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Ukraine war latest: Over 20,000 Russian troops trying to storm Chasiv Yar; Budanov says Ukraine to face 'difficult situation' from mid-May

by The Kyiv Independent news desk and Elsa Court April 22, 2024 10:39 PM 7 min read
Smoke rising near the town of Chasiv Yar, Donetsk Oblast, on April 11, 2024. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images)
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Key developments on April 22:

  • Military: Over 20,000 Russian troops trying to storm Chasiv Yar, outskirts
  • Budanov: Ukraine faces 'difficult situation' starting mid-May
  • Russia claims to have captured Novomykhailivka, Ukraine denies
  • Russia destroys Kharkiv TV tower
  • Poland cannot transfer Patriots to Ukraine but will provide other help, Tusk says

Around 20,000 to 25,000 Russian soldiers are trying to storm Chasiv Yar and the settlements in the city's outskirts, the Khortytsia Group of Forces' spokesperson, Nazar Voloshyn, said on national TV on April 22.

Chasiv Yar lies around 10 kilometers west of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast and 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Avdiivka, cities Russia captured in May 2023 and February 2024, respectively.

Russian troops have been focusing their efforts near Chasiv Yar, which they see as crucial for further advances toward Kostiantynivka, Kramatorsk, and Sloviansk, the Ukrainian military said.

Ukrainian troops are fighting off Russian paratroopers with the 98th Guards Airborne Division's 217th Guards Airborne Regiment in the area near Chasiv Yar, Voloshyn said.

Russian troops are "constantly storming" Ukrainian positions but are failing to gain a foothold and are retreating, he added.

"Chasiv Yar is ours now. The situation around the city is difficult, but the city is under full control of our defense forces. There is no Russian army in the city," the spokesperson said.

Volodymyr Cherniak, a Ukrainian National Guard officer, said earlier that Russian forces "managed to gain a foothold" around the village of Bohdanivka, three kilometers northeast of Chasiv Yar.

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

In an interview with NBC News published on April 21, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia will attempt to capture the town of Chasiv Yar in Donetsk Oblast, just west of the Russian-occupied Bakhmut, by May 9.

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

Zelensky's comments align with those made by Ukraine's Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi on April 14, amid a deteriorating situation in the region as Ukrainian ammunition and supplies run short.

National Guard: Russia gained ‘foothold in Bohdanivka area’ near Chasiv Yar
In an interview with Suspline media on April 21, a Ukrainian National Guard officer said Russian troops were “advancing very successfully in the direction of Chasiv Yar.”

Budanov: Ukraine faces 'difficult situation' starting mid-May

Ukraine is about to face a "difficult" but "not catastrophic" situation on the front in the near future, starting from mid-May, Ukraine's military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said in an interview with the BBC published on April 22.

Amid delays in U.S. aid and intensifying Russian attacks, Kyiv has entered what some have called the most difficult phase of the full-scale war since early 2022.

"A difficult situation awaits us in the near future. But it will not be catastrophic, let's be clear," Budanov told the BBC on April 19, days before the U.S. House of Representatives approved additional aid for Ukraine.

"There will be no Armageddon, as many are saying... We will not talk about it at length now, but there will be a difficult period. Mid-May, early June."

President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Russia may launch a major offensive either at the end of May or in June.

Speaking on the topic of how Russian forces changed since the start of the full-scale war, Budanov acknowledged that Moscow's infantry has better equipment now than before.

At the same time, Russia is dealing with the deteriorating quality of military vehicles and other heavy hardware since it is mainly "repaired, restored equipment from warehouses for long-term storage."

"As for the quality of the personnel: those who took part in the first phase of the full-scale invasion in 2022 were real professionals, contractors with combat experience.

"But since then, almost none of them are left. Russia is fighting with mobilized forces."

According to Budanov, Russian morale has improved following their capture of Avdiivka, "but this was a temporary phenomenon."

Following the conquest of Avdiivka, a key front-line city in Donetsk Oblast, Russia began focusing its efforts on Chasiv Yar, a town west of occupied Bakhmut.

Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces Oleksandr Syrskyi said on April 13 that the situation on Ukraine's eastern front has "significantly deteriorated in recent days."

Stoltenberg: US aid delay ‘had real consequences’ in Ukraine
“The Ukrainians have now, for months, been outgunned, roughly one to five, one to ten, depending on what part of the front line you are talking about,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Russia claims to have captured Novomykhailivka, Ukraine denies

The situation in Novomykhailivka in Donetsk Oblast is "tense but under control," Yaroslav Chepurnyi, the spokesperson of Ukraine's 79th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade, told the Kyiv Independent on April 22, after Russia claimed to have captured the village earlier in the day.

Novomykhailivka is located in the region's Pokrovsk district, around 10 kilometers south of occupied Mariinka. During Ukraine's last census in 2001, the village had a population of 1,400.

Russian troops are constantly storming Ukrainian positions "with and without armored vehicles," Chepurnyi told the Kyiv Independent.

The 79th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade reported on April 19 that Russia had lost over 300 pieces of equipment over six months of fighting around Novomykhailivka.

The battle for the village has been ongoing since "the end of autumn," and it has since become the location of "one of the largest graveyards of enemy equipment of the Russian-Ukrainian war," the Brigade said

Russia concentrated as many as "30,000 fighters on the narrow section of the front" in its attempts to capture the village, according to the Brigade.

Ukraine's General Staff had mentioned the village in its morning update on April 22 as one of the locations where the Ukrainian military continues "to hold back the enemy."

Russia destroys Kharkiv TV tower

Russian forces struck Kharkiv's television broadcasting tower on April 22, causing the top half of the mast to collapse.

Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported that television infrastructure had been attacked and explosions were heard in the city at around 4:35 p.m. local time.

No casualties were reported as people sheltered during the attack, according to Syniehubov.

"There are interruptions in the digital TV signal at the moment," the governor said.

Russian forces used a Kh-59 missile in the attack, the Prosecutor General's Office said. Russia targeted Kyiv's TV tower in March 2022.

Russia also attacked the city of Vovchansk in Kharkiv Oblast on April 22, as well as the villages of Slobozhanske and Derhachi, between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. local time, Syniehubov said.

Russia recently intensified attacks against Kharkiv, using missiles, glide bombs, and drones to destroy energy infrastructure and kill civilians.

At the end of March, Russia destroyed all the electrical substations in Kharkiv, leaving Ukraine's second-largest city without a stable power supply.

Russian attacks over past day kill 1, injure 11, including child
Russian attacks against Ukraine over the past day killed one civilian and injured 11, regional authorities reported early on April 22.

Tusk rules out sending Patriots to Ukraine

Poland cannot transfer any Patriot systems to Ukraine as it lacks reserves of its own, but will provide other forms of assistance in terms of air defense, Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters on April 22.

Ukraine is facing a shortage of air defense systems amid an uptick in Russian attacks on population centers and energy infrastructure. U.S.-made Patriot systems are highly effective at intercepting Russia's ballistic and cruise missiles.

Poland has a Patriot system installed at Rzeszow airport in southeastern Poland, a key logistics hub for defense aid deliveries into Ukraine.

Sending this system to Ukraine is not an option, as it was installed by the U.S. military to protect the airfield, Tusk said.

"We don't have this reserve when it comes to Patriots," Tusk said.

Poland can provide other types of weapons that help defend Ukraine from Russian missile and drone attacks, Tusk said, without providing further details.

Germany announced on April 13 that it would provide Kyiv with an additional Patriot system, the third Patriot system Berlin has provided. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz then called on other NATO allies to do the same.

Poland has so far committed 4.301 billion euros ($4.578 billion) in support to Ukraine, 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) of which is military aid, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

Sweden’s defense minister doesn’t rule out sending Patriots to Ukraine
Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson does not rule out sending Ukraine Patriot air defense systems, the Guardian reported on April 22.
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