Issue 303, 20 April 2023

Situational report 19APR2023

Key takeaways:

  • No changes were reported in the Kharkiv Oblast as Russians assaulted Ukrainian positions near four different villages;
  • There were no changes in the wider Luhansk Oblast, but Ukrainians may have progressed slightly near Kreminna; They also claimed to have destroyed three Russian tanks in the area over the past few days;
  • All Russian attacks in Donetsk Oblast were pushed back; However, Russians made some gains in Bakhmut, where the overall situation deteriorated for the defenders;
  • Russians reportedly repelled a Ukrainian attack in the Zaporizhihia Oblast; A video allegedly showing citizens leaving Tomak may be a Ukrainian PSYOPS;
  • No changes were reported in the Kherson Oblast;
  • The Belarusian Armed Forces exercise tempo was very high on Thursday; At least 540 conscripts finished compulsory military service;

Frontlines in Bakhmut with probable units involved in combat


General outlook

On Thursday, the Russians carried out 23 airstrikes, of which 10 included Shahed-136-type kamikaze drones. The Ukrainian General Staff claims eight vehicles were shot down. Russians fired no missiles but conducted 49 MLRS strikes on Ukrainian military positions and civilian targets. Russians also launched artillery strikes on towns and villages near the state border. Specifically, they shelled Yanzhulivka, Halahanivka, and Hremyachka in the Chernihiv Oblast, Stukalivka and Pavlivka in the Sumy Oblast, and Kozacha Lopan, Hoptivka, Neskuchne and Khatne in the Kharkiv Oblast.

Regarding battlefield strikes, Russian artillery struck Krasne Pershe, Novomlynsk, Dvorichna, Zapadne and Berestove in the Kharkiv Oblast and Stelmakhivka, Nevske, Dibrova, Bilohorivka in the Luhansk Oblast. In the Donetsk Oblast, Russians shelled Ivanivka, Verkhnokamyanske, Spirne, Vasyukivka, Minkivka, Zaliznyanske, Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Novomarkove, Hryhorivka, Bakhmut and Ivanivske, Oleksandro-Shultyne, Bila Hora, Druzhba, Zalizne, Nelipivka, Niu York, Keramik, Stepove, Kamyanka as well as Tonenke, Severne, Karlivka, Pervomaiske, Nevelske, Krasnohorivka, Maksymilianivka, Heorhiivka, Marinka, Pobeda and Novomykhailivka, Novoukrainka, Velyka Novosilka, Zolotaya Niva, Prechystivka, Vuhledar, Vremivka, Novopil. In the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, they hit Chervone, Hulyaypole, Mala Tokmachka and Orikhiv. In the Kherson Oblast, Russians fired at Beryslav, Ivanivka, Vesele and the city of Kherson.

Ukrainian aviation carried out six strikes on Russian concentration areas. Ukrainian missile and artillery units struck five Russian command posts.

The UGS claimed to have repelled 60 ground attacks.

Number of Russian attacks in April, as reported by the Ukrainian General Staff (20 April 2023)

The situation at selected axes and directions

Kharkiv/Luhansk direction

The situation in the Kharkiv Oblast remained unchanged. No Russian ground attacks were recorded near the state border. Positional battles continued near Hryanykivka, Masiutivka, Krohmalne and Synkivka, which marked the first time this month that Russians reportedly conducted attacks near these four settlements at once. However, neither Russian nor Ukrainian sources reported any frontline changes in this area. According to Oleh Synehubov, the head of the Kharkiv Oblast administration, Russians continued massive shelling of civilian infrastructure in the Kharkivsky, Chuhuivsky and Kupyansky districts. In particular, they hit Strilecha, Ohirtseve, Vovchansk, Petropavlivka, Kupyansk and Dvorichna. A private residential building was damaged in Kupyansk as a result of one of such strikes.

In the Luhansk Oblast, no changes occurred on Thursday. Positional battles continued along the Ploshchanka – Bilohorivka line.

No changes occurred in the Svatove area. Neither Russian nor Ukrainian sources reported changes.

No Russian attacks were recorded towards Stelmakhivka. No changes occurred near Novoselivske and Kuzemivka.

Neither Russian nor Ukrainian sources reported changes near Kryvoshyivka.

