Russo-Ukrainian war, day 76: Ukrainian Army holding ground in the East, Russian missiles hit Odesa

Ukraine war

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun
Ukrainian Army keeps defense in the East, reinforcements arrive. Russia’s aviation launched 53 strikes on Ukraine. In Odesa, hypersonic missiles destroyed five buildings injuring two people. Ukraine has received 85 howitzers from the US. Joe Biden has signed the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022.

Morning report day 76 – May 10

Situation

According to information from the General Staff as of 06.00 10.05.2022, supplemented by its 18:00 assessment.

“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.Ukraine war

Russian forces focus the main efforts of the aviation group on supporting the actions of units in the eastern operational zone: in the Slobozhansky, Donetsk directions, and the area of ​​the Azovstal plant.

Artillery continues to be used along almost the entire line of contact.

Almost along the entire line of contact, Russian forces continue to use all available artillery and aircraft to fire on the positions of Ukrainian troops, the destruction of civilian and military infrastructure. In the city of Mariupol, despite the declared “silence”, Russian forces resumed shelling and assault on the Azovstal plant.

There is a high probability of missile strikes on civilian and military infrastructure throughout Ukraine.

The possibility of sabotage of the chemical industry of Ukraine with further accusations of units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is not ruled out.

In the Volyn and Polissya directions, Russian forces did not take active action. No signs of the formation of offensive groups were found. Certain units of the Belarusian Armed Forces perform tasks to cover the Ukrainian-Belarusian border in the Brest and Gomel oblasts.

In the Siversky direction, Russian forces continue to provide enhanced protection of the Ukrainian-Russian border in the Bryansk and Kursk oblasts. It fired multiple rocket-propelled grenades from the area of ​​the border settlements of Velyka Pisarivka, Bilopillya, Krasnopillya, and Yunakivka in the Sumy Oblast.

  • It is expected that Russian forces will continue to demonstrate along the section of the state border of Ukraine in order to restrain the actions of units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and prevent their regrouping in other areas.
  • Carries out engineering and fortification equipment of defense positions near the state border of Ukraine.

In the Slobozhansky direction, Russian forces maintain certain forces and means of air defense in the Belgorod Oblast in full readiness for use. It continues to focus its efforts on the defense of the occupied borders to prevent the advance of units of our troops towards the state border of Ukraine. Conducts air reconnaissance.

  • In the Izium direction, Russian forces replenished ammunition, fuel, and logistics.
  • In the Izium direction, Russian units are being prepared for further offensive operations in the Izium-Barvinkove and Izium-Sloviansk directions. Russian forces are conducting air reconnaissance.
  • Russian forces continue to prepare for offensive operations in the areas of Lyman and Sievierodonetsk.

In the Donetsk and Luhansk directions:

  • Fighting continues for the settlements of Voevodivka, Toshkivka and Nyzhne of the Sievierodonetsk district of the Luhansk oblast, as well as Kamyanka of the Yasynuvata district of the Donetsk oblast.
  • It made an unsuccessful attempt to storm the settlement of Voevodivka. It was not successful. Russian forces resigned.
  • In Mariupol, Russian forces continue to destroy the infrastructure of the Azovstal plant with artillery and airstrikes. Fighting continues.
  • The battle for Rubizhne continues in the Sievierodonetsk direction. Russian forces are trying to improve the tactical situation, capture the city and create favourable conditions for further development of offensive operations in the areas of Lyman and Sievierodonetsk.
  • In the Lyman direction, Russian forces are trying to advance in the areas of Oleksandrivka and Shandryholove.
  • In the Bakhmut direction it fought unsuccessfully in the area of ​​the settlement of Toshkivka.
  • In the Avdiivka direction, it is trying to improve the tactical situation in the areas of the settlements of Novoselivka, Novoselivka Druha, and Verkhnotoretske. The fighting continues.
  • In the Novopavlovsk and Zaporizhzhia directions, certain Russian forces units are regrouping troops to prepare for further active action. It is expected to increase the Russian forces at the expense of units that performed tasks in the area of ​​Mariupol.

