Russia-Ukraine war. Timeline of events, April 20-22
Russia is trying to capture Donbas after after having suffered military setbacks elsewhere in Ukraine. The West continues to supply weapons to Ukraine. According to UN estimates, more than 11 million refugees were forced to leave their homes. Severe sanctions against Russia are destroying the Russian economy.
Summary of events by 23.30: Moscow seeks to capture the south of Ukraine; defenders of Mariupol will be allowed to leave the city
A new mass grave has been discovered in Ukraine.
“There is a real possibility” that the war in Ukraine could continue until the end of next year, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday, the Kremlin said.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, during a telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin, stressed Russia’s “miscalculations and losses” in the war.
Russia is ready to allow Azovstal fighters in Mariupol to leave the plant, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
Next few weeks could be decisive – EU official
Moscow is seeking to take complete control of southern Ukraine, as well as the Donbass region, a senior Russian military leader has said.
Russia sent the world's oldest warship to search for the sunken cruiser Moskva
The media report that the rescue ship Kommuna, part of the Black Sea Navy, went in search of the sunken cruiser Moskva. This is the oldest ship in the world that is in service and is not a museum. “Kommuna” was launched in 1913, and after many upgrades, during which she acquired an underwater robot and an underwater rescue apparatus, she continues to serve in the navy. For more than a hundred years of service, the ship has raised sunken submarines from the bottom.
Britain wants to negotiate with Poland to send tanks to Ukraine
The UK is planning to send its Challenger 2 tanks to Poland to replace the Soviet T-72 tanks that Warsaw will send to Ukraine.
Earlier, Slovakia transferred its T-72s to Ukraine in return by receiving the Puma infantry fighting vehicle from Germany and also requesting Leopard 2 tanks.
The West is trying to transfer Soviet-made equipment to Ukraine, because it is familiar to them and the Ukrainian military will not have get retrained to use them. It will also be easier for Ukraine to maintain this equipment and supply ammunition.
Soviet-made equipment is still stored in the warehouses of the European countries that used to be part of the Warsaw Pact bloc.
Ukraine recognizes the sunken wreck of the cruiser "Moskva" as an object of its underwater cultural heritage
The Ukrainian authorities have recognized the wreckage of the sunken missile cruiser “Moskva” of the Russian Black Sea Fleet as an object of the underwater cultural heritage of Ukraine.
As reported by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, the sunken cruiser was included in the register of the underwater cultural heritage of Ukraine under the number 2064.
Russian military named the new goals of the war in Ukraine: occupation of Donbas and south of the country, creation of land route to Crimea and Transnistria
“During the second phase of the special operation, the Russian army plans to establish full control over the Donbass and southern Ukraine, to secure a corridor to the Crimea”, said General Rustam Minnekaev, deputy commander of the Central Military District, speaking about the goals of a military invasion of Ukraine. According to him, the second phase of the Russian offensive began two days ago. The capture of the south of Ukraine will allow Russia to reach Transnistria, where, as the general said, “there are facts of oppression of the Russian-speaking population”.
What is happening in Mariupol at the moment?
On April 21, Russian President Putin proclaimed Mariupol, an important Ukrainian port on the Sea of Azov which had been besieged for weeks, as “liberated.” Putin canceled the assault on the Azovstal plant, from where the Ukrainian military is fighting and where civilians (according to some estimates, there are several thousand of them), are hiding. However, Putin ordered to block any possible exits from the territory of the besieged steel plant. President of Ukraine Zelensky said that Ukrainian forces continue to resist and Mariupol has not been taken.
What is known so far:
● Evidence of mass graves, which may contain the bodies of hundreds or even thousands of civilians, has emerged. Maxar Technologies has published satellite images (see photo below, in a previous post) confirming this.
● Azovstal is holding on, but with the last of its strength. Yury Ryzhenkov, general director of the plant, told STT that the stocks there would last for two or three weeks, but the blockade has been going on for almost eight weeks. Ukrainian fighters of the Azov battalion published appeals on social media to Western leaders about the need to intervene and save people from death. “There are a lot of people on the territory of the plant, small children, many wounded and unburied bodies of the dead”, Svyatoslav Palamar, one of the commanders of the Azov battalion, told the BBC.
● The US doubts that the Russian army already controls Mariupol. President Biden urged Putin to let those trapped in the plant’s bunkers get out.
