Russo-Ukrainian war, day 73: Russian military resumed attacks in the East but with no success

Ukraine war

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

Russian troops resumed fighting in the East but secured only small gains. The Ukrainian counteroffensive north and east of Kharkiv city took further terrain. Around Azovstal Plant in Mariupol, fighting was taking place again, and Russian troops were consistently breaking the ceasefire regime. Prisoner exchange: 41 Ukrainians freed from captivity. Russia has stolen 400,000 tonnes of grain from Ukrainian warehouses. UN Secretary-General António Guterres: “It is high time to unite and end this war.”

Morning report day 73 – May 07

Situation

According to information from the General Staff as of 06.00 07.05.2022, supplemented by its 18:00 assessment.

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

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

The greatest activity of the occupiers continues to be observed in Slobozhansky and Donetsk directions.

The enemy launches missile strikes on transport infrastructure and residential areas of settlements of our state.

In the Volyn and Polissya directions, the Russian forces did not take active action. Certain forces and means of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus continue to perform tasks to cover the Ukrainian-Belarusian border in Brest and Gomel oblasts.

  • Russian forces did not take active action in the Polissya direction. In the course of checking the combat readiness of units that perform tasks to cover the border with Ukraine, covert rotation of these units is not excluded.
  • Currently, units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation remain in the Republic of Belarus, consisting of up to eight launchers of Iskander-M operational-tactical missile systems and up to six aircraft of various modifications that may be involved in air and missile strikes on Ukraine.

Russian forces did not take active action in the Siversky direction. Engineering and fortification equipment of positions and strips in the border areas of the Kursk Oblast continues.

  • According to the available information, in the settlement of Klyntsi, Bryansk Oblast, units of the 144th Motorized Rifle Division of the 20th All-Military Army of the Western Military District are conducting combat coordination to further participate in hostilities on the territory of Ukraine.
  • Some units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continue to carry out tasks to cover the Ukrainian-Russian border in the Bryansk, Kursk, and Belgorod oblasts. The engineering equipment of the positions was carried out near the border crossing points.

In the Slobozhansky direction, Russian forces continue artillery shelling settlements near the city of Kharkiv.

  • In the Izium direction, Russian forces conduct air reconnaissance with the use of UAVs to clarify the positions of Ukrainian troops.
  • In the area of ​​the settlements of Tsyrkuny and Rusky Tyshky, Russian occupiers blew up three road bridges in order to slow down the counter-offensive actions of the Defense Forces of Ukraine.
  • The Russian forces continue to increase the number of troops. From the area of ​​the settlement of Urazovo of the Belgorod Oblast to the territory of Ukraine carries out movement of divisions from the structure of the Eastern military district.
  • The forces are blocking some remote settlements in the Kharkiv oblast, carrying out systematic high-intensity shelling, including with the use of rocket-propelled grenade launchers, in areas where our troops are concentrated. Also, the Russian forces led the offensive in the direction of the settlement of Nova Dmytrivka, which had no success.
  • As a result of the offensive, units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine regained control over the settlements of Oleksandrivka, Fedorivka, Ukrainka, Shestakovo, Peremoha, and part of the village of Cherkas’ki Tyshky.

In the Donetsk and Tavriya directions, Russian forces continue to carry out artillery shelling along the line of contact and use operational and tactical aircraft to launch missile and bomb strikes on the positions of our troops.

  • In the city of Mariupol, the blockade of units of the Defense Forces in the Azovstal district continues. Russian forces carried out assault operations in order to take control of the plant.
  • In the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, defenders of Ukraine repulsed eight enemy attacks and destroyed three tanks, eight artillery systems, seven units of armored combat vehicles, one car, and three units of special enemy engineering equipment.
  • In the Lyman direction, the forces carried out assault operations in the direction of the settlement of Shandrygolove.
  • They tried to establish control over the settlements of Rubizhne and Voevodivka in the Sievierodonetsk direction but were unsuccessful.
  • In the Popasna direction, he carried out assault operations in the direction of the settlement of Nyzhne.
  • In the Avdiivka and Kurakhiv directions, he limited himself to shelling the positions of units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine.
  • The occupiers conducted reconnaissance by fighting in the direction of the settlement of Prechistivka, were unsuccessful, and retreated.

