariupol mayor Vadym Boychenko, nearly 50 people were burned alive during the bombing of a children's hospital by Russian aircraft in Mariupol. According to preliminary estimates, 5,000 people have died in Mariupol during the month of the blockade, of which about 210 have been children.

In the Luhansk region, the enemy is shelling the residential areas of cities with long-range weapons, according to the head of the regional military administration Serhiy Haidai. Russian troops attacked a hospital in Severodonetsk, and residential buildings in Lysychansk.

There is no single undamaged hospital left in the Luhansk region due to enemy shelling and bombing.

The Russian military conducted 48 MLRS, artillery, and mortar strikes on Kharkiv in the past 24 hours, putting pressure on civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure.


In Kakhovka, Kherson region, the Russian invaders abducted Valery Saltykov, a member of the Kherson regional council from the European Solidarity political party and the former head of the Kakhovka district administration, according to another councilmember, Serhiy Khlan.

The mayor of Kakhovka has been forced to leave the city due to a threat from the invading forces. The day before, he refused to cooperate with the Russians.
Russian forces bombed a currently non-operational railway station in Mykolayiv, according to the city mayor Alexander Senkevich.

Operational situation

The strategic air-ground offensive operation of the Russian Armed Forces against Ukraine continues. From April, the Russians have changed its title to the "Donbas Defense Operation."

During 43 days of fighting, the enemy has partially fulfilled the task of establishing a land corridor from Russian territory through the Ukrainian Donbas to the temporarily occupied Crimean peninsula, and is attempting to occupy the entirety of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The enemy's primary efforts are focused on the offensive in the Donetsk operational area to break through the defenses of the Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation zone and capture the port city of Mariupol.

The Russian invaders are regrouping and conducting reconnaissance actions, trying to improve the tactical position of separate units in the Pivdennobuzhsky (Southern Buh River) operational area and gain a foothold on the administrative borders of the Kherson region.

Thus, the Russian Central Military District units are restoring their combat capability with stays in Russia's Bryansk and Kursk regions; units of the 38th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (35th Combined arms Army of the Eastern Military District) and some units of the Central Military District are being transferred from Belarus to the Belgorod region. Some of the withdrawn Russian units are stationed in tent camps in the Russian areas bordering Ukraine.

The enemy is using the railway to increase the efficiency of transferring its military cargo. Military echelons with weapons and military equipment have arrived at the Valuyki (Russia) and occupied Kupyansk (Ukraine) stations.

The Russian Armed Forces Command continues to search for ways to replenish its units with personnel.

Russian military commissariats have intensified their recruitment efforts, focusing on conscripts discharged from military service after 2012 with military specialties such as driver, mechanic, intelligence/scout, and junior officers. The official reason for this new re-conscription wave is to hold a 3 month training session for these specified military specialties.

Also, military mobilization propaganda is being promoted among the population of the so-called Transnistrian Moldavian Republic territory, the residents of which hold Russian citizenship.


The invaders continue to use violence against civilians in the temporarily occupied territories.

On April 6, the Ukrainian Armed Forces hit three air targets: a cruise missile, a UAV, and a fighter jet. Ukraine's Air Force continue to launch missile and bomb strikes on the Russian invaders.

The morale of the invasion force personnel remains low and is deteriorating. There are multiple reports of servicemen refusing to take part in further hostilities in Ukraine.

Volyn operational area: The situation is unchanged.

Polissya operational area: The situation is unchanged

Kyiv operational area: The situation is unchanged.

Siversky operational area: The situation is unchanged.

Slobozhansky operational area: The enemy continues to blockade Kharkiv. The Russian invaders fired on the city with MLRS, artillery, and mortars for most of the night. The enemy did not take active action in the area of Izyum. The 20th Combined arms and the 1st Tank armies of the Russian Western Military District are regrouping their units.

Donetsk operational area: The enemy's primary efforts are focused on the offensive in the towns of Popasna and Rubizhne; establishing control over Mariupol; trying to improve their tactical situation; and firing in the areas of Kreminna, Pisky, Ocheretino, Rozivka, Novobahmutivka, and Krasnohorivka. In the areas of Popasna, Stepny, Notoshkivsky, Rubizhny, Severodonetsk, and Solodke, the enemy carried out assault operations, but was unsuccessful.

The invaders unsuccessfully tried to break through the Ukrainian forces' defense in the area of Novotoshkivske.

Mariupol: The storming of the city continues; the enemy is actively using aircraft. They are also forcibly abducting residents to the temporarily occupied districts of the Donetsk region.

Tavriya operational area: The enemy is shelling Shcherbaki, Komyshuvakha, Nodanylivka, Mala Tokmachka, Huliaipilske, Lukyanivske, Preobrazhenka, and Huliaipole.

As a result of an offensive confuced by the Ukrainian Armed Forces , the enemy lost control over Osokorivka.

Pivdennobuzhsky operational area: The enemy is defending previously occupied areas and is restoring their units' combat capability. the Russian occupation forces continue to carry out so-called "filtration" measures against civilians in the temporarily occupied territories of the Kherson region.