● On April 21, 79 residents were evacuated to Zaporozhye. Hundreds of others were already on evacuation buses but were forced back into hiding as Russian forces continued to shell the city en masse, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said. About 100,000 residents are held hostage in the city.
Summary of events by 11.00: New mass grave discovered, Russia's losses in Ukraine may amount to more than 10,000 people
Mass grave was discovered on satellite images of the village of Mangush near Mariupol. The New York Times estimated that about 300 holes were dug at the mass gravesite. The pits appeared within two weeks, in March-April, when Russian troops controlled the area. Earlier, the authorities of Mariupol admitted that several thousand people could be buried in a mass grave in Mangush.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy issued an appeal on the results of the 57th day of the war. “Unfortunately, Russia rejected the offer to establish an Easter truce. This very well demonstrates the real attitude of the leaders of this state actually to the Christian faith, to one of the most joyful and important holidays. But we keep hope. Hope for peace, hope that life will conquer death”.
Earlier, Ukraine and Russia were asked to conclude a truce during the Easter holidays. Ukraine accepted the offer, but Russia did not agree.
For the first time in almost 20 years, the Japanese Foreign Ministry has called the Kuril Islands “illegally occupied” territory, the Kyodo news agency reports. This definition was used in the Blue Book on Diplomacy, a reference book that the Japanese Foreign Ministry has been publishing annually since 1957, Kommersant writes.
Sanctions. Australia has imposed sanctions on 147 Russian citizens, including the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Interior Ministry said.
The EU may impose an embargo on oil imports from Russia in the coming weeks. This was stated by the head of the French Ministry of Finance Bruno Le Maire.
Russian losses. A post appeared in the group of the pro-Russian publication Readovka on VKontakte, which claimed that the losses of the Russian army in Ukraine amounted to 13,414 people, and another 7,000 people were allegedly missing. These data were published with reference to the “closed briefing of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.” The post has now been deleted but remains in the web archive. In the comments, social media users suggested that the page had been hacked. Readovka did not comment on what happened.
Ukraine’s accession to the EU. “We expect to receive the status of a candidate for EU membership this summer, and in 2024 we will become a full member of the European Union,” said Minister of Economy of Ukraine Yulia Sviridenko.
Summary of events by 23.00: Biden announced a new aid package to Ukraine, Putin ordered to stop the assault on Azovstal
Help to Ukraine. US President Joe Biden announced an additional $800 million security assistance package for Ukraine.
Biden said the aid, including heavy artillery, ammunition and tactical drones, would be sent “directly to the front lines of freedom.”
Mariupol. Vladimir Putin ordered his troops not to storm the Azovstal plant, where the last group of Ukrainian fighters is holding out in Mariupol
Instead, the president orders the last stronghold of the Ukrainian military in the city to be cordoned off so that even a “fly” cannot escape, and says that the strategic port city is under Russian control.
Some civilians stuck in Mariupol for several weeks managed to leave the city, but they turned out to be much smaller than the Ukrainian authorities expected.
In eastern Ukraine, where fighting continues along a 300-kilometer front, Russia has made no major breakthroughs, analysts say.
Since the beginning of the war, the Ukrainian army has liberated more than a thousand settlements previously captured by Russia, said President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking on the air of the telethon.
Russia is gathering forces for a new offensive in Ukraine
Russia continues to build up its forces in Ukraine, a senior Pentagon official told CNN. According to him, three battalion tactical groups arrived in Ukraine in a day, and the total number of such groups increased to 85. In the last week alone, 20 BTGs have been added to the grouping of Russian troops in Ukraine. “Most of them, according to our estimates, are sent to the Donbass region,” the source said.
Battalion tactical groups are military units that include tank and motorized rifle battalions, reinforced with artillery, reconnaissance units, air defense systems, and electronic warfare equipment. Only 800-1000 military in each.
'Butcher of Bucha' targeted in fresh UK sanctions
The UK added 26 more individuals from Russia to the sanctions list. Among other sanctions were imposed against the so-called “butcher from Bucha”, lieutenant colonel Azatbek Omurbekov. Omurbekov led a detachment that occupied the city near Kyiv, where, after the withdrawal of Russian troops, hundreds of bodies of dead civilians were found. He now faces a travel ban and asset freeze along with several other commanders.
