Destruction in Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine after a deadly Russian missile strike, April 15, 2023

Friday’s Coverage: European Union Sanctions Russia’s Wagner Group Mercenaries

Map: Institute for the Study of War


The death toll has risen to 11 from Friday’s Russian missile attack on Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine (see Original Entry).


Russian shelling killed two women in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine on Saturday.

Ukraine Presidential Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak announced the news on Twitter.


Vladimir Putin has signed the law creating a unified digital register to summon men for military service.

At the urging of the Kremlin, the Russian Parliament passed the measure on an emergency basis in two days this week.

The register issues mandatory summonses through the mining of personal identification information of Russian citizens, including medical, educational, and residence history; foreign citizenship status; and insurance and tax data.

Summoned individuals may not leave Russia and must appear at a military recruitment office within 20 days. Those who do not comply are banned from driving vehicles, buying or selling real estate, or taking out loans.

A “senior government official” said the bill was drafted amid Putin’s anger at the mass emigration of Russians over his mobilization order last September. Hundreds of thousands of people —- estimates range from 550,000 to 1 million — left the country during the autumn and winter.

The official said, “This escape at the same time personally offended and angered the chief. An instruction was given to stop this in the future and start educating people in patriotism.”

Preparation of the bill across the Kremlin and agenices was carried out without publicity, to avoid upsetting the public. The bill was adopted by the Duma, the lower house of Parliament, after only 23 minutes of discussion.

“We simply did not have the opportunity to study this bill,” said MP Nina Ostanina.


Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries, has renewed his fight with Russian officials.

In an essay published on Friday, Prigozhin said Ukraine’s anticipated counter-offensive is more likely to succeed than fail. He declared that a selfish Russian “deep state” — “a community of near-state elites that operate independently of the political leadership of the state and have close ties and their own agenda” — is in crisis because of the Russian military’s failures to secure a quick victory.

Prigozhin accused the “deep state”, embedded in the Russian bureaucracy, of deliberately sabotaging Russian success as they seek to resume privileged lives of comfort.[13] This will push the Kremlin to “make serious concessions” tantamount to “betraying Russian interests”, with the possible return of occupied Ukrainian territory in the next few years.

The essay is a marked shift from Prigozhin’s rhetoric earlier this week, in which he declared that his Wagner fighters now control 80% of the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.

But during the months of the assault on Bakhmut, Prigozhin has accused a “monstrous bureaucracy” in Moscow of undermining the offensive, depriving his mercenaries of weapons, ammunition, and equipment.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: At least nine civilians were killed by a Russian missile strike on Slovyansk in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine on Friday.

Among the fatalities is a 2-year-old boy who died in hospital. Another 21 people were injured.

In their latest destruction of residential areas, the Russians used at least seven missiles, with six of them striking homes and one falling in a landscape park. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said 34 apartment blocks, 20 private houses, civil infrastructure, and 12 cars were damaged.

Initial reports said five people were slain and 15 injured, with at least seven under rubble. The toll rose with the discovery of more bodies, including a woman found just before midnight.

The search for four more people continued through the early morning.

Slovyansk is 45 km (27 miles) northwest of Bakhmut on the Donetsk frontline. Russian forces have tried for months to advance on the city, but have made little progress while taking heavy casualties.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy wrote on Telegram:

Slovyansk. The invaders brutally shelled the city. Residential buildings were hit. Unfortunately, wounded and dead are reported.

The evil state once again demonstrates its essence. Just killing people in broad daylight. Ruining, destroying all life. There will be fair accountability for every manifestation of terrorism.

We will not leave a single trace of Russia on our land. And we will not leave any enemy unpunished either.