  • During the previous day in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts defenders of Ukraine successfully repulsed fifteen enemy attacks, destroyed one anti-aircraft missile system, 9 tanks, 3 artillery systems, and 25 units of armored combat vehicles, 3 units of special engineering equipment and 3 forces vehicles.

In the Pivdenny Buh and Tavriya directions, Russian forces regrouped the existing units in order to improve the tactical position of its troops. Increases fire and air defense systems improve engineering equipment positions. To prevent the transfer of units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine to other areas, their shackles, conduct demonstrative actions.

  • Russian forces did not conduct active hostilities in the Pivdenny Buh direction. It fired on units of our troops. Prepares for the resumption of assault operations in order to improve the tactical situation.
  • The situation in the Bessarabian direction in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova remained unchanged.

Russian Black Sea Fleet continues to carry out tasks to isolate combat areas, conduct surveillance, launch missile strikes on important objects of civil and military infrastructure of our state, support units in the coastal direction and block civilian shipping.

In the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, Russian forces continue to carry out measures of the administrative-police regime. The celebration of the so-called “Victory Day” was simulated for the Russian media in some of the occupied settlements.

The losses of Russian forces exceed the indicators of manning, which significantly affects the overall moral and psychological state and becomes a prerequisite for the refusal of personnel to continue to participate in hostilities against Ukraine.”

Lysychansk direction mapRussian troops cross the Siverskyi Donets river as Luhansk Oblast fights for “salvation route”, the Ukrayinska Pravda reported Monday morning. The Russian army is attempting to “cut” the Luhansk Oblast “off” from the rest of Ukraine by seizing control over the Lysychansk – Bakhmut highway. Russian military equipment has already managed to cross the Siverskyi Donets river, Serhii Haidai, Head of the Luhansk Oblast Military Administration, said. “Today is a crucial day. We will be fighting for the ‘salvation route’.” Heavy fighting continues in Rubizhne and Bilohorivka.

Ukraine Army keeps defense in Popasna, reinforcements arrive, the Ukrinform reports. “Popasna. No breakthrough there. Our defenders are keeping the defense at the new fortified positions. Hopefully, the situation will change soon. Reinforcements have arrived, and we will be gradually clearing settlements nearby,” Hear of Luhansk Oblast Military Administration, Serhii Haidai, said on Telegram. He had previously stated earlier that the Ukrainian military had withdrawn from Popasna, as it had been completely destroyed by the forces.

Ukrainian Army holding ground in Rubizhne, Voievodivka, retain full control of Sievierodonetsk, the Ukrinform reports Monday evening. According to a Telegram post by the Head of Luhansk Oblast Military Administration, Serhii Haidai, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been holding the line of defense in Rubizhne and Voievodivka, Luhansk Oblast, and remain in control of Sievierodonetsk, a city where the Russian invaders “never set foot.”

Russians have concentrated up to 50 Kalibr missiles in the Black Sea, the Ukrayinska Pravda reports. As of today, there are seven warships and submarines with Kalibr-type SLCM in the Black Sea with a total arsenal of up to 50 missiles, Oleksandr Motuzianyk, press secretary of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, said at a briefing at the Ukraine-Ukrinform Media Centre.

Occupying forces prepared artillery in the north of Crimea for battles for the Kherson oblast, the Ukrayinska Pravda reports. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine says that the Russian forces have recruited additional artillery units in the north of the Crimean peninsula for future battles for the Kherson Oblast.

Russian troops preparing a chemical attack on Azovstal on 11 May, the Ukrayinska Pravda reports.

“I have just found out from sources in Mariupol who contacted me that a powerful chemical attack on Azovstal is being prepared for 11 May, Oleksandr Lashyn, Councilman from Mariupol, said, citing sources, wrote on Facebook. Local residents in Mariupol are warned not to leave their houses starting tomorrow: the Russian troops want to smoke our guys, our heroes, out from Azovstal. All of their efforts have been in vain so far, so they’re planning to take such genocidal measures as powerful chemical weapons.”

