Russo-Ukrainian war, day 72: Ukraine goes on the counter-offensive on two fronts, Azovstal defenders hold enemy attacks

Ukraine war

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

Ukrainian forces are transitioning to counteroffensive operations around Kharkiv and Izium. Russian troops broke into the territory of Azovstal Plant and support the offensive with airstrikes and naval artillery. Russians launched more missiles and airstrikes on the Ukrainian transport infrastructure to disrupt the movement of humanitarian aid and military-technical assistance. Russia establishes “ghettos” for deported Ukrainian citizens on the occupied territory.

Morning report day 72 – May 06

Situation

According to information from the General Staff:

“Russian forces continue to conduct full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine.

Russian forces do not stop conducting offensive operations in the Eastern Operational Zone in order to establish full control over the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and maintain the land corridor between these territories and the occupied Crimea.

At the same time, Russian forces provoke tensions in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova and the territory of the Republic of Belarus. Carries out regrouping, and takes measures to replenish ammunition and fuel. Russian forces are trying to improve the tactical position of their troops.

Russian forces continue to launch missile strikes on transport infrastructure to prevent the movement of humanitarian aid and military-technical assistance.

The use of mortars and artillery along almost the entire line of contact continues.

Russo-Ukrainian war, day 72: Ukraine goes on the counter-offensive on two fronts, Azovstal defenders hold enemy attacks ~~

Russian forces did not take active action in the Volyn and Polissya directions. In the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus, it has been noted that certain units have been brought to a higher level of combat readiness for verification.

In the Seversky direction, no signs of the formation of an offensive group by the enemy were found. In the border areas of Ukraine in the Bryansk, Kursk and Belgorod regions, a small number of personnel, weapons and military equipment are kept at positions and bases.

  • Engineering equipment for positions in the border areas of the Kursk region continues

The enemy did not take any active action in the Slobozhansky direction tonight. He continues to fire from jet and barrel artillery in residential areas and suburbs of Kharkiv.

  • On Thursday Russian forces tried to restore the lost positions near the city of Kharkiv, and made an unsuccessful attempt to attack near the settlement of Stary Saltiv.
  • The Russian forces continue to build up the air defense system, logistics and fire damage. Carries out regrouping and restoration of combat capability of units.
  • According to the available information, there are up to 300 wounded at the Kupyansk City Hospital the hospital equipped by the occupiers.
  • In order to clarify the positions of our troops and the directions of further advance, the enemy conducts air reconnaissance.
  • Due to the constant sanitary losses of personnel, Russian forces are increasing the medical support system for the troops, using a network of civilian medical institutions in the temporarily occupied territories of the Kharkiv region. The occupiers built a hospital based on Kupyansk City Hospital.
  • Russian forces do not stop trying to improve the tactical position of its units in the area of ​​the city of Izium, carries out artillery shelling of nearby settlements, and it has no success.
  • Due to heavy losses, Russian forces withdrew units from the 4th Tank Division of the 1st Tank Army and the 106th Airborne Division of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to rebuild on Thursday.

In the Donetsk and Tavriya directions, the enemy continues to conduct active hostilities.

  • On Thursday, Russian forces tried to capture Popasna, take full control of the city of Rubizhne and provide favourable conditions for the continuation of the offensive in the direction of the cities of Lyman and Sievierodonetsk, but were unsuccessful.
  • He is shelling the positions of our troops in the Lyman direction.
  • In the Popasna direction, the main efforts were focused on establishing full control over the settlement of Popasna and resuming the offensive on the settlements of Lyman and Siversk.
  • In the city of Mariupol, the blockade of units of the Defense Forces in the Azovstal area continues. In some areas, with the support of aviation, resumed assault operations to take control of the plant.
  • He did not conduct active hostilities in the Sievierodonetsk, Avdiivka, Kurakhivka, Novopavlovsky and Zaporizhzhia areas. Exercises fire to restrain the actions of our troops and destroy artillery units.
  • In the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, defenders of Ukraine repulsed eleven enemy attacks, and destroyed eight tanks, eleven units of armored combat vehicles and five units of enemy vehicles.

In the Pivdenny Buh directions, the enemy did not conduct active hostilities, kept the occupied frontiers, and strengthened air defense systems and electronic warfare. He fired on the positions of our troops. In the north of Kherson and Mykolaiv, the enemy carries out attacks on the settlements which they left.

  • The enemy conducted air reconnaissance in the areas of the settlements of Oleksandrivka, Serhiivka, and Volodymyrivka.
  • Russian forces focused on fortifying positions, replenishing ammunition, fuel and logistics.