In the Pivdenny Buh directions, Russian forces inflicted fire damage using artillery on the positions of our troops. It fired at the civilian infrastructure of the city of Mykolaiv with rockets and multiple rocket launchers.

  • In the settlement of Ivano-Kepin, units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine destroyed a warehouse with ammunition and up to 20 units of enemy military equipment.
  • In the temporarily occupied city of Kherson, Russian invaders are taking several measures to ensure the activities of the Russian occupation forces and support the Russian occupation regime. The number of checkpoints and mobile patrols has increased.
  • In the Bessarabian direction, the Russian Federation continues to provoke tensions in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova. The personnel of the operational group of the Russian troops is in “Full” combat readiness.

During the previous day, fourteen Orlan UAVs were hit by the Air Defense and Land Forces.

The Russian forces continue to suffer significant losses in personnel and equipment. According to available information, up to 800 wounded and up to 200 bodies of dead forces servicemen are in the psychiatric hospital of the village of Malotokmatsky, Rostov Oblast, which was partially transferred to the use of the armed forces of the Russian Federation.”

Russia loses one more ship in the Ukraine war, the Ukrinform reports. This has been confirmed by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine It has not provided any details on the loss of the enemy ship. According to media reports, the Russian frigate Admiral Makarov has been hit by a missile and is burning in the Black Sea near Zmiinyi (Snake) Island. Russian aircraft was reported circling over this area, and rescue vessels have departed the temporarily occupied Crimea to help the ship.

Russian troops attempt to cross the Siverskyi Donets river, the Ukrayinska Pravda reports. “The captured city Kreminna is full of Russian military equipment. Fighting continues on its outskirts. The Russians are trying to cross the river», Serhii Haidai, Head of Luhansk Oblast Military Administration, reported on Telegram. He reported that over 3,500 citizens of Kreminna are currently under Russian occupation. The city is 14 km NW of Sievierodonetsk.

Popasna is not yet completely occupied by the enemy, but people should leave immediately, the Ukrayinska Prava reports. “The situation is only getting more difficult every day, and today is no exception. The Russian military cynically destroys and breaks everything in its path… Popasna has not yet been completely occupied, our civilians can still leave Popasna. Mykola Khanatov, head of the Popasniansk city military-civilian administration, said on the 24-hour news program.

Russian troops attempt to encircle Sievierodonetsk, storming from several directions, the Ukrinform reports. “The situation is rather challenging. Russians are attempting to encircle the city, attempting to storm the city via adjacent settlements. Battles are raging for Voievodivka, a village situated directly near the city. They are attempting to break through from another side. Our military is repulsing these attacks. The city is keeping the defense, but it feels like they are trying to encircle the city,” Sievierodonetsk City Military Administration Head Oleksandr Striuk stated on Telegram. About 50,000 civilians have refused to get evacuated and are remaining within Luhansk oblast.

National Security and Defense Council expects an increase in shelling on 8-9 May, the Ukrayinska Pravda reports.

The Centre for Countering Disinformation at the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine calls for people to be especially attentive to air-raid sirens on the eve of and during 8-9 May. Since Russian troops cannot boast of significant achievements at the front before Victory Day (9 May), the risk of massive shelling of Ukrainian cities these days is increasing.”

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

  • At least one T-90M, Russia’s most advanced tank, has been destroyed in the fighting. The T-90M was introduced in 2016 and includes improved armor, an upgraded gun, and enhanced satellite navigation systems.
  • Approximately 100 T-90M tanks are currently in service amongst Russia’s best-equipped units, including those fighting in Ukraine. The system’s upgraded armor, designed to counter anti-tank weaponry, remains vulnerable if unsupported by other force elements.
  • The conflict in Ukraine is taking a heavy toll on some of Russia’s most capable units and most advanced capabilities. It will take considerable time and expense for Russia to reconstitute its armed forces following this conflict. It will be particularly challenging to replace modernized and advanced equipment due to sanctions restricting Russia’s access to critical microelectronic components.