Other supporters of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have also suffered, including Oleg Belozerov, CEO and chairman of the board of the Russian Railways logistics company.
Ukrainian oficials report that more than a thousand civilian bodies are in the morgues of the Kiev region.
The bodies of 1,020 civilians are being stored in morgues in and around Kyiv following the withdrawal of Russian troops from the region, a Ukrainian official told AFP. The move comes after the bodies of nine civilians, some with signs of torture, were found in the city of Borodyanka near Kyiv, a senior police official told AFP.
“These people were killed by the occupiers and some of them have signs of torture. I want to emphasize that these people were civilians. The Russian military deliberately shot civilians who did not resist,” said Andrei Nebitov, the head of the Kiev region police. Russia denies killing civilians.
Putin called off the assault on the Azovstal plant in Mariupol
Putin called the assault on the industrial zone of the Azovstal plant in Mariupol inappropriate and ordered to cancel it
“There is no need to climb into the catacombs, it is necessary to block the industrial zone in Azovstal so that the fly does not fly through,” the Russian president said.
The Azovstal plant and the neighborhoods of Mariupol adjacent to it are the last seat of Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol. There, the Ukrainian military, in particular, the Azov regiment, organized fortified positions, using, among other things, underground facilities. In recent days, Russian troops have been trying to storm the industrial zone, and aviation has been hitting with heavy bombs. The Azov Regiment and the remnants of the marines refused to surrender, despite the proposals of the Russian side, and also reported that about a thousand civilians were hiding in the underground premises of the plant.
Summary of events by 9.30: Humanity is threatened by famine due to the war in Ukraine, Ukraine is ready for negotiations on Mariupol
Humanity is facing worldwide famine due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, warned David Malpass of the World Bank. Rising food prices are pushing millions of people into poverty and “malnutrition,” he said.
Mariupol. In Ukraine, some civilians from besieged Mariupol managed to escape the city, but officials say there were far fewer than expected.
Ukrainian negotiators have said they are ready to hold talks in Mariupol to try to save the lives of soldiers and civilians remaining there.
Russian oligarch Oleg Tinkov criticized the “massacre” of the country in Ukraine and called for an end to the “crazy war”.
Boycott Russia. Officials from the US, Canada and the UK left the hall where the G20 meeting was held while their Russian counterparts read the report.
Help to Ukraine. Lithuania handed over to Ukraine a batch of heavy mortars worth tens of millions of euros
Summary of events by 0.00: Soldiers of the Azov Regiment are ready to evacuate from Mariupol, but won't surrender
Soldiers of the Azov regiment are ready to evacuate from Mariupol, but do not want to surrender. This was stated by the deputy commander of the regiment Svyatoslav Palamar. He announced his readiness to leave along with the remaining defenders of the city, the wounded and civilians and take with him the bodies of his dead comrades and small arms.
Zelensky: Ukraine is ready for any format of exchange of its civilians and military blocked in Mariupol. The President of Ukraine stated this at a briefing following a meeting with President of the European Council Charles Michel in Kyiv.
President of the European Council Charles Michel visited Ukraine. He visited the village of Borodianka, which, like Bucha, was under the occupation of the Russian military for several weeks, and also met in Kyiv with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. During the visit, Michel announced that the EU would allocate an additional 1.5 billion euros in military assistance to Ukraine.
Zelensky published a video message on the results of the 56th day of the war. The President of Ukraine accompanied the video on his Telegram channel with the following words: “Now the EU is preparing the sixth sanctions package. I have discussed this today with (the European Council President) Charles Michel. We are working to make it really painful for the Russian military machine and the Russian state as a whole”.
The humanitarian corridor in Mariupol did not work as planned today, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshchuk said. According to her, the Russian military failed to ensure a ceasefire.
The US has imposed a new package of sanctions against Russia. About 40 organizations and 30 individuals were included in the new sanctions list.
UN: Since the beginning of the war, more than five million people have left Ukraine
Germany will give up Russian oil by the end of 2022. This was announced by German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock after a meeting with the foreign ministers of the Baltic countries. According to her, in the summer the consumption of Russian oil in Germany will be halved, and by the end of the year it will fall to zero.
