On April 12, the Russian Armed Forces and allied forces of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics continued their advance in the east of Ukraine. The most intense fighting is ongoing in Mariupol, while less intense clashes are taking place in Donetsk and Lugansk regions as well as in the south of Kharkiv region.
The cleanup operation is developing in the industrial area of Mariupol, first of all – ‘Azovstal Plant’. Azovstal remains they key stronghold of Kyiv’s forces in the city and its expected liberation will likely mark the end of large-scale clashes there. Nonetheless, even when all permanent fortifications of the Ukrainian ‘Azov Battalion’ and allied formations are eliminated, the security operation and the neutralization of dispersed Ukrainian troops in the city will require additional time.
As of April 12, the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, says that about 98% of Mariupol is under the control of the Russian military. The organized resistance of Ukrainian troops remains only at the “Azovstal”. According to Kadyrov the complex “had been converted into a real fortress.”
It should be noted that on April 11 the remnants of Ukrainian troops surrounded on the territory of the “Illicha” plant in the industrial area of Mariupol made an unsuccessful attempt to break out of the city.
The Russian Defense Ministry says that a group of up to 100 Ukrainian soldiers on armoured vehicles tried to fight their way out of the plant and leave the city in a northern direction.
“Air and artillery strikes foiled this breakthrough attempt. 3 Ukrainian tanks, 5 infantry fighting vehicles, 7 vehicles and up to 50 personnel were destroyed. Another 42 Ukrainian servicemen voluntarily laid down their arms and surrendered,” a statement of the Russian Defense Ministry reads.
An interesting fact is that Kyiv’s troops put Russian identification marks on a convoy of more than 30 combat vehicles and tried to escape towards Mangush, in the northern direction. Media reports claim that at least a part of the Ukrainian troops were able to avoid the strikes. Nonetheless, they were not able to break the perimeter around Mariupol.
Captured Ukrainian military equipment near Kharkiv:
Less intense but also important clashes continue on other frontlines in the region of Donbass. The main areas of positional fighting is Maryinka, Avdiivka in the countryside of Donetsk and the Severodonetsk-Lysichansk agglomeration in Lugansk Region. Recently, LPR troops supported by the Russian Armed Forces expanded their positions near Severodonetsk and Kremennaya-Rubezhone line (northeast of Severodonetsk). Nonetheless, no breakthroughs by any side were reported there.
Meanwhile, units of the Russian Armed Forces neutralized an attempt of Kyiv’s forces to organize a counter-attack in the area of Izum in the south of Kharkiv Region and continued to expand their foothold there. The advance of Russian-led forces from this area is gradually developing in the direction of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk.
The situation around Kharkiv city itself remains stable. Russian forces do not try to storm the city, but deliver regular precise strikes on military targets in the area.
The rest of Ukraine remains in the state of permanent chaos and security collapse. Regular reports about incidents involving organized crime, looting and shooting appear from almost all areas controlled by Kyiv’s forces. Units of the so-called ‘territorial defense’ formed by the Kyiv government are among the main sources of civilian casualties and friendly fire incidents in the Kyiv-controlled part of Ukraine.
Most recently, members of one of the territorial defense units stopped a column of civilian vehicles near the village of Zdvyzhivka in the Kyiv countryside. At least one of the vehicles was targeted by fire. 5 civilians, including a child, were killed.
Also on April 12, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that it had continued to carry out strikes on military targets in Ukraine. According to it, during the past night, strikes with air- and sea-based missiles destroyed an ammunition depot and a secure hangar with Ukrainian aircraft at Starokonstantinov military airfield, Khmelnitskiy region, as well as an ammunition depot near Gavrilovka in Kiev region.
Additionally, operational-tactical aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces hit 32 military targets across Ukraine. These targets included 1 Buk-M1 anti-aircraft missile system near Novomikhailovka, 1 radar for illumination and guidance of S-300 anti-aircraft missile system near Zolotarevka, as well as 1 command post and 18 areas of Ukrainian military equipment concentration.
At the same time, Russian air defense means shot down 2 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles in the air near Berdyansk and Melitopol.
The Russian side says that since the start of the military operation its forces have destroyed 130 aircfaft and 99 helicopters, 244 anti-aircraft missile systems S-300, Buk-M1, Osa AKM, 443 unmanned aerial vehicles, 2,139 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 241 multiple launch rocket systems, 917 field artillery and mortars, as well as 2,046 units of special military vehicles.
Meanwhile, the international situation over the developing conflict is also escalating.
Reports appeared that the first batch of T-72M tanks, located at the base of storage of armored vehicles of the Polish ground forces in Lublin, was sent to Ukraine. Poland reportedly plans to transfer a total of 100 T-72M tanks to Kyiv’s forces.
A column of NATO military equipment moving towards was spotted in Romania. The column was moving in the direction of the border with Ukraine.
The US itself claims that weapons are delivered to Ukraine by 8-10 airlines a day and an “almost constant” by land. The current deliveries of weapons and equipment to Ukraine are focused on ATGMs, MANPADs, small weapons and ammunition. Nonetheless, recent developments demonstrates that the deliveries of heavy military equipment are also coming.
The propaganda campaign against Russia, LPR and DPR forces are also on the rise. France has sent a group of military personnel and the French Gendarmerie to Ukraine, who are together with representatives of the “International Commission on Missing Persons” (created on the initiative of the United States), will collect information about crimes allegedly committed by the Russian Armed Forces. There are no doubts what kind of “conclusions” could be made by such an independent and objective group.
These moves are accompanied by the regular and intense work of Kyiv and its friend from Western special services in staging various provocations, including those aimed against civilian population. Kyiv’s forces mined plants in Nikolaev and Rubezhnoye in order to blow them up causing leak of chemical substances and blame the ecological catastrophe on Russia.
In these conditions, the fate and format of potential diplomatic agreement between Moscow and Kyiv on the settlement of the conflict will be determined not during the negotiations but on the battlefield. Furthermore, the ongoing conflict will shape the face of the new diplomatic and security reality on the continent.