Ukraine-Russia war latest: Russian fighter-bomber 'shot down over Donetsk'; Ukraine faces another wave of Russian drones (2024)

Key points
  • Russia claims complete control over another village
  • Ukraine retreating in attempt to avoid being outflanked, ISW says
  • Russian fighter-bomber 'downed by Ukraine'
  • Moscow lashes out at Baltic states
  • Analysis:UN undermined as North Korea appears to defy arms embargo
  • Analysis:Will US aid help turn tide on Russia?
  • Your questions answered:Why can't Ukraine destroy key Crimean bridge?
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  • Live reporting by Ollie Cooper


Analysis: UN undermined as North Korea appears to defy arms embargo

By Sean Bell, military analyst

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has adopted nine major sanctions on North Korea in response to the country's nuclear and missile activities since 2006.

In June of that year, the UNSC established an embargo on exports of major arms to and imports from North Korea.

In June 2009, it widened the embargo to all arms, except for the export small arms and light weapons to the country, before eventually banning those too in 2015.

Russia was a signatory to those embargos.

Yet, late last year, a series of Russian senior leadership visits to North Korea were focused on solving Russia's growing demand for weapons, artillery shells and missiles to support its war in Ukraine.

Although Russia has denied that it imports North Korean weapons, the Royal United Service Institute (RUSI) has been tracking ships transporting weapons to Russia.

It has tracked four Russian cargo ships, each transporting hundreds of containers.

Estimates suggest that over 7,000 containers carrying over one million ammunition shells, rockets and missiles have been sold to Russia by North Korea since a deal was struck last year.

Russia denies that it is importing any North Korean weapons.

However, an inspector from the Conflict Arms Research team based in Ukraine has been studying the remains of a series of missiles fired at Ukrainian targets this year and has made a series of important discoveries.

According to reports, parts of the missile remains included characters only used in the Korean alphabet, and the number '112' was stamped into parts of the missile - '2023' in the Korean calendar.

Closer investigation of hundreds of electronic components revealed that the missiles were "bursting" with Western technology.

Most of the electronics were manufactured in the US or Europe, and were sourced over the past few years.

Despite supposedly significant sanctions, North Korea has managed to illicitly procure large quantities of Western technology, assemble missiles and sell them to Russia to be used in its war in Ukraine.

Although the North Korean weapons might not be very effective, they are cheap, so can be procured in large quantities and used to degrade Ukrainian air defence systems.

Quantity has a quality all of its own - so what is the point of sanctions if they can so easily be bypassed?

North Korea is evidently profiting from its arms export arrangement with Russia, which will create further opportunities for Pyongyang to expand arms exports as a vital source of revenue - to grow its economy and military capability.

Not to mention it undermines the authority of the UN - given that Russia is a signatory to the ban on North Korean arms exports, yet is flagrantly ignoring this ban to meet its wartime needs.

Yet, the UN appears powerless to enforce its own sanctions.


Russia claims complete control over another village

Russia claims it has taken complete control of the village ofOcheretyne in eastern Ukraine.

The village, which lies northwest of the former Ukrainianstronghold of Avdiivka, which Russia captured in February, had apre-war population of around 3,000.

Russia has made steady advances since takingAvdiivka, and this would mark the latest in a string of villages in the area to fall into Moscow's grasp.


In pictures: Russian troops rehearse for Victory Day parade

These images show Russian servicemen and women preparing for the annual Victory Day parade in Moscow.

On the 9 May, the military will march through the Red Square in front of Vladimir Putin - who will have been sworn in once again as president days earlier (see 9.04am post).

The parade will showcase Russian military hardware with vehicles, aircraft and soldiers all taking the stage.


Ukraine retreating from eastern villages in attempt to avoid being outflanked, ISW says

Russian forces are continuing to advance west of Avdiivka, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

The US-based thinktank said it had geolocated footage showing Russian soldiers advancing near Arkhanhelske, which is just northwest of the Russian-held city.

Fighting has intensified in villages like Arkhanhelske near Avdiivka, and further north around Chasiv Yar in recent weeks.

"ISW assesses that the Russian seizure of Arkhanhelske also indicates that Russian forces likely control Keramik and Novokalynove (both southeast of Arkhanhelske)," it said.

It also said it had noted Ukrainian forces withdrawing from northern Arkhanhelske.

"Ukrainian forces may have decided to trade space for time as they wait for the arrival of US aid to the frontline at scale in the coming weeks - an appropriate decision for an under-resourced force at risk of being outflanked," it said.

"Russian forces appear to be choosing to exploit the tactical situation northwest of Avdiivka - a sound military undertaking - but their ultimate objective in this frontline sector remains unclear."

