US to supply F-16 to Ukraine. Ukraine downs 16 of 22 Russian drones, three of six cruise missiles. Explosions in occupied Mariupol.
Daily overview — Summary report, May 20
A map of the approximate situation on the ground in Ukraine as of 00:00 UTC 20/05/23. pic.twitter.com/7Y8RWxw8es
— War Mapper (@War_Mapper) May 20, 2023
The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 18.00 pm, May 20, 2023 is in the dropdown menu below:
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Defense analysts say Russia has adapted its tactics during the war, and a more structured, coordinated and reactive armed force has emerged. Its defensive operations could prove hard for Ukraine to crack as it prepares to mount a counteroffensivehttps://t.co/8XeEl7dMKX
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) May 20, 2023
Train derailment in occupied Crimea obstructs rail line to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet base – UK intel. In its latest daily intelligence update, the British Defense Ministry says the May 18 train derailment near occupied Simferopol has blocked the rail line to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet base, potentially impacting supplies and raising the Kremlin’s concerns about safeguarding crucial infrastructure in Crimea.
Ukraine downs 16 of 22 Shahed drones, three of six cruise missiles in Russian nighttime air attack. In the early hours of 19 May, air raid alerts were declared in Ukraine’s northern regions, later joined by sirens in the south and, eventually, a nationwide air alarm. Ukraine’s Air Force Command says Russia has again attacked Ukraine with Iranian-made Shahed “kamikaze” drones and Kalibr missiles, and Ukrainian air defenses shot down most of the targets.
Frontline report: “Wagnerites” bombard high-rises in Bakhmut as Ukraine keeps pushing on the flanks. On 18 May, the battle for Bakhmut intensified in Donetsk Oblast as Russia’s Wagner forces hit high-rises in the city, preparing for a storming operation, while Ukrainians opened a fourth line of attack on the flanks, prompting Russian troop relocation into the area.
According to British Defence Intelligence, (last 48 hours):
- In the last four days, Russia has highly likely redeployed up to several battalions to reinforce the Bakhmut sector.
- This follows Ukrainian tactical gains on the flanks of the contested Donetsk Oblast town through mid-May and publicly aired doubts about the commitment of Wagner Group forces to continue fighting in the sector.
- With Russia likely maintaining relatively few uncommitted combat units in Ukraine, the redeployment represents a notable commitment by the Russian command.
- Russia’s leadership likely continue to see capturing Bakhmut as the key immediate war aim which would allow them to claim some degree of success in the conflict.
Losses of the Russian army
War takes the best…
Researcher of Ukrainian ancient music Ivan Kuzminskyi was killed while defending his homeland from Russia's war. He picked up arms after Russia invaded.
In memoriam, we publish footage of a 2018 concert he organized after decoding ancient manuscripts. RIP! pic.twitter.com/boRcXc2IIv
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) May 19, 2023
Among many films prohibited in Russia is Haytarma, first feature film about Stalin’s deportation of Crimean Tatars from their homeland. Forceful eviction of nearly 200,000 people, most of whom were women and children to Central Asia started on 18 May 1944.
The Battle for Askania-Nova: how Russia’s war threatens Europe’s ecological paradise
UK’s new sanctions target Russia’s theft of Ukrainian grain, advanced mil tech, key revenue sources. The UK has sanctioned 86 individuals and legal entities, freezing the assets of those involved with key revenue streams. The package includes companies connected to the theft of Ukrainian grain and those involved in the shipment of Russian energy. Companies connected to Rosatom’s support of Putin’s military efforts were also sanctioned, according to the statement published on the British Government website on 19 May.