Kharkiv direction mapRussia’s aviation launched 53 strikes on Ukraine over the past day – Defense Ministry, the Ukrinform reports. “The occupiers’ operational and tactical aviation launched 48 strikes on Kharkiv Oblast and Donetsk Oblast. Meanwhile, Russia’s long-range aircraft were used to launch five strikes on Mykolaiv Oblast and Odesa Oblast. The threat of Russia’s cruise missile strikes from the Black Sea on military and civilian objects within the territory of Ukraine is persisting,” Ukrainian Defense Ministry Spokesperson, Oleksandr Motuzianyk, said at a briefing.

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

  • Russia’s underestimation of Ukrainian resistance and its ‘best case scenario’ planning have led to demonstrable operational failings, preventing President Putin from announcing significant military success in Ukraine at the 09 May Victory Day parade.
  • Russia’s invasion plan is highly likely to have been based on the mistaken assumption that it would encounter limited resistance and would be able to encircle and bypass population centers rapidly.
  • This assumption led Russian forces to attempt to carry out the opening phase of the operation with a light, precise approach intended to achieve a rapid victory with minimal cost. This miscalculation led to unsustainable losses and a subsequent reduction in Russia’s operational focus.

As of Tuesday 10 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 26000 people (+350),
  • Tanks – 1170 units (+25),
  • Armored combat vehicles – 2808 units (+44),
  • Artillery systems – 519 (+6),
  • Multiple rocket launchers – 185 (+0)
  • Air defense means – 87 (+0),
  • Aircraft – 199 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 158 (+0),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 1980 (+10),
  • Vessels/boats – 12 units (+1),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 380 (+3)
  • Special equipment – 41 (+0)
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0)
  • Cruise missiles – 94 (+0)

Russian enemy suffered the greatest losses (of the last day) in the Avdiivka direction.

Humanitarian

Impossible to return to the liberated villages of the Kharkiv Oblast: there are many mines and tripwires; fatalities reported, the Ukrayinska Pravda reports. Police urge people not to return to their houses in the liberated settlements of the Kharkiv Oblast: it is extremely dangerous. In recent days, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have liberated many settlements in the Kharkiv Oblast. Many residents of these places have a clear desire to return home. For the time being, this is extremely dangerous, Serhii Bolvinov, Head of the Investigative Department of the National Police in Kharkiv Oblast, on Facebook. First, because of the continuation of hostilities and the proximity to the front line, and second, because of the huge number of unexploded ordnance and mines left behind by the fleeing army of invaders.

More than a hundred civilians remain at Azovstal, the Ukrayinska Pravda reports. “There are more than a hundred civilians left on Azovstal,” Pavlo Kyrylenko, the Head of the Donetsk Oblast Military Administration, said on air of the national 24/7 newscast. According to Kyrylenko, in Mariupol, there are up to 100.000 residents. “It is quite difficult to say who of them wants to leave,” he added.

Commenting on the information about the resumption of shelling of Azovstal by the Russians, Kyrylenko said: “It is easier to say when the shelling does not happen than when it happens. Aviation and artillery work there almost constantly. The shelling stops and ceasefire happen when evacuation measures take place either from Azovstal itself or there is the evacuation of local civilians nearby.”

45% of people have left occupied Kherson, every fifth was from Kherson Oblast, the Ukrayinska Pravda reports. “According to preliminary estimates, about 45% of Kherson’s inhabitants have left since March, and one in five has left the Oblast. This is a catastrophic number,” the Head of the Kherson Oblast Military Administration Hennadii Lahuta in an interview with Ukrinform

“Living in unbearable conditions created by Ruscists is very difficult and dangerous, says Lahuta. The occupiers were looting, killing, and raping, so the civilians could not stand it. They were very afraid and forced to leave their homes.