As of Saturday 07 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 25100 people (+200),
  • Tanks – 1122 units (+12),
  • Armored combat vehicles – 2713 units (+27),
  • Artillery systems – 509 (+7),
  • Multiple rocket launchers – 172 (+1)
  • Air defense means – 84 (+1),
  • Aircraft – 199 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 155 (+0),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 1934 (+8),
  • Vessels/boats – 11 units (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 341 (+17)
  • Special equipment – 38 (+0)
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0)
  • Cruise missiles – 90 (+0)

Russian enemy suffered the greatest losses (of the last day) in the Slobozhanskyi operating area.

Humanitarian

Prisoner exchange: 41 Ukrainians freed from Russian captivity, the Ukrayinska Pravda reports. “A prisoner exchange has taken place. We freed 41 people, including 11 women. 28 military personnel and 13 civilians are coming home”, Iryna Vereshchuk, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, wrote on Telegram. Currently, more than 360 Ukrainians, of whom 72 were civilians, have returned home.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1522801901275738112?s=20&t=PvJhl-dUmQ0I5IhL923UJg

According to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine as of May 6:

“Today we were evacuating civilians from Azovstal. On the way back we were expected to take people from the Port City Mall. Unfortunately, we did not make it on time. The reason was that the column had to stay near the Azovstal the entire day. Fighting was taking place and other provocations. The enemy was consistently breaking the ceasefire regime. Therefore, the evacuation was very slow. Tomorrow morning we will continue the evacuation effort.”

As of May 6 afternoon, the Azov regiment reported on telegram:

During the ceasefire on the territory of the Azovstal plant, a car was hit by Russians who used an anti-tank guided weapon. This car was moving toward civilians to evacuate them from the plant. As the result of the shelling, 1 fighter was killed and 6 were wounded. The enemy continues to violate all agreements and fail to adhere to security guarantees for evacuation of civilians.” Azov also posted a video picturing the consequences of evacuation vehicle shelling.

According to UNHCR 5,757,014 refugees have been registered as of May 5. The UN says that so far Poland has taken in 3,143,550 refugees, Romania 856,941, Russian Federation 727,712, Hungary 551,010, Republic of Moldova 452,038, Slovakia 391,592 and Belarus 26,149. 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 oblasts between 18 and 23 February.

The number of Ukrainians entering Ukraine since February 28 is 1,464,500 as of May 5. This figure reflects cross-border movements, which can be pendular, and does not necessarily indicate sustainable returns.

OHCHR recorded 6,802 civilian casualties in Ukraine as of May 5. 3,309 were killed (including 234 children) and 3,493 injured (including 330 children).

Environmental

UN: Nearly 25 million tonnes of grain are stuck in Ukraine, the Ukrinform reports.

“Nearly 25 million tonnes of grains are stuck in Ukraine and unable to leave the country due to Russia’s blockade of seaports and infrastructure problems. “It’s an almost grotesque situation we see at the moment in Ukraine with nearly 25 mln tonnes of grain that could be exported but that cannot leave the country simply because of lack of infrastructure, the blockade of the ports,” Josef Schmidhuber, FAO Deputy Director, Markets and Trade Division told a Geneva press briefing via Zoom, Reuters reports.

Schmidhuber added the full silos could result in storage shortages during the next harvest in July and August. Earlier, during the UN Security Council meeting, US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that Russia’s actions during the armed aggression against Ukraine were aimed at deliberately disrupting agricultural activities and blocking grain exports, which increases the risk of the food crisis and global hunger.”

Of notice, Russia has allegedly also stolen 400,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain, increasing the risk of starvation in the temporarily occupied territories in Ukraine.

The European Commission on Thursday released a report stating that Russia’s war against Ukraine could significantly increase the risk of food insecurity for many countries around the world.

Legal

Russian war crimes223 children were killed, and 410 children injured, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of May 7. 1,635 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, and 126 of them are destroyed fully. 10,257 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 4,878 crimes against national security were registered.

Support

Biden announces new $150 million weapons package for Ukraine, the Reuters reports.

