Ukraine has had some partial successes at the front in recent months. However, the situation remains tense. Ukrainian forces are carrying out counterattacks in the Orikhovo-Vasylivka region and are advancing in the Donetsk direction, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports. The Kremlin has intensified its missile attacks on the center of Ukraine and Kyiv to thwart Ukraine’s plans. However, according to the same Institute, this will only increase the problems of the Russians, and not solve them. Gazeta.ua gathered information about the situation at the front and Russia’s preparations for the offensive against Ukraine.
Airplanes and closed sky – what gave Ukraine the new “Rammstein”
Meetings in the “Rammstein” format are markers of what is happening at the front. The last of them raised three important questions. The meeting discussed the strengthening of Ukrainian air defense and long-term support to Ukraine, including industrial initiatives to increase the production of critical equipment.
The European F-16 training coalition will be led by the Netherlands and Denmark
A separate theme of the 12th “Ramstein” was American F-16 aircraft. The defense ministers of the international Contact Group for Ukraine’s aid in the “Ramstein” format divided the responsibilities regarding the plan, financing and location of the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets. The European F-16 training coalition will be led by the Netherlands and Denmark, which will provide training for the Ukrainian military. In addition to the USA, Norway, Belgium, Portugal and Poland offered to help them in these efforts. In order for F-16 fighters to be able to play a significant role in the course of the war, Ukraine will need them in large numbers, and it will take some time, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States noted. Mark Milley. That is why, according to him, the USA invested significant efforts in ensuring Ukraine’s air defense.
Ukraine will receive missiles with a range of 500 km. Storm Shadow is a Franco-British air-to-ground cruise missile. It is intended for the destruction of important stationary targets well protected by means of air defense. It can be used at any time of the day, under difficult weather conditions and with the use of electronic countermeasures. Military analyst Oleksii Hetman emphasized that the enemy is able to shoot down only one of 10 missiles of the Storm Shadow type.
Ukraine will receive about $65 billion in defense aid
Head of the Pentagon Lloyd Austin emphasized that “today, Ukraine needs radars, ammunition, anti-aircraft defense and 155 mm caliber artillery shells the most”. In total, the contact group allocated about $65 billion in defense aid.
“Wagner” flees from Bakhmut, and forcibly mobilizes Ukrainians in the south
The Russian occupiers continue to focus their main efforts on attempts to fully occupy the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. The main efforts are concentrated on Kupyansk, Lymansk, Bakhmutsk, Avdiyivsk and Marinsk directions.
The intensity of the offensive actions of the Russian invaders in the Bakhmut area has significantly decreased. Problems began in the ranks of the Russian army. Leader of “Wagner” PVC Evgeny Prigozhin began to complain about the lack of ammunition and threatened the Russian authorities to withdraw their mercenaries from Bakhmut after May 10 or hand over their positions to the “Kadyrovs”. But later he changed his mind – and did not take the “Wagnerians” out of the city. Later, Prigozhin stated that the Russian Ministry of Defense had promised the Wagnerites the necessary amount of ammunition. However, on May 25, he announced that he had begun withdrawing mercenaries from the Ukrainian Bakhmut and was handing over positions to the regular Russian army. Now the enemy is replacing troops. “Wagnerivets” are exchanged for regular units. This was reported by the Deputy Minister of Defense Anna Painter.
About 80 Russian occupiers deserted
The occupiers have problems in Luhansk Oblast as well. Despite the fact that they conduct limited ground attacks northeast of Kupyansk and along the Svatove-Kreminna line, these attempts are unsuccessful. Russians are fleeing from positions not only in Donetsk region. About 80 Russian occupiers deserted in Lysychansk, Luhansk region. They were in the “Storm-Z” unit.
The enemy in the south of Ukraine is mostly on the defensive. However, the invaders do not stop shelling the settlements of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. However, they do not even try to advance there. In the occupied territories of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Oblast, the Russian occupiers are forcibly passporting people. The invaders constantly put pressure on the locals, threaten deportation and confiscation of property.
Some obstacles in Crimea were built in a matter of days
In Crimea, the occupiers are preparing for hostilities. Russia built a network of trenches and barriers. The American newspaper The Washington Post called the peninsula one of the most fortified areas in the war zone. The defense of the peninsula was quickly strengthened on the eve of the offensive of Ukraine, which began to be talked about in the spring. Some obstacles in Crimea were built in a matter of days.
Operations of the RDK and “Freedom of Russia” on the territory of the Russian Federation
On May 22, military operations began in the Belgorod region, for which the formation of ethnic Russians – RDK and the Legion “Freedom of Russia” took responsibility. Both are fighting on the side of Ukraine. Russian local authorities announced the infiltration of the “Ukrainian DRG” and introduced the “counter-terrorist operation” regime, which was later canceled. The fighters of these formations continue to publish photos and videos from the territory of Russia and emphasize the continuation of the “liberation of the Russian Federation”.
