A high-stakes offensive by Russia is underway in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian forces are fighting village by village, forcing civilians to flee the encroaching Russian artillery and airstrikes. Several hundred thousand people are believed to be trapped in Mariupol, which is blockaded by the Russian military. Meanwhile, up to 2,000 Ukrainian fighters are hunkered down under a Soviet-era steel plant.
Unidentified drones dropped explosives near border with Ukraine
Several people in the Transnistria region of Moldova say that drones dropped bombs and explosives near the Ukrainian border. There are several reasons why Transnistria is concerned about the bombs. For example, the government of the region wants the Ukrainian army to stop its invasion of the Transnistria region. Its citizens also fear that Ukraine‘s intervention could cause a war.
Earlier this week, an unidentified drone launched a series of bombs near the Ukrainian border. The drone operator, believed to be from the 503rd Naval Infantry Battalion, swooped over two Russian IFVs at 400ft. The drone then triggered anti-armour grenades, engulfing them in a fireball. Ukraine‘s armed forces have used drones to great effect during the Russian invasion, analysing Russian troop movements.
Afterward, a Russian military ship, the Moskva, was spotted off the coast of Ukraine. It is a guided missile cruiser that was used by Moscow in 2015. This ship was recently caught on audio recordings of the drones. The Russians have also used this type of ship for reconnaissance missions, such as in Syria. But they have yet to confirm their presence in Ukraine. As the incident unfolds, it will be important to track and monitor drone activities in Ukraine.
The Pentagon has also established a direct communication link with Russia‘s Ministry of Defense in order to prevent miscalculations that could lead to a war. While this link has not been officially announced, it was set up on a Twitter account for Zelenskyy and other Western leaders. However, there have been tense moments between Washington and Kyiv. In one instance, Zelenskyy publicly broke with the White House’s predictions of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Republicans in Washington have suggested that the U.S. could have shared better information about the Russian threat. These claims have been refuted by U.S. intelligence, and Ukrainian Brigadier General Kyrylo Budanov said that U.S. officials provided Ukraine with information that was clear enough for it to respond.
While Russia and Ukraine have reached a tentative agreement, no final agreement has been made. During this time, a safe evacuation corridor will be established between the two countries, allowing residents to leave the country. Thousands of civilians have fled over the Ukrainian border, and countless others have taken refuge underground. At least one city has been hit by shelling, and the flagship of the Ukrainian navy was sunk near the border in a shipyard.
Russia‘s Moskva sunk by Ukrainian artillery
On 14 April, the Ukrainian navy hit and sank the Russian Moskva, a guided missile cruiser. In a devastating blow to Russia‘s invasion plans, the cruiser sank after it was hit by two Ukrainian-made Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles. Several days after the incident, new pictures of the cruiser have emerged, showing the fire damage that the Russian warship suffered.
The Kremlin has yet to claim responsibility for the sinking, but it is not entirely clear what exactly happened. A senior defense official has said that two Neptune missiles fired from Ukraine‘s shores hit the Moskva. While the Russians are still investigating the cause of the incident, the sinking of the Moskva raises troubling questions about the strength of Russia‘s military.
The Russian Navy has been blaming Ukraine for the sinking, but it has not been established exactly who fired the missiles. The US provided Ukrainian forces with information on the location of the ship, which the Ukrainians then attacked with anti-ship missiles. In a separate report, the US state-run media has claimed the Ukrainian forces did not inform Russia of the attack until it was too late.
According to NBC News, the attack was carried out with the help of American intelligence. The New York Times reported that Ukraine was able to target Russian generals and senior military leaders thanks to US intelligence. Despite the US’s growing pressure to intervene, the Obama administration had taken a careful approach and avoided provoking Moscow. However, the Moskva incident underscores that the Pentagon must be less cautious in its actions now.
