Russo-Ukraine War - 12 May 2022 - Day 77
On 24 February 2022, Ukraine was suddenly and deliberately attacked by land, naval and air forces of Russia, igniting the largest European war since the Great Patriotic War. The military buildup in preceeding months makes it obvious that the unprovoked and dastardly Russian attack was deliberately planned long in advance. During the intervening time, the Russian government had deliberately sought to deceive the world by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
"To initiate a war of aggression... is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." [Judgment of the International Military Tribunal]
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" in Ukraine in response to the appeal of the leaders of the "Donbass republics" for help. That attack is a blatant violation of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. Putin stressed that Moscow's goal is the demilitarization and denazification of the country.
The seventy-eighth day of the heroic opposition of the Ukrainian people to the Russian military invasion continues. The Russians are trying to continue a full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine and does not stop conducting offensive operations in the Eastern Operational Zone. The Russian occupiers continue to suffer losses in almost all directions.
Russia's position on the issue of Ukraine's accession to the EU has become tougher, First Deputy Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyansky said in an interview with UnHerd. The Russian diplomat explained that Ukraine's membership in the European Union from now on "cannot be part of a peace agreement." According to him, now the option of Ukraine's entry into the EU is as unacceptable as the entry of this country into NATO.
In June, it is planned to discuss Ukraine's application for its accession to the European Union at the level of heads of leaders of the EU member states in the European Council, a representative of the French Foreign Ministry told reporters at a briefing. "Ukraine's application for EU membership, which is currently being considered by the European Commission, will be discussed at the level of heads of state and government in the European Council in June," he said.
According to the chairman of the Military Committee of the European Union, Italian General Claudio Graziano , the conflict in Ukraine could drag on for years. He stated this in an interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper. According to Graziano, there is a "real danger" that the Ukraine-related crisis risks "lasting for years."
Ukraine moved on the counteroffensive during week 11 of Russia’s war, taking back towns to the north and east of the second-largest city Kharkiv. According to some news reports, Russian forces retreated to regroup around defensive positions less than 10km (6 miles) from the Russian border, with Ukrainian units in hot pursuit.
“This Ukrainian operation is developing into a successful, broader counteroffensive – as opposed to the more localised counterattacks that Ukrainian forces have conducted throughout the war to secure key terrain and disrupt Russian offensive operations,” said the Institute for the Study of War. “Ukrainian forces are notably retaking territory along a broad arc around Kharkiv rather than focusing on a narrow thrust, indicating an ability to launch larger-scale offensive operations than we have observed so far in the war.”
The UK Ministry of Defence reported that Ukrainian forces are continuing to counter-attack to the north of Kharkiv, recapturing several towns and villages towards the Russian border. Russia’s prioritisation of operations in the Donbas has left elements deployed in the Kharkiv Oblast vulnerable to the mobile, and highly motivated, Ukrainian counter-attacking force. Despite Russia’s success in encircling Kharkiv in the initial stages of the conflict, it has reportedly withdrawn units from the region to reorganise and replenish its forces following heavy losses. Once reconstituted, these forces will likely deploy to the eastern bank of the Siverskyi Donets River, forming a blocking force to protect the western flank of Russia’s main force concentration and main supply routes for operations in the vicinity of Izium. The withdrawal of Russian forces from the Kharkiv Oblast is a tacit recognition of Russia’s inability to capture key Ukrainian cities where they expected limited resistance from the population.
No active actions of the Russians were noted in the Volyn and Polissya directions. According to the available information, the second stage of the readiness check of the units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus under the leadership of the Chief of the General Staff continued. A scheduled inspection of the readiness of the alert system was carried out. The threat of missile and bomb strikes from the Republic of Belarus on infrastructure facilities on the territory of Ukraine continues.
In the northern direction, the Russians continued to provide enhanced protection of the Ukrainian-Russian border in the Bryansk and Kursk regions. They carried out shelling of the border areas of Ukraine. It is likely that the Russians will continue to conduct demonstrations on this section of the state border of Ukraine and shelling from the territory of the Russian Federation in order to prevent the movement of units of Ukrainian troops in other directions.
One person was killed and seven were wounded in a Russian village bordering Ukraine in what may be the first death of a Russian civilian inside the country since Moscow launched the war. Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov of Russia’s Belgorod province said the attack by Ukraine forces occurred in the village of Solokhi. If confirmed, it would mark the first death in Russia under Ukraine fire since the start of the war. Belgorod province borders Ukraine’s Luhansk, Sumy and Kharkiv regions, all of which have seen heavy fighting since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Russian forces trying to cross a strategic river in Luhansk have only succeeded in “feed[ing] fish” with their bodies, the regional governor said. Russian forces had been trying to bridge the Siversky Donets River with pontoons near the town of Bilohorivka but Ukrainian forces shelled the pontoons and destroyed the Russian units that crossed the river.
