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Ukraine war latest: Russia aims to capture Chasiv Yar by 'Victory Day' on May 9, Syrskyi says

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 14, 2024 11:26 PM 6 min read
Ukrainian servicemen of the Azov brigade are seen at an artillery position near the city of Lyman in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, on April 7, 2024. (Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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Key developments on April 13-14:

  • Syrskyi: Russia set a goal to capture Chasiv Yar by 'Victory Day' on May 9
  • Syrskyi: 'Situation on eastern front has significantly deteriorated in recent days'
  • Germany to send additional Patriot air defense system, missiles to Ukraine
  • Russia claims 10 Ukrainian drones downed in Krasnodar Krai
  • Governor: Russian aerial bomb attack kills 1, wounds 2 in Donetsk Oblast.

The Russian military leadership set a goal to capture the town of Chasiv Yar, just west of the Russian-occupied Bakhmut, by May 9, Ukraine's Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said on April 14.

On May 9, Russia celebrates Victory Day, a heavily militarized holiday marking the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Syrskyi's statement comes after his warning that the situation on Ukraine's eastern front "significantly deteriorated in recent days" as Russia has intensified its offensives in the east since last month's presidential election, which saw Russian President Vladimir Putin handily win another six-year term in office.

Russian troops are concentrating their efforts to break through west of occupied Bakhmut, Syrskyi said. He explained that they are trying to reach the Siverskyi Donets canal, an artificial waterway south of the river it’s named after, and seize Chasiv Yar – to advance further toward Kramatorsk agglomeration.

"The enemy's plans are being hampered by the heroic defense of our brigades, who have literally dug themselves into the ground, holding off the enemy's daily attacks," Syrskyi said.

Chasiv Yar is a nearly-emptied and heavily damaged town located around 10 kilometers (six miles) west of Bakhmut. Russia ramped up its offensive on Chasiv Yar after capturing Avdiivka, which lies about 50 kilometers (31 miles) southward, and its tempo of advance declined in early March. Russia sees Chasiv Yar as a crucial milestone for further advances toward Kostiantynivka, Kramatorsk, and Sloviansk, the Ukrainian military said.

About 800 people remain in Chasiv Yar, according to local authorities.

Earlier on April 5, Moscow's proxies claimed that Russian troops had entered Chasiv Yar's suburb, but Ukraine's military later refuted that statement.

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Germany to send additional Patriot air defense system, missiles to Ukraine

Berlin will provide Ukraine with one more Patriot air defense system to fend off increased Russian attacks, the German Defense Ministry announced on April 13.

As Moscow intensified its attacks on Ukraine during the spring, the shortage of air defense systems in Ukrainian cities and villages is being felt more acutely.

Russia's recent strikes against Ukraine's energy infrastructure destroyed several thermal power plants across the country, including the Trypillia plant, the main electricity supplier to Kyiv, Zhytomyr, and Cherkasy oblasts.

Kyiv has ramped up its calls on allies to provide Ukraine with more air defenses, in particular, with U.S.-made Patriot systems that can intercept ballistic missiles.

"Russian terror against Ukrainian cities and the country's infrastructure causes immeasurable suffering," German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said.

The ministry said another Patriot will be handed over to Ukraine "immediately" in addition to the other systems already provided and pledged.

President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, saying that Berlin had also pledged to deliver missiles to the air defense systems that Ukraine already has in service.

"This is a true sign of support for Ukraine at a critical time for us. I urge all other leaders of our partner countries to follow the example," Zelensky said after a phone call with Scholz.

According to Zelensky, Ukraine needs 25 Patriots to protect the entire country from Russian attacks, but Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he is for now focused on securing seven to protect Ukraine's largest cities.

Kyiv is negotiating with its allies to receive two additional batteries of Patriot and one long-range SAMP/T anti-aircraft missile battery, Kuleba said.

Initially a hesitant partner, Berlin has become Ukraine's second-largest military donor after the U.S., although Scholz is still reluctant to supply some key capabilities, namely Taurus long-range missiles.

According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Germany has supplied Ukraine with 17.7 billion euros (around $19 billion) in military assistance as of April.

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Russia claims 10 Ukrainian drones downed in Krasnodar Krai

Russia's Defense Ministry reported on April 14 that its air defense had downed 10 Ukrainian drones over Krasnodar Krai.

The drones were recorded at 7 a.m. local time in the region, according to the Defense Ministry.

Kyiv has not publicly commented on the attack, and the Kyiv Independent could not verify the claims.

Krasnodar Krai is located next to occupied Crimea. Ukraine has reportedly launched waves of drones in recent months, targeting oil refineries and industrial facilities in Russia, often in regions close to the Ukrainian border.

On April 12, Russia's Defense Ministry reported downing four drones over Rostov Oblast and one over Belgorod Oblast in an overnight attack.

Later on April 12, Russia's Defense Ministry claimed to have downed nine Ukrainian drones over Belgorod Oblast.

The Russian independent outlet Meduza reported that Ukraine damaged a building belonging to Russia's state-owned energy giant Gazprom in Belgorod Oblast.

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Governor: Russian aerial bomb attack kills 1, wounds 2 in Donetsk Oblast

Russian troops launched an aerial bomb attack on a village in eastern Donetsk Oblast, killing one person and wounding two, Governor Vadym Filashkin reported on April 14.

The attack hit a five-story building in the village of Ocheretyne, located an hour-and-a-half drive northwest of Russian-occupied Avdiivka. Rescuers had retrieved the body of a 67-year-old woman from the rubble, according to Filashkin. The wounded were hospitalized, he added.

Russia's deadly attack on the village comes as Russia steps up its offensives in the east. Ukraine's Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said on April 13 that the situation on Ukraine's eastern front has "significantly deteriorated in recent days," with Russian troops increasing armored assaults in the areas of Bakhmut, Lyman, and Pokrovsk.

"Now I call: don’t risk your life! Evacuate!" Governor Filashkin said in his Telegram post, urging civilians remaining in Donetsk Oblast to evacuate.

Throughout Russia's full-scale war, Russian troops have launched deadly attacks against civilians across Ukraine, with especially intense attacks in the east and south – leaving remaining residents in front-line areas at grave risk.

At least 604 Ukrainian civilians were killed or injured in March, representing a 20% increase from the previous month, the U.N.'s human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine said in a report released on April 9.

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the U.N. said that at least 10,810 civilians have been killed and at least 20,556 injured. But it emphasized that the true figure of civilian casualties is likely much higher, as the true toll on Russian-occupied territories remains unknown.

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