He said that the occupiers had not allowed them to organise official “green corridors”, so people, risking their lives, would leave on their own, gathering in columns.”

According to UNHCR 5,890,875 refugees have been registered as of May 8. The UN says that so far Poland has taken in 3,217,206 refugees, Romania 880,100, Russian Federation 739,418, Hungary 568,630, Republic of Moldova 456,947, Slovakia 402,332 and Belarus 26,278. 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 1,537,500 as of May 8. This figure reflects cross-border movements, which can be pendular, and does not necessarily indicate sustainable returns.

OHCHR recorded 7,061 civilian casualties in Ukraine as of May 8. 3,381 were killed (including 235 children) and 3,680 injured (including 346 children).

World impact

Ukraine loses $170M every day due to blocked ports, the Ukrinform reports. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and President of the European Council Charles Michel coordinated joint steps to resolve the issue of Ukraine’s agricultural exports.

“Shmyhal stressed that the world is already feeling the effects of the war, unleashed by Russia, on global food security, as shipping in the Black Sea has been suspended since February 24, 2022. … In his words, a total of 90 million tonnes of Ukraine’s agricultural products intended to be shipped to Africa, Asia and Europe have been blocked.

According to Shmyhal, some agricultural stocks were taken away by road and rail, while others are now under enemy fire or have been seized by Russian troops. Ukraine loses $170 million every day due to blocked ports, and Ukraine’s export potential has fallen by more than half, Shmyhal stressed.

“Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian seaports has already caused a sharp increase in the price of wheat, corn and sunflower oil in global markets. But, despite the aggressor’s intentions to create a global food crisis, we must do everything together to prevent famine in some countries,” Shmyhal noted. …

Meanwhile, the President of the European Council stressed that Odesa plays a key role in ensuring food security around the world. “Millions of tonnes of food are currently blocked here in Odesa. This means potentially dramatic consequences for many countries in the world, especially for developing countries. This is the direct responsibility of this war started by Russia. We must do everything to work together to address this food security challenge, which is important for the world,” Michel said.”

Ukraine’s planted crop areas are 20-30% behind last year’s results, the Ukrinform reports. “The sowing campaign is carried out rather actively in Ukraine. There are obvious difficulties, mainly in terms of logistics. There are difficulties with the number of vehicles, as many of them are on the front line, curfew, and the storage of seed materials and fuels. As a result, the sowing campaign is 20-30% slower. The weather is also shifting the sowing campaign timings,” Ukrainian Agrarian Policy and Food Minister, Mykola Solskyi, told at a briefing.

Legal

A database of 231 videos exposes the horrors of war in Ukraine, The Washington Post reports.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is one of the most documented wars ever. Citizens, public officials and soldiers have posted videos every day that show the dead bodies in neighbourhoods, the trails of missiles streaking through the skies and the smouldering ruins of entire towns.

The Washington Post’s visual forensics team started to verify and catalog videos from the war the day Russia’s invasion began. This work is now searchable in a database that will be updated. The videos have been uploaded in raw format; graphic content is clearly marked.

Certain trends are apparent:

  • Little has been spared. Houses, apartment buildings, and playgrounds have been destroyed across Ukraine. 
  • Patients seeking care became victims of war. A maternity hospital, a cancer ward, and a children’s dental clinic are among dozens of health facilities that have been struck. 
  • The port city of Mariupol has been largely cut off from the world. But some inside has managed to document the horrors of Russia’s deadly siege
  • Bombardments are routine. Citizens filming from their windows and security cameras capture moments when strikes reduce structures to rubble.

The total term of punishment of Crimean political prisoners exceeds 1,000 years, the Ukrinform reports. “Eighty-one people were sentenced to real terms of imprisonment. The total duration of their sentences is 1,002 years and 2 months. However, this figure grows every month with each subsequent sentence passed,” CrimeaSOS reports with reference to analyst Yevheniy Yaroshenko.