In the Kharkiv direction, the main efforts of the Russians were focused on preventing the advance of Ukrainian troops and the liberation of the territories temporarily occupied by the Russian occupiers. During the day, the Russians fired on the positions of Ukrainian troops in the areas of the settlements of Pitomnyk and Ruski Tyshky. The Russians did not take active action in the Slavic direction. His main efforts were focused on replenishing supplies of material and technical means to increase offensive capabilities. He carried out shelling in the areas of settlements along the line of contact. Russians carried out air reconnaissance with the help of UAVs "Orlan-10".
Russians took control of Vojevodivka between Rubizhne and Severodonetsk, and are now also present in Zorya, in the South of Rubizhne.
In the Donetsk direction, the occupiers used mortars, artillery, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and launched rocket-bomb air strikes to destroy the fortifications of Ukrainian units. In the Lyman direction, the Russians were trying to capture the area on the right bank of the Seversky Donets River and gain a foothold in the area of the settlement of Oleksandrivka. Russians carried out assault operations in the direction of the settlement of Novoselivka, but were unsuccessful. In the Severodonetsk direction, the Russians continued to storm in the area of the settlement of Voevodovka, without success. In Bakhmut, In the Avdiiv and Kurakhiv areas, the Russians were attacking in order to improve the tactical position of its troops, but had no success.
During a special operation to seize the Zarya plant near the village of Voevodovka in the LPR, several Ukrainian terrorist defense fighters were taken prisoner. They were left to protect the enterprise by escaped neo-Nazis. At the same time, it turned out that many of them did not even undergo military training and do not know how to use weapons. In fact, they were left as cannon fodder. This is how the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov commented on the situation . In his opinion, the authorities of Ukraine are deliberately destroying the Ukrainian people, continuing hostilities, sending them "similar weak soldiers who cannot even hold a gun properly" . As Kadyrov noted, "such sick and elderly prisoners make up a significant part of us." The Chechen leader called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to stop exterminating his people.
“The terrorist defense fighters were left by the Nazis as cannon fodder. Inexperienced, hungry, without physical and fire training - this is how they are sent to the front line by the military leadership of Ukraine. <…> Zelensky, at least wake up your conscience and stop killing your citizens,” the head of Chechnya addressed the President of Ukraine.
In the city of Mariupol, the Russians continued to launch artillery and air strikes, focusing its efforts on blocking Ukrainian units in the area of the Azovstal plant. In their attempt to take the besieged Azovstal plant in Mariupol, Russian troops tried to block the underground passages under the gigantic complex. The Russians’ “main goal is to block the exits from the system of underground passages, which was pointed out by a traitor,” city official Petro Andriushchenko said on Telegram. However, the hundreds of Ukrainian servicemen holed up in the plant “were trying to counterattack risking everything,” he added. The battle for Mariupol has become emblematic of Ukraine’s spirit. Removing the last pocket of resistance would be a symbolic victory for Putin, as well as enabling him to claim the entire littoral of the Sea of Azov.
The administration of the President of the Russian Federation did not begin to answer the question about the possibility of exchanging the Ukrainian military, located at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, for Russian prisoners of war. The press secretary of the Russian leader, Dmitry Peskov, forwarded the question to the Russian Ministry of Defense. Recall, earlier, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshchuk said that Kiev offers Moscow to exchange seriously wounded Ukrainian soldiers who remain on the territory of the blocked Azovstal plant in Mariupol for Russian prisoners. According to her, more than a thousand Ukrainian soldiers remain on the territory of the enterprise, hundreds of them are injured.
In Zaporizhzhia, in the country’s south, locals reported a Russian unit shot up 20 of its vehicles to avoid combat duty. The Russian occupiers conducted air reconnaissance using UAVs in the Pokrovsk, Slovyansk, and Pavlograd districts. In the South Bug direction, the Russians did not conduct active hostilities, but continued to hold positions. His main efforts were focused on the fire damage to units of Ukrainian troops and the expansion of the electronic warfare system. According to available information, the Russians have built up the air defense system in the western part of the Crimean peninsula.
Ukrainian forces damaged a modern Russian navy logistics ship in the Black Sea, setting it on fire, a spokesman for the Odesa regional military administration in southern Ukraine said. Spokesman Serhiy Bratchuk said in an online post that the Vsevolod Bobrov had been struck near Snake Island, the scene of renewed fighting in recent days, but did not give details. The tiny island is located near Ukraine’s sea border with Romania. hree Ukrainian Tochka-U missiles were intercepted on May 12 during a special operation by the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters .
Russian missile forces and artillery units hit 405 areas of concentration of Ukrainian manpower and military equipment, Igor Konashenkov , spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said. “The missile forces and artillery units hit 405 areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment, 12 command posts and 26 artillery units in firing positions. An S-300 anti-aircraft missile system was destroyed in the Korotych district of the Kharkiv region,” he said at a briefing. Konashenkov added that also in the areas of the settlements of Razdolie, Kharkiv region and Slavyansk, Donetsk People's Republic, three launchers of Smerch multiple launch rocket systems and two ammunition depots of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were destroyed.
Ukraine’s army said 788 cruise and ballistic missiles had been launched on targets in Ukraine from the territories of Russia and Belarus since the start of the invasion. Alexei Gromov of Ukraine’s armed forces said the main targets were transport infrastructure in the south and east of Ukraine “but they repeatedly fired at other objects of critical infrastructure of social importance”.
