On Saturday, April 15, 2023, the situation in Ukraine was dire. Eight people, including a toddler, were killed when Russian shells hit an apartment block in the eastern city of Sloviansk. More than a dozen residents were injured. The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence reported that Russia had “re-energised” its efforts in Bakhmut, thanks to better relations between the army and the mercenary Wagner Group. Ukraine still held the western districts of the town but had been subjected to particularly intense Russian artillery fire.
Leaked US military documents revealed that Russia’s special forces had suffered “significant losses” in the war in Ukraine. Despite this, Ukraine’s head of National Security and Defense Council vowed to “test and use” any non-banned weapons to liberate its territory, including Russian-occupied Crimea. The Ukrainian government also retrieved the bodies of 82 of its soldiers from Russian-controlled territory.
In Beijing, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on the need for a negotiated settlement to end the war in Ukraine. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock urged China to pressure Moscow to end its invasion of Ukraine, stating that no other country had “more influence on Russia.” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote to Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey to raise concerns about the implementation of a deal that allows the safe wartime export of grain from several Ukrainian Black Sea ports.
Finland, which recently joined NATO, unveiled the first section of a fence it is building on its border with Russia. The Pentagon announced that US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin would meet his Swedish and German counterparts next week and host a Ukraine-related defense meeting with nearly 50 countries.
In terms of weapons, Canada delivered eight Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, which arrived in neighboring Poland. The Danish defense ministry announced that Ukraine would receive 19 French-made Caesar howitzer artillery systems within the coming weeks. China reportedly “approved the incremental provision” of military equipment to Russia and wanted it kept secret, according to leaked US military intelligence based on Russian intercepts. However, China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang stated that China would not sell weapons to either Russia or Ukraine to use in the war. A senior adviser in President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office claimed that Ukrainian forces were finding China-made components in Russian weapons used on the battlefield.
Overall, the situation in Ukraine remained tense, with ongoing fighting and diplomatic efforts to end the conflict. The delivery of weapons from Canada and France to Ukraine, as well as China’s reported involvement in providing military equipment to Russia, added to the complexity of the situation. The international community continued to monitor the situation closely and work towards a peaceful resolution.