As of Thursday, April 13, 2023, the situation in Ukraine remains dire. According to purported United States intelligence documents posted online, 354,000 Ukrainian and Russian soldiers have been killed or injured since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February of the previous year. The documents also warn that the war could continue well beyond 2023.
Ukrainian officials have condemned the Russian military after a video surfaced on social media that appeared to show the beheading of a Ukrainian prisoner. The Ukrainian army has rejected claims that Russian troops have captured “more than 80 percent” of Bakhmut, stating that considerably more than 20 percent of the ruined eastern city remains under Ukrainian control.
The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence has reported that Russian forces have built extensive defensive lines in the Zaporizhia region, which Moscow claims to have annexed, along with three other Ukrainian regions, but does not control in its entirety.
The Kremlin has stated that steps to make draft papers digital are needed to sort out what it calls “a mess” at military recruitment offices. Meanwhile, hundreds of cemeteries near the front lines will be closed to Ukrainians wanting to pay respects at relatives’ graves for Orthodox Easter this weekend due to dangers from mines and unexploded ordnance.
Regarding diplomacy, Ukraine’s defence minister has stated that the Pentagon document leaks contained a mixture of true and false information about his country’s military and that accurate intelligence had “lost its relevance”. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is in China to strengthen ties with his nation’s biggest trade partner and win support for his long-shot push for peace in Ukraine.
Moscow has stated that the US designation of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich as “wrongfully detained” means nothing to Russia. Belarus has extradited a Russian father who was separated from his daughter and sentenced to two years in prison after she drew a Ukraine-themed picture at school. Russia has imposed sanctions on 333 Canadian officials and public figures, including prominent Olympians, in what it says is a response to Canadian restrictions on Moscow.
In terms of aid and sanctions, the US and UK have announced new sanctions aimed at Russian oligarchs Alisher Usmanov and Roman Abramovich, as well as their financial networks. The World Bank has stated that it will finance $200m to help fix Ukraine’s energy and heating infrastructure, with partners and others to provide another $300m. Ukraine has asked for more medicine as well as medical equipment and invited Indian companies to help rebuild the country as Ukraine’s first deputy foreign affairs minister, Emine Dzhaparova, ended a four-day visit to New Delhi.
The Kremlin has stated that the outlook for the United Nations-brokered Black Sea grain deal is not great because promises to remove obstacles to Russian exports of agricultural and fertiliser exports have not been fulfilled. The US Commerce Department has said that it is imposing export controls on more than two dozen companies in China, Turkey and other countries for supporting Russia’s military and defence industries.
Finally, Ukraine’s defence minister has stated that he has asked his Spanish counterpart to supply air defences, including F-16 jets, and more ammunition. Russia has released a video of what it says was the successful launch on Tuesday of an “advanced” intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the first known successful launch of such a weapon since Moscow left the nuclear New START treaty with the US.