Et bilde som inneholder tekst Automatisk generert beskrivelse226 children were killed, and 416 children injured, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of 10 May. 1,657 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, and 132 of them are destroyed fully. 10,619 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 5,038 crimes against national security were registered.

Support

The UK would support countries willing to supply Russian-designed jets to Ukraine, The Guardian reports. “Britain would support and provide assistance to Poland or any other central or eastern European country willing to supply Russian-designed jet fighters to Ukraine, the defense secretary has said.

“Ben Wallace said on Monday the UK would “stand by any country who makes that choice” and would “defend their right to do it” – although it is a step that no country has been willing to take for fear of Russian reprisals. A plan for Poland to transfer 28 MiG-29 jets familiar to Ukraine’s pilots in March via the US collapsed after White House objections – and has not been revived despite Kyiv’s repeated call for more airpower to defend itself.

When asked about whether Ukraine still needed more powerful weapons to force out the Russian invaders, Wallace said the UK had supported the idea of a Polish jet transfer at the time – and continued to do so. “If Poland chose to do that we would support them,” he said. Britain would be willing to backfill – lend airpower to make good any shortfall – Wallace said, highlighting that in April the UK agreed to send two additional Typhoon jets to Romania, taking its total contingent to six, as part of a Black Sea air policing mission.”

Ukraine has received howitzers from the US, the Ukraine Business News reports citing CNN.

“According to a senior US defense official, the US has delivered 85 howitzers, long-range weapons pledged to Ukraine, and more than 110,000 of the 184,000 rounds of ammunition that have been pledged. The official also said that more than 310 Ukrainian soldiers had completed training on the howitzers, with another 50 currently being trained. At least 20 Ukrainians have completed training on the Phoenix Ghost drone, 60 Ukrainians have completed training on the M113 armored personnel carrier (APC), with another 45 completing training on that APC today, and 15 Ukrainians have completed training on the Q64 mobile air defense radar, with a second class beginning training on that radar system today”.

The lend-lease act will help Ukrainian soldiers defeat Russian invaders, the Ukrinform reports. The lend-lease law, signed by US President Joe Biden on 9 May, will help Ukrainian soldiers defeat Russian invaders, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Telegram.

“During World War II, a lend-lease act became a major factor in the anti-Hitler coalition’s victory over Nazism. Eighty years later, history repeats itself. US President Joe Biden has just signed into law a bill introducing a lend-lease program to support Ukraine. That means more weapons and more aid for Ukrainian soldiers to defeat the Russian occupiers,” Shmyhal said. He added that the supply of American weapons will now not be limited by any additional procedures, which will speed up the process. Biden signed the Ukraine lend-lease act into law at the White House on Monday, 9 May.”

US Congress plans nearly $40 bln more for Ukraine, the Reuters reports.

US congressional Democrats agreed to rush $39.8 billion in additional aid for Ukraine, two sources familiar with the proposal said on Monday, easing fears a delayed vote could interrupt the flow of US weapons to the Kyiv government. The House of Representatives could pass the plan, which exceeds President Joe Biden’s request last month for $33 billion, as soon as Tuesday, and Senate leaders said they were also prepared to move quickly. The new proposal includes an additional $3.4 billion for military aid and $3.4 billion in humanitarian aid, the sources said.”

New developments

1. US President Joe Biden has signed into law the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022, the Ukrinform reports.

The signing ceremony took place at the White House on Monday, 9 May, according to Ukrinform. The Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act was passed last month by both chambers of the US Congress. The Senate unanimously supported the document on April 6, and the House of Representatives voted for the measure on April 28.

2. Biden says he is worried Putin does not have a way out of the war in Ukraine, the Reuters reports. “US President Joe Biden said on Monday he is worried that Russian President Vladimir Putin does not have a way out of the Ukraine war, and Biden said he was trying to figure out what to do about that”.

