Key developments on April 5:
- Poland to provide Ukraine with 14 MiG-29 fighter jets
- Czech Republic pledges $30 million in military aid
- Poland, Ukraine sign memorandums on reconstruction and joint munitions production
- Zelensky: Situation in Bakhmut remains 'complicated'
- CNN: Kremlin likely struggling to increase number of soldiers
- China's ambassador to EU: ‘No limit’ friendship with Moscow ‘nothing but rhetoric’
Poland will provide Ukraine with additional military assistance, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced during his visit to Warsaw on April 5.
"Today we are signing a document on the supply of Polish Rosomak armored personnel carriers, Rak self-propelled mortars, air defense systems, in particular the very effective Piorun," Zelensky said.
Polish President Andrzej Duda said that his country has already transferred four MiG-29 jet fighters to Ukraine, has prepared to transfer four more, and is preparing six more that “can be transferred quite soon,” bringing the total number of MiG-29s pledged to Kyiv to 14.
Duda also suggested that in the future, his country might provide its entire fleet of MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine, once the Polish Air Force acquires new aircraft to offset the loss.
During the same visit, Poland and Ukraine signed a joint memorandum on both the reconstruction of war-damaged areas of Ukraine and the production of 125mm tank rounds.
"Poles know the great value of freedom and solidarity, so we support Ukrainians in their struggle. The security of the whole of Europe and the security of Poland are also at stake in this war," said Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
The Czech Republic also announced a new military aid package to Ukraine worth $30 million. The aid includes equipment that is currently in storage and “not needed” for the country's defense, according to Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová. She didn’t provide details.
Kremlin’s military, financial struggles
Russia is struggling to attract more military manpower and provide them with sufficient training, unnamed western officials told CNN on April 5.
According to CNN, Western officials say it remains unclear how Russia plans to acquire the 400,000 new troops it admittedly needs not only to fight in Ukraine but to be stationed along the border with NATO and Finland.
“Whether the population can sustain another round of mobilization and whether the Kremlin actually wants to test the population's resilience to that it is unclear at the moment, but the fact they haven't done (it) would indicate to us that they have some concerns about that,” the officials said, as cited by CNN.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said on April 5 that Moscow is running out of their long-range high-precision missiles.
According to Ihnat, Russia used the largest number of such missiles (around 800) to attack Ukraine’s infrastructure. The official added that to make for the “nearly” used up stock of high-recision missiles, Moscow had turned to different methods of launching attacks against Ukraine, including using repurposed S-300 air defense missiles, as well as guided aerial bombs.
On April 4, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin held a State Council Presidium meeting in which he once again falsely reassured the public that the sanctions imposed on Russia were having a “positive outcome” on the country’s economy as it forced Russian firms to embrace import substitutions.
At the same time, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry’s latest intelligence update, Russia is likely expecting financial assistance from “friendly” nations, which includes the purchase of its state debt.
The update mentions a March 28 statement by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, in which he said that a move to issuing some of the Kremlin's sovereign debt in foreign currencies was “under development.”
The U.K. Defense Ministry also stated that countries that would purchase Russia’s sovereign debt would be directly financing the war in Ukraine, whilst Moscow pushes for a long war.
Meanwhile, despite recent news on strengthening ties between Russia and China, according to an interview published by the New York Times on April 5, China’s Ambassador to the European Union Fu Cong downplayed the partnership between the two countries.
Fu said that the strategic “no limit” partnership signed by Putin and Chinese President Xi Jingping is “nothing but rhetoric” and that China has not provided Russia with military aid, nor has it recognized its [Russia’s] efforts to annex Ukrainian territories, including Crimea and Donbas, as cited by the New York Times.
However, the U.S. has repeatedly claimed that China had provided Russia with non-lethal military assistance and was considering sending lethal aid.
China hasn’t condemned Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
On the battlefield
In its evening update, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that over the past 24 hours, Russian forces had launched three missiles and 21 air strikes, as well as more than 35 attacks with their rocket salvo systems.
Four people were killed and 14 were injured as a result of Russian attacks across Ukraine.
The settlements of Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Marinka remain the epicenter of hostilities, according to the General Staff.
During a press conference in Warsaw, Zelensky said that the situation in Bakhmut, an embattled city in Donetsk Oblast, “remains complicated.” At the same time, he claimed that Russian forces were not controlling the city.
Zelensky acknowledged the main thing for both him and Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of the Ground Forces of Ukraine, was to not lose too many personnel.
"If even heavier fighting arises, and there is a danger of losing personnel due to encirclement, the general will make corresponding correct decisions on the spot," Zelensky said.
Zelensky also emphasized that the sooner Ukraine receives the promised ammunition from its allies, the more effectively the Ukrainian military can defend not only Bakhmut but also the entire front line.