UA-69458566-1

Friday, April 12, 2024

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 12, 2024

Angelica Evans, Christina Harward, Grace Mappes,
Riley Bailey, and Frederick W. Kagan

April 12, 2024, 5:55pm ET


Click here to see ISW’s interactive map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report. 

Click here to see ISW’s 3D control of terrain topographic map of Ukraine. Use of a computer (not a mobile device) is strongly recommended for using this data-heavy tool.

Click here to access ISW’s archive of interactive time-lapse maps of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These maps complement the static control-of-terrain map that ISW produces daily by showing a dynamic frontline. ISW will update this time-lapse map archive monthly.

Note: The data cut-off for this product was 12:45pm ET on April 12. ISW will cover subsequent reports in the April 13 Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment.


Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that Russia’s ongoing strike campaign against Ukrainian energy facilities aims in part to devastate the Ukrainian defense industry, confirming ISW’s ongoing assessment that Russian strikes against Ukrainian energy facilities aim to degrade Ukrainian defense industrial capacity. Putin stated during a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on April 11 that Russian drone and missile strikes against Ukraine’s energy sector are connected to Russia’s goal of “demilitarizing” Ukraine – one of his three stated goals in Ukraine.[1] Putin characterized Russia’s ongoing strikes against Ukrainian energy infrastructure as a “forced” response to recent Ukrainian drone strikes against Russian oil and gas facilities and openly stated that Russian strikes indirectly aim to degrade Ukraine’s defense industrial capacity. The recent Russian strike campaign is degrading Ukraine's power generation capacity while also exploiting reported Ukrainian air defense missile shortages in a renewed effort to collapse Ukraine’s power grid.[2] Putin likely hopes to prevent Ukraine’s defense industry from developing to the point of near self-sufficiency in the long term as a strong defense industry could put Ukraine in a good position to defend against future Russian aggression and significantly reduce Ukraine's dependence on Western aid.[3] Significant delays in Western aid, due in part to successful Russian information operations and Western hesitancy, have created an opportunity for Russian offensive operations and Russia’s strike campaign.

ISW continues to assess that the development of Ukraine’s defense industrial base (DIB) over time can allow Ukraine to sustain its defense against Russia and longer-term national security needs with significantly reduced foreign military assistance.[4] Ukrainian officials have expressed their intention to expand Ukraine’s DIB domestically and abroad since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, and Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov previously identified increased Ukrainian domestic production of weapons and military equipment as a priority for 2024.[5] US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller has stated that the short- and medium-term provision of Western air defenses to Ukraine will be a critical element of Ukraine’s ability to stand up its defense industry, which will, in turn, decrease Ukrainian dependence on Western aid and especially US aid to Ukraine in the long term.[6] Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recently emphasized that Ukraine cannot mitigate the lack of sufficient air defense systems and that only Western-provided air defense systems, namely Patriot systems, allow Ukraine to defend Ukraine against the intensified Russia strike campaign.[7] ISW continues to assess that the US will not need to send large security assistance packages to Ukraine indefinitely if Ukraine can sufficiently expand its defensive industrial capacity, but the West’s provision of air defense systems and missiles to Ukraine is crucial for Ukraine’s ability to defend its energy infrastructure and its developing defense industry against Russian strikes.[8]

Russian forces are domestically producing and fielding a new air-to-surface subsonic cruise missile against Ukraine designated the Kh-69 as part of continued efforts to improve strike packages and penetrate Ukraine’s degraded air defense. Ukrainian media reported on April 11 that Ukrainian law enforcement sources stated that Russian forces destroyed the Trypilska Thermal Power Plant (TPP) in Kyiv Oblast on April 11 with new Kh-69 missiles, which Russian forces had reportedly used in “isolated cases” in 2023 prior to the April 11 strike.[9] Ukrainian Air Force Spokesperson Major Ilya Yevlash confirmed on April 12 that Russian forces used the Kh-69s in the April 11 strike and described the Kh-69 missiles as an improved version of Kh-59 cruise missiles, which Russian forces have frequently used in strike packages against Ukraine in recent weeks.[10] ISW has not previously observed the Russian use of Kh-69 missiles in Ukraine. Russian forces have reportedly launched Kh-69 missiles from 400 kilometers away from their targets, exceeding a previous estimated range of 300 kilometers and the 200-kilometer range of the most recent Kh-59MK2 variant.[11] Russian forces can reportedly launch the missiles from more numerous Su-34 and Su-35 tactical aircraft rather than exclusively from strategic bombers.[12] Yevlash stated that Russian forces are domestically producing the Kh-69 missiles but that their ability to manufacture the missiles depends on their ability to source critical components.[13] While the Russian stockpiles and production capability of these Kh-69 missiles are unclear, Russia is unlikely to be able to produce them at a significantly greater speed or quantity than its other domestically produced missiles. Yevlash noted that Ukrainian forces are still developing methods to counter the Kh-69s but emphasized that Patriot air defense systems would likely be able to intercept them.[14]

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed that it prevented a group of Central Asians from perpetrating a terrorist attack against a Russian military facility in occupied Ukraine with Ukraine’s help, likely as part of efforts to set information conditions to portray any future Ukrainian attack on legitimate Russian military targets in occupied Ukraine as “terrorist” attacks. The FSB claimed on April 11 that it detained six citizens of an unspecified Central Asian state for allegedly preparing a Ukrainian-orchestrated terrorist attack on a Russian military facility in occupied Donetsk Oblast.[15] The FSB claimed that the attackers were planning to go to Turkey and then back to Ukraine after carrying out the attack - a narrative that likely attempts to parallel how the Crocus City Hall attackers traveled to Turkey before the March 22 attack.[16] Russia routinely labels Ukrainian strikes against legitimate Russian military targets in occupied Ukraine and within Russia as ”terrorist” attacks.[17]

The FSB also claimed that it prevented a terrorist attack on a synagogue in Moscow on April 10 and that the FSB killed one of the alleged terrorists, a native of an unspecified Central Asian country, during a shootout.[18] The FSB claimed on March 7 that it prevented members of the Islamic State (IS) in Kaluga Oblast from conducting an attack on a Moscow synagogue.[19] The FSB may have not claimed that Ukraine was involved in the attack that the FSB allegedly stopped on April 10 due to the FSB’s prior public statements connecting the previous plans for an attack on a Moscow synagogue to IS. Russian authorities recently conducted counterterrorism operations in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria and the Republic of Dagestan, and ISW continues to assess that the increased frequency of counterterrorism operations in Russia is likely due to either Russian law enforcement’s actual heightened fears of another terrorist attack in Russia or is part of efforts to show the Russian public that authorities are taking competent preventative steps following the major law enforcement and intelligence failure that was the Crocus City Hall attack.[20] These counterterrorism activities are also further evidence that Russian authorities actually assess that terrorist threats emanate from Central Asian and Muslim communities instead of Ukraine.[21]

Key Takeaways:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that Russia’s ongoing strike campaign against Ukrainian energy facilities aims in part to devastate the Ukrainian defense industry, confirming ISW’s ongoing assessment that Russian strikes against Ukrainian energy facilities aim to degrade Ukrainian defense industrial capacity.
  • ISW continues to assess that the development of Ukraine’s defense industrial base (DIB) over time can allow Ukraine to sustain its defense against Russia and longer-term national security needs with significantly reduced foreign military assistance.
  • Russian forces are domestically producing and fielding a new air-to-surface subsonic cruise missile against Ukraine designated the Kh-69 as part of continued efforts to improve strike packages and penetrate Ukraine’s degraded air defense.
  • The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed that it prevented a group of Central Asians from perpetrating a terrorist attack against a Russian military facility in occupied Ukraine with Ukraine’s help, likely as part of efforts to set information conditions to portray any future Ukrainian attack on legitimate Russian military targets in occupied Ukraine as “terrorist” attacks.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Avdiivka and Donetsk City.
  • Russia is reportedly sending about 2,400 Eastern Military District (EMD) military personnel currently in Russia to fight in Ukraine to make up for personnel losses at the front.
  • Russian occupation officials continue to expand educational programs that aim to indoctrinate Ukrainian children and erase their Ukrainian identity.

