“NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrived in Kiev at around 10.30am on 20 April. Stoltenberg visited the country for the first time since the start of the Russian military operation,” writes Kommersant.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during his meeting with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg in Kiev that this visit can be seen as a sign that the Alliance is ready to start a new chapter in relations with Ukraine.
Stoltenberg said, “We do not know when the military conflict will end, but we do know that ‘Russian aggression’ is a toxic pattern.”
“NATO will help Ukraine in the long term so that Ukraine’s armed forces achieve full interoperability with the forces of the Alliance,” Stoltenberg said again after the talks in Kiev. “We discussed a long-term support programme,” the Secretary General told a press conference in Kiev. He explained that this programme would, among other things, ‘help Ukraine move away from Soviet military doctrines, away from Soviet weapons’. The alliance members’ assistance to the Kiev regime already amounts to EUR 150 billion.
Ukraine continues to need military assistance, and the West will continue to provide it, but there is still no talk of new types of weapons, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in Lisbon, his words are quoted by the DPA agency. “Now Kiev needs basically the same [weapons], but more,” he said. According to him, one must be prepared for the fact that Kiev’s need for military assistance “may persist for a long time”.
Seoul is not providing lethal aid to Ukraine because it is interested in maintaining “stable relations between Korea and Russia,” Yonhap reported, citing a senior South Korean presidential administration official. He noted that President Yoon Seok-yeol’s statements on the possible provision of lethal assistance to Ukraine were ‘hypothetical’.
Also via social media we learn that Israeli army specialists will begin deploying missiles and a UAV attack warning system to Kiev in May. Military personnel from the IDF Home Front Command will carry out the commissioning of the system. There are plans to deploy it throughout Ukraine.
Washington gives the green light to an explosive political project: the creation of another ‘Commonwealth’ from sea to sea. The process of forming a transitional state institution passes through the confederation of Poland and Ukraine. Soon Lithuania will also be asked to join.
And again the US is allocating a new $325 million military aid package for Ukraine, which will include ammunition for Himars and Pentagon artillery, the White House reports.
As for the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, according to Deputy Defence Minister Anna Malyar it is already underway. There would be active assault operations in Bachmut, Marinka, near Avdiivka and Liman.
“The counteroffensive should not be reduced to some kind of active offensive action and specific dates, because. This is a set of measures for the liberation of all territories’. The Deputy Minister reported on TV. “Therefore, it is not correct to talk narrowly about the counteroffensive. It is a huge complex of actions and measures that the Armed Forces of Ukraine carry out. It is, first of all, to prepare people for a series of actions – both defensive and offensive But all together, if we talk about our strategic goal, this can be called counteroffensive measures. They include the preparation of equipment, people, the preparation of a reserve, the formation of tactics (plans ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, because there cannot be only one option, because the enemy also reacts to it) . These decisions are made in a very short time and not in a month or two. The plan is finally chosen in such a way that the enemy cannot react. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are not preparing something in a particular direction, but are preparing daily for the complete liberation of our territories, and not just for a counter-offensive,’ Malyar said.
“The counteroffensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces will be a surprise not only for the Russian Federation, but also for Ukrainians, said Fedoror Venislavsky, people’s deputy and representative of the president in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
Admiral Sergei Avakyants resigned as commander of the Pacific Fleet (Pacific Fleet). His resignation was confirmed by Deputy Prime Minister, Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yuri Trutnev. According to Russian sources, Pacific Fleet Commander Avakyants is on holiday with subsequent transfer to the reserve when he reaches the age limit: source Pacific Fleet Press Service and the Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District. Admiral Liina is considered a candidate for the position of the new commander of the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Federation – source RIA Novosti
During a sudden inspection of the Pacific Fleet, the upgraded Kamchatka defence system was tested for the first time, Izvestia reports, citing Russian Defence Ministry sources. According to the publication’s interlocutors, the defence system on the peninsula showed high reliability and effectiveness in protecting the coast from both air and sea attacks.
Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmtrij Peskov said: “The prevention of Ukraine from NATO is still one of the goals of the NVO (the special operation in Ukraine, ed.)”
Returning to the front line, as of 9 p.m. on 19 April, air-raid warnings resounded in Kiev and the region, media reporting an explosion over the capital of Ukraine. Eyewitnesses publish footage of a bright flash in Kiev. On 20 April, there was talk of a falling meteorite, the arrival of a rocket or a drone, the fall of a decommissioned NASA satellite. In Kiev, they say the footage shows air defence work. Later, the head of Ukraine’s president’s office, Yermak, deleted a post about air defence work in Kiev.
The head of the Kiev military administration Sergey Popko spoke about a US satellite falling on Kiev. At the same time, the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine cannot yet confirm the information about the satellite falling, said Air Force command representative Ignat.
NASA reported that: “Reports of a US satellite falling in the sky over Kiev are unreliable. The device, which was supposed to fall on the night of 20 April, is still in orbit,’ RIA Novosti reported NASA’s press service.