Fifteen air targets had been hit by the Air Force and Land Forces in the past 24 hours: fourteen Orlan drones and one aircraft.

Administrative and police measures are underway in the temporarily occupied territories. Russian occupiers continue to carry out filtering measures against local residents, preventing evacuations to the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. At the same time, Russian occupiers are taking measures to replenish personnel losses through accelerated training of military servicemen under contract.”

Ukraine goes on the counter-offensive on two fronts, the Ukrayinska Pravda reports. Valeriy Zaluzhniy, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, has announced that Ukraine’s defense forces have launched counteroffensives on the Kharkiv and Izium fronts. “As is customary, I briefed my American counterpart on the operational situation. In particular, I reported on the forces’ main movements on the Luhansk front, where fierce fighting continues near Popasna, Kreminna and Torske, and on the transition by Ukrainian defense forces to counteroffensive actions on the Kharkiv and Izium fronts. I stressed the renewed use of cruise missiles by the Russian aggressors. The main purpose of these attacks is to disrupt logistical routes for supplying military and technical assistance to Ukraine …. Therefore, the issue of providing Ukraine with M142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS multiple-launch rocket systems is very urgent.”

The threat of a landing attack looms on the Black Sea coast, the Ukrayinska Pravda reports. The Black Sea Navy continues to maintain tensions in the north-western part of the Black Sea with the presence of its navy, the threat of an amphibious landing, surveillance with UAVs, including strike ones, Operational Command “South” said on Facebook

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1522499911396253697?s=20&t=GitOKhq9Y6nWKK1LIknjnQ

Ukrainian soldiers at Azovstal appeal to President Zelenskyy, the Ukrayinska Pravda reports. Sviatoslav Palamar, Deputy Commander of the Azov Regiment, appealed to the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to take care of the wounded Ukrainian soldiers who remain at Azovstal.

It’s 3 days now since Russian troops broke into the territory of Azovstal. Heavy fighting continues to take a bloody toll. Ukrainian defenders have been taking on the overwhelming forces of the forces one on one for 71 days. Once again, the Russians have broken their promise of a ceasefire and did not allow the evacuation of the civilians who continue to hide in the plant’s bunkers. We are calling on the world to evacuate civilians and I personally appeal to the Commander-in-Chief i.e., President Zelenskyy to take care of the wounded soldiers who are dying in agony because of inadequate treatment. Make it possible to retrieve the soldiers’ bodies, so that the people of Ukraine can say goodbye to their heroes.”

The Russian forces have used 2014 missiles against Ukraine so far, President Zelenskyy said Thursday. 2682 appearances of Russian combat aircraft in our skies have been recorded. “If we take only the medical infrastructure, to date, Russian troops have destroyed or damaged almost 400 health facilities. These are hospitals, maternity hospitals, and outpatient clinics. In the temporarily occupied areas of Ukraine – in the east and south – the situation with access to medical services and medicines is just catastrophic. Even the simplest medications are missing.”

According to British Defense Intelligence, (last 24 hours):

  • Russian forces in Mariupol have continued their ground assault on the Azovstal steel plant for a second day, despite Russian statements claiming they would seek only to seal it off.
  • The renewed effort by Russia to secure Azovstal and complete the capture of Mariupol is likely linked to the upcoming 9 May Victory Day commemorations and Putin’s desire to have a symbolic success in Ukraine.
  • This effort has come at personnel, equipment and munitions cost to Russia. Whilst Ukrainian resistance continues in Azovstal, Russian losses will continue to build and frustrate their operational plans in southern Donbas.

As of Thursday 05 May, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:Russian losses

  • Personnel – more than 24700 people (+200),
  • Tanks – 1092 units (+15),
  • Armored combat vehicles – 2651 units (+41),
  • Artillery systems – 499 (+8),
  • Multiple rocket launchers – 169 (+6)
  • Air defense means – 83 (+2),
  • Aircraft – 196 (+2),
  • Helicopters – 155 (+0),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 1907 (+40),
  • Vessels/boats – 10 units (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 312 (+9)
  • Special equipment – 38 (+0)
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0)
  • Cruise missiles – 89 (+2)

Humanitarian

Filtration camps in the village of Bezimenne are transformed into a real ghetto for Mariupol residents, the Ukrinform reports.

The Russian forces forcibly took all men out of Huhlino, Myrnyi and Volonterivka districts almost four weeks ago. About 2,000 people were placed in the village of Bezimenne and in the village of Kozatske, Novoazovsk district. A formal reason was filtration measures. No personal belongings were allowed. Passports and other identification documents were seized, Petro Andriushchenko, the adviser to the Mariupol mayor, posted on Telegram and released a video.

