UA-69458566-1

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 15

  

Kateryna Stepanenko, Frederick W. Kagan, and George Barros

May 15, 6:30 pm ET

Russian forces have likely abandoned the objective of completing a large-scale encirclement of Ukrainian units from Donetsk City to Izyum in favor of completing the seizure of Luhansk Oblast. Luhansk Oblast Administration Head Serhiy Haidai said that the Russian military command likely understands that it will not be able to seize Donetsk Oblast but believes that it has the capacity to reach the administrative borders of Luhansk Oblast.[1] His observations are generally consistent with our analysis. The Russian military command will likely prioritize the Battle of Severodonetsk going forward, with some efforts dedicated to disrupting Ukrainian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) in eastern Donetsk Oblast. Russian forces are continuing a coordinated effort to seize Severodonetsk from the north and the south, which would result in a shallower encirclement of Ukrainian troops than originally expected. The failed Russian attempts to cross the Siverskyi Donets River near Kreminna may shift Russian encirclement operations further east, closer to Severodonetsk via Rubizhne, rather than conducting a wider encirclement along multiple axes. Russian forces have also likely been scaling down advances to Slovyansk from Izyum, possibly due to the slow pace of the offensive operation there.

Russian forces have likely run out of combat-ready reservists, forcing the Russian military command to amalgamate soldiers from many different elements, including private military companies and proxy militias, into ostensibly regular army units and naval infantry. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that approximately 2,500 Russian reservists are training in Belgorod, Voronezh, and Rostov oblasts to reinforce Russian offensive operations in Ukraine. That number of reservists is unlikely to generate enough force to replenish Russian units that have reportedly lost up to 20 percent of staffing in some areas—to say nothing of the battalion tactical group that was largely destroyed recently while attempting to cross the Siverskyi Donets River.[2] The Ukrainian Military Intelligence Directorate stated that Russian forces are conducting covert mobilization and creating new units with newly mobilized personnel who likely have insufficient training to be effective and little motivation to fight.[3] Russian forces also deployed new conscripts from occupied settlements in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts to maintain an offensive around Kharkiv City, likely due to the lack of Russian reserves.[4]

Russian private military companies are reportedly forming combined units with airborne elements due to significant losses in manpower.[5] Denaturing elite airborne units with mercenaries is shocking, and would be the clearest indication yet that Russia has exhausted its available combat-ready manpower reserves. The Russian 810th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade is reportedly receiving personnel from other Black Sea Fleet units, including navy ship crewmembers.[6] Newly formed or regrouped units are unlikely to be effective in combat.

Russian forces are likely fortifying occupied settlements in southern Ukraine, indicating that the Russians are seeking to establish permanent control in the region. Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces began digging trenches and building concrete revetments in unspecified areas of Mykolaiv and Kherson Oblast, near Melitopol, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast.[7]

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces will likely prioritize winning the Battle of Severodonetsk over reaching the administrative borders of Donetsk Oblast.
  • Russian forces did not advance in the Slovyansk direction due to unsuccessful offensive operations in the Izyum area. Ukrainian aviation continues to operate north and east of Izyum.
  • Russian forces continued to launch artillery, air, and naval assaults on the Azovstal Steel Plant, but Mariupol defenders maintained their positions.
  • Russian forces are fortifying occupied settlements along the southern axis, indicative of Russian objectives for permanent control of the area.

We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because those activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We will continue to evaluate and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian military and population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn these Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict, Geneva Conventions, and humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.

ISW has updated its assessment of the four primary efforts Russian forces are engaged in at this time. We have stopped coverage of supporting effort 4, ”Sumy and northeastern Ukraine,” because it is no longer an active effort.

  • Main effort—Eastern Ukraine (comprised of one subordinate and three supporting efforts);
  • Subordinate main effort—Encirclement of Ukrainian troops in the cauldron between Izyum and Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
  • Supporting effort 1—Mariupol;
  • Supporting effort 2—Kharkiv City;
  • Supporting effort 3—Southern axis.

