Key developments on April 13:
- Spiegel: Berlin approves Poland’s request to ship fighter jets from East Germany stocks
- Leaked US intelligence files anticipate no Ukraine-Russia negotiations this year
- Military: Russia has fired 8,000 long-range anti-aircraft missiles against Ukraine since February 2022
- Zelensky gathers military, intelligence chiefs; awaits allies-pledged weapon deliveries
- Ukraine repels 20 Russian attacks over April 13
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed on April 13 that Poland would supply Ukraine with more MiG-29 fighter jets, the Polish Press Agency reported.
Morawiecki said that "one more batch" of the Soviet-era aircraft would be headed to Ukraine. He said that the Polish military no longer needed the MiG-29s given that they possessed modern aircraft and were also expecting the delivery of U.S.-made F-35 jets in "the coming years," the Polish Press Agency wrote.
The German government approved Poland's request for the export of Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets from East Germany stocks to Ukraine, German newspaper Spiegel reported on April 13.
The Polish president's security adviser, Jacek Siewiera, said Poland still has about a dozen of those 23 MiG-29s Poland bought from Germany 21 years ago.
Poland earlier pledged 14 MiG-29s to Ukraine. Four of them have already been delivered to Ukraine, according to Poland’s President Andrzej Duda. However, no jets from former East German stocks have been supplied.
Slovakia also delivered four of its MiG-29 fighters on March 23. The government has approved providing Ukraine with a total of 13 MiG-29s.
Yurii Ihnat, Ukraine’s Air Force spokesperson, earlier said that the MiG-29 transfer is a major help but “unlikely to be a game-changer at the front.”
Ukraine is campaigning to receive more advanced Western jets, like the U.S.-made F-16s. They are needed to support offensive operations and defend against Russian missile and guided bomb attacks.
So far, no country has pledged such fighters, though several allies of Ukraine have not ruled out such a move.
Intelligence leak suggests no Ukraine-Russia talks in 2024
According to an alleged U.S. intelligence assessment leaked online and obtained by the Washington Post, Russia's war is expected to continue in 2024, with Kyiv and Moscow refusing to talk in 2023 despite neither of them gaining a decisive victory,
The highly confidential papers suggest that even if Ukrainian forces liberate “significant” territories, the gains will not lead to peace talks with Russia this year.
“Negotiations to end the conflict are unlikely during 2023 in all considered scenarios,” reads the document, as quoted by the Washington Post.
According to the files, the U.S. intelligence also predicts that the year will end with only “marginal” territorial gains for Ukraine and Russia due to “insufficient troops and supplies for effective operations.”
The document describes such a stalemate as “the most likely scenario.” According to the leaked files, the alleged stalemate may not be actualized if there are “substantive improvements to Ukrainian or Russian military capabilities.”
U.S. officials have warned that such analysis on the war in Ukraine is fluid, and the leaked material may not contain the details the U.S. has gathered in the days since it was produced, reads the report.
Earlier, the Washington Post reported that Ukraine altered the plans and delayed its expected counteroffensive due to the leak, among other reasons.
Speculation about the authenticity of the leaked intelligence files is ongoing. (Editor’s Note: Our video podcast, “This Week in Ukraine,” next episode will focus on this leak. Subscribe to the Kyiv Independent’s YouTube channel to not miss it.) Ukraine’s military intelligence said on April 7 that the supposed classified war files leaked online were forged by Russia and dismissed it as “fake.” The reports suggest, however, that the U.S. is taking the leak seriously and investigating it.
The five-week-old documents leaked in the Discord community haven’t revealed details of when, how, or where Ukraine plans to launch its counterattack. Oleksii Danilov, National Security and Defense Council Secretary, said on April 6 that “no more than five people” are filled in on Ukrainian plans for the upcoming counteroffensive.
Russia has launched thousands of missiles against Ukraine since February 2022
Russia has fired 8,000 long-range anti-aircraft missiles against Ukraine since late February 2022, using up around half of its arsenal, General Staff Deputy Chief Oleksii Hromov said on April 13.
The current production level is hindering Russia from replenishing its missile stocks in the medium term, “which could potentially jeopardize Moscow's ability to protect its strategic interests in the Far East and the border with NATO countries,” Hromov told a news conference, as quoted by the Ukrinform news agency.
However, Russia aims to start mass production of X-50-type strategic cruise missiles in June, Hromov said, adding that it would “enable the Kremlin to intensify missile strikes” against Ukraine in the fall.
Since October 2022, Russian forces have carried out repeated missile and drone mass attacks against civilians and energy facilities nationwide.
Zelensky vows ‘powerful actions’ after meeting military chiefs
President Volodymyr Zelensky met defense and intelligence chiefs to talk about front-line needs.
Without providing further details, Zelensky said that “our actions will be powerful” as Ukraine is preparing its troops.
“And we are very much looking forward to the delivery of weapons promised by our partners,” Zelensky said in his evening address on April 13.
Some Ukrainian soldiers and officers have recently finished the training on Western-provided military hardware, including Patriot air defense systems and Challenger 2 main battle tanks, while others are reportedly being trained.
On the battlefield
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported in its 6 p.m. update on April 13 that Russian forces are focusing their offensive efforts in Donetsk Oblast.
The Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Marinka sectors remain Russia's top assault priorities, according to the report.
Ukraine's forces hit Russian troops seven times with missiles and artillery, destroying two temporary command points, and two radar stations.
Apart from Donetsk Oblast, Russian forces shelled settlements in Sumy, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson oblasts on April 13, according to the report.
The most severe fighting is ongoing for the towns of Bakhmut and Marinka, where Ukraine’s forces repelled around 20 Russian attacks, the military said.
According to the report, Russian troops conducted an unsuccessful attack near the village of Predtechyne, some 10 kilometers west of the front line.
The General Staff also reported that Russia keeps some of its units close to the border in Russia’s Kursk and Belgorod regions.