On May 22, a representative of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Ministry of Education and Culture Andriy Yusov emphasized that this is an “internal conflict”, and the Ukrainian Defense Forces are engaged exclusively in the liberation of their own lands. Yusov said that the joint operation of “Freedom of Russia” and the RDC is aimed at creating a “security zone”. Advisor to the head of the Office of the President Mykhailo Podolyak said that Ukraine is monitoring the operation of the Russian volunteer corps in the Belgorod region, but has no direct relationship with it.
The head of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Major General Kyrylo Budanov turned to the Russian servicemen and urged them to surrender, because “it will be even worse.”
Experts call these actions good prerequisites for a Ukrainian counteroffensive. A war on the territory of Russia should force the aggressor to withdraw troops from hot spots. In particular, a military expert Pavlo Lakiychuk Gazeta.ua commented that these actions are “a good sign for us on the eve of our counteroffensive.”
“The adversary will accumulate its forces, pulling away from other hot directions. In particular, from the east. It is difficult for Russia and it does not have enough forces,” Lakiychuk explained.
“The Armed Forces of Ukraine will be inspired by the experience of the battle for Kyiv and the liberation of Kherson region and Kharkiv region”
Ivan Kyrychevskyi, military expert:
“The counterattacks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine near Bakhmut are not yet a counteroffensive, but a part of the Bakhmut defense operation. Yes, our troops are partially successful in this area, but the Rashists there have not lost their potential for offensive actions either.
It seems that only after the occupiers finally stop near Bakhmut, larger-scale counteroffensive operations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and in other areas of the front will become possible. And even this will not mean the end and victory in the battle for Bakhmut. This will happen only after the Armed Forces “level the front” and push the Rashists significantly further from the western outskirts of the city.
The counteroffensive is being planned so that the Russian Federation is finally unable to move to the “stabilization and restoration of potential” stage
It seems that the purpose of the future counteroffensive operation is actually even more strategically deeper than the way Reznikov described it in one of the interviews – the task of defeating the Russian troops and disrupting their logistical communications. For almost 15 months of full-scale war and several months of preparation before that, Russia went through at least three cycles according to the scheme “mobilization – transition to the offensive – failure to achieve the objective of the offensive and transition to the defense – collapse under the pressure of the actions of the Armed Forces – stabilization and restoration of potential.” The total duration is from 3 to 7 months each. The Armed Forces of Ukraine want to break this chain of Russians, so they are creating conditions and planning a counteroffensive so that the Russian Federation will not be able to move to the “stabilization and restoration of potential” stage.
It is obvious that in doing so, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will draw on the experience of the battle for Kyiv and the liberation of Kherson region and Kharkiv region, where success on the battlefield was achieved thanks to the fact that it was possible to unbalance the enemy’s defense system with strikes in different directions, using in particular the non-standard construction of the battle formations of our troops.
The depth of the enemy’s fortifications in the South in some cases reaches 50 km
Such a task this time looks much more difficult, given publicly known data that the depth of the enemy’s fortifications in the South in some cases reaches 50 km, and the enemy has already concentrated 152 thousand “bayonets” in the temporarily occupied territories of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.
But if we take a closer look at some signals from open sources, it seems that in response to such a problem, the Defense Forces of Ukraine are preparing an even more non-standard response. For example, the sudden generosity from France and Germany, which may be enough for a couple or more mechanized brigades, and President Zelensky’s phrase about “a few visits and you can start a counteroffensive.” This may indicate that the global counteroffensive of the Armed Forces is planned as a strategic operation in the format of several simultaneous or consecutive offensive actions of the operational-tactical level. The depth of such an operation can reach 3-5 months, and it is at its completion that the Germans and French can now allocate armored vehicles.”
Dmytro Snegiryovmilitary expert:
“Part of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions are still occupied. Accordingly, until these territories are liberated, it is not possible to enter Crimea. Let’s look at the events that are taking place in the territory of the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. Attacks on the rear accumulation bases, places of temporary deployment of personnel and armaments This is the so-called cascading nature of planning de-occupation operations.
The successful nature of the deoccupation of part of the Kherson and Kharkiv regions began precisely with the task of striking rear bases. The second stage was taking logistics under direct control. And the third stage is the counterattack itself. And what is happening now in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions and on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, in my opinion, is the first stage of de-occupation. That is, the cascade nature of operations planning: the task of strikes on military infrastructure.
The occupiers are digging trenches at breakneck speed
Accordingly, the Russian authorities are afraid of a similar scenario of events. Currently, trenches are being dug at an alarming pace in Medvedivka – it is right on the isthmus. Still in Virmensk, next to the villages of Maslovo and Novoivanivka, it is near Dzhankoy. And next to the village of Vitino in Saksky district. The village of Vitino is exactly where the fortifications were built on the beach, literally on the sea coast. That is, it means that the Russian authorities consider the release of the Armed Forces of the occupied territories as a potential military character.
The fortifications began to be erected after the meeting of the Prime Minister of Great Britain with the President of France, where, in particular, the issue of training Ukrainian marine units was discussed. That is, we are talking about assault units that will take a direct part in the deoccupation of Crimea.”