The new package will be worth $150 million and include 25,000 155mm artillery rounds, counter-artillery radar, jamming equipment, field equipment, and spare parts, a US official said. The new transfers would come from the remaining $250 million in the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows the president to authorize the transfer of excess weapons from US stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency.

Last month Biden proposed a $33 billion assistance package for Ukraine, including more than $20 billion in military aid. Congress must approve the new funding package. House of Representatives and Senate leaders have said they want to move quickly but have not yet said when they will vote on Biden’s request.

Ukraine to get a dozen howitzers from Germany and the Netherlands, the Defense News reports.

Training is set to begin in Germany next week for Ukrainian soldiers on the Panzerhaubitze 2000 howitzer after officials confirmed Friday that the Dutch and German governments approved sending 12 of the heavy weapons to the fight. Seven will come from Germany’s arsenal, taken from the maintenance pool rather than active Bundeswehr units, she said. The Dutch will provide five of the 155mm weapons.

The New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy (Washington, 2019) has published a list of what weapons systems have been pledged, what has been delivered, and what Ukraine still needs, based on international reporting. Only systems pledged by official sources or visually confirmed to have been delivered are included in the report published on 3 May.

“Many of the deliveries of ex-Soviet heavy weaponry have been structured as a win-win for ex-Warsaw Pact NATO members: Not only are they supporting Ukraine, but their inventories are backfilled with the latest NATO weaponry in exchange.

While the Ukrainians seem to have the current Russian offensive in the Donbas contained, for the Ukrainians to win the war they’ll have to push Russian forces completely out of the country. Continuing and adaptive Western support will be crucial for this to happen. Fortunately for the Ukrainians, Western governments have now invested so much in Ukraine’s survival, both financially and politically, that such ongoing support is a virtual certainty.

The pertinent question, then, is what form mid-to-long-term support for Ukraine will take. Moving to NATO standard calibers and adopting Western weapon systems will vastly simplify ongoing logistics while adopting Western fighter aircraft will give Ukrainian pilots the chance to engage the Russian air force on even terms. Ultimately, this process will have succeeded if, after winning the war, the Ukrainian military is formidable enough to deter future Russian aggression.”

Preliminary financial needs to recover the economy of Ukraine. Studies of the World Bank, and Kyiv School of Economics have indicated preliminary financial needs to recover the economy of Ukraine.

“These range from 60 to 100 billion euros necessary to restore the infrastructure capacity and from 500 million to 1 trillion euros necessary to invest into a complete restoration of the Ukrainian economy. But as the Russian aggression continues, these costs are increasing speedily. And we have to be prepared not only for this. The recovery of Ukraine will be a long-term process, which also has urgent financial needs, Andrius Kubilius, Member of the European Parliament, and former Prime Minister of Lithuania, states.

The budgetary support needs of Ukraine alone exceed 5 billion euros per month, which are necessary to maintain the viability of the social fabric for the Ukrainian citizens, in particular for displaced persons, which has to be done together with a rebuilding of key public infrastructure utilities. Besides the immediate restoration needs, the EU has to plan in advance the longer-term investments into Ukraine’s economy, which have to take into account the EU membership perspective and financial needs to fulfill the EU membership obligations.”

New developments

1. The UNSC issue its first statement on the war since 24 February.

The Security Council expressed strong support today for the Secretary-General’s efforts in the search for a peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine, in its first united action since the invasion of that country in late February. In a presidential statement (to be issued as document S/PRST/2022/3) presented by the United States, Council President for May, the 15-member organ requested that he deliver a briefing in due course. Also by that text, the Council expressed deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security in Ukraine, recalling that all Member States have undertaken, under the Charter of the United Nations, the obligation to settle their international disputes by peaceful means.”

2. UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the Security Council meeting on Ukraine: The war on Ukraine is senseless in its scope, ruthless in its dimensions, and limitless in its potential for global harm.  The cycle of death, destruction, dislocation, and disruption must stop.  It is high time to unite and end this war.

3. Talks with guarantors of Ukraine’s security are in an active phase, the Ukrinform reports. Negotiations with the nations ready to become Ukraine’s security guarantors are now in an active phase, and a significant part of the guarantees is already being implemented in the form of armaments and our country’s shift to NATO standards, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said. The Head of the President’s Office Andriy Yermak named seven nations that had agreed to become guarantors of Ukraine’s security. These are the US, Great Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, Poland, and Italy. Yermak expressed hope for China to join when a draft document on security guarantees is ready.