Main effort—Eastern Ukraine

Subordinate Main Effort—Southern Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk Oblasts (Russian objective: Encircle Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine and capture the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)

Russian forces conducted unsuccessful ground assaults in the direction of Slovyansk on May 15. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces launched an offensive on Dovhenke and Bogorodychne, approximately 18 and 25 km south of Izyum, respectively.[8] Pro-Russian Telegram channels claimed that Russian forces entered Dovhenke on May 14, but we assess that they were likely unable to secure the settlement due to heavy fighting.[9]

Ukrainian aviation continues to operate over Russian-controlled settlements near Izyum. Ukrainian artillery struck Russian armor and positions approximately 65 km north of Izyum with support from Ukrainian drones.[10] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces suffered losses and retreated from an occupied settlement east of Izyum, likely due to a Ukrainian airstrike.[11] Social media also observed Ukrainian fixed-wing aircraft striking the Russian salient in the Izyum area.[12]

Russian forces made minor territorial advances toward Severodonetsk and are likely committing to a shallower encirclement of Ukrainian troops in Luhansk Oblast in place of the more ambitious encirclements that might have given them control over all or most of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Luhansk Oblast Administration Head Serhiy Haidai reported that Russian forces engaged in battles in settlements approximately 4 km northeast and 5 km southwest of Severodonetsk on May 15.[13] Haidai said that the Russian command likely scaled back its objective of reaching the Donetsk Oblast administrative borders to focus on Luhansk Oblast. Haidai said that the Russians are committing additional forces to their northern and southern drives toward Severodonetsk in Luhansk Oblast.[14] He added that the Russian command also continued its efforts to seize the Lysychansk-Bahmut highway to surround Ukrainian units in Rubizhne, Severodonentsk, and Lysychansk, all in Luhansk Oblast.[15] Commentary on pro-Russian Telegram channels and observed ground offensives northeast of Popasna suggest that Russian forces will try to advance to Lysychansk via the T1303 highway.[16] Failed Russian attempts to cross Siverskyi Donets River from Kreminna likely further undermined Russian large-scale encirclement efforts.[17]

Russian forces continue their efforts to reach Zaporizhia City and Slovyansk from Donetsk Oblast. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted an unsuccessful assault southwest of Donetsk City, likely to secure the N15 highway to Zaporizhia City.[18] Russian forces conducted an unsuccessful attack on Avdiivka from the west.[19] Pro-Russian Telegram channels claimed that units of the Donetsk People’s Republic advanced in the eastern Avdiivka area.[20] Pro-Russian Telegram channels characterized Russian efforts in western Donetsk Oblast as “methodological and unhurried encirclement” of Ukrainian units in Donbas that will reunite with Russian forces in Izyum.[21] Russian forces are unlikely to succeed in such large-scale encirclement operations due to the evidently limited availability of effective Russian combat power, stiff Ukrainian resistance, and Russian prioritization of the Severodonetsk offensive operation. Ukrainian forces destroyed the dam at the Mironovskyi reservoir, 5 km north of Svitlodarsk, on May 14 to cause flooding that will likely slow down Russian advances to the north.[22]

Supporting Effort #1—Mariupol (Russian objective: Capture Mariupol and reduce the Ukrainian defenders)

Russian forces conducted artillery, air, and naval strikes on the remaining Ukrainian defenders in the Azovstal Steel Plant on May 15.[23] Ukrainian officials said that Russian forces fired incendiary munitions with thermite layers at Azovstal on May 14.[24] Families of the Mariupol defenders said that Ukrainian servicemen barely leave shelter at Azovstal and then only to procure food and water.[25]

Mariupol Mayor Advisor Petro Andryushenko reported that a column of over 500 vehicles evacuated from Mariupol to Zaporizhia City on May 15.[26] Andryushenko added that Russian forces did not fix access to water or electricity for Mariupol residents and focused on strengthening occupation authority in the city.[27]