The U.S. plans to supply Ukraine with F-16 jets as part of an effort to strengthen the country’s security, a Biden administration official said
In the coming months, the U.S. & its allies will decide when to supply jets & which countries will provide themhttps://t.co/RfsSDZbKOl
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) May 19, 2023
US plans to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, official says – NBC News. The US and its allies plan to provide F-16s to Ukraine as part of an effort to strengthen the country’s security, a Biden administration official said. The timing for when Ukraine will receive the fighter jets remains unclear, according to NBC News. In the coming months, the US and its allies will decide when to provide jets and which countries will supply them.
Australia imposes sanctions on 21 Russian entities, including Rosneft. On 19 May, Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced new sanctions and an export ban, targeting sectors of economic significance to Russia ahead of the G7 Summit. The new financial sanctions will target 21 entities and three individuals, including a Russian illegal entity created to take over Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the oil giant Rosneft, the gold company Polyus PJSC, and five banks.
US halts export of consumer goods to Russia, adds 71 companies to trade blacklist – Reuters. On 19 May, the US halted the export of a wide range of consumer goods to Russia, including items that could be repurposed to support Moscow’s war machine, such as clothes dryers, snow plows, and sunglasses, according to Reuters. In addition, the US added 71 companies, including 69 Russian entities, one from Armenia and one from Kyrgyzstan, to a trade blacklist. The economic measures targeted aircraft repair and parts production plants, gunpowder, tractor and automobile factories, shipyards, and engineering centers in Russia.
Zelenskyy, Biden to meet at G7 summit in Japan, President’s Office confirms. The Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andrii Yermak, confirmed that Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy would attend the G7 Summit in Hiroshima City in Japan, according to Ukrainska Pravda. In addition, Yermak said that Zelenskyy will meet US President Joe Biden “in the coming days” to discuss an international coalition to help procure F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine.
Explosions rang out through Russian-occupied Mariupol, said an advisor to the mayor Petro Andriushchenko
According to him, several blasts occurred at the Mariupol International Airporthttps://t.co/ssYXGRat3W pic.twitter.com/pSscPEoeK3
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) May 19, 2023
Explosions shake occupied Mariupol. On 19 May, loud explosions were heard in Russian-occupied Mariupol, according to an advisor to the mayor, Petro Andriushchenko. He stated that several blasts occurred at the Mariupol International Airport.
Zelenskyy joins Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia. On 19 May, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited a summit of the Arab League in Saudi Arabia and urged Arab nations to work with Kyiv to secure the release of Ukrainian POWs in Russian detention, The Washington Post reported. “The release of all political prisoners of Crimea and temporarily occupied territories, and unlawfully deported individuals, the presentation of our peace formula, which requires the involvement of as many states as possible, and ensuring energy security for the upcoming winter are among our priorities,” Zelenskyy said on social media.
US signals to allies that it allow their exports of F-16 jets to Ukraine – CNN. The Biden administration has signaled to European allies in recent weeks that the US would allow them to export F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, sources familiar with the discussions told CNN. However, administration officials are not aware of any formal requests by any allies to export F-16s, according to CNN.
US could train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16s in 4 months – Yahoo News. Yahoo News has exclusively obtained an internal US Air Force assessment that concludes it would take only four months to train Ukrainian pilots to operate American-made F-16 fighter jets, a far shorter time frame than what Pentagon officials have repeatedly cited.
The US added 71 companies to a trade blacklist for supporting Russia's war against Ukraine
The targeted entities include aircraft repair and parts production plants, gunpowder, shipyards, and engineering centers in Russia – Reutershttps://t.co/XujeexOPws
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) May 19, 2023
- On the war.
The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of May 19, 2022:
Note: The data cutoff for this product was 3pm ET on May 19. ISW will cover subsequent reports in the May 20 Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment.