4. Luhansk, Donetsk, and Crimea must be the subject of talks between two presidents, the Ukrinform reports. The priority objective is to end the war and withdraw Russian troops at least to the borders of February 23. The certain areas of the Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast (CADLR) and the temporarily occupied Crimea must be resolved at a meeting between the President of Ukraine and the President of Russia, the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, said in an interview with RBC-Ukraine. According to Yermak, no matter what, Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity will not be traded off.

5. Further talks with Russia are off the table if Ukrainians remaining in Mariupol get killed – Zelenskyy, the Ukrinform reports.

The possible elimination of the Ukrainian military and civilians, currently remaining at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, could put an end to any negotiations with the Russian side. This was stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who spoke via video conference at Chatham House”.

6. Russian MFA says talks with Ukraine are stagnant, the TASS reports.

Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine are stagnant, Alexey Zaitsev, deputy director of the information and press department at the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday. He said statements by Ukrainian politicians about their unwillingness to negotiate with Moscow only confirm the importance of implementing the tasks of demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.”

7. Russia “swears” it will not use nuclear weapons against Ukraine, the Ukrayinska Pravda reports. Aleksey Zaitsev, the Deputy Director of the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, insists that it is impossible for Russia to use nuclear weapons in the war against Ukraine. According to Zaitsev, Russia allegedly adheres to the principle according to which “there can be no winners in a nuclear war, and it must not be unleashed. Scenarios for the possible use of nuclear weapons are clearly spelled out in Russian doctrinal documents. They are not applicable to the tasks set during the special military operation in Ukraine”, he stated in a press briefing

8. Biden to sign the military lend-lease bill for Ukraine on May 9 – White House, the Ukrinform reports. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this at a briefing on Friday, Ukrinform reports. As reported, the document allows the US president to use the military lend-lease program to speed up the transfer of weapons, military equipment, medicines, food, etc. to Ukraine. It is expected that the recipient country will pay their cost later. The military lend-lease program was used during World War II. It allowed the United States to provide weapons to its allies quickly. ME: Signing it on the Russian Victory Day for WWII sends a very strong message to the “ruscists”.

9. Kremlin says Poland might be a source of threat, the Reuters reports. Stanislaw Zaryn, a spokesman for the Polish security services, said that Russia has been conducting a coordinated disinformation campaign against Poland for several days, including suggestions it could be a threat to Ukraine’s territorial integrity. “The aim of Russian actions is to create distrust between Poland and Ukraine, as well as to slander Poland and present it as a dangerous country generating conflicts in Eastern Europe,” he wrote in an emailed comment.

Assessment

On the War

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Friday 6 May:

The Ukrainian counteroffensive north and east of Kharkiv city secured further gains in the last 24 hours and may successfully push Russian forces out of artillery range of Kharkiv in the coming days. Ukrainian forces captured several settlements north and east of Kharkiv in the last 24 hours, reducing the ability of Russian forces to threaten Ukraine’s second-largest city.

This Ukrainian operation is developing into a successful, broader counteroffensive—as opposed to the more localized counterattacks that Ukrainian forces have conducted throughout the war to secure key terrain and disrupt Russian offensive operations.

Ukrainian forces are notably retaking territory along a broad arc around Kharkiv rather than focusing on a narrow thrust, indicating an ability to launch larger-scale offensive operations than we have observed so far in the war (as Ukrainian forces predominantly retook the outskirts of Kyiv following Russian withdrawals rather than in a major counteroffensive).

The willingness of Ukrainian forces to concentrate the forces necessary for this scale of offensive operations, rather than deploying these available forces to defenses in eastern Ukraine, additionally indicates the Ukrainian military’s confidence in repelling ongoing Russian operations to encircle Ukrainian forces in the Sievierodonetsk area.

While Ukrainian forces are unlikely to directly threaten Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Izium (as they run further to the east of recent Ukrainian advances), Ukrainian forces may be able to relieve Russian pressure on Kharkiv and possibly threaten to make further advances to the Russian border.

