A large Russian offensive appears to be underway in East Donbas as of 18th April, with more firepower from both sides concentrated here since the Russian withdrawal from Kiev.
Truckloads of bottled water are arriving in Mykolaiv from Odessa following a lack of running water due to recent Russian shelling. According to Ukrainian nationalist media, these deliveries are being organised by civilian volunteers.
The town of Ochakiv was shelled by Russian MLRS rockets, while Ukrainian ground forces claim to have repelled a Russian attack on the small town of Oleksandrivka. Explosions on the outskirts of Mykolaiv were also reported, as well as shelling south of Kryvyi Rih.
Intense fighting in multiple sectors of East Donbas indicates a large Russian ground offensive, as President Zelensky announces that ‘the battle for East Donbas has begun’.
In the south, intensive shelling around Velyka Novosilka with MLRS, missiles, and artillery appears to be supporting an offensive with infantry and armoured vehicles. Shelling also continues around the south of Zaporizhzhia.
Shelling in the vicinity of Donetsk continued overnight on Day 54. MLRS shelling continued in Avdiivka, while the Ukrainian army claims to have deterred two Russian attacks around the eastern parks of the city.
In Popasna, the Ukrainian army claims to have repelled 4 Russian attacks, while multiple assaults were also beaten back in Rubizhne. However, following the capture of Kreminna by Russian forces yesterday, Russian troops have reportedly been sighted in Zarichne, 20km west of the front at Kreminna.
Recent missile strikes against Kramatorsk have destroyed at least 8 buildings.
A Russian plane was claimed to be shot down over Balakliya, according to the head of the regional administration. The daily shelling of the city of Kharkiv continued, with an orthodox church receiving minor damage.
The Russian town of Golovchino, 14km north of the Ukrainian border, experienced explosions due to alleged Ukrainian shelling. Reports indicate that Ukraine is concentrating forces in this area, possibly with the intention of launching a counterattack against Russian supply lines to the Izyum area, where 22 Russian BTGs (Battalion Tactical Groups) have been gathered in anticipation of an offensive.
The defenders of Mariupol have been driven back to the Azovstal complex, which is likely to fall within the next week.
Five Russian missiles struck Lviv on Monday, according to AFP. US intelligence estimates that the Russian Airforce (VKS) averages 200 sorties per day.
15% of Ukraine’s pre-war population has now fled the country, with figures reaching 6.6 million people, while a similar number are internally displaced.
Landing Ship Commander Dies of Wounds
The commander of the Russian Ropucha-class large landing ship Caesar Kunikov, Captain Aleksandr Chirva, has died of wounds. His rank (Captain 3rd Rank) is equivalent to Lieutenant Commander in English-speaking navies.
The Caesar Kunikov was in port at Berdyansk at the time the Tapir-class landing ship Saratov was hit and set ablaze by a Ukrainian missile, on March 24th. The death of Caesar Kunikov’s commander implies that this ship also suffered damage in this event, barring a subsequent unreported strike against the landing ship.