Supporting Effort #2—Kharkiv City (Russian objective: Withdraw forces to the north and defend ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Izyum)

The Ukrainian counteroffensive continued to push Russian forces from northeastern Kharkiv City toward the Russian state border on May 15.[28] Kharkiv Oblast Administration Head Oleg Synegubov reported that Russian forces fired on Ukrainian positions northeast of Kharkiv, likely in an attempt to defend Russian ground lines of communications in Vovchansk, approximately 60 km from Kharkiv City.[29] The Ukrainian General Staff noted that the Russian command had committed newly mobilized units from occupied Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts to the Kharkiv City axis—further evidence of the inadequacy of Russia’s available reserves.[30]


Supporting Effort #3—Southern Axis (Objective: Defend Kherson against Ukrainian counterattacks)

Russian forces continued to fortify their positions in southern Ukraine and did not conduct active offensive operations on May 15. The Zaporizhia Military Administration reported that Russian forces dug trenches in southern Melitopol along the Molochna River and in villages 30 km south of the city.[31] ISW previously reported that Russian forces reportedly also created trenches 35 km east of the Kherson Oblast border.[32] The Ukrainian General Staff noted that Russian forces are also creating reinforced concrete structures in Mykolaiv and Kherson Oblasts.[33] Russian trenches and concrete shelters are indicators that Russian forces seek to establish and defend permanent control over the occupied areas. Russian forces are also attempting to restart operations at an auto parts plant in Zaporizhia Oblast in an effort to start military production in the region.[34]

Immediate Items to Watch

  • Russian forces will likely complete their withdrawal from the vicinity of Kharkiv City but will likely attempt to hold a line west of Vovchansk to defend their GLOCs from Belgorod to Izyum. It is unclear if they will succeed.
  • The Russians will continue efforts to encircle Severodonetsk and Lysychansk at least from the south, possibly by focusing on cutting off the last highway connecting Severodonetsk and Lysychansk with the rest of Ukraine.
  • A Ukrainian counteroffensive around Izyum will likely begin soon.
  • The Battle of Mariupol will, apparently and surprisingly, continue.

 


[1] https://t.me/luhanskaVTSA/2613

[2] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/317686480544437

 

[3] https://www.facebook.com/DefenceIntelligenceofUkraine/posts/311906081120819

[4] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/317686480544437; https://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-may-13

[5] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/317686480544437

[6] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/317306580582427

[7] https://t.me/zoda_gov_ua/7789; https://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-may-14; https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=3258185934416443

[8] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/317686480544437

[9] https://t.me/rosich_rus/9631

[10] https://twitter.com/GeoConfirmed/status/1525830536912158723; https://twitter.com/Blue_Sauron/status/1525796784399859712; https://twitter.com/doppelot/status/1525828271945957384

[11] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/317686480544437

[12] https://twitter.com/GirkinGirkin/status/1525788514142638080

[13] https://t.me/luhanskaVTSA/2613

[14] https://t.me/luhanskaVTSA/2601

[15] https://t.me/luhanskaVTSA/2613

[16] https://t.me/epoddubny/10644https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/317686480544437; https://t.me/luhanskaVTSA/2599

[17] https://t.me/luhanskaVTSA/2613

[18] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/317686480544437

[19] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/317686480544437

[20] https://t.me/Sladkov_plus/5473

[21] https://t.me/swodki/96099; https://t.me/Sladkov_plus/5473

[22] https://twitter.com/GeoConfirmed/status/1525840827838242816; https://t.me/romanov_92/14612

[23] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/317686480544437https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/317306580582427https://t.me/andriyshTime/891; https://t.me/mariupolnow/10392

[24] https://t.me/stranaua/42255; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6roO7zkkg4&ab_channel=Zinger; https://t.me/faceofwar/19522; https://twitter.com/666_mancer/status/1525718180819263490https://twitter.com/The_Lookout_N/status/1525849952148152321

