Good morning from Kyiv. The weather remains dreary here.

 It’s so cold and wet again that locals are complaining that their ‘paska’ (a traditional bread baked and blessed in preparation for Easter) won’t rise due to barometric pressure.

 Indeed, today is Good Friday for those who celebrate according to the Julian Calendar, like most Ukrainian Orthodox and Ukrainian Catholic people do. This weekend will be when many Ukrainians gather with family and, hopefully, take some solace during wartime.

 What’s happening today?

 According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), Russia yesterday launched 19 air strikes and 39 MLRS attacks, causing civilian casualties. It further reported 49 land-borne attacks.

 Russian forces’ offensive operations remain focused on the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Mar’inka axes, with the heaviest fighting for Bakhmut. The General Staff described the situation there as “difficult.”

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 Russian forces, which have claimed victory several times over Bakhmut, late yesterday claimed to have cut off Ukrainian troops in the area. The Institute for the Study of War, in its daily assessment today, said that “Russian forces continued to make gains in Bakhmut.” Russia’s claims were denied by Ukrainian military spokespeople.

 "This does not correspond to reality," Serhiy Cherevaty, spokesman for Ukraine's eastern forces said. "We are able to... deliver food products, ammunition, medicines, all that is necessary, and also to recover our wounded."

Ukrainian Special Ops Report Strike on Russian Ammunition Depot, Eliminating Three Soldiers
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Ukrainian Special Ops Report Strike on Russian Ammunition Depot, Eliminating Three Soldiers

SSO operators inflicted fire damage on Russian positions and personnel using FPV drones and a 122 mm D-30 howitzer.

 In the US, authorities have apprehended Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old US Air Force National Guardsman and on-line gamer, at his Massachusetts home. He is suspected of being behind a major “leak” of apparently US government documents – including about the war in Ukraine.

 With Teixeira in custody and under arrest, verification of the authenticity of the actual documents, which has thrown some of the media into a feeding frenzy, can now take place. Check out our Explained piece on Teixeira’s arrest. You can read more about that story in our Explained article here.

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 What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?

 In his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelensky continued to set the scene for the potential Ukrainian offensive. His words are much-scoured for clues about the offensive’s timing. Last night, he said:

 “Our actions will be powerful. We are preparing the guys. And we are very much looking forward to the delivery of weapons promised by our partners. We are bringing victory as close as possible, and we’re ensuring the spirit of unity to the maximum. Efficiency – to the maximum. Preparation – also to the maximum.”

 What is the latest military situation?

 The latest British Ministry of Defense (MoD) daily intelligence update on Ukraine notes the following:

·       Russia has re-energized its assault on the Donetsk Oblast town of Bakhmut, as forces of the Russian MoD and Wagner Group have improved co-operation.

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·       The Ukrainian defense still holds the western districts of the town but has been subjected to particularly intense Russian artillery fire over the previous 48 hours.

·       Wagner assault groups continue to conduct the main advance through the center of town, while Russian airborne forces (VDV) have relieved some Wagner units securing the northern and southern flanks of the operation.

·       Ukrainian forces face significant resupply issues but have made orderly withdrawals from the positions they have been forced to concede.

 The Institute for the Study of War’s April 13 Daily Assessment had the following key takeaways:

·       A senior Ukrainian official warned that Russia could reconstitute itself as a serious threat to Ukraine in the long run despite facing severe force generation problems at this time.

·       The Kremlin has not yet undertaken the necessary reorganization of its war effort to effectively leverage economies of scale to support large Russian force generation.

·       Ukrainian analysis confirms the ISW’s longstanding assessment that Russia cannot conduct multiple offensive operations simultaneously at this time.

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·       Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly personally approved the arrest of Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich.

·       The Russian Federal State Security Service (FSB) on April 13 identified the individuals allegedly responsible for assassinating milblogger Maxim Fomin (alias Vladlen Tatarsky).

·       Russian forces continued limited ground attacks along the Svatove-Kreminna line, made gains in Bakhmut, and continued ground attacks along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line.

·       Russian forces continue to reinforce and strengthen their positions in southern Ukraine in preparation for a potential Ukrainian counteroffensive.

·       Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin and his supporters continue to feud with St. Petersburg authorities and advertising companies allegedly obstructing Wagner Group recruitment efforts.

·       The Wagner Group are reportedly training Ukrainian children to use weapons as part of the Russian Young Army Cadets National Movement (Yunarmiya) in occupied Ukraine.

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