They are not allowed to leave the school without an escort of Russian troops. The detention conditions are terrible. People are forced to sleep on the floor in the corridors. There is no proper medical care. The first case of tuberculosis was recorded among the people in this school. The school gym was turned into an isolation ward, where a large number of people were locked up without medical care. According to Andriushchenko, this filtration camp is inspected twice a day: in the morning and at 21:00. If any of the detainees are absent, the invaders promise to intensify torture and shoot other detainees.

He reminded that on Monday, May 2, it was announced that the men would take part on May 9 “parade” in Mariupol as “prisoners of war”, for which they would be dressed in Ukrainian military uniform. According to Ukrainian intelligence data, Russian invaders intend to make Mariupol the center of “celebrations” on May 9. To this end, the city streets are urgently cleared from rubble, dead bodies, and unexploded ordnance. In addition, a large-scale propaganda campaign is underway.

“All this once again shows the realities of the occupation. Transformation of Mariupol into a real ghetto. And the world again keeps silent.”

500 more civilians were successfully evacuated from Mariupol and surrounding areas, the Ukrainska Pravda reports as of May 6 morning. 2 safe passage convoys successfully evacuated nearly 500 people from the Azovstal plant, the city of Mariupol & surrounding areas. I hope that continued coordination with Moscow and Kyiv will lead to more humanitarian pauses to allow civilians safe passage”, the UN Secretary-General said. On May 6, there will be an evacuation from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia. the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine wrote on Facebook.

According to UNHCR 5,707,967 refugees have been registered as of May 4. The UN says that so far Poland has taken in 3,119,196 refugees, Romania 854,292, Russian Federation 714,713, Hungary 545,311, Republic of Moldova 450,797, Slovakia 388,282 and Belarus 25,852. Among those who fled Ukraine are also Ukrainian nationals with dual citizenship. An additional 105,000 people moved to the Russian Federation from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions between 18 and 23 February.

The number of Ukrainians entering Ukraine since February 28 is 1,436,500 as of May 4. This figure reflects cross-border movements, which can be pendular, and does not necessarily indicate sustainable returns.

OHCHR recorded 6,731 civilian casualties in Ukraine as of May 2. 3,280 were killed (including 231 children) and 3,451 injured (including 328 children).

UN human rights experts and the Global Protection Cluster Coordinator are alarmed by the scale of displacement in Ukraine and call for urgent action to protect internally displaced people. They issue the following statement as of May 5:

“Since 24 February, nearly 12.8 million people are estimated to have been displaced in Ukraine, most of whom have not left the country. According to the most recent estimates, 7.7 million people are internally displaced as a result of the conflict, which is equivalent to 17.5 percent of the entire population. These are people who have had to leave their homes and everything behind in a desperate attempt to escape death and destruction. They are traumatised and need urgent protection, including psychosocial support.”

According to the Ukrainian General Staff:

  • In the temporarily occupied territories, Russian occupiers continue to steal the products of agricultural enterprises. The Russian side continues to accuse the Government of Ukraine of creating a humanitarian catastrophe in the territory controlled by the occupiers. Also, Russian invaders imitate humanitarian activities with the demonstrative distribution of food kits and medicines to local residents.

Environmental

A new realization dawns for Washington, Europe, Kyiv and Moscow, the CNN argues. The following is an extract from an article published on 29 April that helps put the “war in Ukraine” into a proper geopolitical context. The war and its consequences are not geographically limited to Ukraine. Russia and its aggressive foreign policy affect us all.

This was the week when the war in Ukraine truly transitioned from one nation’s bloody fight for liberation against Russia’s vicious onslaught to a potentially years-long great power struggle.

Every day brought a sense of grave, historic events and decisions that will not just decide who wins the biggest land war between two countries in Europe since World War II but will shape the course of the rest of the 21st century.

President Joe Biden declared Thursday that two months of fighting in the war triggered by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion had brought the world to a critical point.

“Throughout our history, we’ve learned that when dictators do not pay the price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and engage in more aggression,” Biden said. “They keep moving. And the costs, the threats to America and the world, keep rising. We can’t let this happen.” Hawkish British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was more blunt: “Geopolitics is back.”

Over just a few days, a new realization dawned in Washington, Europe, Kyiv and Moscow. The war is now transitioning into a long, bitter struggle, which will likely cost thousands more lives and tens of billions of dollars. The US strategy is now unequivocal and public — to weaken Russia to diminish its global threat. There are fresh signs of the Kremlin’s desire to eradicate Ukrainian culture in its pulverizing of eastern and southern cities. And Putin unleashed a new front — energy warfare — as he cut off natural gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland in what the EU quickly branded “blackmail.”