A Ukrainian official stated that Russian forces have concentrated most of their available reserves to the Bakhmut area and slowed Ukrainian counterattacks in the past 24 hours. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar stated on May 19 that Russian forces concentrated most of their reserves in the Bakhmut direction, which has slowed the rate of Ukrainian advances. Malyar also stated that Ukrainian forces continue to counterattack on the northern and southern outskirts of Bakhmut and advanced 500 meters on one flank and 1,000 meters on the other. Some Russian milbloggers celebrated the slowed Ukrainian rate of advance and claimed that the Ukrainian forces are unable to sustain prolonged localized counterattacks around Bakhmut. Russian forces on Bakhmut’s flanks likely remain weak, however; Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin continued to criticize the Russian 4th Motorized Rifle Brigade (2nd Luhansk People’s Republic Army Corps) on May 19 for retreating from defensive lines southwest of Ivanivske (6km west of Bakhmut). Ukrainian counterattacks near Bakhmut have notably likely eliminated the threat of a Russian encirclement of Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut and forced Russian troops to allocate scarce military resources to defend against a limited and localized offensive effort, as Ukrainian command likely intended.
Russian forces conducted another series of drone and missile strikes across Ukraine on the night of May 18 to 19. Ukrainian military sources reported that Russia launched six Kalibr cruise missiles and 22 Shahed-131/136 drones at Ukraine from the direction of the Black Sea. The Ukrainian General Staff noted that Ukrainian air defenses shot down 16 drones and three Kalibr missiles, despite the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD)’s claim that Russian forces struck all intended targets. Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Head Serhii Lysak reported explosions near Kryvyi Rih following Russian strikes in the area. Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) representative Vadym Skibitsky noted that the recent uptick in Russian drone and missile strikes, as well as artillery strikes along the entire frontline, are meant to disrupt Ukrainian counteroffensive plans and preparations. ISW previously assessed on May 14 that the recent increase in Russian strikes on Ukrainian rear areas is likely part of a new air campaign premised on degrading Ukrainian counteroffensive capabilities in the near term. Skibitsky additionally noted that Russia can only produce 25 Kalibr cruise missiles, 35 Kh-101s, two Kinzhals, and 5 ballistic 9M723 Iskander-Ms per month. Considering that Russian forces have launched missile strikes at rear areas of Ukraine on a near daily-basis thus far in May, it is likely that they are rapidly expending their stocks of precision munitions, potentially at a rate that exceeds production capabilities.
President Joe Biden reportedly informed G7 leaders on May 19 that Washington will support a joint effort to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16s and other fourth generation aircraft. This decision marks a sharp turn in US policy vis a vis fourth generation aircraft in Ukraine and follows Biden’s meetings with various G7 leaders in Hiroshima, Japan on May 19. Yahoo News relatedly reported on May 18 that Ukrainian pilots outperformed standard Pentagon expectations for F-16 training time in a flight simulator and would be able to operate F-16s in only four months as opposed to the anticipated 18 months, citing an internal US Air Force assessment.
The Kremlin reportedly spent 3.1 trillion rubles (approximately $38.7 billion) in an undisclosed section of the Russian budget in 2023, likely to fund the war and maintain occupied territories in Ukraine. Independent Russian news outlet The Bell reported that the Russian Ministry of Finance released data on May 16 on budget expenditures since the start of 2023 amounting to a total of 11.9 trillion rubles ($148.5 billion) with only 8.8 trillion rubles ($109.8 billion) accounted for in Russia’s public budget, leaving 3.1 trillion rubles – over a quarter of Russia’s expenditures – unaccounted for. The Bell reported that most undisclosed budget items account for defense, national security, and law enforcement, and that some may fall onto social and other expenditures in occupied Ukraine. The Bell also reported that the unspecified spending is higher than in the same time period in previous years. ISW continues to assess that the Russian economy will struggle to meet the needs of the large-scale war that the Russian military is fighting in Ukraine and to sustain its occupation of Ukrainian territories.
Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced that he will run for reelection as a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party for the first time, prompting criticism from select Russian ultranationalists. Russian “Civil Solidarity” movement head Georgy Fedorov argued on May 19 that Sobyanin’s United Russia candidacy suggests that “all political processes in Russia are now only possible in the pre-existing political party system,” that Russia is set to experience “great turbulence,” and that Russia’s “non-systemic opposition has been crushed.” Former Russian officer and ardent ultranationalist Igor Girkin amplified Georgy’s statements and sarcastically called United Russia the “party of crooks and thieves,” a well-known slogan used by Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny. Sobyanin has held the post of Moscow Mayor nominally as an independent since 2010, although his United Russia candidacy is likely simply a public formalization of his longstanding relationship with United Russia, as Sobyanin has been a member of the party since 2001. United Russia likely seeks to buttress its own popularity (which stands around 45% in Moscow) with that of Sobyanin, who has polled at 74%. These select ultranationalists likely responded to Sobyanin’s announcement to critique what they view as United Russia’s attempt to monopolize support amongst the Russian ultranationalist constituency and were likely not genuinely reacting to the loss of an independent figure. The Kremlin may additionally have publicly linked Sobyanin to United Russia to remove a nominally independent figure, regardless of his actual independence. ISW previously assessed that the Kremlin will likely attempt to solidify United Russia as the definitive pro-war party during elections in 2023 and 2024, and Russian ultranationalist communities with their own political ambitions may increasingly seek to undercut these efforts.
A Ukrainian source reported that elements of two spetsnaz brigades of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU) have deployed to border areas of Kursk Oblast in order to conduct counter-sabotage activities and provocations. The Ukrainian Resistance Center stated on May 19 that the 3rd and 22nd Guards Special Purpose brigades have deployed to Tyotkino, Kursk Oblast to prevent cross-border Ukrainian partisan activities, carry out cross-border provocations, and raise the morale of Russian forces. ISW has previously assessed that such Russian deployments to border areas are likely an attempt to fix a portion of Ukrainian forces to border regions and disperse them from critical frontline areas. Elements of the 3rd Guards Special Purpose Brigade have been previously reported near the Kreminna area of Luhansk Oblast, while elements of the 22nd Guards Special Purpose Brigade were reportedly active in the Orikhiv area in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast. It is unclear why Russian leadership may have made the decision to remove such elements from active sectors of the frontline to Russian rear areas, and it may be possible that these units suffered previous losses in recent operations and have been withdrawn and redeployed in order to rest and refit. The deployment of these units to border areas is unlikely to have the desired informational or operational effects.
- A Ukrainian official stated that Russian forces have concentrated most of their available reserves to the Bakhmut area and slowed Ukrainian counterattacks in the past 24 hours.
- Ukrainian counterattacks near Bakhmut have notably likely eliminated the threat of a Russian encirclement of Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut and forced Russian troops to allocate scarce military resources to defend against a limited and localized offensive effort, as Ukrainian command likely intended.
- Russian forces conducted another series of drone and missile strikes across Ukraine on the night of May 18 to 19.
- President Joe Biden reportedly informed G7 leaders on May 19 that Washington will support a joint effort to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16s and other fourth generation aircraft.
- The Kremlin reportedly spent 3.1 trillion rubles (approximately $38.7 billion) in an undisclosed section of the Russian budget in 2023, likely to on fund the war and maintain occupied territories in Ukraine.
- Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced that he will run for reelection as a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party for the first time, prompting criticism from select Russian ultranationalists.
- A Ukrainian source reported that elements of two brigades of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU) have deployed to border areas of Kursk Oblast in order to conduct counter-sabotage activities and provocations.
- Russian sources claimed that Russian troops continued offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove line.
- Russian forces continued to conduct ground attacks in the Bakhmut area and slightly increased their tempo of ground attacks along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line.
- Ukrainian officials stated that Russian forces are preparing defenses by flooding fields in Russian occupied Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
- Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev claimed that the Russian military has recruited 117,400 contract personnel in volunteer formations since January 1, 2023.
- The Russian State Duma adopted the final reading of a draft law authorizing regional elections under martial law.
Tags: Russian invasion