Ukraine Daily Summary - Saturday, April 20

Russia’s war destroys over 100,000 residential buildings in Donetsk Oblast -- Ukraine’s Bohdana howitzer is rolling off production lines – here’s what it can do -- [video] Russian military uniforms reveal inequality between forces -- Half of British military defense fund for Ukraine remains unused -- and more

Saturday, April 20

Russia’s war against Ukraine

The aftermath of Russian attack on the city of Dnipro on April 19, 2024. (Serhii Lysak/Telegram)

Zelensky visits Dnipro after Russian strike, calls for air defenses from partners.

“When Ukraine appeals to partners for air defense systems that they have - in warehouses, in storage bases, but that are needed here, right here, to protect lives - we are talking about a true alliance,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

Russian finance minister says GDP expected to grow 3.6% in 2024, matching 2023’s rate. The announcement followed comments earlier in the week from finance ministry official Lev Denisov, who said that the initial 2.3% estimate would be revised upwards due to the “strong growth of the economy” at the beginning of 2024.

Reintegration Ministry: 17-year-old girl illegally deported to Russia returns to Ukraine. Myroslava, a 17-year-old girl from Ukraine, returned home after she was illegally deported to Russia a year and a half ago, the Reintegration Ministry reported on April 19.

Zelensky visits soldiers undergoing medical treatment in Donetsk Oblast. President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the 95th Separate Air Assault Brigade’s medical company in Donetsk Oblast on April 19, Ukraine’s Presidential Office reported.

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Governor: Russia’s war destroys over 100,000 residential buildings in Donetsk Oblast. Along with housing, Russia’s war destroyed the region’s heavy industry.

German drone manufacturer opens factory in Ukraine. Quantum Systems, a German drone manufacturer, opened a drone factory and development hub in Ukraine on April 18, the company announced.

Air Force: Ukraine downs Russian Tu-22M3 bomber for first time. Ukrainian anti-aircraft units shot down a Russian Tu-22M3 bomber for the first time, Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk said on April 19.

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Ukraine war latest: First Russian Tu-22M3 bomber downed, strikes in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast kill 7.

Ukrainian anti-aircraft units shot down a Russian Tu-22M3 bomber for the first time, Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk said on April 19. Meanwhile, Russian forces attacked Dnipropetrovsk Oblast with missiles in the morning of April 19, killing at least seven people, including two children, and injuring at least 35.

Photo: Pavel Golovkin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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Ukraine’s Bohdana howitzer is rolling off production lines – here’s what it can do

President Volodymyr Zelensky announced a significant milestone in Ukraine’s push to increase domestic weapons production on April 18, saying that Kyiv was on track to produce 10 Bohdana howitzers this month.

Photo: General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

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Interivew: ‘No region in Ukraine endures hell like Donetsk Oblast,’ governor says of Russia’s war

The Kyiv Independent spoke with Donetsk Oblast Governor Vadym Filashkin about the difficulty in evacuating civilians in front-line areas, building up fortifications to prevent further Russian advances, and the devastation the war has wrought on Ukraine’s once-industrial powerhouse of a region.  

Photo: Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images

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Interview: ‘A bumpy ride:’ CEO of MacPaw, developer of apps for Apple devices, on business during war

MacPaw, a software development company headquartered in Kyiv, develops and distributes software for Apple’s macOS and iOS operating systems. “The last couple of years have been the most challenging period for both MacPaw and myself, Oleksandr Kosovan, the founder and CEO of MacPaw, says.

Photo: Courtesy of MacPaw

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Video: Russian military uniforms reveal inequality between forces

Human cost of war

Russian attack on Kherson kills 80-year-old woman. In a post on Telegram, the head of the city’s military administration, Roman Mrochko, said the victim was walking the streets when she was hit in an attack launched from the occupied east bank of Kherson.

Top Russian colonel reportedly killed in Ukrainian strike on occupied Luhansk. Kropotov, the commander of the 59th Guards Communications Brigade, was killed in a Ukrainian strike on his headquarters on April 13, according to a Telegram post from a Ukrainian colonel, Anatolii Shtefan “Shtirlitz.”

Russian media: American pro-Kremlin fighter, propagandist killed in Donetsk Oblast. Russian propagandist Margarita Simonyan confirmed his death but did not provide any further details.

Russia attacks first responders in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, no casualties reported. “Fortunately, there were no casualties among the personnel,” the State Emergency Service reported on social media.

Russian shelling of Mykolaiv Oblast kills elderly woman, injures 2 civilians. Russia launched an artillery attack against the Kutsurub community in Mykolaiv Oblast on April 19, killing an elderly woman and injuring her husband, Governor Vitalii Kim reported.

