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SITUATION UPDATE 11 April, 2022 Back

Situation Update - Ukraine Conflict

Will Crouch

Russian Ukraine war update April 2022


Following over a month of intense combat across multiple areas of Ukraine, according to the Russian negotiating team, Russian forces have withdrawn from the Kyiv and Chernihiv oblasts in the north as an apparent “gesture of goodwill”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s apparent shift in strategy will likely see Russia increase its efforts to take control of the Donbas and other regions in eastern Ukraine around Crimea in the coming weeks. Prior to the conflict, officials from the US military suggested that Kyiv could be captured within 72 hours of an invasion, and it is possible that Russian intelligence mirrored that assessment. However, Ukrainian resistance coupled with Russian logistical challenges has so far prevented Kyiv from falling and caused Russia to sustain substantial military losses.

The latest update from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine states that Russia has lost 19,500 troops, alongside 725 tanks, and 291 aircraft. While their statistics have not been externally substantiated, independent sources have documented Russia’s visually verifiable combat losses, which totals over 2,700 vehicles of various specifications. During a recent interview with Sky News, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov acknowledged that Russia had incurred “substantial” losses, though he omitted to give any figures. To mitigate the losses, the UK’s Ministry of Defence believes that Russia is actively recruiting from the Transnistria region of Moldova and re-mobilising former soldiers ahead of future operations.

Russian military personnel that were formerly based in the Kyiv and Chernihiv oblasts are now believed to be reorganising, resupplying and then redeploying to the Donbas region. Further, Putin has recently placed General Alexander Dvornikov in charge of the operation in Ukraine, raising concerns given Dvornikov’s track record in Syria, particularly during the so-called “Battle of Aleppo”. Russian forces are expected to escalate the scale of indiscriminate attacks being conducted in the Donbas region, with Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, stating recently that the upcoming offensive could be reminiscent of the Second World War.

Former Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, Michael Ryan, recently said that “the next three weeks will be decisive”, adding that an offensive in the Donbas “will determine the outcome of the war”. Critically, it will likely take time for Russia to reorganise its forces in Ukraine’s east, giving Ukrainian armed forces time to prepare. In response, several countries are stepping up their military support for Ukraine. The UK was initially sending Ukraine anti-tank missiles but is now sending advanced anti-air and anti-ship missiles, alongside armoured vehicles such as Mastiffs and Jackals. The Czech Republic has sent Ukraine a consignment of T-72 tanks, while Poland has signed a contract with the US for 1 Abrams tanks, fuelling speculation that it may also send Ukraine its old T-72s. President Volodymyr Zelensky has highlighted the significance of the coming week, suggesting that Russian forces will step up its missile and air strikes while indicating that its troops are moving to “even larger operations” in Ukraine’s east.

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