We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because these activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We will continue to evaluate and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian military and the Ukrainian population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict and the Geneva Conventions and crimes against humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.    

  • Russian Main Effort – Eastern Ukraine (comprised of two subordinate main efforts)
  • Russian Subordinate Main Effort #1 – Capture the remainder of Luhansk Oblast and push westward into eastern Kharkiv Oblast and encircle northern Donetsk Oblast
  • Russian Subordinate Main Effort #2 – Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast
  • Russian Supporting Effort – Southern Axis
  • Russian Air, Missile, and Drone Campaign
  • Russian Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts
  • Russian Technological Adaptations
  • Activities in Russian-occupied areas
  • Ukrainian Defense Industrial Base Efforts
  • Russian Information Operations and Narratives
  • Significant Activity in Belarus

Russian Main Effort – Eastern Ukraine

Russian Subordinate Main Effort #1 – Luhansk Oblast (Russian objective: Capture the remainder of Luhansk Oblast and push westward into eastern Kharkiv Oblast and northern Donetsk Oblast)

Limited positional fighting continued in the Kreminna area on April 12. A Russian milblogger claimed on April 11 that Russian forces pushed Ukrainian forces back 1.5 kilometers in the Krupna Balka area east of Terny (west of Kreminna), although ISW has not observed visual confirmation of this claim.[22] Positional fighting continued south of Kreminna near Bilohorivka, and the Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces did not conduct any assaults elsewhere in the Lyman direction or anywhere in the Kupyansk direction.[23]

Russian Subordinate Main Effort #2 – Donetsk Oblast (Russian objective: Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)

Note: ISW will be orientating activity in the immediate Bakhmut area around Chasiv Yar for the foreseeable future as ISW assesses that the seizure of Chasiv Yar is the current Russian operational objective in the area. 

Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces marginally advanced northeast of Bakhmut. Milbloggers claimed on April 11 and 12 that Russian forces marginally advanced west of Zolotarivka towards Verkhnokamyanske (both east of Siversk), and southeast of Siversk near Vesele and Vyimka.[24] Positional fighting also continued near Spirne (east of Siversk) and Rozdolivka (south of Siversk) on April 12.[25] Elements of the Russian 137th Airborne (VDV) Regiment (106th VDV Division) are reportedly operating near Rozdolivka.[26]

Positional fighting continued near Chasiv Yar on April 12, but there were no confirmed changes to the frontline. Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces are advancing on the outskirts of the Kanal microraion (easternmost Chasiv Yar) and towards Kalynivka from Bohdanivka (both northeast of Chasiv Yar).[27] Milbloggers also claimed that elements of the Russian 98th VDV Division are advancing on the southeastern outskirts of Chasiv Yar.[28] Fighting also continued east of Chasiv Yar near Ivanivske and southeast of Chasiv Yar near Klishchiivka.[29] Elements of the Russian 83rd VDV Brigade are reportedly fighting near Klishchiivka.[30]

Russian forces recently made marginal advances west of Avdiivka amid continued fighting in the area on April 12. Geolocated footage published on April 12 shows that Russian forces recently marginally advanced north of Berdychi (northwest of Avdiivka) and south of Umanske (west of Avdiivka).[31] Russian milbloggers also claimed that Russian forces advanced in fields north and south of Novokalynove (northwest of Avdiivka), where Russian forces are conducting heavy glide bomb strikes, but ISW has not observed visual confirmation of these advances.[32] Positional fighting also continued northwest of Avdiivka near Novobakhmutivka; west of Avdiivka near Tonenke, Semenivka, and Yasnobrodivka; and southwest of Avdiivka near Pervomaiske and Netaylove.[33]

Russian forces recently advanced southwest of Donetsk City amid continued fighting on April 12. Geolocated footage published on April 10 and 11 shows that Russian forces recently marginally advanced in southeastern Krasnohorivka (west of Donetsk City).[34] Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces continued to advance westward within Novomykhailivka (southwest of Donetsk City), but ISW has not observed visual confirmation of this claim.[35] Positional fighting also continued west of Donetsk City near Heorhiivka and southwest of Donetsk City near Pobieda, Kostyantynivka (west of Novomykhailivka), and Vodyane (southeast of Vuhledar).[36] Footage published on April 11 shows Ukrainian forces conducting glide bomb strikes against Russian forces near Krasnohorivka.[37]

Russian forces reportedly marginally advanced in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area amid positional fighting on April 12. Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces crossed the Mokryi Yaly River and entered the southern outskirts of Urozhaine (south of Velyka Novosilka), but ISW has not observed visual confirmation of this claim.[38] Positional fighting also continued near Staromayorske (south of Velyka Novosilka).[39]

Russian Supporting Effort – Southern Axis (Russian objective: Maintain frontline positions and secure rear areas against Ukrainian strikes)

Positional engagements continued in western Zaporizhia Oblast on April 12, but there were no confirmed changes to the frontline in this area. Positional engagements continued near Robotyne and Verbove (east of Robotyne).[40] Ukrainian forces appear to have conducted a successful HIMARS strike against a Russian Tor-M2 air defense system south of Vasylivka (west of Robotyne).[41] Elements of the Russian 392nd Motorized Rifle Regiment (likely a mobilized unit) are operating in the Zaporizhia direction.[42]

Positional engagements continued in east (left) bank Kherson Oblast near Krynky on April 12, but there were no confirmed changes to the frontline in this area.[43]

Russian Air, Missile, and Drone Campaign (Russian Objective: Target Ukrainian military and civilian infrastructure in the rear and on the frontline)

Russian forces conducted a series of drone and missile strikes against Ukraine on the night of April 11 to 12 and during the day on April 12. Ukrainian military officials reported that Russian forces launched 17 Shahed-136/131 drones from occupied Crimea and a Kh-59 cruise missile from occupied Donetsk Oblast on the night of April 11 to 12.[44] Ukrainian forces reportedly downed 17 Shahed drones over Mykolaiv, Odesa, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk, Vinnytsia, and Khmelnytskyi oblasts. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian air defenses destroyed a Russian-launched Kh-59 missile later during the day on April 12.[45] Ukrainian Southern Operational Command Spokesperson Colonel Nataliya Humenyuk stated that Russian drone strikes on April 12 were a test of the “classic routes” that Russian drones use during strikes and reiterated that Russian forces launch drones in different directions in order to overload Ukrainian air defense systems.[46]

Russian Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts (Russian objective: Expand combat power without conducting general mobilization)

Russia is reportedly sending about 2,400 Eastern Military District (EMD) military personnel currently in Russia to fight in Ukraine to make up for personnel losses at the front. The Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) stated on April 12 that Russia will send military personnel of the Pacific Fleet (EMD) and 11th Air Force and Air Defense Army (Russian Aerospace Forces [VKS] and EMD) to Ukraine in order to replenish Russian personnel losses.[47] The GUR stated that Commander of the Pacific Fleet Admiral Viktor Liina decided to stop all rotations to Syria and to send about 2,000 military personnel from Primorsky Krai and Kamchatka Krai to Ukraine. The GUR did not specify if all 2,000 personnel were initially destined for deployments to Syria. The Pacific Fleet operates at the Russian naval base in Tartus, Syria, but it remains unclear if the end of the Pacific Fleet's rotations in Syria will herald a larger transfer of Pacific Fleet assets from Syria to Ukraine or elsewhere.[48] The GUR stated that Russia will also transfer about 400 military personnel from the 11th Air Force and Air Defense Army from Khabarovsk Krai to Ukraine to “patch the holes” in areas of the front where elements of the understaffed 155th and 40th naval infantry brigades (Pacific Fleet, EMD) are operating. Elements of the 155th Brigade are reportedly operating near Novomykhailivka, and elements of the 40th Brigade are reportedly operating near Velyka Novosilka.[49] The GUR stated that an unspecified number of personnel from the EMD will join a new, unspecified motorized rifle brigade that Russia is forming in Voronezh.[50]

Russian Technological Adaptations (Russian objective: Introduce technological innovations to optimize systems for use in Ukraine)  

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed on April 12 that the Russian Strategic Missile Forces successfully launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from a mobile ground-based missile system at the Kapustin Yar test site in Astrakhan Oblast.[51] The Russian MoD claimed that Russia conducted the launch as part of tests of “promising” missile systems and checks on the stability of missiles in service.