[Hans Petter Midttun: Defeat and withdrawal is a way out of the conflict. Any indication of an off-ramp solution for Russia will be at the cost of Ukrainian sovereignty and independence. 15 years of concessions to Russian aggressions have resulted in more war.}

3. European Council to consider Ukraine’s application for EU candidate status in June, the Ukrinform reports.

The European Council will consider Ukraine’s application for EU candidate status in June 2022. The relevant statement was made by President of the European Council Charles Michel during a video conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, an Ukrinform correspondent reports, referring to the Office of the President of Ukraine.”

4. Ukraine has filled in the second part of the questionnaire to acquire the status of a candidate country for EU accession, the Ukrinform reports. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on his Telegram channel that he had shown a completed document to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during a video call. Zelenskyy signed the application for Ukraine’s membership in the European Union on February 28, 2022.

5. Let’s not make the same mistakes as in the past once the Ukraine-Russia conflict ends, Macron says, the Reuters reports.

Europe must learn from its past mistakes and make sure no side is humiliated when Russia and Ukraine negotiate for peace, France’s president said after describing Vladimir Putin’s World War Two anniversary speech as “intimidation” and “warlike“.”

[Hans Petter Midttun: Europe must learn from its past mistakes and make sure that it never again supports a peace plan with no prospect for peace and a peaceful resolution of the war. No “Minsk Agreement version 3.0”.]

6. White House: Putin’s speech was revisionist history.

The White House on Monday dismissed a “Victory Day” speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin as “revisionist history” and said his suggestion that Western aggression led to the Ukraine war was “patently absurd.” Speaking to reporters, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Putin’s speech was “revisionist history that took the form of disinformation,” the Reuters reports.

7. Russia conducted its Victory Day parade on 9 May without suffering casualties, [Hans Petter Midttun: Having lost 26,000 in its special military operation so far, they managed to conduct an operation in Moscow without suffering losses. Credibility was, however, already lost.]

8. E.U. leader travels to Hungary, but fails to persuade Orban to back Russian oil embargo, The Washington Post reports.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen … said they “made progress, but further work is needed.” She said she would convene another meeting with Hungary and other central European countries via video conference to strengthen regional cooperation on oil infrastructure. Hungary and Slovakia remain heavily reliant on Russian oil, and diplomats have said the ban would include exceptions for them. But Orban could prove especially difficult to convince, given his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his ongoing standoff with the E.U. over rule-of-law concerns”.

Assessment

On the War

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Monday 9 May:

Russian forces continue to face widespread force generation challenges. A senior US defense official stated on 9 May that the US has not observed any indicators of a “new major Russian mobilization” and that members of the private military company Wagner Group “urgently” requested hundreds of thousands of additional troops to reinforce Russian efforts in Donbas. 

The official noted that Russia currently has 97 battalion tactical groups (BTGs) in Ukraine, but that BTGs have been moving in and out of Ukraine to refit and resupply, suggesting that Russian troops continue to sustain substantial damage in combat. ISW has previously assessed that most Russian BTGs are heavily degraded and counting BTGs is not a useful metric of Russian combat power. 

The Defense Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU) claimed that under-trained, ill-equipped Russian conscripts are still being sent into active combat despite the Kremlin denying this practice. A prisoner of war from the BARS-7 detachment of the Wagner Group claimed that a ”covert mobilization” is underway in Russia to send conscripts to clean damage caused by combat in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

Russian troops in Ukraine continue to display low morale and poor discipline as fighting in many areas has stalled out against Ukrainian resistance. A senior US defense official claimed that Russian troops in Donbas are failing to obey orders from top generals. 

Russian forces deployed to the Zaporizhzhia area reportedly are experiencing very low morale and psychological conditions, complain about the ineffectiveness of operations in the area, frequently abuse alcohol, and shoot at their own vehicles in order to avoid going to the frontline. This is consistent with reports made by the Ukrainian General Staff that the extent of Russian losses is having widespread impacts on the willingness of Russian troops to engage in offensive operations.

