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20 April 2023, Thursday | NIAS Europe Daily Brief #492

War in Ukraine, Day 420

Germany, and Portugal deliver advanced missile systems aligning with the pledge

War in Ukraine: Day 420
By Padmashree Anandhan

War on the Ground 
On 19 April, the surprise drone attacks in Odesa were reported by Ukraine's forces. Although no causalities were observed, according to Odesa district military administration, the attacks have been carried out through Shahed-136 UAVs. The drone is known for being programmed to target using a "payload of explosives." The report states that the Russian setback in replacing its damaged drones due to sanctions has pushed it to depend on foreign weapon systems. Ukraine's South Operational Command Chief said: "They were flying trying to avoid detection, exploiting landscape peculiarities. They still try to deceive our anti-aircraft defenses and locate the launchers."

On 19 April, Ukraine's Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov confirmed the receipt of the first patriot defence system from Germany. The patriot system is armed in combat enemy aircraft, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles and of all it is observed to be advanced. He said: "Today, our beautiful Ukrainian sky becomes more secure because Patriot air defence systems have arrived in Ukraine."

The Moscow View
Claims by Russia

On 19 April, DPR leader Denis Pushilin met Belarus's President Alexander Lukashenko to discuss bilateral cooperation. Belarus has been maintaining close relations with Russia since the war; Pushilin expressed interest in cooperating over equipment, tractors, construction products and furniture. 

On 19 April, in response to South Korean President’s announcement to send weapons to Ukraine, the former President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev issued a warning. He said that what would be a response of South Korea when it sees Russian-manufactured weapons in North Korea. Russia's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: "Unfortunately, Seoul has taken a rather unfriendly position in this whole story."

On 19 April, RT reported on WSJ article on the challenges faced by the US manufacturers in building missiles for Ukraine. According to the report, due to difficulty in obtaining rocket motors, the production target has been logged back. Despite the US not disclosing the exact count of GMLRS projectiles sent to Ukraine, as per Reuter's investigation, close to 5000 had been delivered. Due to the delay in the production of artillery and guided missile, Ukraine has been observed to be facing a shortage in sustaining its artillery rounds.

The West View
Responses from the US and Europe 

On 19 April, the European Commission proposed to offer EUR 100 million to help farmers in the EU countries bordering Ukraine. Under the plan, Hungary and Poland will be covered, as they began to impose ban on import of Ukraine's grain, according to the Commission, the proposal will also include measures to impose restrictions on "wheat, maize, sunflower seeds and rape seed." The move comes due to the accumulation of Ukraine's agricultural products in EU member states in the process of export to other countries. Along with others, Bulgaria has also joined in the import ban against Ukraine.

On 19 April, Nordic country's joint journalistic investigation reported suspicious Russian vessels to be spying on the Scandinavian peninsula. In the report, the investigation team stated that close to 50 such ships were found to be spying their windfarms, gas pipelines, electricity and internet cables. The men in the ships were observed to be masked, and armed.

On 19 April, the Pentagon announced its additional military aid worth USD 325 million to Ukraine. The package includes HIMARS rocket systems, anti-armour systems, and nine million rounds of small arms and artillery rounds. This totals to USD 36 billion of total military aid given by the US. Similarly, Germany and Portugal fulfilling its pledge, delivered 21 Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks together. According to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz: "What's needed now is essentially more of the same," referring to the need of battle tanks, ammunition, and anti-aircraft systems. 

"Ukraine Army spox explains purpose of Russia's latest drone attack on Odesa," Ukrinform, 19 April 2023
Medvedev cautions South Korea against weapons supplies to Kiev," TASS, 19 April 2023
US military industry struggling to meet Ukraine demand – WSJ," RT, 19 April 2023
Jari Tanner, "
Nordic news outlets: Russian yachts, cargo ships spy at sea," ap news, 19 April 2023
US announces $325 mln in new arms aid for Ukraine, including HIMARS ammo," Reuters, 20 April 2023
Ukraine updates: Germany says Patriots delivered to Kyiv," Deutsche Welle, 19 April 2023

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