No changes occurred near Makiivka, Ploshchanka and Chervonopopivka. According to a Russian journalist, supported by artillery, Russian troops tried to attack towards Torske, Terny and Nevske, but again, no progress was made in these sectors. Ukrainian sources did not report changes in these areas.

Near Kreminna, positional battles continued in the Serebryansky forest and near Dibrova. According to Ukrainian bloggers, Russians continued attempts to improve their positions in the Serebryansky forest. On the other hand, Russians reportedly advanced in the forest area near Shypylivka. The source failed to provide any further information regarding this progress. Another Ukrainian source claimed that, on 19APR, Ukrainian troops advanced significantly east of Kuzmyne (here and here). The source added that it was not clear whether the UAF had managed to gain a permanent foothold in this area, but the progress was noteworthy. Over several days, Russians reportedly lost three tanks in this direction: two modernised T-72s (T-72B3s?) and a T-90 Proryv.  (two of them were modernised T-72 and one T-90 Proryv) in the Kreminna sector.

No changes were reported near Bilohorivka.

According to Russian sources, Russians shelled Bilohorivka, Hryhorivka, Stelmakhivka, Zapadne, Dvorichna, Krasne Pershe and Kamyanka.

On 19APR, the Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian authorities received an order to deploy a 40-bed military hospital in Kabychivka in the Luhansk Oblast and that an unspecified number of Russian doctors are expected to arrive at the hospital by the end of the week.

Donetsk Oblast Direction

Serhiy Cherevaty, the Eastern Group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces spokesman, stated that on 19APR in the Donetsk axis, Russians launched one missile and 19 air strikes and fired 623 artillery rounds on Ukrainian positions. They also conducted 30 ground attacks. On that day, Russians reportedly lost 160  killed and 275 wounded.

A Russian source stated that near Siversk on Wednesday, Russians destroyed two Ukrainian tanks, a fuel tanker and one vehicle. The source believed that after the fighting for Bakhmut, the Siversk direction would become one of the main offensive areas for Russian forces.

No Russian ground attacks were recorded near Verkhnokamyanske and Vyimka. According to Ukrainian bloggers, Russians filmed the destroyed Spirne settlement and claimed that Ukrainian troops had left the village. The source claimed that the withdrawal did not happen and that Ukrainians were still present there.

The frontline remained stable in Vasiukivka, Fedorivka, Rozdolivka, and Vesele. The Russian source said that Wagner units attacked Ukrainian positions near Khromove and managed to advance towards road 0506, which is used to supply the Ukrainian troops fighting in Bakhmut.

It was partly confirmed by the Ukrainian source that claimed that Wagner forces approached the road through Khromove and tried to gain a foothold there. However, the source did not provide any detailed information about this development. We understand that Russians are so close to the road that it can now be covered by small-arms fire. No changes occurred near Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Minkivka, Bohdanivka and Hryhorivka.

In Bakhmut, according to the Ukrainian source, Russians continued to attack Ukrainian positions south of Rose Alley. The source also claimed that Ukrainians had now withdrawn behind the rail line.

Russian source claimed that Wanger units continued their assaults on UAF positions in the city’s southern, central and northern parts. The source, however, failed to provide any information about attacks and the scope of Russian operations in Bakhmut. According to the Russian MoD, Wagner units continue to destroy Ukrainian troops in the western part of the city. Meanwhile, the Russian airborne troops and artillery were suppressing the Ukrainian forces’ attempts to counterattack and transfer reserves into Bakhmut, which is highly likely.

Another Russian source said that, on 19ARP, the Wagner PMCs seized at least one more city block in the northwest and several houses west of the city centre. Russian blogger claimed that the Wagner units were advancing north along Levanevskoho, Oborony and Pobiedy Streets. The fighting also occurred from Levanevskoho Street to Tchaikovskoho Street to the south. According to a Ukrainian soldier deployed in the city on Wednesday, Ukrainian troops managed to liberate two streets in Bakhmut (A soldier did not name these streets, citing security measures), but on 20APR, he said that Russians sized one of these streets back.

No changes occurred along the Predtechyne – Ivanivske line. According to the Russian source, Russian troops attempted to dislodge Ukrainians from their positions near Stupochky but probably failed.