As these conflicting aims came into focus, nuclear rhetoric heated up yet again, with Russia keen to warn of the implied power of its vast arsenal, and Washington trying to avoid an escalatory cycle that could lead to a direct superpower clash.

The carnage in Ukraine, meanwhile, goes on. Vicious attacks and sieges of civilian areas prefaced Russia’s new assault on the south and east — battles that could decide whether Ukraine survives as a nation. Yet this week also brought the first signs that Russians accused of atrocities could face accountability.

But the alarming reality that no credible diplomatic track exists to end the war was laid bare when Russian missiles slammed into Kyiv on Thursday while UN Secretary-General António Guterres was still in town on an apparently futile mission, which had begun earlier in the week with tense talks with Putin.

A visit to Kyiv by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken under a news blackout on Sunday set the stage for a week in which the West threw itself ever deeper into what looks like a proxy war with Russia.

  • We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine,” Austin said in Poland after returning from Ukraine.
  • Blinken conjured a long-term future that must have antagonized the strongman in the Kremlin, saying there would be an independent, sovereign Ukraine “a lot longer than there’s going to be a Vladimir Putin.”
  • The US backed up its new strategic clarity by gathering key global defense ministers in Germany and committing to monthly meetings to assess the needs of the government in Kyiv.
  • These moves fueled a growing sense that the war in Ukraine will not end any time soon. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that the war could “drag on and last for months and years.”
  • Truss, meanwhile, urged for an expansion of US and Western military aid to guard against Russian expansionism — calling for the arming of nations in the Western Balkans and non-NATO states Georgia and Moldova.
  • Russia responded to the stiffened Western strategy by taking its own steps to widen the footprint of the conflict, cutting off natural gas exports to Poland and Bulgaria after they refused to join its sanctions-evading scheme to pay their bills in rubles. A further widening of energy warfare could pitch Europe into recession.
  • The cataclysmic global consequences of the war were meanwhile underscored when the World Bank warned of the worst commodities shock in 50 years. Russia and Ukraine are key producers of coal, oil, natural gas and cooking oils, and the budgets of millions of people around the world are going to take a hit. The likely failure of this summer’s harvest in Ukraine — a major source of wheat and corn for the world — could send food prices into a new inflationary spiral and fuel greater food insecurity. In the US, higher prices could have big impact on the midterm elections in November.
  • Biden ended a week that reshaped the world by unveiling an extraordinary $33 billion request to Congress for weapons, economic support and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, warning, “The cost of this fight is not cheap.”

The President’s request underscored how the war in Ukraine is not just a defining stand of his administration but that the events of recent days will cause political, economic and geopolitical chain reactions that will be impossible to predict and difficult to control. The strategic broadening of the war was accompanied by a new round of alarming nuclear rhetoric from Moscow.”

Legal

Occupiers forcing residents of Kharkiv region to leave for Russia – regional administration, the Ukrinform reports. The occupiers are forcing residents of the Kharkiv region to leave for Russia and are trying to conduct mobilization in the occupied territories.

The press service of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration reported this on Telegram, referring to Oleh Syniehubov, head of the administration, according to Ukrinform. “The head of the regional military administration said that the occupiers are forcing residents of the Kharkiv region to leave for the Russian Federation, taking away their means of communication and documents. In this way, the enemy prevents people from leaving for safe areas. According to him, in Izium, the enemy tried to mobilize the local population, forcing them to join the armed forces of the Russian Federation,” the statement reads.”Russian war crimes

223 children were killed, and 408 children injured, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of May 5. 1,607 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, 121 of them are destroyed fully. 10,089 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 4,805 crimes against national security were registered.

Support

Ukraine gets over $12 billion in weapons, and financial aid since the start of the Russian invasion- Ukraine’s PM, the Reuters reports. Ukraine has received over $12 billion in weapons and financial aid since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Thursday.

Ukraine needs a modern analogue of the Marshall Plan, President Zelenskyy stated. “Stronger participation of the free world and international institutions is needed. … we call for the cooperation and support of each and everyone. Everyone for whom freedom matters. That is why United24 was launched today – a global initiative that will unite people from all over the world around the desire to help Ukraine. …Its main goal is to increase donations to Ukraine. Because Ukraine needs up to $ 7 billion a month to cover the state budget deficit. In total, it has been calculated that already more than $ 600 billion is needed to rebuild what the Russian army destroyed.

