#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. Moscow blames Ukrainian special services for the attack in St. Petersburg. In Bachmut, Russians prepare for encirclement


Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that real peace means restoring Ukraine’s borders. That dovetails with another statement that Russia is worse than ISIS. Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov arrived in the capital of Romania on 13 April to attend the Black Sea Security Conference. “We must take care of the security of our region. We are working to strengthen the Ukrainian army and the anti-Kremlin coalition,’ he commented. The Black Sea Security Conference, held for the first time under the auspices of the Crimean Platform, began in Bucharest. On 12 April, the Ukrainian defence minister denied the data contained in ‘leaked’ Pentagon documents on the presence of NATO personnel on the country’s territory. “The presence (in Ukraine) of NATO military personnel is not true. Unless you consider that there is an official representative of the armed forces in every embassy,’ Reznikov said, responding to a question about the cited documents.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, in a meeting with Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, called for long-range missiles and combat aircraft, according to the US Department of Defence. “We ask you to reconsider providing Ukraine with long-range missiles,” Shmygal said, quoting the Pentagon. “America can demonstrate its leadership once again by providing Ukraine with F-15 or F-16 aircraft,” Shmygal added. Washington has previously stated that, according to its administration, Ukraine does not need combat aircraft at the moment, so there is no question of their supply and only artillery, ammunition, air defence systems and armoured vehicles will be provided.

Meanwhile, from overseas, the US Administration has no plans to announce a further military aid package to Kiev before the Ukrainian counteroffensive, the New York Times reported, citing Pentagon sources. The spring military aid packages to Ukraine were seen as a ‘last-ditch effort’ as Westerners do not have the ammunition to meet the needs of the Ukrainian army and their stocks are extremely low.

The controversy over the Pentagon leak continues. The New York Times writes: ‘The leaked secret Pentagon materials contain four options for how the conflict in Ukraine might develop under unforeseen circumstances’. According to the newspaper, one of these scenarios is an ‘attack on the Kremlin’ by Ukrainian troops. In this case, the US military suggests a massive escalation of the conflict, including the announcement of a ‘general mobilisation’ in Russia and the possible ‘use of tactical nuclear weapons’, or the start of negotiations by Moscow to resolve the conflict due to ‘public fears’, the article says. The US is seriously concerned about the possibility of such an attack by Kiev, so it is unwilling to discuss the introduction of long-range missiles, writes the New York Times.

As the publication notes, other unforeseen circumstances that, according to the US leadership, could influence the development of the conflict would be the ‘death’ of the presidents of Russia or Ukraine, as well as the ‘removal’ of the leadership of the Russian Armed Forces. However, the newspaper does not give details on the possible development of events in these cases. Pentagon after leak of classified documents reduces number of employees with access to such data – CBS TV Channel

The Washington Post wrote that the leaks of classified US documents could be organised by an employee of a military base. The newspaper reported that these materials were distributed for several months until March this year in a closed group in the messenger Discord, popular among computer game enthusiasts. One of the members of the group told reporters that the secret documents were published by a user called OG. He claimed to work at a ‘military base’, which was not specified. He is said to be in his early 20s. The Washington Post reporters noted that some members of the group allegedly knew OG’s real name, but did not reveal it.

Moscow says that the leaked documents in the United States could be a fake, a deliberate fabrication. This was said by the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Ryabkov. And again, commenting on Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal’s statement on the counteroffensive, which could begin ‘as early as the summer’, a source told RIA Novosti that in any case it has no chance of success. The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that: “Russia believes that Odessa will be able to rid itself of the neo-Nazis”. Not only will Russia resume massive missile attacks against Ukraine in the autumn. This was stated by the representative of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Alexei Gromov: ‘According to available data, in June this year, the Russian Federation plans to start mass production of air-launched strategic cruise missiles of the X-50 type, which will enable the Kremlin to intensify missile attacks,’ Gromov said.

Also from Russia on 13 April the investigation into the terrorist attack in St Petersburg was closed: ‘The organisers of the terrorist attack, which killed Vladlen Tatarsky, were Ukrainian special services and their agents, including Russian opponents hiding abroad,’ the FSB wrote in a note. “The murder of Vladlen Tatarsky carried out with explosive statuette by Daria Trepova was prepared by Ukrainian citizen Yuriy Denisov, who, through an intermediary delivery service, delivered an explosive device to her,” according to the FSB. Denisov arrived from Kiev in February via the territory of Latvia to the Moscow region, where he gathered information on Tatarsky. After the terrorist attack on 3 April, he flew from Russia in transit through Armenia to Turkey. The procedure was started to place him on the international wanted list. The FSB reported that Trepova committed a terrorist attack in St. Petersburg following repeated calls by FBK leaders Volkov and Zhdanov for subversive activities in Russia.