[25] https://t.me/stranaua/42226

[26] https://t.me/andriyshTime/885

[27] https://t.me/mariupolnow/10344https://t.me/andriyshTime/897; https://t.me/andriyshTime/896; https://t.me/andriyshTime/892

[28] https://t.me/stranaua/42191

[29] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/317686480544437https://t.me/synegubov/3183; https://t.me/synegubov/3183

[30] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/317686480544437; https://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-may-13

[31] https://t.me/zoda_gov_ua/7789

[32] https://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-may-14

[33] https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=3258185934416443

[34] https://t.me/zoda_gov_ua/7789

 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 14

  

 Kateryna Stepanenko and Frederick W. Kagan

May 14, 7:00 pm ET

The Ukrainian destruction of significant elements of a Russian motorized rifle brigade that tried to cross a pontoon bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River on May 11 has shocked prominent Russian milbloggers. Those bloggers have begun commenting on the incompetence of the Russian military to their hundreds of thousands of followers. The attempted river crossing showed a stunning lack of tactical sense as satellite images show (destroyed) Russian vehicles tightly bunched up at both ends of the (destroyed) bridge, clearly allowing Ukrainian artillerymen to kill hundreds and destroy scores of vehicles with concentrated strikes. The milbloggers who have hitherto been cheering on the Russian military criticized Russian armed forces leadership for failing to learn from experience in the war. They also expressed the concern that the constant pushing of Russia’s propaganda lines was making it hard for them to understand what was actually going on.

The effects of this change in tone and discourse by these milbloggers are uncertain but could be potent. People living under tightly censored regimes often trust individuals who seem to be independent of but generally aligned with the government more than the government line (even more than do citizens of democratic societies). The commentary by these widely read milbloggers may fuel burgeoning doubts in Russia about Russia’s prospects in this war and the competence of Russia’s military leaders (at least).

The destruction of the motorized rifle elements may also severely disrupt Russian efforts to isolate Severodonetsk and Lysychansk from the north. Russian troops made no attempts to advance in that area in the last 24 hours.

Russian forces continued operations to set conditions for the Battle of Severodonetsk from the south, however, advancing on the town of Zolote, roughly 30 km south of Severodonetsk. Russian troops likely seek to secure the highway north from Zolote to Severodonetsk for their advance, but they may also seek to cut the last highway linking Severodonetsk with the rest of Ukraine via Bakhmut. They could try to strike northwest across the country from their current positions to cut that highway closer to Lysychansk and Severodonetsk. The Russians are extremely unlikely to be able to take Bakhmut but they may be able to cut or render unusable the highway from Bakhmut to Severodonetsk if they can advance far enough along either of these possible routes.

Ukrainian forces will likely conduct counteroffensive operations to dislodge the Russians from around Izyum, according to Ukrainian officials. We have previously noted that Russian artillery fire directed to the west from around Izyum was more likely intended to disrupt such a counter-offensive than to set conditions for a Russian attack.

Russian forces continued their withdrawal from Kharkiv Oblast but will likely seek to hold a line east of Vovchansk to secure the ground line of communication (GLOC) running from Belgorod through Vovchansk to Izyum. The terrain in this area generally favors the defender, and the Russians have other GLOCs with which to supply Izyum, so the Ukrainians may not try to advance much farther to the east at this time.

Ukrainian defenders continued to fight in the Azovstal Plant in Mariupol despite horrific conditions and continued Russian attacks. The Ukrainian defense of Azovstal is still tying down Russian combat forces and inflicting casualties.

Key Takeaways

  • Catastrophic Russian losses in a failed river crossing and the military incompetence displayed in that crossing have shaken the confidence of some prominent Russian milbloggers.
  • Russian forces continue shaping operations for the Battle of Severodonetsk from the south even though those losses have at least temporarily disrupted their efforts from the north.
  • Ukrainian forces announced that they will conduct a counteroffensive around Izyum.
  • Russian forces continued to withdraw from northern Kharkiv Oblast, but will likely seek to hold a line defending their ground lines of communication from Belgorod via Vovchansk to Izyum.