France will increase financial aid to Ukraine by $300 mln, Macron tells donor conference, the Reuters reports. “France will increase its overall financial aid to Ukraine this year to $2 billion from 1.7 billion, President Emmanuel Macron said in a video address to an international donors’ conference in Warsaw.”

Finland to send EUR 70M, military equipment to Ukraine, the Ukrinform reports. Finland is set to deliver to Ukraine additional military equipment, also preparing to provide another 70 million euros in financial aid. This was stated by Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin, who addressed the Donors’ Conference for Ukraine, which is being held in Warsaw on Thursday, according to an Ukrinform correspondent. The contribution is yet to be approved by parliament, the prime minister noted.

The US ramps up training of Ukrainian forces, The Hill reports. The US military is ramping up its weapons training for Ukrainian forces, with hundreds now being trained on artillery systems, drones and radars, defense officials said Wednesday.

“The effort, which involves taking Ukrainians out of their country to train at multiple locations in Europe, has picked up significantly after the Pentagon in early April revealed it trained about a dozen such troops on how to use Switchblade drones. We are running them through a streamlined course here on the new equipment that they’ll be receiving.

The goal in all of this is to get them back as soon as possible so that then they can train others within their army on the equipment, Gen. Joseph Hilbert, head of the 7th Army Training Command in Europe, told reporters Tuesday. Over the last seven years, the US has trained some 23,000 Ukrainian soldiers inside the country, a $126 million effort, with training provided mostly by American National Guard troops, according to Hilbert.”

Britain pledges anti-ship missiles, and cargo drones for Ukraine’s defense, the Defense News reports.

“This week it was confirmed that an anti-ship version of the MBDA Brimstone air-to-ground, anti-tank missiles would be heading to Ukraine soon. Alongside Brimstone, counter-battery radars, logistics drones capable of supplying weapons and food, night vision goggles and armored vehicles for evacuation of civilians and protection of officials were among the list of the equipment listed by Johnson. The Daily Telegraph newspaper here said electronic-warfare equipment capable of jamming Russian drones was also included in the package, but there was no mention of the systems in Johnson’s speech.

The latest round of supplies brings the British contribution to around £800 million ($1 billion) supporting Ukraine with weapons and training. Previously, NLAW and Javelin anti-tank missiles, Starstreak anti-air missiles mounted on Stormer armored vehicles, loitering munitions and armored logistics vehicles have been among the growing list of weapons supplied or pledged by the British.”

The UK and Ukraine discussed the provision of longer-range weapons, the Reuters reports.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed the possible supply of longer-range weaponry by Britain to Ukraine’s armed forces in a call on Thursday, a spokesperson for Johnson’s office said”.

For the first time, France talks openly about sending weapons to Ukraine, the Breaking Defense reports. Breaking the self-imposed silence on what weapons it is providing to Ukraine, France confirmed on April 29 that it is loaning 12 Caesar truck-mounted guns and gifting several tens of thousands of shells and Milan anti-tank missiles to Ukraine. French media reports have previously revealed that France has sent satellite imagery and Milan, Mistral and Javelin missiles, the latter acquired in the United States for operations in Afghanistan. But Paris had been tight-lipped about what they were sending, so as not to antagonize Moscow and keep diplomatic channels open.

Germany and the Czech Republic pledge more weapons to Ukraine, the Anadolu Agency reports. Speaking at a joint news conference in Berlin with Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Scholz said the two countries will expand their defense cooperation, and supply Soviet-made heavy weapons to Ukraine. Scholz said as part of a “ring exchange” mechanism, the Czech Republic will deliver Soviet-made weapons to Ukraine, which can be quickly deployed by the Ukrainian military, without the need for special training. In return, Germany will supply weapons to the Czech Republic to fill the gap, he added.

New developments

  1. Ukraine and Poland have signed a Memorandum on strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities, the Ukrinform reports. “Poland will help Ukraine strengthen its defense capabilities. A memorandum was signed today with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki,” Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal wrote on Telegram.
  2. International donors raise USD6.5B for Ukraine in Warsaw, the Ukrinform reports. “As Ukrinform reported, the High-Level International Donors’ Conference for Ukraine is taking place in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday, May 5. Initiated by Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki and Prime Minister of Sweden Magdalena Andersson, the conference is set to raise funds for the mounting humanitarian needs of Ukraine.”
  3. The US offers assurances to Sweden, and Finland over NATO application, the Reuters reports. “The United States is confident it can address any security concerns Sweden and Finland may have about the period of time after they apply for NATO membership and before they are accepted into the alliance, the White House said on Thursday. Sweden and Finland are concerned they would be vulnerable to Russian threats during an application process, which could take up to a year to be approved by all 30 NATO members.”
  4. Ukraine’s plight could be replicated in East Asia, Japan’s Kishida warns, the Reuters reports. “Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida warned on Thursday that the invasion of Ukraine could be replicated in East Asia if leading powers do not respond as one, saying peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait must be maintained.”