Via social media we learn that the parade on 9 May 2023 will be different from usual, e.g. no planes, and yet in some areas the strange celebrations will be kept to a minimum. Among them could be Crimea.

Poland wants to host the production of ammunition for American Abrams tanks with depleted uranium in Daren news Mateusz Jakub Morawiecki, Prime Minister of Poland.

A Defence Ministry note states that on “12 April, Russian airspace control assets over the Baltic Sea detected an aerial target approaching the state border of the Russian Federation, the Russian Defence Ministry reports. To identify an aerial target and prevent the violation of the Russian Federation border, an Su-27 fighter jet of the Western Military District Air Defence Forces was airlifted into the air. The crew of the Russian fighter jet identified the aerial target as a patrol aircraft from the German Navy’s R-3C Orion base. After the foreign military aircraft moved away from the state border of the Russian Federation, the Russian fighter jet returned safely to its base airport. No violations of the state border of the Russian Federation were allowed, the National Defence Control Centre of the Russian Federation added’.

At 10.30am on 13 April, an air alert was announced in Kiev. According to former Ukraine advisor Oleksiy Arestovich, the Ukrainian armed forces are 90 per cent ready for a counter-offensive, only the rainy weather stops them.

In the meantime, Wagner continues to take Bachmut metro by metro, photos from 12 April show an advance in the industrial area. And via social media we learn that the fighting has intensified north of Bachmut. The Wagner attack aircraft has entered Bogdanovka, fighting is reported on the outskirts of Grigorovka; And again via social it is stated that the offensive of the Russian troops is in the direction of N. p. Minkovka. It is possible that Russian troops are trying to gather the Ukrainian armed forces in a defined area, before the general assault on Bachmut. In the morning of 13 April, Wagner men stormed the railway station in Bachmut, online photos of PMC ‘Wagner’ soldiers with a campaign flag at the entrance to the district administration on Sibirtsev Street in Bachmut. The factory is south of the AZOM industrial zone, which confirms the continued advance of the assault groups after raking the industrial zone. Russian Solntsepek airborne forces struck in the direction of Kremensk. Postings from the first line of trenches in the forest near Kremennaya inform of an advance by the Russian 4th Brigade.

In a report by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation dated 13 April, it was reported that ‘in the direction of Donetsk, Wagner assault detachments continued high-intensity combat operations to drive the Ukrainians out of the central districts of the city of Bachmut. In the past 24 hours, in the interest of the troop group’s actions in the Artemovsk region, aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out 12 sorties, the group’s missile and artillery troops completed 57 firing missions’.

The front line at 00:01 on 13 April looked like this.

Belgorod Region: In Belgorod, a Ukrainian drone equipped with an explosive device collided with the fence of an international airport: the fence structure and the signal cable were damaged.

Following the bombing of the village of Novostroevka-Vtoraya, a residential building and an outbuilding were damaged, one civilian was injured. Four houses were damaged on the Staryi farm.

Starobelsk direction: Position battles near Makiivka and Zhuravka Ravine, as well as artillery clashes along the entire front line, continue in the Limansky sector. In preparation for the counter-attack, the Ukrainian command is concentrating additional forces in the Terny-Torskoye section.

Soledar Direction: The Russian armed forces continue to conduct an operation to encircle the enemy grouping at Bachmut. Wagner attack aircraft are supported from the flanks by units of the Russian airborne forces, inflicting fire damage on the Ukrainian formations. In the northern part of Bachmut, the Wagnerites continued their offensive towards the Bakhmut-2 railway station.

In the south of the city, the front line has not changed: fighting for the taking of school No. 2. The Ukrainians are moving additional reserves to hold their positions on sections of Tchaikovsky Street.

Donetsk direction: South of Avdiivka, Russian troops are advancing in a northerly direction, methodically eliminating the Ukrainian armed forces from strongholds on the road to the village.

In Marinka, fierce fighting continues on Druzhby Avenue. Russian artillery and tanks are firing at enemy positions. The Ukrainian Armed Forces fired at settlements in the Donetsk agglomeration with cannons and missiles: residential buildings and infrastructure structures were hit in the capital of the DPR, at least two people were injured.

Zaporozhzhia direction: artillery clashes continue along the entire line of contact: Russian aerospace forces launched air strikes on military and infrastructure facilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Orekhovo and Gulyaipole.

Southern Front. Cherson direction: Russian units hit enemy manpower and equipment accumulation sites in Dneprovsky, Nikolsky and Kherson, and also used guided bombs on the enemy’s ammunition and equipment depot in Berislav.

In turn, Ukrainian formations fired at civilian structures on the left bank of the Kherson region: residential buildings in Aleshki were also hit, two civilians were killed.

Graziella Giangiulio

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