Briefly about the most important today's events in our digest of events
that have happened in Ukraine today
Former NATO Secretary General:
Today's Russia is more dangerous than the Soviet Union
Even at Soviet times there were not so many reminders about a possibility to use nuclear weapons; hence today's Russia is more dangerous than the Soviet Union, Newsweek writes with a reference to the former NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Relations between Russia and Europe have hit their lowest since the Cold War in light of the Ukrainian conflict and the increasing incursions into European airspace by Russian military aircraft.
"Russia has adopted this approach and it is a mix of very well-known conventional warfare and new, more sophisticated propaganda and disinformation campaigns including Russian efforts to influence public opinion through financial links with political parties within NATO and engagement in NGOs."
According to Rasmussen, Russia has also bared its teeth in more conventional ways, as frequent reminders of the country's nuclear arsenal have alarmed the West in ways which even the USSR was reluctant to do so.
Although Rasmussen believes that in the foreseeable future NATO "will remain the cornerstone of European security", he adds that there is need for evolution. He proposes that NATO should revise the nature of what it considers an act of aggression, to include such hybrid threats.
"Already at the NATO summit we took a first important step in updating the terminology of ‘armed attack' to include cyber-attacks. Now we consider cyber security as part of collective security. I think in light of Russia's hybrid warfare we should have an even closer look at the term."
"The West should obviously not be naive," says Rasmussen. "It is necessary to strengthen methods against hybrid threats. We need more investment in cyber security, better-funded intelligence and more shared knowledge among allies, to give us better situational awareness to inform our use of special operations forces."
It will be recalled that Anders Fogh Rasmussen served as the Chairman of the North Atlantic Alliance from 2009 till 2014.
Number of attacks in Donbas decreased slightly - 10 cases in the evening
The number of breaches of the ceasefire has slightly decreased in the ATO area in the period between 6 pm and midnight, April 15.
According to the ATO press centre, militants attacked positions of Ukrainian troops 10 times in total.
They continued to commit to action 100-mm heavy armaments, thereby violating provisions of the Minsk ceasefire deal, the ATO Headquarters said.
Rebels carried out attacks on positions of a Ukrainian checkpoint located not far from Mariupol in the village of Shyrokine with 120-mm mortars, tanks and self-propelled artillery weapons.
The enemy fired grenade machine guns, machine-guns and 120-mm mortars near the village of Pisky.
Outlawed units of gunmen fired grenade machine guns near Avdiyivka at about 8 pm, and 120-mm mortars after 9 pm.
A stronghold of Ukrainian troops situated close to Stanyzia Luganska, Lugansk region, was fired on by rebels with machine-guns and grenade machine guns.
Also, an UAV was spotted flying toward the settlement of Kozachiy, Lugansk region, at 8.15 pm.
Head of the NATO Military Committee:
NATO has to be ready to fight back against Russia
Russia makes skilful use of information-psychological war both inland and abroad, and NATO should demonstrate its willingness to fight back against Moscow, new Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Petr Pavel told in an interview with Associated Press.
"Russian leadership managed, maybe surprisingly, to significantly unite public opinion in an idea that everything bad that is happening to Russia is driven by the West, led by the United States and that Russia is again in the position that it has to defend itself," Pavel told The Associated Press.
NATO members should spend more on defence, conduct more military drills together and stand firm in the face of Russian moves, he said. And he said it needs to be prepared to deal with unconventional warfare, exemplified by Russia's support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Russia has conducted a "wide and generous" program to modernize its military forces and NATO needs to address that, said Pavel, who is chief of the Czech General Staff.
"As a soldier, I have to be concerned with Russian steps because the increase of their (military) capabilities and willingness to use them is evident."
Pavel said in 2013, NATO conducted an exercise in the Baltics and Poland with some 6,000 soldiers, while Russia had a drill at about the same time in the western part of the country with at least 38,000 troops.
"Those exercises were absolutely incomparable," Pavel said. He said Moscow presented the exercise to be aimed at a possible terrorist attack, an explanation called by Pavel "a mockery."
"It's absolutely appropriate to answer in the same scale, same scope, at least that way we assure our public that we are capable to generate such strength and means at a certain time and also send a strong message, to Russia in this case, that we have this ability and we are ready to use it if needed," Pavel said. "That's I think an important message."
24th "humanitarian convoy" invades Ukraine from Russia
According to the National Centre for Emergency Situations Management of Russia’s Emergency Ministry, trucks have arrived at the border and customs clearance procedures have been launched. The convoy consists of more than 120 vehicles.
Russia claimed the trucks were carrying more than 1,400 tonnes of humanitarian aid, including food, daily necessities, educational materials for students and pupils, as well as building materials.
It is the 24th Russian convoy sent to Ukraine. None of the convoys have so far entered into Ukraine with the permission of the Kyiv government, and the cargo has never been accordingly inspected either by Ukrainian officials or by the International Committee of the Red Cross. All 24 convoys entered Ukraine through border checkpoints controlled by armed rebel groups, and headed to rebel-held Donbas areas.
Ukrainian authorities believe that the convoys were used to deliver arms and supplies to pro-Russian insurgents in Donbas, and to pick up bodies of killed gunmen.
General Staff: 6 service members wounded in the ATO area in the past 24 hours
No losses were reported in the area of the anti-terrorist operation in the past 24 hours, a spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council, Andriy Lysenko, reported at a briefing on Thursday.
Border guards spotted 124 UAVs during last week
The State Border Guard Service has recorded 124 enemy drones observed over Donetsk and Lugansk regions since April 9, the head of the press service of the State Border Guard Service, Oleg Slobodian, said at a briefing as reported by Ukrainian News" .
According to him, the number of drones increased compared to the week before last.
It was reported earlier that border guards had recorded 30 UAVs since April 11.