Ukraine received proposals from Russia and began to study them. Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to the head of the office of the President of Ukraine, spoke about this. The Kremlin said that during the negotiations, Moscow handed over to Kiev a draft agreement with “clear, elaborated wording” and is waiting for a response.
The Netherlands will supply Ukraine with PzH 2,000 self-propelled howitzers. Germany will send ammunition for them, – Bloomberg.
American howitzer shells and howitzers themselves arrived in Europe to be sent to Ukraine, CNN writes with reference to the Pentagon. Shells began to arrive yesterday, and “there will be even more of them today and in the coming days.” In total, 40,000 pieces are planned to be sent.
Russia warns Sweden and Finland over NATO membership
Russia warned Sweden and Finland about the consequences of joining NATO, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
“They [Sweden and Finland] know about it, they will not be surprised, they have been informed of everything that it will lead to”.
Despite Russian warnings that the country would build up nuclear forces in the Baltic Sea if Finland and Sweden joined the military alliance, Finland’s prime minister said her country would now make a quick decision on whether to apply for membership. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden is also discussing whether to join NATO.
Russia lost three and a half times more military equipment than Ukraine
According to the Oryx analytical project, which collects information about military losses based on published photo and video materials, since the beginning of the war, Russia has lost 2,998 pieces of equipment (1,558 destroyed, 46 damaged, 244 abandoned, 1,120 captured by the Ukrainian side).
Ukraine lost 848 vehicles (389 destroyed, 22 damaged, 36 abandoned, 401 captured by the Russian side).
Marine Corps commander in Mariupol says his people have only a few days or even hours left
The commander of the 36th Marine Brigade of Ukraine, Major Sergei Volynsky, addressed Western media and authorities. He said the remnants of his unit defending Mariupol would not surrender, but asked for international assistance for 500 wounded soldiers and hundreds of women and children who, according to him, are still hiding with the remaining defenders at the Azovstal steel plant.
“This is our last address to the world. Perhaps the last in our lives. We probably only have a few days or even hours left”, said the Marine Corps commander.
Summary of events by 10.00: West promises to increase aid to Ukraine and provide it with artillery
Assistance to Ukraine. Kyiv has received fighter jets as well as aircraft parts from the US allies. This will allow the Ukrainians to take more aircraft to the air, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at a briefing. However, the OSINT defender project, which collects and analyzes information from open sources about events in the combat zone in Ukraine, notes that only spare parts for aviation were handed over to the Ukrainian side, but not a single whole aircraft.
The American AeroVironment company will transfer more than 100 Quantix Recon reconnaissance drones to Ukraine
British PM Boris Johnson promises more artillery for Ukraine. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK would increase aid to Ukraine and provide it with artillery systems in a situation where “the conflict is at a very dangerous stage”.
Biden also promises more artillery for Ukraine. President Biden said the United States will send more artillery systems to Ukraine in connection with the Russian offensive in the east of the country.
Western countries will increase the amount of assistance to Ukraine. New details of US President Joe Biden’s video call with Western leaders have surfaced. During the conversation, the leaders agreed on the need to put more pressure on Russia.
EU: Mariupol may fall in the coming days. This was reported to the BBC on condition of anonymity by one of the EU officials, who also told the BBC that Mariupol could be completely taken under control by Russian troops in the coming days.
More than a thousand civilians died in the Kiyv region as a result of Russian aggression – the head of the regional police Andrei Nebitov.
Why does Russia want to Donbas region so much?
Russia has shifted most of its military operations to eastern Ukraine after withdrawing its troops from Kyiv. Military analysts believe the Kremlin’s new offensive could herald a protracted conflict. Ukrainian President Zelensky said that the battle for Donbass had begun and promised to fight for “every meter of our land”.
Russia is trying to conquer the Donbass, two large areas in the east – Luhansk and Donetsk, which stretch from Mariupol south to the border with Russia. This is the coal and steel region of Ukraine. But for Russia, it’s not about the riches of this land. The Kremlin defines the area as part of a “Russian world” based on the fact that the local population is mostly Russian-speaking, many analysts say.
For Putin, this would be a demonstration of managing to achieve some goals of this war. Then he would annex Donbas, as he did with Crimea, another Ukrainian territory, in 2014. Analysts believe that Putin is aiming to seize the Donbas before May 9 in order to celebrate Victory Day in World War II in Moscow on a grand scale.