Assessment

On the War

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Thursday 5 May:

The Ukrainian counteroffensive out of Kharkiv city may disrupt Russian forces northeast of Kharkiv and will likely force Russian forces to decide whether to reinforce positions near Kharkiv or risk losing most or all of their positions within artillery range of the city. 

Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zalyzhnyi stated on May 5 that Ukrainian forces are transitioning to counteroffensive operations around Kharkiv and Izium, the first direct Ukrainian military statement of a shift to offensive operations. Ukrainian forces did not make any confirmed advances in the last 24 hours but repelled Russian attempts to regain lost positions. Russian forces made few advances in continued attacks in eastern Ukraine, and Ukrainian forces may be able to build their ongoing counterattacks and the successful repulse of Russian attacks along the Izium axis into a wider counteroffensive to retake Russian-occupied territory in Kharkiv Oblast.

Russian forces continued ineffectual offensive operations in southern Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk Oblasts without securing any significant territorial gains in the past 24 hours. The Pentagon assessed that Russian forces have not been able to make further advances due to their inability to conduct offensive operations far from their ground lines of communication (GLOCs) along highways, as ISW previously assessed, and muddy terrain. Russian GLOCs supporting the Izium axis likely run from the Russian border to Kupyansk and Vovchansk, and local Kharkiv civilian authorities reported additional Russian reinforcements moving through these settlements towards the front line as of May 5. 

Russian forces are reportedly suffering losses in stalled attacks along the Izium axis, with the Ukrainian General Staff reporting that elements of the 4th Tank Division and the 106th Airborne Division withdrew to Russia after sustaining heavy losses in the past several days.

Russian forces conducted unsuccessful attacks in Lyman, Sievierodonetsk, and Popasna, and maintained shelling along the line of contact in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.  Russian forces also used thermobaric munitions against Ukrainian positions in Lyman and are unsuccessfully attempting to leverage massed artillery fire to break through Ukrainian defenses. 

Russian forces targeted grain facilities in Rubizhne and Soledar, a settlement located approximately 30 kilometers from Popasna, likely to deprive Ukrainian forces and civilians of supplies. The so-called Donetsk People’s Republic claimed to have seized Troitske (a village approximately 25 kilometers from occupied Horlivka) on May 5, but social media imagery confirmed that Ukrainian artillery inflicted heavy damage on Russian munitions depots, tanks, and armored personnel carriers in the area.

Russian forces continued assaults on the Azovstal Steel Plant with supporting airstrikes and naval artillery on May 5. Ukrainian officials and military officers confirmed that Russian forces have breached the Azovstal facility itself and that Ukrainian forces are losing ground. … Russian forces will likely completely capture the Azovstal facility in the coming days, but Ukrainian forces have successfully tied down and degraded large numbers of Russian forces in Mariupol for several months.

Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zalyzhnyi stated on May 5 that Ukrainian forces are transitioning to counteroffensive operations around Kharkiv and Izium, the first direct Ukrainian military statement of a shift to offensive operations. Ukrainian forces likely intend to push Russian forces out of artillery range of Kharkiv city, force Russian units to redeploy from the Izium axis, and potentially threaten Russian lines of communication. Ukrainian forces did not make any confirmed advances in the last 24 hours but repelled Russian attempts to regain lost positions.

Russian forces continued offensive operations toward Zaporizhzhia City but did not conduct any attacks in Kherson and Mykolaiv oblasts on May 5. Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Oblast Military Administration reported that Russian forces attacked Hulyaipole, near the Donetsk Oblast border, throughout the day. The Administration additionally stated up to 13 battalion tactical groups are concentrated on this line of advance toward Zaporizhzhia City or the Donetsk Oblast administrative borders from the west, though these battalion tactical groups (BTGs) are almost certainly understrength. …