Ukrainian Defense Industrial Efforts (Ukrainian objective: Develop its defense industrial base to become more self-sufficient in cooperation with US, European, and international partners)

ISW is not publishing coverage of Ukrainian defense industrial efforts today.

Activities in Russian-occupied areas (Russian objective: Consolidate administrative control of annexed areas; forcibly integrate Ukrainian citizens into Russian sociocultural, economic, military, and governance systems)

Russian occupation officials continue to expand educational programs that aim to indoctrinate Ukrainian children and erase their Ukrainian identity. Luhansk Peoples Republic (LNR) Head Leonid Pasechnik signed an agreement with the Russian “Avangard” Educational and Methodological Center for Military-Patriotic Education of Youth on April 9 to host patriotic education and basic military training exercises for students in occupied Luhansk Oblast.[52] Zaporizhia Oblast occupation officials claimed on April 10 that Russian Presidential Administration Deputy Head Sergei Kiriyenko visited occupied Berdyansk to view the construction of military-patriotic education youth and wellness centers.[53] The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported that representatives from the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) are visiting orphans and children without parental guardians in occupied Ukraine to try to convince the children to enroll in specialized MVD-affiliated educational institutions.[54]

Russian occupation authorities continue to illegally deport Ukrainian children to Russia – a practice that Russian authorities reportedly intensified in the days leading up to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Russian Senator Konstantin Basyuk stated on April 10 that Russian authorities sent children from occupied Chaplynka, Kherson Oblast to the “Ocean” children’s center in Primorsky Krai in March 2024.[55] Basyuk stated that the first group of Ukrainian children went to the ”Ocean” children’s center in October 2023 following agreements between Kherson Oblast occupation administration head Vladimir Saldo, Russian Duma Deputy Roza Chemeris, Primorsky Krai Deputy Igor Chemeris, and the management of the “Ocean” children’s center in summer 2023. Russian opposition outlets Verstka and Vazhnye Istorii reported on April 8 that Russian authorities deported at least 400 Ukrainian children from orphanages and boarding schools for children with disabilities in occupied Donetsk Oblast to Russia in the days before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.[56]

Russian Information Operations and Narratives

The Kremlin is once again intensifying an information operation feigning interest in meaningful negotiations about Ukraine as part of an ongoing effort to elicit preemptive Western concessions on Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on April 11 that Russia has never “given up” on a peaceful resolution to the war in Ukraine and reiterated a narrative alleging that the West dissuaded Ukraine from signing an agreement favorable to Russia during negotiations in Istanbul in April 2022.[57] Putin disparaged the Global Peace Summit in Switzerland scheduled for June 2024 and claimed that Russia opposes any negotiation format that is “not in line with [the Kremlin’s] reality.”[58] Putin stated that maybe Lukashenko should initiate peace negotiations, prompting Lukashenko to place the onus for the lack of negotiations on the West.[59] Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov reiterated that the alleged treaty supposedly almost signed in Istanbul can serve as a basis for negotiations but that several new ”realities” have emerged in the past two years that need to be considered, likely referring to Russia’s illegal annexation of occupied Ukrainian territories.[60] Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov similarly blamed the West for a lack of negotiations at a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) members on April 11.[61] Kremlin officials previously amplified false interests in negotiations ahead of the Ukrainian summer 2023 counteroffensive in order to discourage critical Western aid to Ukraine, and Russian officials are likely aiming to repeat these efforts amid ongoing debates about US security assistance to Ukraine.[62]

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Department of Non-proliferation and Arms Control Director Vladimir Yermakov reiterated boilerplate rhetoric about nuclear escalation aimed at the US, United Kingdom (UK), and Finland in an interview with Kremlin newswire TASS on April 12.[63] The Kremlin routinely issues escalatory nuclear rhetoric to force the West into self-deterrence over support for Ukraine.[64]

Russian opposition outlet SOTA reported on April 12 that bots on Russian social media platform Vkontakte (VK) are increasingly promoting content critical of Moldovan President Maia Sandu and that the effort may be connected to Russian Presidential Administration Deputy Head Sergei Kiriyenko and his son, Vladimir Kiriyenko, who owns the Mail.ru group.[65] SOTA noted that the anti-Sandu rhetoric intensified on April 10, following pro-Russian Moldovan autonomous region of Gagauzia Governor Yevgenia Gutsul’s visit to Moscow on April 9 to illegally sign an agreement on pensioner accounts with a Russian state-owned bank.[66] The Kremlin is likely attempting to use pro-Russian actors in Moldova to destabilize Moldovan democracy and society, prevent Moldova’s accession to the European Union (EU), or even justify future hybrid or conventional operations against Moldova.[67] Russian information operations that aim to discredit the current Moldovan leadership will likely intensify as these destabilization efforts continue.

Significant activity in Belarus (Russian efforts to increase its military presence in Belarus and further integrate Belarus into Russian-favorable frameworks and Wagner Group activity in Belarus)

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko stated on April 11 that there is currently no need for Belarus to create a demilitarized “sanitary zone” between Belarus and Ukraine as part of a Russian information operation aimed at deterring further Western military assistance to Ukraine.[68] Lukashenko claimed that Belarus’ ”need” for a demilitarized zone also depends on Western states, describing Western weapons and ammunition transfers to Ukraine as ”escalations,” and claimed that Western states are considering stationing their forces in Ukraine along the border with Belarus.[69] Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously suggested creating a demilitarized ”sanitary zone” in Ukrainian-controlled areas along the Ukrainian-Russian international border to place Russian territory and Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories out of the range of frontline artillery systems and Western-provided long-range systems.[70]

Lukashenko stated during his meeting with Putin on April 11 that Belarus is beginning to domestically produce microchips and other unspecified electronic components, likely as part of Russian and Belarusian efforts to address their continued reliance on Western-produced, sanctioned components.[71] 

Note: ISW does not receive any classified material from any source, uses only publicly available information, and draws extensively on Russian, Ukrainian, and Western reporting and social media as well as commercially available satellite imagery and other geospatial data as the basis for these reports. References to all sources used are provided in the endnotes of each update.



[1] http://kremlin dot ru/events/president/news/73852 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar031824

[2] https://isw.pub/UkrWar041124 ; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-march-31-2024 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar032224 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar032924

[3] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/ukraine%E2%80%99s-long-term-path-success-jumpstarting-self-sufficient-defense-industrial-base

[4] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/ukraine%E2%80%99s-long-term-path-success-jumpstarting-self-sufficient-defense-industrial-base

[5] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/ukraine%E2%80%99s-long-term-path-success-jumpstarting-self-sufficient-defense-industrial-base

[6] https://isw.pub/UkrWar010624

[7] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-april-6-2024 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar041024

[8] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-january-24-2024 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar020624 ; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/ukraine%E2%80%99s-long-term-path-success-jumpstarting-self-sufficient-defense-industrial-base

[9] https://suspilne dot media/724083-rosiani-vdarili-po-tripilskij-tes-patma-raketami-h-69-dzerela/; https://defence-ua dot com/weapon_and_tech/rf_dlja_udaru_po_tripilskij_tes_vikoristala_najnovishi_h_69_i_tse_girshe_za_kinzhal-15016.html

[10] https://armyinform dot com.ua/2024/04/12/h-69-cze-nova-raketa-dlya-nas-tozh-my-vyvchayemo-yak-mozhna-yij-protydiyaty-illya-yevlash/

[11] https://defence-ua dot com/weapon_and_tech/rf_dlja_udaru_po_tripilskij_tes_vikoristala_najnovishi_h_69_i_tse_girshe_za_kinzhal-15016.html

[12] https://defence-ua dot com/weapon_and_tech/rf_dlja_udaru_po_tripilskij_tes_vikoristala_najnovishi_h_69_i_tse_girshe_za_kinzhal-15016.html

[13] https://armyinform dot com.ua/2024/04/12/h-69-cze-nova-raketa-dlya-nas-tozh-my-vyvchayemo-yak-mozhna-yij-protydiyaty-illya-yevlash/