We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because those activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We will continue to evaluate and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian military and population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn these Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict, Geneva Conventions, and humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.

ISW has updated its assessment of the five primary efforts Russian forces are engaged in at this time:

  • Main effort—Eastern Ukraine (comprised of one subordinate and four supporting efforts);
  • Subordinate main effort- Encirclement of Ukrainian troops in the cauldron between Izyum and Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts
  • Supporting effort 1—Mariupol;
  • Supporting effort 2—Kharkiv City;
  • Supporting effort 3—Southern axis;
  • Supporting effort 4—Sumy and northeastern Ukraine.

Main effort—Eastern Ukraine

Subordinate Main Effort—Southern Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk Oblasts (Russian objective: Encircle Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine and capture the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)

Russian forces did not conduct active offensive operations around Izyum, continuing to shell and reconnoiter Ukrainian positions south and west of the settlement.[1] Kharkiv Oblast Administration Head Oleg Synegubov announced on May 14 that Ukrainian forces launched a counteroffensive likely northwest of Izyum and forced Russian forced to retreat in some unspecified areas.[2] Future Ukrainian counteroffensives from Kharkiv City or western directions may force Russians to halt their advances to Slovyansk to defend Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs).

Russian forces made significant tactical mistakes during the attempted large-scale crossing of the Siverskyi Donets River from Kreminna. The Russian command reportedly sent 550 servicemen of the 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 41st Combined Arms Army to cross the Siverskyi Donets River in order to encircle Ukrainian forces near Rubizhne from the northwest.[3] Ukrainian artillery destroyed the Russian pontoon bridges and tightly-concentrated Russian troops and equipment around them on May 11, which reportedly resulted in 485 casualties and damages to over 80 pieces of equipment.[4] The 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade had previously attempted a river crossing (over the Desna River in Chernihiv Oblast on March 8) without suffering such setbacks.[5] The unit’s command and staff may have failed to recognize the dangers that Ukraine’s improving artillery capabilities posed two months later, or may simply have been incompetent or unable to control their troops.

Prominent pro-Russian Telegram channels (with approximately 300 thousand followers) largely criticized Russian General Staff for failing to learn from previous combat mistakes and expressed concern that censorship and self-censorship was depriving them of situational awareness.[6] Other pro-Russian Telegram channels noted the slow pace of Russian offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast, blaming it in part on ineffective aerial reconnaissance and the negative effects of bad morale within the Russian military.[7] Some Telegram channels reported receiving criticism for “misrepresenting” the performance of the Russian military.[8] The Russian Defense Ministry posted a video that it claimed showed that Russian forces in turn destroyed Ukrainian pontoon crossings on May 14, although we have no independent confirmation of these claims.[9]

Russian forces attempted to advance east of Popasna, likely continuing to set conditions for the Battle of Severodonetsk. Luhansk Oblast Administration Head Serhiy Haidai reported that Russian forces attempted to secure access to the T1303 Lysychansk-bound highway east of Popasna on May 13.[10] Haidai noted that Ukrainian artillery continues to repel Russian advances on Severodonetsk itself from the north but noted that Russians had accumulated a large amount of equipment in the area to break Ukrainian resistance.[11]

Russian forces continued to conduct assaults near Avdiivka in an effort to break through Ukrainian defenses in the region. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces were partially successful during an assault in the vicinity of Avdiivka.[12] The Donetsk People’s Republic also claimed that Russian infantry made farther advances using transmitted coordinates of Ukrainian positions in the area of Avdiivka.[13] Avdiivka social media users reported that Russians did not enter Avdiivka, but attempted to advance from the north on May 13 and continued mortar shelling.[14] ISW does not have sufficient information available in the open-source to confirm or refute these claims, but Ukrainian forces are likely maintaining their fortifications in the town itself.