Russian authorities are likely setting conditions to integrate occupied Ukrainian territories directly into Russia, as opposed to creating proxy “People’s Republics.” 

The Kherson occupation Deputy Chairman of Military Civil Administration Kirill Stremousov stated on 9 May that the Kherson Oblast intends to become part of Russia and that Kherson authorities do not intend to hold a referendum to create an independent republic. Spokesperson for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry Oleksandr Motuzyanyk reported that Russian occupation authorities are intensifying reconnaissance measures and increasing checkpoints and patrols in occupied areas in order to prepare to integrate these regions directly into Russia. 

Motuzyanyk noted that Russian and Crimean groups have been arriving to occupied regions to intensify propaganda measures to prepare for integration. ISW will publish our assessment of the Kremlin’s most likely course of actions towards their occupied territories in Ukraine in the coming days.

Russian forces are likely continuing to amass troops in Belgorod Oblast to stop Ukrainian counterattacks around Kharkiv City from reaching the Ukrainian-Russian border. A senior US defense official said on 9 May that Russian forces have not abandoned efforts to encircle Kharkiv City from the north and east in “a horseshoe-like shape,” despite having only three battalion tactical groups (BTGs) operating in northern Kharkiv Oblast. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces accumulated 19 BTGs in Belgorod Oblast, which could reinforce the Kharkiv City axis.

Russian forces did not make any confirmed advances to the southeast or southwest of Izium on 9 May but are likely attempting to concentrate the forces necessary to resume offensive operations in the coming days. Russian troops are likely reprioritizing a push southeast of Izium towards Sloviansk after focusing on advancing southwest to Barvinkove in the past few weeks. … A senior US defense official notably reported that Russian forces are conducting artillery strikes and ground attacks southeast of Izium to drive towards Lyman and Sloviansk, but that Ukrainian resistance in this area has confined Russian advances to gains in the “single digits” of miles.

Russian forces continued attacks westward in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts and made marginal gains around Sievierodonetsk on 9 May. Troops of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) reportedly captured Nyzhnje and are fighting for control of Toshkivka, about 25 kilometers southeast of Sievierodonetsk. Ukrainian sources reported fierce fighting around Rubizhne and Vojevodivka …, about 25 kilometers west of Sievierodonetsk. NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) imagery showed fires in the area west of Sievierodonetsk around Bilohorivka, Pryvillya and Novodruzhesk, likely indicating that Russian forces are shelling Ukrainian positions in this area in order to encircle Severodonesk and Rubizhne from the west and continue to push towards the Donetsk Oblast border.

Russian forces continued to conduct artillery strikes and assaults against Ukrainian defenders in the Azovstal Steel Plant on 9 May. A senior US defense official reported that 2 Russian battalion tactical groups (BTGs) remain in Mariupol and continue to storm Azovstal as over a dozen of the BTGs previously deployed to Mariupol are moving into other areas in Donbas, though ISW cannot independently confirm the actual strength of these reported BTGs.

Russian forces did not conduct any confirmed offensive operations in southern Ukraine on 9 May but continued to shell and launch missile strikes to pin Ukrainian troops and prevent them from transferring to other axes. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian units in Zaporizhzhia Oblast are regrouping and will likely receive reinforcements from forces previously deployed in Mariupol. Russian forces will likely reinforce units pushing toward Zaporizhzhia City and Donetsk Oblast due to the reports of an ineffective offensive around Huliaipole.

Satellite imagery from May 6 also showed that Russian forces have significantly increased their concentrations of military equipment and anti-aircraft and missile systems in southwestern Kherson Oblast since April 27, likely due to newly resumed railway connection with Crimea. Russian forces may have paused offensive operations in Southern Ukraine on 9 May due to Victory Day celebrations in occupied areas.