Here's the latest battlefield situation on the ground...


Russia looking to conscript men from occupied Ukraine, MoD says

Russia is attempting to conscript men from occupied regions of Ukraine to fight in its army, the UK's Ministry of Defence has said.

Citing a decree signed in April by the Moscow-installed governor of the occupied Zaporizhzhia region, the MoD said: "Russia is preparing the necessary infrastructure and measures for military conscription in Russian-occupied areas of Zaporizhzhia.

"This decree is also part of a broader campaign by the Russian authorities in the temporarily occupied territories to coerce the population to accept Russian governance."

Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk were all illegally occupied by Russia in 2022, while Crimea was annexed by Moscow in 2014.

The MoD also pointed to recent efforts by Russian authorities to enforce the need for Russian passports in occupied Ukraine as a further example of the "relentless Russification policy" pursued by Moscow.

However, while symbolically significant, the MoD estimates that the potential conscription policy will make no meaningful difference to Russia's fighting capacity - given that so many Ukrainian men of fighting age have departed the region already.


Zelenskyy, Putin celebrate Orthodox Easter

The leaders of Russia and Ukraine have joined their countries in celebrating Orthodox Easter.

In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for his countrymen to unite in prayer for each other and soldiers serving on the frontlines.

"Let's pray for each other. When we all came closer to each other, we were no longer strangers to each other," he said.

"God has a chevron with the Ukrainian flag on his shoulder. So with such an ally, life will definitely win over death," he added.

"Ukrainians kneel only in prayer... and never before invaders and occupiers."

Mr Zelenskyy, who was dressed in a traditional embroidered Ukrainian shirt and his typical khaki trousers, spoke while standing in front of the 1,000-year-old Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv.

In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin attended a service led by the head of Russia's Orthodox Church - and close political ally - Patriarch Kirill.


Putin set for presidential inauguration

In just two days, Vladimir Putin will be sworn in for another six-year term as Russia's president.

Tuesday will see the Russian leader place his hand on a copy of the constitution and promise to uphold it.

He won a landslide majority in a Russian general election earlier this year, amid widespread allegations of vote rigging, intimidation and corruption.

Mr Putin is already the longest-serving Russian (or Soviet) leader since Joseph Stalin.

In his state of the nation address in February, he vowed to fulfil Moscow's goals in Ukraine and do whatever it takes to "defend our sovereignty and security of our citizens".

He claimed then the Russian military had "gained a huge combat experience" and is "firmly holding the initiative and waging offensives in a number of sectors".

The inauguration comes two days before Victory Day, Russia's most important secular holiday, commemorating the Soviet Red Army's capture of Berlin in the Second World War.

The defeat of Nazi Germany is integral to modern Russian identity - and to the president's justification of the war in Ukraine as a comparable struggle.


Russia lashes out at Baltic states

Russia's foreign ministry has hit out at the "hostile line" of Baltic states, which Moscow says has led to the severing of ties.

"Because of the openly hostile line of Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn, all interstate, interdepartmental, regional and sectoral ties with Russia have been severed," Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman of the Russian foreign ministry, told the RIA state news agency, referring to the capitals of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Moscow will continue to use diplomatic measures of influence on the Baltic countries, she added.

Estonia last week directly accused Russia of violating international airspace regulations by interfering with GPS signals, while NATO said the Baltic countries are "deeply concerned" about "Russian espionage".

Ms Zakharova told RIA that Moscow will respond to the unspecified hostile actions by Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia with similar measures.

"We will also respond to the hostile actions of the Baltic states with asymmetrical measures, primarily in the economic and transit spheres," she said.


In pictures: Ukrainian soldiers operate in Donetsk

These images show members of Ukraine's 43rd separate artillery brigade operating in the Donetsk oblast.

The eastern region has seen some of the fiercest fighting of the war, with brutal battles at Bakhmut and Avdiivka dominating headlines for months.

Now, Ukrainian troops are attempting to slow or stop a steady Russian advance westwards.

The 43rd separate artillery brigade can be seen operating a Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzer.


Ukraine claims to down Russian fighter-bomber

Ukrainian forces shot down a Russian Su-25 fighter-bomber jet over the Donetsk region yesterday,President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has claimed.

Speaking in his nightly video address to the Ukrainian people, he praised the 110th separate mechanised brigade "for today taking down another Russian Su-25 in the Donetsk region".

The claim has not been independently verified.

Russia is estimated to have had somewhere between 70 and 80 serviceable Su-25s before it invaded Ukraine, although Kyiv claims to have downed half a dozen over the course of the war.

Ukraine-Russia war latest: Russian fighter-bomber 'shot down over Donetsk'; Ukraine faces another wave of Russian drones (2024)
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