Russian forces did not conduct offensive operations in Kherson or Mykolaiv oblasts. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces liberated unspecified villages along the border between Kherson and Mykolaiv oblasts on May 5, but ISW cannot independently these claims. Ukraine’s Operational Command South reported that Ukrainian forces successfully pushed Russian forces around 20 kilometers away from Mykolaiv City, possibly indicating that these liberated villages are in northwestern Kherson Oblast.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces continued ineffectual offensive operations in southern Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts without securing any significant territorial gains in the past 24 hours.
  • Ukrainian officials and military officers confirmed that Russian forces have breached the Azovstal facility itself and confirmed that Ukrainian forces are losing ground. Russian forces will likely capture the facility in the coming days.
  • Ukrainian offensive operations around Kharkiv likely intend to push Russian forces out of artillery range of Kharkiv city, force Russian units to redeploy from the Izium axis, and potentially threaten Russian lines of communication.
  • Russian forces conducted limited offensive operations toward Zaporizhzhia City but did not conduct any attacks in Kherson and Mykolaiv oblasts in the last 24 hours. Ukrainian forces claimed to recapture additional territory west of Kherson, but ISW cannot independently confirm any advances.

Lavrov stands against avoiding war and allows the use of nuclear arms, the Ukrinform reports. This is evidenced by a tape-recorded during Sergey Lavrov’s informal meeting with representatives of the CIS diplomatic corps and handed over to Guildhall by a source in the Ukrainian intelligence.

“Ukraine is a well-known project, even Brzezinski once said that Russia without Ukraine is so-so, but with Ukraine, it would be a great power. Of course, we cannot allow this to be done, so that wars and hostilities are avoided at the cost of constant, constant geopolitical concessions,” Lavrov said, according to the obtained tape. In response to a question about the possibility of Russia nuking the adversary, the Russian Foreign Minister did not rule out the use of nuclear weapons in the future, emphasizing that Russia is fighting with conventional weapons “at this stage.”

US nuclear commander warns of deterrence ‘crisis’ against Russia and China, the Defense News reports. The head of US Strategic Command, which oversees the nuclear arsenal, warned Congress Wednesday that Washington faces a heightened nuclear deterrence risk when it comes to Russia and China.

“We are facing a crisis deterrence dynamic right now that we have only seen a few times in our nation’s history, Adm. Charles Richard told the Senate’s strategic forces panel. “The war in Ukraine and China’s nuclear trajectory — their strategic breakout — demonstrates that we have a deterrence and assurance gap based on the threat of limited nuclear employment.

“The nation and our allies have not faced a crisis like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in over 30 years,” said Richard. President Putin simultaneously invaded a sovereign nation while using thinly veiled nuclear threats to deter US and NATO intervention. He went on to note that China is watching the war in Ukraine closely and will likely use nuclear coercion to their advantage in the future. Their intent is to achieve the military capability to reunify Taiwan by 2027 if not sooner.”

Russians have changed tactics and becoming more cautious, the Ukrayinska Pravda reports. “The Russian army is trying to increase the pace of the offensive in eastern Ukraine to reach the administrative borders of Luhansk and Donetsk regions, as well as to develop an offensive in the Zaporizhzhia front. To do this, the forces are trying to inflict losses on units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces, regrouping and strengthening its troops, increasing the system of fire damage and logistics.

The forces are changing their tactics compared to the first days of the war, Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration said. Now the Russians are acting on the situation, studying and analysing the tactics of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, looking for vulnerabilities. The Russians have become more cautious, not just trying to take by force of numbers.”

Consequences and what to do?

In the CNN article “What it will take for the Ukrainians to win”, the former commander of the US Special Operations Command in Europe, retired US Army Maj. Gen. Mike Repass, says the international community has to greatly increase its support for Ukraine if the embattled nation is ever going to be able to drive the Russians out.

“The three obvious future scenarios are: Russia has a battlefield decision in their favor, the Ukrainians have a battlefield decision in their favor, or there’s a stalemate. Two out of three of those outcomes give Russia a victory.

In the stalemate scenario, Russia would simply claim victory based on facts on the ground and continue its occupation over expanded terrain in Ukraine into the indeterminate future. This would give Russia a less than total victory over Ukraine, but a victory with significantly expanded terrain under Russian control, nonetheless.

So, what are we, the West, collectively doing to ensure that two out of those three possibilities don’t happen? Everybody is thinking about the immediate fight right now, which means we’re running supplies to the Ukrainians. The problem is that the Ukraine’s army needs additional capabilities to be able to drive Russia out of Ukraine.

Russia is always going to have more forces, not necessarily better forces, but more of them. As Stalin once said, “quantity has a quality all its own.” Most people recognize that this is going to be a battle of attrition and, at some point in time, it will start to tip in Russia’s favor unless additional Ukrainian forces are generated.