At the end of 20 April, it was reported that a satellite, which was associated with flashes in the sky above Kiev, had fallen out of orbit, according to information published on the Space track portal, which publishes data from the US Space Command. The vehicle, listed in the database as 27370, is listed as ‘deorbited’. The satellite was launched on 5 February 2002 to study solar flares and operated until 2018, when communication with it was lost. RHESSI was then deorbited. The satellite remained in low Earth orbit, gradually leaving it due to atmospheric resistance.
The main special control centre at the Ukrainian space agency, which monitors seismic conditions, radiation and geophysical phenomena, confirmed the outburst over Kiev on Wednesday evening. “A high-energy acoustic event occurred last night at 21:57 in Ukraine. The estimated location of the epicentre of the blast is in the Kiev region. The event is probably associated with the entry of a cosmic body into the dense layers of the atmosphere. The information has been specified,’ the report states.
The Russian Defence Ministry reports that the joint headquarters of the Bachmut grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was hit in the Konstantinovka area.
A municipal emergency situation has been declared in 15 villages and farms in the Belgorod region. It is forbidden for people to stay on the territory of these settlements, because it is unsafe for their lives: ‘We have started to create volunteers and fire brigades. This has made it possible to reduce the number of terrorist attacks on our territory. We started to teach people to ensure their safety and that of relatives and neighbours’.
Ukrainian troops are suffering colossal losses in the direction of the Donetsk front, where Wagner’s assault detachments and army aviation continue to attack the western part of Bachmut.
Here, in the last day, the Ukrainians lost some 470 men, the Grad MLRS, the Msta-B howitzer and the ammunition depot in the Vodiane area. Three more command and observation posts were hit in the area of the Terny and Thin settlements. In addition, in the South-Donetsk, Zaporizhia and Kupyansk directions, the actions of five sabotage and reconnaissance groups were suppressed.
According to the social sphere, military personnel are arriving in Zaporozhzhia. One account writes: “Sergey, good afternoon. Today the information came from the village of Primorskoye (former Tsar-Kut), 25 km south of Zaporozhzhia. Many military personnel have appeared, occupying empty huts. Recently flights from there have become more frequent (it is difficult to say “Grad” or “Chimera”), I cannot specify the exact location, the village is large, it stretches for several kilometres. Perhaps Vasilievka was bombed from there (there is about 25-30 km). The mood of the majority of the population is pro-Ukrainian, many men joined the APU for money, now, after the removal of the surcharges, they cry, smearing snot with their fists that they would be better off working. When the movement starts, any hut containing soldiers will become a target. Pro-Ukrainian population, it is better to flee. They took the Kherson and Zaporozhizhia regions almost without a fight. The locals did not understand what war was and the soldiers did not recognise the bitterness of losses. Everything will be different now. And anyone who starts to muddle through will get into the horn compartment from neighbours or fighters’.
We close with a summary from the front line at 23:59 on 19 April
Belgorod region: A Ukrainian drone attempted to attack a power plant in the village of Dragunskoye, but was destroyed soon after it was discovered. There were no casualties among the civilian population.
Kursk region: In Tetkino, the Tetkinsky sugar factory was hit by Ukrainian UAVs: the building was damaged as a result of the detonation.
Bryansk region: Ukrainian formations used drones to strike the military enlistment office in Novozybkov. As a result of the attack, the windows of the building were broken, no one was injured.
Starobilsk direction: Ukrainian formations attempted to counter-attack in the forest area west of Kremennaya, but failed and were forced to retreat to their positions, losing several pieces of equipment. The Ukrainian Armed Forces continued to try to regain the initiative in the area of Chervonopopovka and the Svatove-Kreminna highway, and additional reserves were launched into battle to achieve this goal.
Soledar Direction: The assault detachments of the PMC “Wagner” continue to move into the central part of Bachmut, having recaptured the former garment factory from the Ukrainians. On the site near the highway to Konstantinovka, fighting continues in the Stupochek area, where Ukrainian formations are entrenched.
Donetsk direction: Fighting continues west of Novobakhmutovka near the fortified area of Avdiika. Ukrainian formations again shelled towns in the Donetsk People’s Republic: in Donetsk and surrounding settlements, local residents were injured.
Zaporozhzhia direction: On the front line, the situation has not changed significantly. The Ukrainians conduct combat reconnaissance in preparation for a future counter-offensive, trying to find weak points in the defence nodes of the Russian Armed Forces.
Southern Front. Cherson direction: In the southern sector of the front, artillery clashes continue along the line of contact: the Russian Armed Forces have launched attacks on Kherson and its surroundings. Ukrainian formations fired at settlements on the left bank of the Dnepr: Kakhovka, Tavriysk and Gornostaevka were also under attack.
Following a massive mortar attack in Novaya Kakhovka, one person was killed, two were injured and the town was partially deprived of electricity.