The situation in Ukraine is now tense. The Russian military reportedly has withdrawn the rest of its fleet from the Ukraine‘s coast, and the Ukrainian navy has taken the initiative in providing anti-ship missiles to protect the fleet. The Russians’ response has been swift and retaliatory, with the attack on the Neptune factory near Kyiv. The Russian military will find it harder to provide air defences over the fleet, as Turkey and Ukraine have closed their straits. Furthermore, a possible amphibious assault on Odessa seems more dangerous. The Ukraine‘s display of its military might spur allied nations to provide more anti-ship missiles and other military equipment.
U.S. provides $150 million in military assistance to Ukraine
The United States provided more than $150 million in military assistance to Ukraine this week. The United States is also strengthening its law enforcement capabilities to seize property linked to Russia‘s kleptocracy. This is part of an effort to put pressure on the Russian oligarchs and use the proceeds to fund Ukraine‘s defense. The military aid comes at a time when Russia has resumed its campaign to take over new territory in the eastern part of Ukraine.
The money will be used to buy 25,000 155mm artillery rounds, a counter-artillery radar, and field equipment and spare parts. The $150 million will come from the remaining $250 million in the president’s Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows the president to transfer excess weapons to Ukraine without congressional approval. The U.S. must continue to flow weapons and ammunition to Ukraine. It must make a decision soon.
The U.S. has pledged to provide Ukraine with more than $5 billion in military assistance. That total is nearly double the amount of military aid provided to the country during the conflict. Currently, Ukraine has eight of these boats. But it is still far from enough to meet its needs. It will also enable Ukraine to expand its defense industry, which is vital for the country’s stability. With these military aid packages, the US is making it clear that it will provide long-term support to the country.
US President Joe Biden met with Canada’s Justin Trudeau on Friday to discuss ways to provide more security assistance to Ukraine. The two leaders also discussed possible new sanctions against Russia this weekend. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said she is confident that the EU will reach a deal with Russia to impose new sanctions against the Russian government. She suggested giving Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic more time to comply. Hungarian leader Viktor Orban compared the proposed ban to a nuclear bomb.
USAI funding to Ukraine includes training, equipment, and advisory efforts to support Ukraine‘s defense reforms. The aid includes military equipment, training, and advice aimed at modernizing its defense sector to conform to NATO standards. While the aid provided to Ukraine will not be lethal, it is crucial to maintain a stable environment in Ukraine. So, if Ukraine is truly committed to these reforms, then this funding will continue to flow.
Russia has refocused its war effort on eastern Donbas region after failing to circle Kyiv. The Russian military has two strategic objectives in the Donbas region: advance on the front line toward the administrative border and connect Donbas troops with Crimean troops and Ukrainian forces south of Kharkiv. Achieving either of these objectives would isolate the Ukrainian forces in the area, forcing them to retreat. A Russian victory in this area would be a major strategic achievement for Moscow.
The Russian military is pushing for a major victory in the Donbas region, and has begun forging a land corridor from Donetsk to Crimea. Meanwhile, Ukraine has promised to defend Donetsk and urges people to move west. Meanwhile, the war in eastern Donbas has turned into a nightmare with constant fighting and explosions. The Russian military’s focus on the eastern Donbas region has resulted in the massive escalation in the country’s war on Ukraine.
In recent days, the fighting in eastern Donbas region has shifted from rocky hillsides to open fields. This is a far cry from the forested terrain around Kiev. Russian troops have refocused their war effort on eastern Donbas region to apply the lessons learned from their initial offensive. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian army is learning how to defend itself from the Russians. The national prosecutor’s office in Ukraine has identified over 6,000 war crimes cases in areas controlled by Russian forces. Meanwhile, a young prosecutor has been gathering evidence in Chernihiv, a city in the north.
Since the beginning of the Ukrainian war, Russian forces have advanced across the front lines. While the Ukrainian government remains in control of many of the eastern Donbas towns and villages, fighting has continued to rage. Meanwhile, some Ukrainian forces are holding out in the steel plant of the encircled port city of Mariupol. The heavy fighting in eastern Donbas has delayed Russia‘s progress in the region.
With the Ukrainian government’s efforts to stop Russian military action, the United Nations and Western allies have met with leaders of both nations. On Tuesday, the UN chief will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. On Thursday, the Secretary-General will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Both will discuss the future of security cooperation between the three countries.