Supporting Effort #1—Mariupol (Russian objective: Capture Mariupol and reduce the Ukrainian defenders)

Russian forces conducted ground, air, and artillery assaults on the Azovstal Steel Plant on May 14.[15] Ukraine’s Azov regiment said that Russian forces used heavy artillery, tanks, and infantry to launch an assault on Azovstal but that Ukrainian forces continued to hold defensive positions at the plant and its outskirts.[16] A Donetsk Oblast Police Representative reported that there are over 600 wounded Ukrainian servicemen surviving in unsanitary conditions at the Azovstal.[17] Ukrainian officials are attempting to negotiate the evacuation of 60 medical professionals and heavily wounded servicemen as of May 14.[18]

Russian occupation authorities continued to intensify control over the rest of Mariupol. Mariupol Mayor’s Advisor Petro Andryushenko reported that Russian authorities are providing limited amounts of food to the remaining 150,000 Mariupol residents.[19] Satellite imagery from April 7 to May 8 also showed that Russian authorities are speeding up mass burials.[20]



Supporting Effort #2—Kharkiv City (Russian objective: Withdraw forces to the north and defend ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Izyum)

Russian forces continued to withdraw from the region north of Kharkiv City on May 14. Russian forces will likely focus on defending their ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Izyum that pass through Vovchansk, roughly 60 km northeast of Kharkiv City. Kharkiv Oblast Administration Head Oleg Synegubov reported that Russian forces did not shell Kharkiv City but instead fired at Ukrainian positions in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast.[21] Ukrainian forces likely pushed Russian forces closer to the border and claimed to have liberated an unnamed settlement located “only hundreds of meters away” from the Russian border.[22] Ukrainian social media videos show Ukrainian units operating in liberated settlements to target remaining Russian servicemen and clear out mines.[23]



Supporting Effort #3—Southern Axis (Objective: Defend Kherson against Ukrainian counterattacks)

Russian forces did not conduct offensive operations along the southern axis but continued artillery fire on Ukrainian positions throughout the region.[24] Zaporizhia Oblast Military Administration reported that Russian forces have dug trenches in northwestern Zaporizhia Oblast approximately 20 kilometers from the highway to Zaporizhia City.[25] Russian forces may be preparing for further offensive operations on Zaporizhia City, which is unlikely, or could be further fortifying access to Kherson Oblast from the north and east. Ukrainian forces reportedly destroyed a Russian field depot near Polohy, about 45 kilometers from the Donetsk Oblast border.[26]

Russian occupation authorities continue to face administrative problems that prevent Russia from establishing full control over occupied territories. The Ukrainian Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that the Kremlin is planning a referendum in Kherson Oblast on September 11, adding that Russian forces will attempt to recruit local collaborators throughout the summer.[27] The wildly varying reports of possible dates for a referendum in Kherson (and denials that there will be any annexation) suggest considerable confusion within the Russian leadership at various levels about Russia’s prospects for securing the area and, possibly, the best way forward. The GUR also reported that Russian forces are conducting covert mobilization in Crimea and are requiring residents to donate blood.[28]

Russian forces began to strengthen air defense systems at Snake Island located off the Romanian coast in response to Ukrainian strikes on the island.[29] The GUR reported that recent Ukrainian attacks wounded or killed 32 servicemen on Snake Island.[30] Russian vessels may have been unable to evacuate Russian servicemen in a timely fashion due to the Ukrainian missile and drone threat, contributing to the high casualties.[31] Two Russian vessels reportedly left Snake Island on May 14.[32]



The Ukrainian General Staff also noted that Transnistrian forces returned to normal operations while Russian forces remained on high alert, which could indicate disagreements between the self-declared Transnistrian government and Russia over Transnistria’s involvement in the war.[33]



Supporting Effort #4—Sumy and Northeastern Ukraine: (Russian objective: Withdraw combat power in good order for redeployment to eastern Ukraine)