[14] https://armyinform dot com.ua/2024/04/12/h-69-cze-nova-raketa-dlya-nas-tozh-my-vyvchayemo-yak-mozhna-yij-protydiyaty-illya-yevlash/

[15] https://t.me/tass_agency/243335 ; https://t.me/tass_agency/243333 ; https://tass dot ru/proisshestviya/20519299

[16] https://tass dot ru/proisshestviya/20519299 ; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/mar/26/moscow-concert-hall-attack-tajik-gunmen-russia ; https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/26/world/europe/turkey-moscow-terror-suspects.html

[17] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-march-19-2024 ; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-april-5-2023 ; https://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-february-3-2023 ; https://www.cnn.com/2024/01/21/europe/ukraine-strikes-russian-controlled-donetsk-intl/index.html ;

[18] https://t.me/tass_agency/243329 ; https://t.me/tass_agency/243325 ; https://tass dot ru/proisshestviya/20519143

[19] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-march-7-2024

[20] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-march-31-2024 ; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-april-11-2024 ; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-march-31-2024

[21] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-april-11-2024

[22] https://t.me/DnevnikDesantnika/9419

[23] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02xuTZT2m4U1EaFkrSfErUnxPz9DWd79HhbYm4Ze67cHYhUCUsGfpebbVpve7DwUAel ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0nPrAfj69u5UrCiVKAdG9BsSKd4Q5bxkcEFBivnkxNUELNGfe8ga2ZNgWkE4G8BnHl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid021qHFkAdfg1pJC4ymNWEFqyacPA7USC5LUMdfrSmH1jioXBV4y5uZ4tVEtpRumcthl ; https://t.me/dva_majors/39783 ; https://t.me/negumanitarnaya_pomosch_Z/16745

[24] https://t.me/motopatriot/21617; https://t.me/rybar/59077; https://t.me/DnevnikDesantnika/9433; https://t.me/negumanitarnaya_pomosch_Z/16745 ; https://t.me/rybar/59088

[25] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02xuTZT2m4U1EaFkrSfErUnxPz9DWd79HhbYm4Ze67cHYhUCUsGfpebbVpve7DwUAel; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0nPrAfj69u5UrCiVKAdG9BsSKd4Q5bxkcEFBivnkxNUELNGfe8ga2ZNgWkE4G8BnHl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid021qHFkAdfg1pJC4ymNWEFqyacPA7USC5LUMdfrSmH1jioXBV4y5uZ4tVEtpRumcthl 

[26] https://t.me/RVvoenkor/65846 (Rozdolivka)

[27] https://t.me/RVvoenkor/65900; https://t.me/wargonzo/19305; https://t.me/DnevnikDesantnika/9437 https://t.me/dva_majors/39783; https://t.me/rusich_army/14066

[28] https://t.me/RVvoenkor/65854; https://t.me/rusich_army/14066 

[29] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02xuTZT2m4U1EaFkrSfErUnxPz9DWd79HhbYm4Ze67cHYhUCUsGfpebbVpve7DwUAel; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0nPrAfj69u5UrCiVKAdG9BsSKd4Q5bxkcEFBivnkxNUELNGfe8ga2ZNgWkE4G8BnHl;

[30] https://t.me/boris_rozhin/119849 (Klishchiivka)

[31] https://twitter.com/alexdp66499795/status/1778714582392963572; https://x.com/giK1893/status/1778745982705975652; https://x.com/giK1893/status/1778745986434605100; https://x.com/giK1893/status/1778746262713483351; https://t.me/creamy_caprice/5103; https://twitter.com/giK1893/status/1778768130728243390; https://x.com/giK1893/status/1778774660710051902; https://t.me/pidrozdilshadowoficial/459;

[32] https://t.me/rybar/59088; https://t.me/wargonzo/19305; https://t.me/DnevnikDesantnika/9440; https://t.me/dva_majors/39783; https://t.me/negumanitarnaya_pomosch_Z/16745

[33] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02xuTZT2m4U1EaFkrSfErUnxPz9DWd79HhbYm4Ze67cHYhUCUsGfpebbVpve7DwUAel; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0nPrAfj69u5UrCiVKAdG9BsSKd4Q5bxkcEFBivnkxNUELNGfe8ga2ZNgWkE4G8BnHl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid021qHFkAdfg1pJC4ymNWEFqyacPA7USC5LUMdfrSmH1jioXBV4y5uZ4tVEtpRumcthl; https://t.me/rybar/59088; https://t.me/wargonzo/19305; https://t.me/voenkorKotenok/55588 https://t.me/dva_majors/39783; https://t.me/DnevnikDesantnika/9464

[34] https://t.me/Khortytsky_wind/79; https://t.me/Khortytsky_wind/91; https://t.me/WarArchive_ua/13626

[35] https://t.me/wargonzo/19305; https://t.me/wargonzo/19305; https://t.me/wargonzo/19305; https://t.me/negumanitarnaya_pomosch_Z/16745 ; https://t.me/z_arhiv/26503

[36] https://t.me/negumanitarnaya_pomosch_Z/16745; https://t.me/wargonzo/19305; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02xuTZT2m4U1EaFkrSfErUnxPz9DWd79HhbYm4Ze67cHYhUCUsGfpebbVpve7DwUAel

[37] https://t.me/Khortytsky_wind/91

[38] https://t.me/RVvoenkor/65858; https://t.me/DnevnikDesantnika/9430 

[39] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02xuTZT2m4U1EaFkrSfErUnxPz9DWd79HhbYm4Ze67cHYhUCUsGfpebbVpve7DwUAel; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0nPrAfj69u5UrCiVKAdG9BsSKd4Q5bxkcEFBivnkxNUELNGfe8ga2ZNgWkE4G8BnHl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid021qHFkAdfg1pJC4ymNWEFqyacPA7USC5LUMdfrSmH1jioXBV4y5uZ4tVEtpRumcthl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0nPrAfj69u5UrCiVKAdG9BsSKd4Q5bxkcEFBivnkxNUELNGfe8ga2ZNgWkE4G8BnHl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid021qHFkAdfg1pJC4ymNWEFqyacPA7USC5LUMdfrSmH1jioXBV4y5uZ4tVEtpRumcthl

[40] https://t.me/dva_majors/39783 ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0nPrAfj69u5UrCiVKAdG9BsSKd4Q5bxkcEFBivnkxNUELNGfe8ga2ZNgWkE4G8BnHl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid021qHFkAdfg1pJC4ymNWEFqyacPA7USC5LUMdfrSmH1jioXBV4y5uZ4tVEtpRumcthl

[41] https://t.me/gnilayachereha/15356 ; https://twitter.com/bayraktar_1love/status/1778735155026309346; https://t.me/lost_warinua/73011

[42] https://t.me/dva_majors/39763 ; https://t.me/ZA_FROHT/28329

[43] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0nPrAfj69u5UrCiVKAdG9BsSKd4Q5bxkcEFBivnkxNUELNGfe8ga2ZNgWkE4G8BnHl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid021qHFkAdfg1pJC4ymNWEFqyacPA7USC5LUMdfrSmH1jioXBV4y5uZ4tVEtpRumcthl ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02xuTZT2m4U1EaFkrSfErUnxPz9DWd79HhbYm4Ze67cHYhUCUsGfpebbVpve7DwUAel ; https://t.me/rybar/59077 ; https://t.me/negumanitarnaya_pomosch_Z/16745

[44] https://armyinform dot com.ua/2024/04/12/ppo-zbyla-16-shahediv-v-mezhah-shesty-oblastej-ukrayiny/; https://t.me/ComAFUA/264; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0nPrAfj69u5UrCiVKAdG9BsSKd4Q5bxkcEFBivnkxNUELNGfe8ga2ZNgWkE4G8BnHl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid021qHFkAdfg1pJC4ymNWEFqyacPA7USC5LUMdfrSmH1jioXBV4y5uZ4tVEtpRumcthl ; https://t.me/SJTF_Odes/8176

[45] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02xuTZT2m4U1EaFkrSfErUnxPz9DWd79HhbYm4Ze67cHYhUCUsGfpebbVpve7DwUAel

[46] https://armyinform dot com.ua/2024/04/12/sogodnishni-ataky-cze-perevirka-marshrutiv-pislya-masovanogo-raketno-dronovogo-udaru-po-ukrayini-nataliya-gumenyuk/

