Ukraine Daily Summary - Friday, April 21

Russia moving to strategic defense after failed offensive -- Wagner mercenaries forcibly deport 4 children from Bakhmut -- Russia fighter jet accidentally fires ammunition in Russian city of Belgorod, injuring 2 -- US, Ukraine allies weigh near-total ban on exports to Russia -- and more

Friday, April 21

Russia’s war against Ukraine

a group of people standing next to a wrecked car

Ukrainian soldiers fire at Russian targets on the front line near the eastern city of Vuhledar on April 18, 2023. The Battle of Vuhledar is part of the battles for Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk Oblast, where Russia is concentrating most of its offensive efforts. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Stoltenberg meets Zelensky on first visit to Kyiv since full-scale invasion. President Volodymyr Zelensky and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg held a joint press conference in Kyiv on April 20, with Zelensky saying there was “no objective barrier” to prevent Ukraine from joining the military alliance.

Stoltenberg: NATO membership for Ukraine to be ‘high on the agenda’ at Vilnius summit. NATO member states are preparing to discuss Ukraine’s membership and security guarantees at the next alliance’s summit in the Lithuanian capital, according to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Russia attacks Kyiv, Poltava Oblast with drones overnight. Russia launched a drone attack against Kyiv and Ukraine’s central Poltava Oblast, where civilian infrastructure was damaged, overnight on April 21, the government said.

Military intelligence: Russia moving to strategic defense after ‘failed’ offensive. Russian forces are moving to an overall strategic defense posture following a failed winter offensive, Andriy Yusov, spokesperson for Ukrainian military intelligence agency HUR, said on national television on April 20.

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Prosecutor General: Wagner mercenaries forcibly deport 4 children from Bakhmut. Four Ukrainian children were forcibly deported from Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast by the Wagner mercenary Group, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office reported on April 20.

Governor: Mykolaiv population returns close to pre-invasion level. Nearly all of Mykolaiv Oblast’s residents who left after Russia launched its full-scale invasion have returned home, Governor Vitaliy Kim said in an interview on April 20.

Washington Post: Leaked documents show Ukraine planned attacks on Russian forces in Syria. Ukraine’s military intelligence made plans to conduct covert attacks on Russian forces operating in Syria with the help of Kurds, leaked U.S. intelligence documents show, the Washington Post reported.

Russia fighter jet accidentally fires ammunition in Belgorod, injuring 2. A Russian fighter-bomber jet accidentally fired its ammunition on the Russian city of Belgorod on April 20, injuring two women, Russian state-controlled media Tass reported, citing the Russian Defense Ministry.

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Ukraine war latest: Stoltenberg declares ‘Ukraine’s rightful place’ in NATO, Zelensky demands to know timeframe and ‘concrete steps’

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Human cost of Russia’s war

Russian strike on Zaporizhzhia Oblast kills family. Russian forces attacked Zaporizhzhia Oblast’s village of Mala Tokmachka on April 20, killing a family of two, according to the regional administration. Russia also reportedly shelled the village of Kamianske, injuring a 62-year-old woman.

Russia shells village in Kherson Oblast, killing 1. Russian shelled the village of Kizomys, killing a 59-year-old man, Kherson Oblast Governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported on April 20. According to the regional prosecutor’s office, the number of those injured is still being verified.

Northern Command: Russia hits Chernihiv Oblast, killing civilian. Russian troops struck the village of Halahanivka in Chernihiv Oblast with mortars, killing a local woman, Ukraine’s Northern Operational Command said on April 20. The Russian attack reportedly injured two more civilians.

International response

FT: EU preparing ‘emergency curbs’ on Ukrainian grain imports for 5 member states. According to a senior EU official cited by FT, the measures being considered would temporarily suspend the import of Ukrainian grain, oilseeds, and other agricultural products until June into Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania.

Politico: French, Polish officials allegedly at odds over details of ammunition procurement for Ukraine. French and Polish officials are allegedly at odds over whether local EU firms or competitors should receive the EU’s joint contracts to supply Ukraine with ammunition, Politico reported on April 19.

Denmark, Netherlands pledge 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine by ‘early’ 2024. Denmark and the Netherlands will jointly purchase and donate 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine by “early” 2024, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation reported on April 20.

Prime Minister: ‘Almost 60’ countries have already agreed to help rebuild Ukrainian settlements. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on April 20 that “almost 60” countries are already helping to rebuild Ukrainian cities, towns and villages after damage suffered from Russian attacks during the full-scale war.

Bloomberg: US, Ukraine allies weigh near-total ban on exports to Russia. Several Ukraine’s key partners, including the U.S., are considering an almost complete ban on exports to Russia over its war, Bloomberg reported on April 20, citing people familiar with the issue.

In other news

Kyiv Independent investigation into International Legion shortlisted for European Press Prize. The Kyiv Independent’s investigation into alleged leadership misconduct in the Ukrainian army’s International Legion has been shortlisted for the European Press Prize in the Special Award: Ukraine Reporting category.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Francis Farrell, Kate Tsurkan, Dinara Khalilova, Oleg Sukhov, Olena Goncharova, and Lili Bivings.

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