Azov-Black Sea maritime operational area: In the coastal direction, Russian troops continue attempts to seize Ukrainian cities and ports in the Black and Azov Seas.


The London marine insurance market earmarked all Russian waters as high risk, following the Guidance from the Joint War Committee. It includes the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the ports of the Far East. The London marine insurance market is the largest globally, accounting for about a third of the insurance market of all merchant ships in the world.

From now on, when a ship wants to enter Russian territory (including territorial waters), the owner will be obliged to notify their insurer and pay a special "military premium."

These premiums can be up to 5% of the value of the entire vessel. This restriction makes maritime trade with Russia virtually impossible.

A new package of EU sanctions against the aggressor includes a ban on Russian vessels and operators from entering EU ports.

The sea siege of Odesa continues. Russian troops continue to launch missile strikes from the sea, from surface ships and submarines, and the territory of occupied Crimea.

Mykolaiv and Ochakiv were also hit by missiles from the Black Sea. There are casualties as a result of the attacks.

The defense of the city of Мykolaiv continues. Defenders repelled the enemy to the Kherson region, conducting attacks and shelling clusters of enemy equipment. The enemy transferred additional heavy forces from occupied Crimea to the Kherson region and have constantly fired at Mykolaiv with artillery and MLRS.

Kyiv
• Ukrainian border guards returned to the "Ivankiv" and "Mlachivka" border-guard stations in the Kyiv region, which the invaders had attacked on February 24.
• Over the past two days, 16 sabotage and reconnaissance groups have been detained in Kyiv.
• Seven out of 12 ambulances donated to the Ukrainian capital by the city hall of Kyiv's sister city, Munich, have arrived in Kyiv.
• 7.1 hectares, 45 buildings, and 14 km of roads around Bucha, Borodyanka, Lukyanivka, Lukashi, Ploske (Brovary district), Bilohorodka, Stoyanka (Bucha district), Kozarovychi, and the Kyiv-Zhytomyr highway have been inspected; 1,022 explosive devices were found and neutralized. Altogether, since the beginning of the inspection, about 45 hectares of land, 250 buildings, and 66.8 km of highways have been inspected; 6,883 explosive devices have been identified and neutralized. This work was done by 16 demining units of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.

Zaporizhzhya

• In Melitopol, the Russian invaders took over a publishing company and printed their own branded propaganda newspaper.

Mariupol

• Russian invaders continue to deport residents of the besieged Mariupol to Russia and the so-called Donetsk People's Republic (DNR). The military forcibly removed medical staff and patients from city hospital #4.

Sumy

• Tortured people continue to be found in the Boromlya community.

Kherson

• Journalist Oleksandr Hunko was freed from the "Kherson Gulag," which was set up by the Russian invaders.

The enemy’s total combat losses from February 24 to April 07 were approximately:
Personnel - almost 18,900 people (+300)
Tanks - 698 (+15)
Armored combat vehicles (BBM) - 1891 (+30)
Operational tactical missile systems - 4 (0)
Artillery systems - 332 (0)
Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) - 108 (+1)
Air defense equipment - 55 (0)
Aircraft - 150 (0)
Helicopters - 135 (0)
Automotive equipment - 1358 (+34)
Boats / ships - 7 (0)
UAV - 96 (+2)

International diplomatic aspect

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved the bill “Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022,” which aims to speed up and simplify decision-making procedures for supplying defense goods to Ukraine and other Eastern European countries. This aid will strengthen the defense capabilities of Ukraine, and protect civilians from Russian aggression.

As a result of the new bill, the U.S. president will have the right to authorize supplying Ukraine with “any weapons, weapons systems, munition, aircraft, vessel, boats or other implement of war” and related goods. The bill is now to be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by the President of the United States. There were several draft bills during the past six months, including for lend-lease. However, it seems that the war crimes of the Russian military in the suburbs of Kyiv were the last straw. Currently, the critical issue for Ukraine is to persuade American partners to expand the list of weapons provided.

Such defense capabilities should include air defense systems capable of ousting the Russian Air Force from the entire airspace of Ukraine, and systems capable of hitting air, ground, and surface-based platforms that strike Ukrainian cities with ballistic, cruise, and unguided missiles. Assault aircraft, armored vehicles, artillery systems, etc., are also needed.

“You provide us with everything that we need, and we will fight for our security but also for your security, so that President Putin will have no chance to test Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Kyiv’s request for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers. The head of British diplomacy responded, “We agreed to help Ukrainian forces move from their Soviet-era equipment to NATO standard equipment, on a bilateral basis.”

The European Commission is accumulating the necessary equipment, medicines, and vaccines, worth €540mn, in the event of the Russian use of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.