[47] https://gur.gov dot ua/content/vyshkribaiut-zvidusil-na-viinu-proty-ukrainy-kreml-vidpravliaie-viiska-tykhookeanskoho-flotu-rf.html

[48] https://www.militarynews dot ru/story.asp?rid=0%26nid=522538%26lang=RU ; https://syria.mil dot ru/war-on-terror/info/news.htm?id=4786@egClassification&ra=egNews

[49] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-april-10-2024 ; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-march-18-2024

[50] https://gur.gov dot ua/content/vyshkribaiut-zvidusil-na-viinu-proty-ukrainy-kreml-vidpravliaie-viiska-tykhookeanskoho-flotu-rf.html

[51] https://t.me/mod_russia/37576

[52] https://t.me/glava_lnr_info/2284

[53] https://t.me/vrogov/15242 ; https://t.me/BalitskyEV/2980

[54] https://sprotyv.mod dot gov.ua/z-internatu-v-politsayi-okupanty-gotuyut-sobi-majbutnih-posibnykiv-sered-ukrayinskyh-syrit/

[55] https://t.me/VGA_Kherson/20664 ; https://t.me/Senator_Basyuk/653

[56] https://t.me/svobodnieslova/4618 ; https://verstka dot media/special/hochudamoy/

[57] http://kremlin dot ru/events/president/news/73852

[58] http://kremlin dot ru/events/president/news/73852 

[59] http://kremlin dot ru/events/president/news/73852   ; https://t.me/tass_agency/243456

[60] https://t.me/tass_agency/243437 ; https://t.me/tass_agency/243439

[61] https://t.me/tass_agency/243342 ; https://t.me/tass_agency/243402 ; https://t.me/tass_agency/243407 ; https://t.me/MID_Russia/38590 ; https://t.me/MID_Russia/38603

[62] https://isw.pub/UkrWar052623

[63] https://t.me/tass_agency/243354 ; https://t.me/tass_agency/243360 ; https://t.me/MID_Russia/38588 ; https://t.me/tass_agency/243364

[64] https://isw.pub/UkrWar040424

[65] https://t.me/sotaproject/79093 ; https://t.me/agentstvonews/5858

[66] https://t.me/sotaproject/79093 ; https://t.me/agentstvonews/5858 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar040924

[67] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-march-19-2024 ; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-march-26-2024 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar032224 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar032024 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar022824 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar031324 ; 0https://isw.pub/UkrWar030224 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar022824 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar030824; https://isw.pub/UkrWar030724; https://isw.pub/UkrWar030624 ;https://isw.pub/UkrWar030524 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar030124 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar040524

[68] https://tass dot ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/20517745 ; https://t.me/zarubinreporter/2372

[69] https://tass dot ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/20517745 ; https://t.me/zarubinreporter/2372

[70] https://isw.pub/UkrWar031824 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar013124

[71] https://isw.pub/UkrWar040824 ; http://kremlin dot ru/events/president/news/73852

China-Taiwan Weekly Update, April 12, 2024

Authors: Nils Peterson, Matthew Sperzel, and Daniel Shats of the Institute for the Study of War

Editors: Dan Blumenthal and Frederick W. Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute

Data Cutoff: April 10 at 5 pm ET

The China–Taiwan Weekly Update is a joint product of the Institute for the Study of War and the American Enterprise Institute. The update supports the ISW–AEI Coalition Defense of Taiwan project, which assesses Chinese campaigns against Taiwan, examines alternative strategies for the United States and its allies to deter the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) aggression, and—if necessary—defeat the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The update focuses on the Chinese Communist Party’s paths to controlling Taiwan and cross–Taiwan Strait developments.

Key Takeaways  

  • CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping met with former ROC President Ma Ying-jeou on April 10 for the first time since 2015. The Xi-Ma meeting is consistent with a CCP effort to legitimize the KMT as its negotiating partner in Taiwan and to promote the Ma administration’s cross-strait policies as its preferred vision of cross-strait relations.
  • PRC civilian drones repeatedly approached islands of Taiwan’s Kinmen archipelago to film military facilities on the islands.
  • The PLA participated in the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) Working Group with their American counterparts in early April for the first time since December 2021.
  • The PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) criticized the United States and Japan for expanding security relations to counter the PRC. The PRC perceives a deterioration in the threat environment from Japan’s deepening integration into the US-led regional security framework.
  • The PRC has normalized Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) harassment of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and supply ships near the Second Thomas Shoal since December 2023 to render the Philippines unable and unwilling to defend its claim to the Second Thomas Shoal.

 

Cross-Strait Relations

CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping met with former ROC President Ma Ying-jeou on April 10 for the first time since 2015. The Xi-Ma meeting is consistent with a CCP effort to legitimize the KMT as its negotiating partner in Taiwan and to promote the Ma administration’s cross-strait policies as its preferred vision of cross-strait relations. The two leaders met in Beijing near the end of Ma’s trip to the PRC, which spanned from April 1-11. Xi Jinping praised “Mr. Ma” for upholding the “1992 Consensus,” opposing Taiwanese independence, and promoting the peaceful development of cross-strait relations and exchanges.[1] He claimed that “compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are all Chinese” and that “there is no grudge that cannot be resolved, no issue that cannot be discussed, and no force that can separate us.” Xi stressed that people on both sides must “protect the common home of the Chinese nation” by opposing Taiwanese “separatism” and external interference, work together for their long-term well-being, build a sense of community for the Chinese nation, and “realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” He also said that “we have realized the blueprint drawn by Dr. Sun Yat-sen” and “created many achievements that far exceed Dr. Sun Yat-sen's imagination.”[2] Sun Yat-sen was the founder of the Republic of China and the Kuomintang, Ma’s political party.

Ma said that Chinese people on both sides of the strait have “made steps together toward Chinese revitalization” over the past 30 years. He acknowledged recent tensions but said that a cross-strait war would have "unbearably heavy" consequences. He urged both sides to adhere to the 1992 consensus, oppose Taiwan's independence, look for common ground while setting aside disputes, seek out "win-win" solutions, and pursue peaceful development. Ma described the 1992 consensus as both sides agreeing to a "one China principle," with each side free to determine what "China" means.[3] The 1992 Consensus is an alleged verbal agreement between semi-official representatives of the PRC and the then KMT-ruled ROC following negotiations in 1992. It states that both sides agree there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of China. The CCP interprets this “one China” to be the People’s Republic of China, while the KMT interprets it to be the Republic of China. The PRC has never publicly recognized the part of the “consensus” that acknowledges differing interpretations of “China” and did not include this part of Ma’s comments in its official readout of the meeting.

Radio Free Asia and Taiwanese media reported that Ma’s meeting with Xi, which neither Ma nor the CCP confirmed in advance, was originally scheduled for April 8 but was postponed to April 10.[4] The April 10 date coincides with a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as well as the 45th anniversary of the signing of the Taiwan Relations Act in the United States.[5] Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus speculated that in moving the meeting to April 10, the CCP has made Ma into a “pawn” in its confrontational “game” with the United States.[6]

Ma did not meet Xi in an official capacity, as he is no longer an official in Taiwan’s government or his party, the Kuomintang (KMT). The stated purpose of Ma’s trip, which he called a “journey of peace and friendship,” was to lead a delegation of Taiwanese students to participate in exchanges with mainland youth, visit cultural and historical sites, and promote cross-strait stability.[7] Ma claimed throughout his trip that Taiwanese people have a strong belief in Chinese culture and national identity. He stressed that disputes must be resolved peacefully.[8] Ma visited the Chinese People's Anti-Japanese War Memorial Hall and Marco Polo Bridge in Beijing on April 9, important sites representing the KMT and CCP’s joint resistance against Imperial Japan during World War II. Ma also visited the Forbidden City with TAO Director Song, where he stressed that “de-Sinicization” will not succeed.[9]

Ma last met Xi in Singapore in 2015, when Ma was the president of Taiwan. This was the first meeting between the leaders of the PRC and Taiwan. In March 2023, Ma became the first former Taiwanese president to visit the PRC, in a visit that overlapped with sitting president Tsai Ing-wen’s trip to the United States. Ma did not meet Xi on that visit, however.

