April 19, 2023
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) appears to be conducting a large-scale overhaul of domestic security organs. Russian state-controlled outlet TASS reported on April 19 that the FSB and the Main Directorate of the Security Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) have been conducting mass checks at the Moscow Central District Internal Affairs Directorate and several Moscow district police offices for the past several weeks due to “the leakage of data from Russian security forces at the request of Ukrainian citizens.” Another Russian source noted that the FSB and MVD have already detained police officers as part of this investigation. Russian outlets reported that the suspected police officers leaked personal data on Russian security forces to external individuals, some of whom are Ukrainian citizens. The reported FSB and MVD raids on the Moscow police departments are occurring against the backdrop of a series of arrests and dismissals of prominent members of Rosgvardia (Russian National Guard) leadership. The Kremlin may be pushing for such arrests and investigations in order to conduct an overhaul of the domestic security apparatus to oust officials who have fallen out of Kremlin favor and consolidate further control internal security organs.
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar reported on April 19 that Ukrainian forces are already conducting some counteroffensive actions. Malyar stated that Ukrainian forces will never preemptively announce when the counteroffensive starts and reiterated that Ukrainian forces aim to liberate all Ukrainian territory. Malyar also reported that Russian forces are concentrating on offensives in the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Marinka directions and that Russian forces have concentrated weapons, equipment, and all professional units – including Wagner Group forces, Spetsnaz, and airborne forces (VDV) – around Bakhmut. Malyar noted that Ukrainian counteroffensive actions will be both offensive and defensive in nature given the complex nature of the battlefield.
Russian forces continue to use Shahed drones and other lower-precision systems to offset the degradation of Russia’s precision munition supply. Russian forces launched 12 Shahed-131/136 drones at southern Ukraine from the Sea of Azov on the night of April 18 to 19, 10 of which Ukrainian air defense shot down. Ukrainian United Coordination Press Center of the Southern Defense Forces Head Nataliya Humenyuk noted on April 19 that the Shahed strike was a deliberate attempt to find and destroy Ukrainian air defense systems. Russian milbloggers have recently discussed the importance of targeting Ukrainian air defense capabilities in advance of any potential Ukrainian counteroffensives, and the Shahed strikes were likely intended in part to set conditions to do so. Ukrainian Air Force Spokesperson Colonel Yuri Ihnat noted that Russia has used almost all of its strategic missile stockpile since September 11, 2022, and that Ukrainian forces have shot down 750 of the total 850 missiles that Russian forces have launched at Ukrainian during this period. Ihnat noted that Russian forces have switched to cheaper and shorter-range options such as guided aerial bombs and have removed Kh-50 type missiles from storage for restoration. Ihnat was likely referring to Kh-55 Soviet-era air launched cruise missiles, as Russia is slated to begin production on newer Kh-50 cruise missiles in summer 2023. Russia may be removing Kh-55 cruise missiles from storage to refit them for future strikes on Ukraine.
- The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) appears to be conducting a large-scale overhaul of domestic security organs
- Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar reported on April 19 that Ukrainian forces are already conducting some counteroffensive actions.
- Russian forces continue to use Shahed drones and other lower-precision systems to offset the degradation of Russia’s precision munition supply.
- Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks near Kreminna.
- Russian forces continued ground attacks in and around Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk frontline, and in western Donetsk Oblast.
- Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted limited ground attacks in Zaporizhia Oblast.
- Russian officials continue to prepare to send electronic summonses and establish a digital registry for those eligible for military service.
- A State Duma deputy proposed a bill that would expand contract conditions for the OMON and SOBR units of Rosgvardia and set conditions for the mobilization of Rosgvardia reservists.
- Russian officials and occupation authorities continue efforts to further integrate occupied territories into the Russian economic system.