ISW cannot confirm initial reports of a Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missile strike on the Russian frigate Admiral Makarov on May 6. Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby said the United States cannot confirm the reported strike and added “we’ve been looking at this all day.” ISW will update this assessment with further information as it becomes available.

Ukrainian forces continued to repel Russian attacks on the Izium axis in the last 24 hours, with Kharkiv Oblast civilian leadership reporting that Ukrainian forces inflicted heavy casualties on Russian forces on the outskirts of Barinkove. … Russian forces around Izium remain stalled and additional scattered reinforcements are unlikely to enable renewed advances.

Russian forces likely secured small gains on the outskirts of Sievierodonetsk on May 6. Russian forces continued attacks on Rubizhne and Voevodivka (just north of Sievierodonetsk) and likely captured Voronove (southeast of Sievierodonetsk). Local Ukrainian and Russian sources both reported that Russian forces are attacking other unspecified villages on the outskirts of Sievierodonetsk in a likely attempt to surround the town. …

Russian forces in the entire southern axis did not conduct any active operations (halting recent attacks toward Kryvyi Rih and Zaporizhzhia) in the last 24 hours and continued to reinforce their frontline positions.

Key Takeaways

  • The Ukrainian counteroffensive along a broad arc north and east of Kharkiv city took further terrain and will likely push Russian forces out of tube artillery range of the city in the coming days. The ability—and willingness—of the Ukrainian military to concentrate the forces in Kharkiv necessary to conduct this operation indicates Ukrainian confidence in repelling ongoing Russian attacks with their existing forces in the region.
  • Russian forces did not make any progress on the Izium axis.
  • Russian forces likely secured small gains on the outskirts of Sievierodonetsk in the last 24 hours but are unlikely to successfully surround the town.
  • Russian forces continued assaults on the Azovstal plant, but ISW cannot confirm any specific advances. Likely widespread civilian resistance to the Russian occupation may additionally be disrupting previously announced Russian plans to conduct a Victory Day exhibition in Mariupol.
  • There were no significant changes on the southern axis in the last 24 hours and Russian forces continued to reinforce their forward positions.
  • ISW cannot confirm reports of a Ukrainian anti-ship missile strike on the Admiral Makarov at this time.

Putin continues to send conscripts to war in Ukraine, the Ukrayinska Pravda reports. “Putin continues to send conscripts to the war in Ukraine. Due to high losses at the front, the occupiers are trying to urgently replenish their reserves of ‘manpower”, the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU) states on Telegram. Despite the Kremlin’s repeated statements about the unacceptability of involving conscripts in the war, such cases are being recorded more and more often“.

According to DIU, conscripts of the 98th Airborne Division (Ivanovo), which is taking part in battles in Kharkiv Oblast, have been involved in the fighting. Due to the need to quickly replenish the army, recruits of the 8th Army of the Southern military district are sent to Ukraine after only 4 days of training.

In addition, according to intelligence, the Russian authorities forcibly “volunteered” up to 40 medical workers from Crimea, sending them on a “free business trip” to the occupied territories of the Donetsk Oblast. Doctors are deployed for up to 2 weeks to “help.” The DIU noted that cases of desertion from the occupying forces are becoming more frequent. In particular, in the village of Rybalche, Kherson oblast, the occupiers are looking for 15 servicemen who did not want to participate in hostilities and left the unit.

Assessment by Hans Petter Midttun

To avoid sparking a wider war between two nuclear-armed superpowers, President Biden has ruled out sending US troops to Ukraine, enforcing a no-fly zone over the country or providing certain categories of weapons, such as fighter planes, that could allow Ukraine to strike inside Russia. In my opinion, however, this is a policy statement rather than a threat or risk assessment.

During the Extraordinary NATO Summit on 24 March, President Biden stressed the crucial importance of absolute unity among NATO allies. Secretary-General Stoltenberg highlighted that NATO is determined to do all it can to support Ukraine. Both statements indicated discord within the Alliance and that the outcome of the summit represented the upper limit of what the “weakest links” were willing to accept, in the fear that a greater engagement will result in unacceptable costs to individual member states.