TAO spokesperson Chen Binhua said on March 14 that Taiwan would be able to alleviate tensions and “sleep soundly” if it could relive the “peaceful development period across the Taiwan Strait from 2008-2016.” Chen’s statement refers to the years of Ma’s presidency.[10] The PRC cut off official exchanges with Taiwan after Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP became president of Taiwan in 2016. CCP officials have repeatedly met with KMT officials during this time. The CCP insists that all cross-strait negotiations must be on the mutual basis of the “1992 consensus,” which Ma and the KMT recognize but Tsai and the DPP do not.

Taiwan’s political parties were split in their reaction to Ma’s meeting with Xi. The incumbent DPP administration’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said it “deeply regrets” that Ma “failed to publicly convey to China the Taiwanese people's insistence on safeguarding the sovereignty of the Republic of China and its democratic and free system.” The MAC also urged the PRC to engage in dialogue without political preconditions, noting a poll that found nearly 80% of Taiwanese people did not agree with the CCP’s insistence that accepting the “1992 Consensus” is a precondition to cross-strait dialogue.[11] Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said that Taiwanese people are concerned about the PRC’s escalating military intimidation, diplomatic pressure, and economic coercion against Taiwan, rather than any “discussions that do not represent mainstream Taiwanese public opinion.”[12] The KMT legislative caucus, however, praised the Ma-Xi meeting as a break in the deadlock and antagonism between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. It said the meeting showed the PRC and the international community that Taiwan does not only have “anti-China” voices. It said opposition to Taiwanese independence is the international consensus, including among Taiwan-friendly countries like the United States and Japan. It also praised Ma for bringing up to Xi that the “1992 Consensus” includes differing interpretations of “China.”[13]

The PRC Taiwan Affairs Office said on the 45th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) that the TRA and the United States’ “Six Assurances” to Taiwan are “completely wrong, illegal, and invalid.” TAO spokesperson Zhu Fenglian claimed the TRA and Six Assurances “seriously violate the one-China principle and the three communiques, violate the norms of international relations, and grossly interfere in China’s internal affairs.”[14] The TRA and the Six Assurances to Taiwan form the basis of the modern US relationship with Taiwan. US President Jimmy Carter signed the TRA in 1979 to define the basis of US-Taiwan relations after the United States ended its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan to form relations with the PRC. The law authorized the United States to maintain de facto relations with Taiwan through the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). It also committed the United States to sell military equipment to Taiwan as necessary to allow Taiwan to maintain “sufficient self-defense capacity” and to allow the United States to “resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.”[15] The Six Assurances are a series of clarifying statements that the United States released in 1982 to reassure Taiwan of its continued commitments after the United States switched diplomatic recognition to the PRC and issued three joint communiques with the PRC. The last joint communique said that the United States does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan and intends gradually to reduce them. The Six Assurances stated that the United States: 1) did not agree to set a date for ending arms sales to Taiwan; 2) did not agree to consult with the PRC on arms sales to Taiwan; 3) will not mediate between Taipei and Beijing; 4) did not agree to revise the Taiwan Relations Act; 5) has not altered its position regarding sovereignty over Taiwan; and 6) will not pressure Taiwan to enter into negotiations with the PRC.[16]

The PRC deputy representative to the United Nations accepted condolences for the casualties of the earthquake in Taiwan on behalf of Taiwan. A 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck the east coast of Taiwan on April 3, killing at least 9 people and injuring at least 1,000. This was the strongest earthquake to hit Taiwan since 1999.[17] PRC Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Geng Shuang told the UN Security Council that day that the PRC expressed its condolences to “Taiwan compatriots” for the earthquake that occurred in “Taiwan, China,” was willing to provide disaster assistance, and was “grateful to the international community for their expressions of sympathy and concern.”[18] Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the PRC’s “shameless behavior of using the Taiwan earthquake to carry out cognitive warfare in the international community.” It said Geng’s statement demonstrated that the PRC only has “political calculations” against Taiwan and no goodwill.[19] ROC Foreign Minister Joseph Wu also strongly condemned Bolivia for expressing solidarity with the PRC after the earthquake. Wu said Bolivia “shouldn’t be the evil, expansionist PRC’s pathetic puppet that jumps when Beijing says jump. Just like Taiwan, Bolivia is NOT part of communist China. No more, no less.”[20] The ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Bolivia was “bewitched by the Chinese government” and spread false statements that belittled Taiwan’s sovereignty.[21]

PRC civilian drones repeatedly approached islands of Taiwan’s Kinmen archipelago to film military facilities on the islands. PRC aerial photography drones repeatedly flew over Taiwan’s Erdan and Dadan islands, part of the Kinmen Island group located 10 kilometers (around 6 miles) from the PRC mainland, and filmed footage that was later posted on the internet. Drones filmed Taiwan Army activities on the island of Erdan on March 30.[22] A video that circulated on the Internet on April 1 claimed to show Taiwanese soldiers on Erdan and Dadan being “scared away” by the drone filming them.[23] The Army’s Kinmen Defense Command said it used flares and jamming guns to drive away PRC civilian drones approaching Erdan and Menghu Island on April 8.[24] ROC Army Chief of Staff Chen Chien-yi said on April 3 that such drones constituted “gray zone intrusions” and “cognitive operations” by the PRC. He dismissed the possibility that “mainland civilian bloggers trying to gain popularity on the Internet” were responsible for the drone incursions and instead said it was part of PRC “cognitive warfare” to undermine Taiwanese and international confidence in Taiwan’s military. Chen said such drone incursions had happened before and would happen again in the future. He said it was standard policy to shoot down drones over military facilities if the drones are in range.[25]

Civilian drone incursions into Kinmen’s airspace may be part of a broader effort to test and erode Taiwan’s military readiness and control over Taiwan’s territory. The PRC has normalized daily air and naval activities around Taiwan, including near-daily aerial crossings of the median line in the Taiwan Strait into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), since 2020.[26] It also normalized the use of high-altitude balloons that fly through Taiwan’s ADIZ near or directly over Taiwan, including near-daily balloon overflights in the weeks before and immediately after Taiwan’s election in January 2024. Taiwan does not scramble aircraft in response to all PRC ADIZ violations, but it does put military personnel on standby to respond quickly if needed. The high frequency of ADIZ violations drains Taiwan’s resources, exhausts military personnel, and degrades Taiwan’s threat awareness. The use of civilian assets such as photography drones and balloons in tandem with law enforcement and military incursions further wears down Taiwan’s response capability by making it more difficult for Taiwan to determine which air incursions constitute actual threats.

 

Taiwan

Czech media reported that a PRC military attaché tailed Taiwan vice president-elect Hsiao Bi-khim while she was in Prague in March. Hsiao visited the Czech Republic on March 17-19 at the invitation of Czech Senate President Miloš Vystrčil. Czech media Seznam Zpravy reported that Prague police stopped a PRC embassy staff member who ran a red light and almost caused a car accident while tailing Hsiao’s motorcade through Prague. The diplomat followed Hsiao to her hotel. The Czech foreign ministry summoned PRC Ambassador to Czechia Feng Biao for an explanation. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Libavsky said he was not satisfied with Feng’s explanation and did not consider the matter closed.[27] Members of the DPP condemned the incident.[28] The TAO reiterated on April 10 that the PRC has always opposed “any form of official exchanges between countries that have diplomatic relations with China and Taiwan.” It said that the DPP, Hsiao’s political party, was “colluding with external forces” but “cannot change the fact that Taiwan is part of China.”[29]

China

The PLA participated in the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) Working Group with their American counterparts in early April for the first time since December 2021.[30] President Joe Biden and CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping previously agreed to restart the MMCA during their meeting on November 15, 2023.[31] The United States views military-to-military talks as a means of escalation management to prevent and control crises. The CCP views these talks, at least in part, as a bargaining chip that it can use to influence US behavior to the party’s benefit, however. The CCP could end military-to-military dialogue in response to a US action it opposes, for example. The party previously did this by cutting off high-level military dialogue in the aftermath of then-Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August 2022.[32]