The Russian Armed Forces carried out artillery strikes on Kostyantynivka, Ivanivske, Chasiv Yar, Hryhorivka, Novomarkove, Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Minkivka, Vasiukivka and Spirne.

Russian troops reportedly attacked towards Stepove and Berdychi to gain control of the railway line there but were unsuccessful.

Russian and Ukrainian sources asserted that battels near Novobakhmutivka continued, and both failed to provide any update on its developments.

Another Russian source claimed that Ukrainian troops attempted to counterattack near Krasnohorivka on Wednesday, but no further information about this attack was provided.

Neither Russian nor Ukrainian sources reported changes near Novakalynove, Keramik and Kamyanka.

With massive artillery and aviation support, Russians launched a coordinated attack towards Avdiivka from the southwestern sectors. However, despite this strengthening of effort, they made no progress near the city.

According to the Russian source, having softened Ukrainian defensive positions, Russian troops assaulted their positions near Pervomaiske and Nevelske but were pushed back. However, the source claimed that a ground attack on Severne from Vodyane forced Ukrainian troops to retreat from several positions. It remains unclear how far Russians may have moved forward.

Ukrainian source said that Russian airborne troops on two armoured personnel carriers were destroyed near Nevelske.

Neither Russian nor Ukrainian sources reported changes near Tonenke.

Supported by artillery, Russians reportedly attempted to encircle Ukrainian units in Mariinka. However, the source did not provide any additional information about this attack. No Ukrainian sources reported any changes in the area.

Neither Russian nor Ukrainian sources reported changes near Pobieda and Novomykhailivka.

According to the Russian journalist near Vuhledar, the Russian Forces, supported by artillery, attacked in the direction of Prechystivka. At the same time, Ukrainians conducted a reconnaissance-by-force mission on the approaches to Pavlivka.

Russian artillery struck Vuhledar, Velyka Novosilka, Novoukrainaka, Novomykhailivka, Pobieda, Krasnohorivka, Netailove, Tonenke, Novokalynove and Niu York. The Ukrainian Armed Forces hit the city of Donetsk.

Zaporizhzhia direction

No changes occurred in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

According to a Russian source, on 19APR, Ukrainian forces conducted limited ground attacks from the Orikhiv area. The source claimed that units of the 291st Motor Rifle Regiment (42nd Motor Rifle Division of the 58th Combined Arms Army, Southern Military District) repelled the attack. No sources reported any frontline changes in this area.

The Ukrainian journalist published a video, which reportedly showed residents of Tokmak leaving the city due to intense hostilities. We have seen no indications to suggest that any hostilities occurred in Tomak, let alone ground attacks. The frontline is located some 30 km north of the city. We are unaware of any increases in Ukrainian artillery strikes in this sector. It is unlikely that Ukrainians diverted high-value artillery pieces (Krab, Pz2000, etc.) to target Tomak. Consequently, it is possible that the video could be a Ukrainian PSYOPS.

Ukrainians reportedly lost a Su-25 close support aircraft near Sherbaky.

Kherson direction and Crimea

The situation in the Kherson Oblast remained stable. Russians continued to fire artillery on the city of Kherson, damaging civil infrastructure.

Satellite images published on 18ARP show Russian forces continuing to use a base near Henicheska Hirka, which they constructed at the end of 2022. The base’s location perfectly exemplifies Russian efforts to move main bases behind the HIMARS range.

On 18APR, the Kherson Oblast occupation head, Vladimir Saldo, said that Russian forces had built several echelons of defensive structures on the left bank of the Dnipro River and that they were sufficient to repel Ukrainian troops in the upcoming counteroffensive.

A day later, he added that last week he had ordered occupation authorities to seize civilian boats and transfer them to Russian forces. Since then, 30 private vessels were detained just from the port city of Henichesk, but owners could ask for compensation.

A Ukrainian source asserted that Ukrainians made a foothold on the left bank of the Dnipro River, but we do not assess that this is unlikely to have happened. The next couple of will undoubtedly provide some clarifications to this statement.

Military situation in Belarus

On 20APR, the Belarusian delegation under the Chief of General Staff, Maj. Gen. Viktor Gulevich participated in the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) Military Committee meeting.
The gathering was held in the videoconference regiment and was linked to the organisation’s priorities proposed by Belarus as the chairmanship state. During the event, the sides also discussed challenges and threats to military security in the CSTO area of responsibility and various issues pertaining to joint training programmes.

