Assessment of the Russian offensive campaign, April 10



April 10, 5 p.m. ET

Russian forces made territorial gains in Mariupol over the past 24 hours and continued to reinforce operations along the Izyum-Slovyansk axis, but made no further territorial gains. Russian forces split Mariupol from the city center to the coast on April 10, isolating the remaining Ukrainian defenders in two main locations: the main port of Mariupol to the southwest and the Azovstal steelworks to the east. Russian forces, including a convoy of hundreds of vehicles captured in Maxar Technologies imagery on April 8, continue to reinforce the Russian offensive at Izyum to link up with Russian positions in Luhansk Oblast.

Key points to remember

  • Russian forces split Mariupol from the city center to the coast on April 10, isolating the remaining Ukrainian defenders in the southwestern port and east of the Azovstal steelworks.
  • Russian forces have again made little or no progress in frontal assaults in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, but continue to muster further reinforcements.
  • Satellite images from Maxar Technologies captured hundreds of Russian vehicles in Kharkiv Oblast redeploying to support Russian operations near Izyum.
  • Ukrainian counter-attacks could threaten the city of Kherson in the days or weeks to come.

The Russian Defense Ministry is reportedly offering cash bonuses to incentivize forces withdrawn from northeast Ukraine to resume combat operations. Radio Svoboda released images on April 10 of a document allegedly released by the Russian Defense Ministry on April 2 offering specific bonuses to Russian troops in Ukraine.[1] The document specifies large payments, including 300,000 rubles for the destruction of a fixed-wing aircraft, 200,000 for the destruction of a helicopter and 50,000 for armored vehicles and artillery. Radio Svoboda said the payments are intended to coerce units withdrawn from the Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions to resume combat. We have already reported several cases of Russian soldiers refusing orders to return to Ukraine after being turned away.[2]

Russian forces are implementing increasingly drastic measures to conscript previously ineligible personnel. Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported on April 10 that Russian forces are now enlisting previously ineligible categories of people, including people with childhood disabilities and workers in sheltered industries.[3] The GUR reported that DNR/LNR authorities allow traffic inspectors to issue conscription notices on the spot and establish checkpoints on major highways. The DNR and Russian military police would further destroy documents granting exemptions, such as medical records or work certificates, to forcibly conscript people.[4]

We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because these activities are well covered by Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we assess and plan. We will continue to assess and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian army and population and more specifically on the fighting in Ukrainian urban areas. We strongly condemn these Russian violations of the law of armed conflict, the Geneva Conventions and humanity, even if we do not describe them in these reports.

The ISW has updated its assessment of the four main efforts in which Russian forces are currently engaged:

  • Main Effort – Eastern Ukraine (composed of two subordinate supporting efforts);
  • Support Effort 1—Kharkiv and Izyum;
  • Support Effort 2—South Axis;
  • Supporting Effort 3 — Sumy and Northeastern Ukraine.

Main Effort – Eastern Ukraine

Subordinate Main Effort – Mariupol (Russian objective: Capture Mariupol and reduce Ukrainian defenders)

Russian forces cut off Mariupol from the city center to the coast on April 10, isolating the remaining Ukrainian defenders in two main locations: the main port of Mariupol to the southwest and the Azovstal steelworks to the east. Several geotagged videos posted by pro-Russian accounts on April 10 confirm that Russian assaults on downtown Mariupol captured the fishing port west of the Azovstal steelworks, likely confirming Russian control of the center as well. -city.[5] Petro Andryushenko, an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, reported on April 10 that Russian forces were setting up checkpoints in central and northeastern Mariupol to detain or kill Ukrainian citizens who resist Russian occupation.[6] Andryushenko further stated that Russian forces were building crematoria and digging mass graves for Ukrainian civilians in Mariupol, but the ISW cannot independently confirm this report. Russian forces have continued their assaults on both pockets of Ukrainian defenders over the past 24 hours without any major gains.[7]

Subordinate Main Effort – Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts (Russian objective: capture the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, the territory claimed by Russia’s proxies in Donbass)

Russian forces continued their assaults on Rubizhne, Popasna and Severodonetsk over the past 24 hours, but made no significant territorial gains.[8] The Ukrainian General Staff claimed that Ukrainian forces repelled eight attacks and destroyed four tanks, eight armored vehicles and seven unarmored vehicles in the past 24 hours.[9] Luhansk Oblast chief Serhiy Haidai said on April 10 that around 60,000 Russian military personnel are deployed in eastern Ukraine, but the ISW cannot independently confirm that number or whether it includes DNR/LNR troops.[10] Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said on April 9 that Russian forces have started their big offensive on Donbass, which is expected to last 2-3 weeks in Kyiv.[11] Arestovych and other Ukrainian military forces said Russia was deploying additional unspecified units from the Southern Military District, undeployed units from the Eastern Military District and forces withdrawn from northeastern Ukraine, although none of these forces arrived in the Donbass by 10 April.[12]

Supporting Effort #1—Kharkiv and Izyum: (Russian objective: advance southeast to support Russian operations in Luhansk Oblast and pin down Ukrainian forces around Kharkiv)

Russian forces continue to redeploy in the Kharkiv region to support the ongoing Russian offensive south of Izyum towards Sloviansk and Barvinkove. Satellite images from Maxar Technologies (see below) captured a convoy of hundreds of vehicles (including armored vehicles, towed artillery and support equipment) stretching at least 13 km south to across Vleykyi Burluk, about 100 km north of Izyum and 90 km east of Kharkiv, on April 8. The Ukrainian General Staff reported on April 10 that units from the Central and Eastern Military Districts continued to arrive in Russia’s Belgorod, Voronezh and Kursk oblasts for further deployment to the Izyum front.[13] Russian forces likely repaired the main bridge at Izyum on April 10, completing their previously established pontoon bridge.[14] A pro-Russian Telegram channel pictured T-80 tanks of the 4th Guards Tank Division (which had previously redeployed from the Sumy axis) at an unspecified location in Kharkiv Oblast on April 9 .[15] These forces are likely deploying to support ongoing Russian operations near Izyum, which have taken no territory in the past 48 hours.[16]

Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies.
Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies.
Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies.

Support Effort #2—South Axis: (Objective: Defend Kherson against Ukrainian counter-attacks)

Russian forces launched unsuccessful counterattacks against recent Ukrainian gains at Osokorkivka (north of Kherson) and Oleksandrivka (35 km west of the city of Kherson) on 10 April.[17] Ukrainian forces claimed to have struck (uncertain whether with airstrikes or artillery) a Russian airfield and command post at Melitopol on 10 April.[18] Ukrainian counterattacks continue to put Russian forces on the defensive, and Ukrainian troops may attempt larger-scale attacks on the city of Kherson itself in the coming weeks.

Supporting Effort #3—Subi and Northeastern Ukraine: (Russian objective: withdraw combat power in good order for redeployment to eastern Ukraine)

No significant activity has been reported on this axis in the last 24 hours.

Immediate things to watch out for

  • Russian forces will renew offensive operations in the next few days southeast of Izyum, possibly turning first to the southwest to avoid Ukrainian defensive positions, with the aim of reaching and seizing Sloviansk.
  • Russian forces have cut the Ukrainian defenders in Mariupol in half and will continue their efforts to complete the seizure of the remaining pockets of Ukrainian resistance.
  • Russian forces could carry out attacks to seize Rubizhne, Popasna and Severodonetsk in the coming days, although they can wait for reinforcements and Russian troops to complete the encirclement of this area along the Izyum-Sloviansk road -Debaltseve.

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