Day 420: Ukraine conducts counteroffensive operations in east

Ukrainian troops conduct counteroffensive operations in the east. Russia fires drones at Odesa region overnight. Patriot missile defense systems arrive in Ukraine. Ukraine will plead for urgent shipments of surface-to-air missiles it likely lacks at the next Ramstein meeting later this week.

Ukraine conducts counteroffensive operations in east, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister says

Ukrainian troops are conducting counteroffensive operations in the east, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said. “The Ukrainian Armed Forces are being constantly trained on various defensive and offensive scenarios. Counteroffensive operations are part of what’s happening now in the east,” Malyar said in a televised interview on Wednesday. Counteroffensive should not be narrowed to offensive operations conducted on precise dates, she added.   

“Counteroffensive should not be narrowed to offensive operations, as it is rather a strategic goal of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to liberate all our territories. Our goal is to liberate territory and stop the enemy’s offense,” the Deputy Defense Minister said.

She added that planning of a counteroffensive involves preparation of materiel and reserves, training, tactical formation, and preparation of Plan A, B, and C.

In the past day, Ukrainian troops repelled more than 60 Russian attacks and shot down 10 drones, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in a morning report on Wednesday. Russian forces concentrate most of their efforts on conducting offensive operations on the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiyivka, and Maryinka axes. The heaviest battles rage for Bakhmut and Maryinka.  

Ukrainian troops hold back Russian attacks on the Bakhmut axis. They inflict heavy losses on Russian forces, Commander of Ukraine’s ground forces Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi said. The Bakhmut sector remains the epicenter of the fighting, he added.

Russia launches drones at Odesa region overnight

Ukraine’s air defenses shot down 10 out of 12 Iranian-made Shahed-136/131 kamikaze drones fired by Russia at Odesa region overnight into Wednesday, April 19, Commander of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk said. One of the drones hit a children’s recreational facility, causing a fire that was quickly extinguished. There were no casualties in the attack. 

On the evening of April 18, Ukrainian troops destroyed seven drones, including six Shahed-136 drones. Six of them were intercepted near Zaporizhzhia, and one on the outskirts of Dnipro.

German-supplied Patriot missile defense system arrives in Ukraine

Germany has dispatched more military equipment to Ukraine, including a Patriot missile defense system (capable of intercepting Iskander and Kinzhal missiles) and associated munitions. The package also includes 16 Zetros trucks, and two border protection vehicles. Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov confirmed that a Patriot system had arrived in Ukraine.

First Deputy Defense Minister of Ukraine, Lieutenant General Oleksandr Pavlyuk said that Patriot missile defense systems sent by the U.S., the Netherlands, and Germany had arrived in Ukraine. Germany has also sent another IRIS-T air defense system with missiles to Ukraine. That’s the second out of the four promised systems.  

Ukraine likely lacks missiles for air defense. Ukraine will plead for urgent shipments of surface-to-air missiles at a meeting of its western allies this week, fearful that an acute shortage could allow Russia to launch widespread bombing attacks, according to an article by the Financial Times.

Kyiv will press allies to bolster their dwindling stocks at the so-called Ramstein military co-ordination group on Friday, according to three officials briefed on the preparations. Without adequate air defences, western capitals fear a long-planned counter-offensive against occupying Russian troops could falter, the publication added.

Can russian propagandists be held accountable? Ukraine in Flames #405

There is concrete evidence that anti-Ukrainian propaganda in state media influenced russian troops on the ground, in some instances, russian soldiers explicitly justified their violence against civilians by referring to material they saw in the russian media. But even if prosecutors will be able to demonstrate that russia has perpetrated genocide in Ukraine, and state propaganda is found to have orchestrated the violence, the prospects of bringing those responsible to justice appear very unclear. Watch Ukraine in flames #405 to find out about historical examples of justice for propagandists and judicial basis to hold them accountable for their war crimes.


  • Maksym Dvorovyi, Media and digital rights lawyer at Digital Security Lab Ukraine
  • Tetiana Avdeeva, Lawyer at Digital Security Lab Ukraine, Member of the Independent Media Council