Update: Russian missile attack on Odesa Oblast port injures civilian, damages Singaporean company’s export terminal. Russia launched a missile attack against Odesa Oblast on April 19, injuring a civilian and damaging port infrastructure, Governor Oleh Kiper reported.

Russian attacks across Ukraine kill 12, injure 35 over past day. Russia targeted a total of nine Ukrainian oblasts – Odesa, Mykolaiv, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Sumy, Kherson, and Donetsk. Casualties were reported in the latter five regions.

General Staff: Russia has lost 457,830 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24, 2022. This number includes 870 casualties Russian forces suffered just over the past day.

International response

Guardian: Half of British military defense fund for Ukraine remains unused. More than half of the U.K.’s 900 million pound (over $1 billion) military fund for Ukraine remains unused due to bureaucratic delays in handing out contracts, the Guardian reports.

Republican lawmaker hits out at colleagues: ‘They would like to see Russia win’. In an interview with C-SPAN, Don Bacon laid out the dire situation Ukraine finds itself in on the battlefield, saying if the bills don’t pass “the Russians will be in Kyiv.”

Ukraine’s ambassador ‘cautiously optimistic’ about upcoming US aid vote. “From our intense work with both parties and committee approval of voting procedures today, I am cautiously optimistic this time,” Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, told the Kyiv Independent on April 19.

Senate Democrats back Johnson’s foreign aid bills. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on April 19 that Senate Democrats will support House Speaker Mike Johnson’s series of bills that includes aid for Ukraine, Israel, and other priorities if they pass the House.

Media: Pentagon ready to quickly send Ukraine arms if Congress approves aid bill. According to one of the unnamed U.S. defense officials, some of the proposed military equipment is located in Europe and could reach Ukraine within days after a successful vote, while other material would likely take a few weeks.

Netherlands allocates over $210 million for ammunition for Ukraine. Specifically, the country is devoting 150 million euros ($160 million) to Germany’s Immediate Action on Air Defence initiative. The Netherlands has also allocated 60 million euros ($64 million) for the purchase of short-range air defense hardware, for example, to combat Russian drones.

At NATO-Ukraine Council, Stoltenberg says allies pledge more air defense systems. “In addition to Patriots, there are other weapons that allies can provide, including (the French system) SAMP/T, and many others, who do not have available systems, have pledged to provide financial support to purchase them for Ukraine,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Reuters: Italy’s UniCredit expecting push from ECB to reduce business in Russia. The news follows a similar warning received by Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) on April 18 that the ECB was requesting an accelerated wind-down of its business in Russia.

Poland detains Belarusian, two Poles over attack on Navalny’s aide. “A Belarusian working for Russia who ordered two Poles to assassinate Navalny’s associate – detained,” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on X. The two attackers are also in custody, he added.

Blinken: China ‘primary contributor’ to Russia’s military-industrial complex. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that China is supplying Russia with semiconductors and other dual-use technologies that can be used for military purposes.

G7 foreign ministers vow to boost Ukraine’s air defense capabilities. The Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers promised on April 19 to strengthen Ukraine’s air defense capabilities to protect civilians and critical infrastructure from Russian attacks.

UK allocates over $180 million to bolster Ukraine’s energy sector. The U.K. has allocated nearly 150 million pounds (over $180 million) to support Ukraine’s energy sector after recent Russian attacks, the head of the U.K.’s delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Neil Holland, said on April 18.

European Investment Bank to allocate $596 million to Ukraine in 2024. Ukraine will receive 560 million euros ($596 million) from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a number of projects this year, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said during a visit to the U.S. on April 19.

Marjorie Taylor Greene mocked by fellow lawmaker’s extreme Ukraine aid bill amendments. A U.S. lawmaker has mocked Marjorie Taylor Greene by adding an amendment to the Ukraine aid bill requiring that she be appointed “Vladimir Putin’s Special Envoy to the United States Congress.”

Tusk urges Polish farmers to stop blockade at Ukrainian border as ‘fate of war’ at stake. “We cannot in any way harm Ukraine in a situation where the fate of the war is being decided… I am counting on reflection and rejection of this form of protest,” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said.

Stoltenberg: NATO working to give Ukraine more air defense systems. NATO members are discussing sending some of their air defense systems to Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a press conference after the Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers meeting in Capri on April 18.

In other news

Kyiv Independent’s Francis Farrell shortlisted for European Press Prize 2024. A story by the Kyiv Independent’s reporter Francis Farrell, “One Night in Bakhmut: Civilians Wait for the End as Russia Draws Closer,” has been shortlisted for the European Press Prize 2024 in the “Distinguished Reporting” category.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Kateryna Denisova, Kateryna Hodunova, Dinara Khalilova, Teah Pelechaty, Martin Fornusek, Nate Ostiller, Chris York, and Rachel Amran.

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