Russian forces continued to target Odesa with missile strikes on the days of 8 and 9 May. An unnamed US defense official said that Russia has no ability to threaten Odesa from the sea and the ground, despite consistent missile strikes and ongoing aerial reconnaissance.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces did not make any confirmed advances to the southeast or southwest of Izium on 9 May but are likely attempting to concentrate the forces necessary to resume offensive operations in the coming days.
  • Russian forces made marginal gains around Sievierodonetsk in the past 24 hours.
  • Russian forces are likely continuing to amass troops in Belgorod Oblast to stop Ukrainian counterattacks around Kharkiv City from reaching the Ukrainian-Russian border.
  • Russian units in Zaporizhzhia Oblast are regrouping and will likely receive reinforcements from forces previously deployed in Mariupol.
  • The Kremlin continues to face severe force mobilization challenges, and ongoing “covert mobilization” efforts are unlikely to generate substantial combat power.
  • Russian authorities are likely setting conditions to integrate occupied Ukrainian territories directly into Russia, as opposed to creating proxy “People’s Republics.

Russian authorities continue to send conscripts to die in the war in Ukraine, the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU) claims.

It is the conscripts who die first during hostilities. Poor training and outdated weapons and equipment lead to imminent death or injury. Another reason for the high mortality of conscripts of the occupying army is their involvement in operations in the first echelon of troops, in which more experienced contractors refuse to participate.

The sending of conscripts to the combat zone is another proof of the attitude of the authorities towards their citizens and the hunger strike in the aggressor’s army. Despite the covert mobilization in Russia and the forced mobilization of men in the temporarily uncontrolled territories of Ukraine, the Russian command is unable to provide full-fledged combat units.”

Consequences and what to do?

What to do? Telling the truth and living up to the ethical standards of free and independent journalism is a starting point. Lenta.ru was briefly filled with anti-war, anti-Putin content. Two employees claimed responsibility for the protest, the Meduza reports.

On the morning of 9 May, anti-war articles filled the homepage of the Russian pro-government outlet Lenta.ru.The articles have since disappeared from the website, but they’re still available on the Internet Archive. According to the archived files, about 20 articles published by Lenta.ru’s editorial board on May 8 and 9 were replaced with articles that had different titles, including:

  • “Vladimir Putin has turned into a pathetic, paranoid dictator” (headline visible on the archived version of the site’s homepage)
  • “Russia is abandoning its soldiers’ corpses in Ukraine” (archived version)
  • “The Defense Ministry lied to the relatives of the people who died on the Moskva cruiser” (archived version)
  • “Putin’s closest associate wants to take Russia back 100 years” (archived version)
  • “Zelenskyy turned out to be cooler than Putin” (archived version)
  • “Putin has unleashed one of the bloodiest wars of the 21st century” (archived version)
  • “The Russian elite turned out to be pathetically weak-willed” (archived version)
  • “The Russian authorities have prohibited journalists from saying anything negative” (archived version)
  • “Russia completely destroyed Mariupol” (archived version)
  • “Russia is threatening to destroy the entire world” (archived version)
  • “‘It’s easier to hide economic failure with a war.’ Putin needs to go. He’s unleashed a meaningless war and is leading Russia into oblivion” (archived version)

All of the articles were accompanied by a message: Disclaimer: This material was not approved by the leadership, and the presidential administration is going to rip them a new one. In other words: TAKE A SCREENSHOT NOW before they delete it.

The Russian media are unable to call the war, which has taken the lives of tens of thousands of Russians and Ukrainians, a war. Cities destroyed, civilians and their children killed, residential buildings bombed, the genocide of the Ukrainian people — according to the Kremlin-pressured Russian media, all of these things amount to a “special military operation” and a “liberation.”

The protest was the work of two Lenta.ru employees: Egor Polyakov, head of the outlet’s Economy and Environment sections, and Alexandra Miroshnikova, an editor for those sections.

We’re searching for work, lawyers, and most likely, political asylum! Don’t be afraid! Don’t be silent! Fight back! You’re not alone — there are many of us! The future is ours! Fuck war. Peace to Ukraine!” the journalists wrote in the article.” Both have allegedly escaped from Russia.

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