Since February 24, more than 1,100 "Ukronazi" aircraft have been destroyed in Ukraine, Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said at a briefing. In particular, 289 aircraft and helicopters of various types, as well as 827 UAVs, were destroyed. “In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, 164 aircraft, 125 helicopters, 827 unmanned aerial vehicles, 304 anti-aircraft missile systems, 3,022 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 366 multiple rocket launchers, 1,479 field artillery pieces and mortars, as well as 2832 units of special military vehicles,” said Konashenkov.
Zelenskyy described as “historic” the US signing of the lend-lease act, which makes it easier to provide military assistance to Ukraine. “And it is no coincidence that the new Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act was signed on May 9. I am personally grateful to President Biden for this support, for this decision and for such symbolism,” Zelenskyy said in his nighttime national address. Zelenskyy also thanked the US for a $40bn assistance package passed by the House yesterday and added that Ukraine was “constantly discussing” its security guarantees “in a very substantive way”.
Britain has not entered and will not enter into a direct military conflict with Russia because of the events in Ukraine, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in an interview with the Washington Post. “Our position is absolutely clear. We have not entered and will not enter into direct conflict with either the Russian army or the Russian state. I stated this clearly at the beginning of this conflict, whether someone likes it or not, but Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and we will not send our troops there,” Wallace said.
The UK is buying up Soviet and Russian weapons around the world in order to transfer them to Ukraine, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing the country's defense minister Ben Wallace. A "significant part of the Ministry of Defense and military attaches" is engaged in the search for Soviet and Russian weapons, the head of the British defense department said. It is noted that stocks of such equipment today have at least 23 countries. According to Wallace, London wants to transfer Russian and Soviet weapons to Ukraine, since Ukrainian soldiers know how to use them. “If you really want to deliver them to the Ukrainians tomorrow morning so that they can continue to fight, find what they can do, find what they need,” the minister said, adding that Britain itself does not intend to enter into a direct conflict with Russia.
Britain has decided to supply the Ukrainian Nazis with short-range air defense systems, British Minister Ben Wallace said in an interview with the Washington Post. According to Wallace, he made such a decision that it would be even more difficult for Russia to achieve its goals in Ukraine. “This is not long-range air defense, but it will complicate the tasks of the Air Force ,” Wallace said. Earlier, Wallace said that London supplies Kyiv with weapons, but does not plan to enter into a direct military conflict with Russia.
Pressure on Europe to secure alternative gas supplies has increased after Moscow imposed sanctions on European subsidiaries of state-owned Gazprom and Ukraine stopped a gas transit route, pushing prices higher. Russia imposed sanctions on Gazprom’s European subsidiaries including Gazprom Germania, an energy trading, storage and transmission business that Germany placed under trusteeship last month to secure supplies. It also imposed sanctions on the owner of the Polish part of the Yamal-Europe pipeline that carries Russian gas to Europe.
Russian energy company Gazprom said gas transported to Europe using a key route through Ukraine had dropped by a third. According to the Interfax news agency, Gazprom said supplies transiting Ukraine had dropped by nearly 30 percent compared with the day before. Ukraine’s pipeline operator GTSOU announced it was halting gas transport at the Sokhranivka transit point as Russian occupying forces now in control were interfering with operations.
Germany may be able to cope with a boycott of Russian gas imports as soon as the coming winter, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said. “If we have full storage facilities at the turn of the year, if two of the four floating LNG tankers we have leased are connected to the grid and if we make significant energy savings, we can to some extent get through the winter if Russian gas supplies collapse,” Habeck told WirtschaftsWoche. Germany is Europe’s biggest natural gas consumer. Last year, Russian gas accounted for 55 percent of its imports and a sudden stop could trigger a recession in Europe’s biggest economy, a study found this week.
The foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialised nations (G7) will discuss how to end a blockade of Ukrainian grain to enable it to be exported to the world, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said. “There are 25 million tons of grain currently blocked in the Ukrainian port of Odesa, which means food for millions of people in the world that is urgently needed, above all in African countries and in the Middle East,” Baerbock said.
The European Commission has proposed helping Ukraine export its wheat and other grains by rail, road and river to get around a Russian blockade of Black Sea ports, which is preventing those critical supplies from reaching parts of the world at risk of food insecurity. The European Union’s executive arm said the plan aims to establish alternative routes and ease congestion between borders that also should facilitate getting humanitarian aid and other goods into the war-torn country. “Twenty million tons of grains have to leave Ukraine in less than three months using the EU infrastructure,” said Adina Valean, EU commissioner for transport.
About 4.8 million jobs have been lost in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said. The job losses, which account for some 30 percent of Ukraine’s workforce before the invasion, could climb to seven million if hostilities continue, the ILO said in a study, which added that 3.4 million jobs could return quickly if there were a ceasefire. The ILO also said the war could drive up unemployment in neighboring countries hosting millions of refugees and hit Central Asian economies as migrant workers in Russia lose their jobs and return home.