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Washington Institute for Defense and Security

Security Bulletin – April 2022

 

Europe & North America:

  • Mariupol, Ukraine: Russian forces have encircled the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, cutting off supplies and logistics for the defenders. By April 22nd, the final Ukrainian holdouts were concentrated in the Azovstal Steel Plant, an industrial facility which has been heavily fortified. The city’s capture is a relatively major success for Moscow, especially following the rapid withdrawal of Russian forces from the Kyiv area after severe losses and stalled progress. The encirclement of Mariupol reflects the Russian strategic re-orientation towards the Donbass and the south of Ukraine in the past few weeks.

 

  • Washington DC: President Biden has announced a request of $33 billion from congress in funding for Ukraine. The package would be a significant increase of the current $14 billion provided so far. Funding would be primarily comprised of security and military aid but would also include billions in economic assistance. Such an increase in US support would help enable long-term Ukrainian resistance which has so far stalled the Russian military at incredible cost to Moscow. It similarly reflects the prioritization of Ukraine by the Biden administration, which is hoping to prevent greater losses by the Ukrainian military and score a major foreign policy victory at the same time.

 

  • Tiraspol, Transnistria: On April 25th, an explosion was reported at the Ministry of State Security in Transnistria, a Russian-backed breakaway region of Moldova. Three other explosions occurred in following days, one at the Tiraspol airport and two more at a major pro-Russian broadcasting station. The explosions’ origins have not been confirmed, however the Moldovan President Maia Sandu accused “factions from the Transnistria region who are pro-war” of perpetrating the attacks. There has been concerns, that such attacks could be used as a pretext for increased Russian involvement in Moldova. The role of the isolated region in the unfolding Ukraine crisis has also been speculated on, with no clear answer.

 

Middle East:

  • Duhok, Iraq: Starting April 18th, the Turkish armed forces launched a cross-border military incursion against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Northern Iraq labelled Operation Claw Lock. Intended to eliminate the PKK presence on the Turkish-Iraqi border, the campaign has involved air and artillery strikes in conjunction with thousands of Turkish soldiers. Iraqi political leaders including President Barham Salih have condemned the Turkish operation as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. Claw Lock represents an escalation in a series of cross-border engagements in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq aimed at undermining the potential threat posed by the PKK.

 

  • Damascus, Syria: At dawn on April 27th, Israeli airstrikes peppered the Damascus area, killing nine fighters and wounding at least 8 others. The casualties included five Syrian Arab Army soldiers and four members of Iranian backed militias. The attack racks up the largest tally of kills of any strike this year. These strikes have become common place, as Israel and Russia have reached the tacit agreement that the former is allowed to strike government and Iranian forces in the conflict zone. Israeli airstrikes have weakened Iranian-Syrian positions in the southwest, and as Russian attention is drawn towards the war in Ukraine, Israel may feel the need to increase pressure.

 

Africa:

  • Gossi, Mali: Following the handover of the Gossi army base from French to Malian forces this month, as part of the withdrawal of French forces from the country, controversy has emerged after Malian troops alleged the discovery of a mass grave at the site. The French military has categorically denied these accusations and offered ISR footage of Caucasian individuals believed to be members of the Russian-backed Wagner group shoveling sand over several cadavers near the Gossi base. The recently created Twitter account which alleged this discovery has also been questioned by the French, who contest it as an attempt at disinformation to discredit the departing European forces. This allegation reflects the rapidly deteriorating relationship between Bamako and Paris.

Author

  • Research Team

    The Research Team is the dedicated collective behind the insightful contributions on the Washington Institute For Defense & Security. With a profound understanding of global dynamics and a commitment to rigorous analysis, the Research Team delivers authoritative perspectives, enriching the discourse on critical international matters.

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