Representatives of the CSTO member states’ medical services also held their own working meeting. In the Central House of Officers, they talked about a joint approach to the medical support organisation and the future development of the medical support system. According to the CSTO Medical Service Head, Col. Ivan Pchelnikov, all developed solutions will be implemented in the draft decision “Recommendations on medical support collective CSTO forces”.

The Head of the Main Political Work Department, Maj. Gen. Leonid Kasinsky participated in the interdepartmental scientific conference for specialists of the ideological apparatus of all state bodies hosted by the Civil Protection University of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

On Thursday, several farewell ceremonies for Belarusian conscripts occurred.
They appeared in the 120th Mechanised Brigade (around 60-80 conscripts), 111th Artillery Brigade and 48th Electronic Warfare Battalion (around 30-50 conscripts), as well as the 103rd Airborne Brigade (about 400 conscripts) and 5th Spetsnaz Brigade (around 50-60 conscripts).

Training tempo remained high across the armed forces.

Firstly, a BM-21 battalion from the 841st Artillery Group of the 11th Mechanised Brigade and a tank battalion from the same brigade were involved in firing classes. Personnel from the Special Purpose Detachment of the 432nd Main Military Clinical Medical Center ran a control special-tactical exercise related to the induction of many wounded soldiers.

Secondly, Territorial Defence Troops from the Korelichsky and Novogrudok regions continued the command-staff exercise, which commenced on 18APR. Reservists deployed a checkpoint, repelled an attack from enemy sabotage groups and were involved in unspecified demonstrative tasks.

The 15th Air Defence Brigade continued tactical exercises. An S-300 battalion, accompanied by the Tor-M2K subunit (responsible for protecting the convoy on the move), departed to the destinated area to perform combat duty tasks. They likely moved on the R23 highway from Slutsk towards Salihorsk as in three columns.

Fourthly, the 19th Mechanised Brigade completed the command-staff exercise at the 227th Combined Arms Training Ground. The 8th CBRN Brigade underwent an analogical drill. Its subunit mainly focused on the issues of chemical reconnaissance and the treatment of contaminated personnel.

Last but not least, about 200 soldiers of the 5th Spetsnaz Brigade took part in the parachute jumps from the Mi-8 helicopter(s).

On 20APR, five transfers of Belarusian military equipment can be considered noteworthy:

  1. Four various trucks were headed to Svisloch from Privolnyy;
  2. Three PKT-2 track-laying machines with a UAZ-3151 were moving in Luniniets;
  3. Six Ural trucks were moving from Ivatsevichy towards Baranovichi;
  4. More than 20 trucks were moving towards Skidel from Schuchyn;
  5. 22 covered Ural trucks with BM-21 rockets (at least 880) were heading to Baranovichi from Lesnaya;

In addition, a single helicopter and Il-76 transport aircraft took off from Machulischy Air Base.

Regarding Russian activity,  17 Kamaz/Ural trucks headed towards Tolochin from Orsha. A single fuel truck was observed between Pleschenitsy and Begoml.

Moreover, at least 50 Russian Airborne Forces soldiers (VDV) were spotted at Minsk-Passenger Railway Station.

Below is the list of Belarusian training activities undertaken on 20APR. Click here for the complete list of exercises conducted since the start of the year.

  • 20APR: Continuation of the combat readiness check (230th Combined Arms Training Ground, 11th Mechanised Brigade, Special Purpose Detachment of the Main Military Clinical Medical Center);
  • 20APR: Continuation of the command-staff exercise (Korelichsky and Novogrudok regions, local executive committees and territorial defence troops members);
  • 20APR: Continuation of the tactical exercise (location unspecified, 15th Air Defence Brigade);
  • 20APR: Command-staff exercise (location unspecified, 8th CBRN Brigade);
  • 20APR: End of the command-staff exercise (227th Combined Arms Training Ground, 19th Mechanised Brigade);
  • 20APR: Mi-8 parachute jumps (location unspecified, 200 servicemen of the 5th Spetsnaz Brigade).


Lines of advance in Ukraine

Please click here to access the current scribble map and here to access the archive map.