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Battle of Donbas: Russian attempt to encircle Ukrainian troops, in maps

Battle of Donbas: Russian attempt to encircle Ukrainian troops, in maps
Translated by: Alya Shandra

Russia’s war against Ukraine is now the hottest in the battle of Donbas. Ukraine is counterattacking in northern Kharkiv Oblast, Russia is trying to encircle Ukrainian forces near Sievierodonetsk. And something unclear is happening near Izium. 

After a short lull in early May, the Ukrainian Army is expelling the Russians from northern Kharkiv Oblast, thus threatening the rear of the Izium Russian group of occupiers, which is attacking Sloviansk and Barvinkove ​​from the north. This can be seen on the general map of hostilities.

Russian invasion Donbas

But the main battle is now taking place in Donbas. In the northern part of the theater of operations, the Russian supply lines run along the Kupiansk-Izium and Kupiansk-Borova roads. Receiving fuel and ammunition from there, the Russian army is trying to move in several directions to surround/defeat Ukrainian troops in the “contact line,” i.e. on the old front with the Donetsk and Luhansk puppet “republics” that were occupied before 24 February 2022, where Ukrainian forces hold well-fortified positions.

In the northern direction, Russian troops are attacking in the direction of Sloviansk (via Dovhenke) and Barvinkove.

The occupiers also tried to advance from the north in the direction of the Barvinkove-Sloviansk road, but the Ukrainian Army stopped them in Pashkove and Nova Dmytrivka.

From the east, Russian troops are attacking Sievierodonetsk and Rubizhne, where fighting is taking place inside the cities.

Russian troops captured Popasna from the southeast, and Ukrainian troops held Svitlodarsk to the south.

In recent weeks, Russian troops have failed to advance significantly and attain significant victories; the Ukrainian Army halted them in all directions.

The places of battle are clearly visible on the fire map.Pay attention to the fires to the right and left of Izium. As a rule, the satellite records fires in locations of ongoing battles. On 3 May there were none, and on 5 May there were already many, and they continue. It seems that Ukraine has launched a yet-unannounced counteroffensive near the city. But this is only an assumption.

Three plans by Russia to encircle Ukrainian troops in Donbas

Over the past month and a half, observers have written that Russian troops tried to implement three different plans to encircle and defeat Ukrainian troops.

  1. A large encirclement with an exit to Pavlogad – Lozova. If implemented, this plan would enable completely surrounding a huge and capable group of Ukrainian troops and cutting them off from supplies. This plan was discussed by analysts, but most likely, Russia abandoned such intentions in April due to a lack of forces.
  2. A medium encirclement with an exit to Barvinkove – Pokrovsk. Russia tried to implement this. Such a plan would also cut off a significant group of Ukrainian troops, but they could not advance towards Barvinkove, and the plan failed.
  3. The third plan is a small encirclement with access to Yampil – Popasna, this plan aims to surround and cut off from the main group of Ukrainian troops defending Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk. At the moment, Russia may succeed here, this is one of the areas of their concentrated efforts. But fighting continues and the situation changes every day.

In addition to this small encirclement, Russia attempts to capture Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, but can not overcome the Ukrainian defenses.

Potentially, the Russian army in the near future may move to positional combat in order to minimize losses and gain time to mobilize reserves and accumulate strike potential to resume active hostilities in a few months.

Finally, we offer a map from Twitter user Jomini of the West. We do not know who is behind this account, but most of the OSINT community (those who openly monitor military operations and beyond) agree that Jomini’s maps are accurate.

Translated by: Alya Shandra
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