As we have seen since the fundamental dependency of many European countries on Russian oil and gas continues blocking the EU from imposing the more far-reaching and effective sanctions needed to deplete Russia’s ability to fund its war in Ukraine. one can argue that the Russian Federation in the short term has succeeded in limiting NATO’s ability to respond to its war in Ukraine. Russia is for the same reason, probably equally reluctant to cut its energy supply to Europe, limiting its display of “energy power” to stopping gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria.

Two days ago, I reported on The New York article claiming US intelligence is helping Ukraine kill Russian generals. Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that the “US provided intelligence that helped Ukraine sink Russian warship”, referring to Ukraine’s sinking of the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the cruiser Moskva on 13 April.

Absent the intelligence from the United States, Ukraine would have struggled to target the warship with the confidence necessary to expend two valuable Neptune missiles, which were in short supply, according to the people familiar with the strike, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence. NBC News first reported that the United States had provided intelligence on the Moskva.

Since before the war began, the Biden administration has treated the issue of intelligence-sharing with Ukraine as extremely sensitive. Officials have insisted they only provide assistance that helps Ukraine defend itself, worried that Russia could view the provision of information used in attacks as a justification for retaliating directly against the United States and its allies.

Ukraine combines information that we and others provide with intelligence they’re gathering themselves … and then they make their own decisions,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Thursday …. “We do provide them useful intelligence, timely intelligence,” Kirby added, but he did not detail what that is or how it has been exploited. Ukraine makes its own battlefield decisions, Pentagon says. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said May 5 that the US does not participate in the targeting decisions of the Ukrainian military.

Accurate US intelligence would provide Ukraine with the information it needs to attack a stationary target like a command post or field headquarters. It would, however, normally not be accurate enough to target anything on the move. Intelligence does not provide real-time tracking in the manner a Ukrainian Bayraktar TB2 drone could provide. Irrespective of US or NATO support – that being the weapons, sensor or intelligence provided – the ultimate decision to attack belong to Ukraine.

I argued that once the information about the intelligence support is publicly acknowledged, Russia would be forced to respond to the claim. Furthermore, its reaction would help determine its willingness to engage NATO militarily. My prediction was that Russia “will continue doing what it has done for more than 8 years already, namely do it very best to avoid a confrontation with the West”.

The Kremlin response was indeed muted.

Russia was already “well aware” that NATO and its member countries were sharing intelligence with Ukraine, said Dmitri S. Peskov, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, who added that Western aid only lengthens the war and “cannot prevent the fulfillment” of Russia’s goals, The New York Times report.

The muted response is very much in line with the overall Russian response to the US and NATO support for Ukraine.

Western support to Ukraine, which soon will include a WW2 “lend-lease” agreement, is unprecedented. The support includes heavy and light weapons, drones, vehicles, helicopters, intelligence, communication systems, sensors, ammunition, and more, all of which help kill Russians and deny the Russian Federation a victory. Still, Western support for Ukraine has not sparked a wider military conflict.

President Vladimir Putin recently accused the West of trying to destroy Russia. The international sanctions have been described as an act of aggression. Officials have claimed the West is waging a total (hybrid war), economic, information, and cultural war against Russia. Lavrov views NATO as being “in essence” engaged in a proxy war with Russia. And still, this has not sparked a wider military conflict.

On 16 September 2021, the EU Parliament concluded that Europe is exposed to a Russian Hybrid War. But still, the Russian Federation has refrained from engaging in a wider military conflict.

On 25 March and after the Extraordinary NATO summit, I concluded my morning report with a concern that the aim of achieving full unity in the face of the massive atrocities taking place in Ukraine would come back and haunt NATO. I could not – and cannot still – see any action that might help cut the war short but the active role of the Alliance.

I believe in NATO deterrence, and that if deterrence works, Russia will step back if the Alliance chose to step in.

By not executing an UN-mandated humanitarian intervention – and not making the crucial difference the USA did in Europe during both World War 1 and 2 by changing the military force balance to the advantage of democracy – we will both see a protracted war with horrific atrocities as well as global consequences that might come back and challenge NATO and EU unity.

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

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