 The WHO representative in Ukraine said that the organization has identified Dnipro as its operational base and is working on contingency plans in case of the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Despite warnings from Western countries to Vladimir Putin about the highly negative consequences of his decision to use WMDs against Ukraine, the risk remains.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on governments to increase defense support for Ukraine, and to impose “an immediate full embargo on Russian imports of oil, coal, nuclear fuel and gas.” The MPs also called for Russia’s expulsion from the G20, the WTO, Interpol, UNESCO, and other international forums.

A fifth package of sanctions, adopted together with the United States, did not mention oil.

However, Monday, a potential decision to suspend or restrict oil imports could be made at the Council of Foreign Ministers. A government memo has appeared in the media, showing Germany’s ability to avoid an energy shock if Russian oil imports cease.

Allegedly, its current reserves will last for at least 200 days. So, on Monday, it will become clear how much the crimes in Bucha affected  energy
pragmatism in Berlin.


German weekly DER SPIEGEL reports that German intelligence has records of intercepted conversations between Russian servicemen discussing the indiscriminate killing of Bucha civilians. In addition to using these materials as evidence of war crimes, this evidence will influence public opinion in Germany and increase pressure on the government to take tougher measures against Russia. It is also significant as an argument against Russian propagandists and diplomats calling an "objective investigation" into the war crimes, without jumping to "accuse Russia."

However, the Russian Federation’s interest in an objective investigation is best illustrated by its vote, along with Eritrea, against the UN Human Rights Council establishing a commission to investigate war crimes against Ukrainians. The Russian diplomat stated that this is “a mere waste of resources, which could better be used to help civilians in Ukraine."

However, this will unlikely be a concern of the co-sponsors of the resolution, which will "use any means in order to blame Russia for the event,” the Russians say, though they neglect to mention that their armed forces and government are indeed guilty of committing war crimes, and genocide, against the Ukrainian people. 

This week, representatives of the U.S. Department of State met with the French War Crimes Prosecutor and representatives of other European countries
to coordinate efforts in collecting evidence of war crimes committed in Ukraine. However, it is obvious that the Russian side will craftily declare “Russophobia” and “prejudice” against Russia, which was “not allowed” to participate in the investigation.

The United States has announced the elimination of malware programs through which the GRU (Russian military intelligence) planned to carry out attacks on the networks of government and commercial structures in the United States and other countries.

Interestingly, the FBI received a secret court order that allowed them to clean even domestic corporate networks and remove such malware, sometimes without the company’s knowledge.

The White House warned the Kremlin about the inadmissibility of war in cyberspace and, at the same time, was preparing for such attacks. Although Ukraine is the main target, Russia resorts to cyber aggression against those who support Ukraine; in particular, it is known that attacks were carried out on the European Viasat satellite system.

Ukraine in general
Ukraine's international reserves grew by 2% in March and amounted to $28.1 billion as of April 1, 2022. According to the National Bank of Ukraine, the growth of reserves occurred primarily due to financing from international partners, which compensated for the sale of foreign currency by the National Bank and payments for servicing the public debt.

During the war, the damage to Ukraine's infrastructure has amounted to more than $68 billion. According to joint estimates by the Ministry of Economy and Kyiv School of Economics, the total losses to Ukraine's economy due to the war fluctuate from $564 to $600 billion,taking into account both calculated direct losses and indirect losses (GDP decline, investment cessation, labor outflow, additional defense, and social support costs, etc.).

In his address, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal stated that the Government focuses on helping Ukrainian citizens in the territories that have recently been de-occupied. In the liberated territories, the Government is developing programs that will assist internally displaced people. Food, medicines, and essential goods are primarily sent to these territories.

Ukraine seized 17,800 Belarusian and Russian railcars. The Office of the Prosecutor General made this decision as part of the investigation of criminal proceedings on intentional tax evasion on an especially large scale. Currently, the issue of confiscation of the arrested wagons in the state revenue is being resolved. The Economic Security Bureau is conducting a pre-trial investigation.

Russian troops have attacked 20 oil depots and one refinery in Ukraine since the start of the war. This list is not complete, says Serhiy Kuyun, director of the consulting group A-95.

The first of the attacked deports had some reserves, while the ones attacked in March had already been emptied.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs, together with experts from Google, have begun a project to digitize the consequences of the Russian invasion in the destroyed cities of Ukraine. As a result, images of the destroyed streets and buildings will appear on Google Maps.

The number of people willing to learn Ukrainian has grown by 577% since the start of the open war, according to the Duolingo language learning platform. Demand grew the most in the United States and Poland.

Ukraine's power infrastructure: Over the past 24 hours, power supply to more than 13,500 consumers has been restored: 5,967 in Kyiv region; 3,000 in Kharkiv region; 1,916 in Zaporizhzhya region; 1,696 in Mykolaiv region; and 1,000 in Chernihiv region.

Ukrainian energy companies are making every effort to restore power to Ukrainian citizens as quickly as possible. However, emergency recovery work is difficult or impossible in some areas due to the intensification of hostilities and the emergence of new damage. As of April 7, about 1,167 villages and towns in Ukraine remain without electricity, with a total of about 764,000
consumers.

More than 304,000 consumers remain without gas.

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