Northeast Asia

Japan

The PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) criticized the United States and Japan for expanding security relations to counter the PRC. The United States and Japan announced a series of measures to deepen their security and defense cooperation on April 10 during Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s state visit to the United States. The White House announced that the two countries would modernize command and control structures and work towards improving interoperability between their militaries, in what President Biden called “the most significant upgrade to the US-Japan alliance” since its inception.[33] MFA spokesperson Mao Ning framed the Biden-Kishida meeting as representative of a “Cold War mentality” and labeled their cooperation as harmful to regional stability.[34] Mao centered the PRC’s disapproval around US-Japan interference in Taiwan after Biden commended Kishida for his support in maintaining peace in the Taiwan Strait. Kishida’s visit culminated in a trilateral summit with Philippines President Bongbong Marcos on April 11, during which the three heads of state advocated for “multilayered cooperation” in the interest of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.[35] Mao expressed the PRC’s disapproval of the trilateral summit, criticizing it for forming “exclusive small circles and camp confrontation.”[36]

PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning also criticized AUKUS for forming exclusive cliques and instigating an arms race in the Asia Pacific.[37] Japan is in talks to increase cooperation with AUKUS, the trilateral security partnership including the US, UK, and Australia. The AUKUS Defense Ministers issued a joint statement on April 8 signaling their intent to bolster collaboration with Japanese industry on developing military technologies.[38] Mao’s comments echo the PRC’s concerns that a US-led regional security network risks the formation of a united front to collectively deter Chinese aggression, carrying implications for the PRC’s irridentist claims to Taiwan and the South China Sea.

The PRC is taking steps to discourage the formation of PRC-facing multilateral security cooperation. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command conducted joint naval and air exercises in the South China Sea on April 7-8, coinciding with joint exercises in between the US, Japan, Australia, and the Philippines in the latter’s exclusive economic zone.[39] The Southern Theater Command announced that military activities aimed at disrupting the South China Sea and creating “hot spots” were under control.[40] Mao called the exercises an act of hegemony and emphasized that the PRC would not be deterred from safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights.[41]

The national security advisors from the US, Japan, and the Philippines held a joint call in December, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen trilateral cooperation amidst escalating PRC provocations against the Philippines over disputed islands in the South China Sea.[42] The three advisors previously agreed to enhance trilateral defense and security capabilities by leveraging mechanisms such as Japan’s technology and equipment-sharing policy and the QUAD’s Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) training and technology initiative.[43] Japan recently took steps to increase the transfer of military equipment to the Philippines, demonstrated by its sale of an advanced air surveillance radar system to the Philippines on December 20.[44] Japan is also in the process of finalizing a Reciprocal Access Agreement with the Philippines, which would enable the temporary stationing of troops to each other’s territory for exercises and patrols.[45] Japan finalized a Reciprocal Access Agreement with Australia in August 2023. [46]

Southeast Asia

Philippines

The PRC has normalized Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) harassment of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and supply ships near the Second Thomas Shoal since December 2023 to render the Philippines unable and unwilling to defend its claim to the Second Thomas Shoal. The CCG harassed the PCG and associated supply ships six times at the Second Thomas Shoal between November 2021 and November 2023.[47] The CCG has increased the rate of harassment at the Second Thomas Shoal by doing so 11 times since December 1, 2023. The methods of harassment that the CCG employs have remained constant during the past three years. The CCG shines military-grade lasers to blind the PCG crews, sprays water cannons to immobilize supply ships and injure Filipino sailors, and rams PCG ships.[48] CCG water cannons damaged the Unaizah Mae 4 supply ship twice in March. The Philippines stated that such actions aim to deter it “from exercising our legal rights over our maritime zines, including Ayungin Shoal [Second Thomas Shoal] which forms part of our EEZ and continental shelf.”[49] The PRC MFA also stated on April 3 that the Philippines is the “root cause” of the South China Sea dispute by “relying on the support of external forces… and repeatedly provoking China.” [50]  The harassment of PCG ships combined with the PRC MFA statement indicates that the CCP aims to degrade the Philippines’ willingness and capability to defend its presence on the shoal.

The CCP used a similar strategy in 2012 that resulted in the Philippines withdrawing from the Scarborough Shoal, indicating the party’s intent with CCG activity around disputed shoals is to gain control of that territory. The CCP engaged in negotiations with the Philippines in 2012 to end a standoff at the Scarborough Shoal, which Manilla administered at the time, while steadily increasing the number of Chinese Coast Guard ships near the shoal.[51] This resulted in the Philippines withdrawing its ships from the shoal in mid-June 2012 under a now-disputed agreement that the PRC would do the same.[52] The CCP subsequently kept its ships near the shoal and achieved its political objective of gaining de facto control of the Scarborough Shoal by July 2012.[53]

Oceania

Fiji

Fiji ordered PRC police to leave the country after choosing to maintain a Fiji-PRC policing agreement. Fiji decided on March 15 to uphold a Fiji-PRC police cooperation agreement signed in 2011 after putting the agreement on hold for a 12-month review.[54] Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka announced on March 27 that his government has removed PRC officers who were embedded with Fiji’s police force, however. Rabuka said Fiji had no need for the embedded PRC officers and expressed concern that the PRC’s growing presence in the Pacific could undermine democratic systems. Rabuka said senior Fiji police officers would continue training in the PRC.[55]

Tonga

Tonga is open to security cooperation with the PRC during the Pacific Islands Forum in August. Tonga Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni said on April 4 that he is open to the PRC’s offer of security support when Tonga hosts leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum in August if Tonga police deem it necessary. He said discussions with the PRC have focused on the PRC providing vehicles and training for Tongan police ahead of the forum. The PRC is not a member of the Pacific Islands Forum. The PRC has pursued security and policing cooperation with many South Pacific countries, including a controversial security pact with the Solomon Islands in 2022. The United States has urged countries in the region not to strike security pacts with the PRC over fears that the PRC could use such agreements to expand its influence and military involvement in the region.[56]

Tongan officials privately criticized Australia and New Zealand’s negative response to the PRC security agreement with the Solomon Islands. A leaked document from Tonga's Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed officials criticizing Australia and New Zealand’s “condescending” and “frantic” response to a controversial 2022 security agreement between the PRC and the Solomon Islands. The document characterized Australia and New Zealand’s views were that “only they (or the Pacific [region collectively]) can decide which countries Pacific states should align themselves with.” The document acknowledged that many Pacific Island states are facing "threats to strategic independence as a result of growing indebtedness to Beijing.” It stressed that the Solomon Islands is a sovereign nation and has the right to make decisions about its security, however.[57] A leaked draft of the PRC-Solomon Islands agreement included language granting the PRC access and replenishment rights to Solomon Islands ports, as well as the right to use its armed forces to protect Chinese projects and personnel in the Solomon Islands.[58] Australia, New Zealand, and the United States warned at the time that the broadly worded agreement could open the door for PRC troops or even a PRC military base on the Solomon Islands.[59]

Russia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on April 9 in the leadup to a Xi-Putin meeting in the unspecified future. Kremlin newswire TASS reported that Wang suggested that China and Russia engage in “dual counteraction” in response to alleged Western attempts at “dual containment” targeting Russia and China.[60] Xi reaffirmed his commitment to “intensify” bilateral collaboration with Russia and through international bodies to “promote the reform of the global governance system.”[61] Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to specify the date of Putin’s visit, but stated on April 9 that Lavrov’s visit “can be seen as preparation for upcoming contact at the highest level.”[62] Reuters reported on March 19 that Putin will travel to China in May to meet with Xi.[63]

 


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https://www.scmp dot com/news/china/politics/article/3258424/president-xi-jinping-meets-taiwans-ma-ying-jeou-historic-first-9-years-after-landmark-singapore?module=top_story&pgtype=homepage

[3] https://focustaiwan dot tw/cross-strait/202404100018

[4] https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/meeting-04082024093045.html

https://www.cna dot com.tw/news/aipl/202404080100.aspx

[5] https://apnews.com/article/biden-kishida-japan-white-house-f72d7162f0bd20c42e096c25e4b845c0

[6] https://www.cna dot com.tw/news/aipl/202404080100.aspx

[7] https://www.scmp dot com/news/china/politics/article/3257478/ex-taiwan-leader-ma-ying-jeou-starts-journey-peace-mainland-china