 

Immediate items to watch

  • Russian forces will likely complete their withdrawal from the vicinity of Kharkiv City but attempt to hold a line west of Vovchansk to defend their GLOCs from Belgorod to Izyum. It is unclear if they will succeed.
  • The Russians will continue efforts to encircle Severodonetsk and Lysychansk at least from the south, possibly by focusing on cutting off the last highway connecting Severodonetsk-Lysychansk with the rest of Ukraine.
  • A Ukrainian counteroffensive around Izyum will likely begin soon.
  • The Battle of Mariupol will, apparently and surprisingly, continue.

 


[1] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/316962850616800https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/316553500657735; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/316553500657735

[2] https://t dot me/stranaua/42104

[3] https://twitter.com/Haruspexut/status/1525221497693945856

[4] https://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-may-13https://twitter.com/Blue_Sauron/status/1524742847664173057https://twitter.com/Blue_Sauron/status/1525380771204239361;

[5] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/267650712214681

[6] https://t.me/voenkorKotenok/36246https://t.me/voenkorKotenok/36308https://t.me/voenkorKotenok/36300https://twitter.com/RALee85/status/1525052584985231360; https://t.me/vladlentatarsky/13591https://t.me/vladlentatarsky/13587https://t.me/vladlentatarsky/13580; https://twitter.com/GirkinGirkin/status/1525310145093320710

[7] https://t.me/vladlentatarsky/13591https://t.me/vladlentatarsky/13587https://t.me/vladlentatarsky/13580; https://twitter.com/GirkinGirkin/status/1525310145093320710

[8] https://t.me/voenkorKotenok/36300

[9] https://t.me/mod_russia/15739           

[10] https://t dot me/luhanskaVTSA/2582; https://tdot me/luhanskaVTSA/2588

[11] https://t dot me/luhanskaVTSA/2582

[12] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/316962850616800

[13] https://t.me/nm_dnr/7927

[14] https://twitter.com/muryk412/status/1525449754943135745

[15] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/316962850616800https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/316553500657735; https://t dot me/andriyshTime/870; https://twitter.com/IntelCrab/status/1525174130630397952

[16] https://t dot me/polkazov/4484; https://t dot me/mariupolnow/10306; https://t.me/andriyshTime/873

[17] https://t dot me/mariupolnow/10317; https://t dot me/mariupolnow/10330

[18] https://t dot me/mariupolnow/10289; https://t dot me/mariupolnow/10303

[19] https://t.me/andriyshTime/861; https://twitter.com/Flash43191300/status/1525106803096395781; https://twitter.com/GeoConfirmed/status/1525230831417143300; https://twitter.com/Flash43191300/status/1525083740287946757

[20] https://twitter.com/BenDoBrown/status/1525035554487902208

[21] https://t dot me/stranaua/42104; https://t dot me/synegubov/3179

[22] https://www dot newsroom.kh.ua/news/v-harkovskoy-oblasti-osvobodili-ot-rashistov-selo-vblizi-granicy-s-rf; https://t dot me/stranaua/42115

[23] https://twitter.com/Militarylandnet/status/1525506821410238465; https://t dot me/synegubov/3179

[24] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/316962850616800https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/316553500657735; https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1113632599250091; https://t dot me/zoda_gov_ua/7778

[25] https://t dot me/zoda_gov_ua/7754

[26] https://t dot me/zoda_gov_ua/7754

[27] https://t.me/stranaua/42072

[28] https://www.facebook.com/DefenceIntelligenceofUkraine/posts/311913261120101

[29] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/316962850616800https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1113632599250091

[30] https://www.facebook.com/DefenceIntelligenceofUkraine/posts/311913261120101

[31] https://twitter.com/RALee85/status/1525409891300659200; https://t dot me/rosich_rus/9558; https://twitter.com/RALee85/status/1525411029399834624

[32] https://twitter.com/bradyafr/status/1525504708558966784

[33] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/316962850616800