I think there’s a growing realization among NATO countries and the international community that we’re going to have to do something besides resource Ukraine’s current fight. So, there are four things that the US and its allies need to do. First, we need to weaken Russia by strengthening Ukrainian capabilities. Second, we need to further deter Russia by increasing our own and NATO’s capabilities. Third, is degrading Russia’s armed forces and capabilities. Finally, we need to ensure Russia’s defeat in Ukraine, and that is done by building a strategic and operational reserve force for Ukraine that can do offensive operations to kick the Russians out of Ukraine and secure its borders.

To win the war in Ukraine, Repass advocates that the US and its allies build up a Ukrainian strategic force amounting to five brigades of up to 40,000 soldiers capable of mounting offensive operations to force the Russians out of their country.

You need to have the US, French, Poles, UK and the Germans each build a brigade’s worth of Ukrainian combat power. Those nations have significant military capacity and could generate forces by equipping Ukrainian units and then training them in their own nations. So, that would be five brigades, in five operational sectors. And you would need probably six to eight months to implement that. These five brigades would have Western equipment fighting in Western ways, an integrated air-land battle approach where you have all the means available to you, to include NATO-interoperable tanks, close-air support, and air defense.”

Assessment by Hans Petter Midttun

In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, stressed that “The war will not end with meetings. The war will end when the Russian Federation decides to end it and when there is a serious political agreement. We can have all meetings but that is not what will end the war.”

It is up to us – the international community – to convince Russia that it is in its own interest to stop. Russia only understands the language of power. Ukraine does not possess the military forces needed to force the Russian Federation to back down and withdraw from Ukrainian territory. Only the USA and NATO have the power to confront a global power “wannabe”.

Since the start of the new phase of the war, I have actively advocated a NATO-led and UN-mandated humanitarian intervention in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Air Force is degraded and numerously inferior to the Russian opponent. While Russia has failed to establish air control and suffered huge losses, it has still been able to conduct indiscriminating bombing of Ukrainian cities and target strikes on critical infrastructure and the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Russia has launched 2,014 missiles against Ukraine so far. According to President Zelenskyy, they have flown 2682 Russian combat missions over Ukraine. Ukraine does not have the capacity to effectively counter the air campaign, and therefore, not the capacity to start one themselves in support of future offensive ground operations.

Furthermore, Ukraine does not have a Navy capable of conducting sea denial operations and breaking the maritime blockade of its Black Sea ports. Despite this, Ukraine has been able to sink or damage 10 warships, the cruiser Moskva being the most visible success. Unfortunately, the attacks will have no impact on the Russian-imposed maritime blockade.

Russia is conducting a maritime blockade that over time will undercut the Ukrainian economy and destabilize Ukraine from within, undermining the sovereignty and independence of the country. This is one of the reasons Ukraine needs up to $ 7 billion a month to cover the state budget deficit. Additionally, the blockade will impact the global food security and economy, inflicting costs on the west and challenging our resilience and cohesion.

The stalemate scenario described by Maj. Gen. Mike Repass will, therefore, still destroy Ukraine. The present situation does not create the economic basis for an independent and sovereign state.

The five brigades with “Western equipment fighting in Western ways, an integrated air-land battle approach where you have all the means available to you, to include NATO-interoperable tanks, close-air support, and air defense” is a great plan and supported. To ensure a Ukrainian victory and a Russian defeat, however, both the maritime and air threat need to be addressed.

Ukraine needs to rebuild both its Navy and Air Force, a task that requires both funding and time it does not possess.

Time is, however, the biggest challenge facing both Ukraine and the international community. Force generating the 5 brigades requires 6-8 months. Rebuilding the Ukrainian Air Force and Navy will take years.

The ongoing war, however, is causing immense human suffering today. Nearly 12,8 million people are displaced. Europe is facing the biggest refugee crisis since WW2. The Ukrainian nation is facing an existential danger as people are killed, forcibly displaced to Russia, and starved, and infrastructure and cultural heritage sites are being destroyed.

The war is also causing massive ripple effects globally, threatening both our stability and security, increasing hunger and poverty, and potentially changing the political landscape of Europe.

We – Ukraine and the international community – do not have the time for Ukraine to build the military capacities needed to end the war on its – and therefore, our – terms. It does not make sense to sit “idle” waiting for the tsunami of consequences to increase in scale to a point where it will “cause political, economic and geopolitical chain reactions that will be impossible to predict and difficult to control”.

Lasting peace and an independent Ukraine require NATO to engage militarily. We need a NATO-led UN-mandated humanitarian intervention in Ukraine. NATO must deploy submarines and maritime task groups into the Black Sea, supported by an UN-mandated No-Fly Zone over both the Ukrainian territory and maritime domain.

We need to end this senseless war. We need to do more.

The report is based on media reports, expert analyses, and official information posted online.

 

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