[8] https://www.cna dot com.tw/news/aipl/202404040098.aspx

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[9] https://www.chinatimes dot com/newspapers/20240409000403-260118?chdtv

[10] http://www.gwytb dot gov dot cn/xwdt/xwfb/xwfbh/202403/t20240313_12605907.htm

[11] https://www.mac dot gov.tw/News_Content.aspx?n=05B73310C5C3A632&sms=1A40B00E4C745211&s=83286BC7A1E32CAB

[12] https://www.mofa dot gov.tw/News_Content.aspx?n=95&s=117090

[13] https://udn dot com/news/story/8946/7890468?from=udn-ch1_breaknews-1-0-news

[14] http://www.gwytb dot gov.cn/xwdt/xwfb/wyly/202404/t20240410_12612353.htm

[15] https://www.congress.gov/96/statute/STATUTE-93/STATUTE-93-Pg14.pdf

[16] https://sgp.fas.org/crs/row/IF11665.pdf

[17] https://apnews.com/article/taiwan-earthquake-tsunami-f086aac0c3082036d1ca77c01828fb28

[18] http://un.china-mission dot gov.cn/hyyfy/202404/t20240404_11276438.htm

[19] https://news.ltn dot com.tw/news/politics/breakingnews/4630741

[20] https://twitter.com/MOFA_Taiwan/status/1776422770001535433

[21] https://www.mofa dot gov.tw/News_Content.aspx?n=95&s=117066

[22] https://www.taiwannews dot com.tw/news/5181648

[23] https://www.chinatimes dot com/realtimenews/20240403003288-260407?chdtv

[24] https://www.cna dot com.tw/news/aipl/202404080284.aspx

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https://udn dot com/news/story/10930/7874668?from=udn-catebreaknews_ch2

[26] https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1qbfYF0VgDBJoFZN5elpZwNTiKZ4nvCUcs5a7oYwm52g/edit?pli=1#gid=0

[27] https://www.cna dot com.tw/news/aipl/202404060218.aspx

https://focustaiwan dot tw/politics/202404070006

[28] https://news.ltn dot com.tw/news/politics/paper/1639545

[29] http://www.gwytb dot gov.cn/xwdt/xwfb/xwfbh/202404/t20240410_12612339.htm

[30] https://www.defense.gov/News/News-Stories/Article/Article/3732486/us-chinese-military-officials-resume-talks-on-operational-safety/

http://www.81 dot cn/yw_208727/16298963.html

http://us.china-embassy dot gov.cn/zmgx_1/zxxx/202404/t20240406_11277050.htm

[31] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/11/15/readout-of-president-joe-bidens-meeting-with-president-xi-jinping-of-the-peoples-republic-of-china-2/

[32] https://www.reuters.com/world/beijing-halts-high-level-military-dialogue-with-us-suspends-other-cooperation-2022-08-05/

[33] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2024/04/10/remarks-by-president-biden-and-prime-minister-kishida-fumio-of-japan-in-joint-press-conference/

[34] https://www.mfa dot gov.cn/web/fyrbt_673021/202404/t20240411_11280275.shtml

[35] https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Indo-Pacific/U.S.-Japan-Philippines-hold-first-trilateral-with-many-more-to-come

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[37]

https://www.mfa dot gov.cn/web/wjdt_674879/fyrbt_674889/202404/t20240408_11277988.shtml  

[38] https://www.defense.gov/News/Releases/Release/Article/3733790/aukus-defense-ministers-joint-statement/

[39] https://www.pacom.mil/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/3734273/joint-statement-australia-japan-philippines-united-states-maritime-cooperative/

https://mp.weixin.qq dot com/s/CnnqSn_ImQOVvC2pB7ZB9A

[40] https://mp.weixin.qq dot com/s/reTx2Mr_A6KfuHjMAilKPg

[41] https://www.mfa dot gov.cn/web/fyrbt_673021/202404/t20240410_11279513.shtml

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[43] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/06/16/joint-readout-of-trilateral-meeting-between-the-national-security-advisors-of-the-united-states-japan-and-the-philippines/

[44] https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2023/12/20/japan/philippines-radar-system/

[45] https://www.ft.com/content/2bf4cb90-bc86-4db2-a0d5-21973f7b2765

[46] https://www.mofa.go.jp/press/release/press1e_000453.html#:~:text=The%20Japan%2DAustralia%20RAA%20aims,forces%20and%20the%20civilian%20components.

[47] https://amti.csis.org/tracking-tensions-at-second-thomas-shoal/

[48] http://www.mod dot gov.cn/gfbw/wzll/nbzq/16270669.html ; https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3243709/chinas-military-says-us-combat-ship-illegally-entered-territorial-waters-south-china-sea

https://apnews.com/article/south-china-sea-philippines-second-thomas-shoal-scarborough-shoal-632cbc349007048cc2ad56502ef4fc67

https://pco.gov.ph/news_releases/wps-task-force-west-philippine-sea-resupply-missions-successful-proof-of-ph-resolve-and-determination-to-defend-territory/   ;    https://apnews.com/article/south-china-sea-philippines-second-thomas-shoal-scarborough-shoal-632cbc349007048cc2ad56502ef4fc67   ;   https://www.state.gov/u-s-support-for-the-philippines-in-the-south-china-sea-7/   ;   https://www.sealight.live/posts/chinese-ships-swarmed-into-second-thomas-shoal-after-sunday-s-resupply-confrontation ; https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/philippines-denies-special-arrangements-with-china-supply-troops-reef-2024-01-29/

https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/china-taiwan-weekly-update-february-8-2024

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/china-says-philippine-vessel-illegally-landed-disputed-atoll-2024-02-03/ ; https://www.scmp dot com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3250850/south-china-sea-beijing-keeps-close-eye-philippine-supply-mission-second-thomas-shoal?module=AI_Recommended_for_you_In-house&pgtype=section_china

https://twitter.com/jaytaryela/status/1764902394381643825 ; https://www.gmanetwork dot com/news/topstories/nation/899501/4-hurt-after-china-vessels-water-cannoned-ph-resupply-boat-gov-t-task-force/story/?just_in

https://www.gmanetwork dot com/news/topstories/nation/899475/pcg-china-actions-led-to-collision-during-latest-ayungin-resupply-mission/story

https://twitter.com/TeamAFP/status/1771361081233150318?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1771361081233150318%7Ctwgr%5E3f1059e068010d60bf23b784d1248ca2e89d77ae%7Ctwcon%5Es1_ ; https://twitter.com/visegrad24/status/1772279547993477215?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet ; https://apnews.com/article/south-china-sea-philippines-thomas-shoal-water-cannons-c9f35182db64c098cd47ecbf10f7966e

[49] https://twitter.com/jaytaryela/status/1771434571613282331

https://apnews.com/article/south-china-sea-philippines-thomas-shoal-water-cannons-c9f35182db64c098cd47ecbf10f7966e

https://www.gmanetwork dot com/news/topstories/nation/899475/pcg-china-actions-led-to-collision-during-latest-ayungin-resupply-mission/story

[50] https://www.mfa dot gov.cn/web/wjdt_674879/fyrbt_674889/202404/t20240403_11276141.shtml

[51] https://amti.csis.org/counter-co-scarborough-standoff/

[52] https://amti.csis.org/counter-co-scarborough-standoff/

[53] https://amti.csis.org/counter-co-scarborough-standoff/

[54] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/mar/15/fiji-china-police-exchange-intelligence-deal

[55] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-03-28/fiji-orders-chinese-police-to-leave-the-country/103640992

[56] https://apnews.com/article/tonga-china-south-pacific-security-islands-forum-8edc317d887d6c89472e54a8399ba6bc

[57] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-04-09/documents-tonga-criticised-australia-nz-over-solomons-pact/103683274

[58] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-24/draft-leak-chinese-military-base-solomon-islands/100937632

[59] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-19/china-and-solomon-islands-sign-security-pact-says-chinese-foreig/101000530

[60] https://t.me/tass_agency/242699

[61] https://www.mfa dot gov.cn/web/wjdt_674879/gjldrhd_674881/202404/t20240409_11278679.shtml

[62] https://t.me/tass_agency/242771

[63] https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russias-putin-visit-china-may-sources-2024-03-19/