Russo-Ukraine War - 13 May 2022 - Day 78
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-ninth day of the heroic opposition of the Ukrainian people to the Russian military invasion continues. The Russian occupiers did not stop the offensive in the Eastern Operational Zone. Illegal actions against the local population continued in the territories temporarily occupied by the Russians. Measures of the administrative-police regime are underway, the counter-intelligence regime has been strengthened. Unreasonable detention of civilians, especially those with an active pro-Ukrainian position, continued.
Given all the crimes committed by the Russian army in Ukraine, Ukrainian society is not ready for dialogue with the Russian side, but President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is ready to continue negotiations to end the war, liberate the occupied territories and save lives. This was stated by the President in an interview with the Porta a Porta project of the Italian TV channel Rai 1.
Asked what kind of peace Ukraine wants, the President said: “Ordinary things. Respect for sovereignty. Respect for territorial integrity. Respect for traditions, people, language. Just respect for the people, society and the independence of our state. All these ordinary, normal things that the Russian Federation has violated. They need to be restored. What is restoration? Withdraw your troops from our land. There are no our troops on the territory of the Russian Federation. Withdraw your troops, de-occupy our homes, our villages," he added.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy also stressed that there can be no compromise on Ukraine's sovereignty and independence. "However, in the negotiations we are ready to say - at least get out of the territory you occupied starting from the 24th (February 24, 2022 - ed.). Yes, in some of our temporarily occupied territories, you unfortunately continue to stay. But this is the first clear step to talk about something. Let's do it," the President said.
Ukraine’s defence minister said that Kyiv has thwarted Moscow’s plans to destroy Ukrainian statehood – but a “long-term” phase of the war lies ahead. Putin planned to report a major triumph on May 9, the anniversary of Nazi Germany’s 1945 capitulation, Oleksii Reznikov said. However, Kyiv’s fierce resistance led to Russia’s “strategic defeat” and withdrawal from Kyiv and northern Ukraine, he added. “We are entering a new – long-term – phase of the war. To win it, we need to carefully plan resources, avoid mistakes, and project our strength so that in the end, the enemy fails,” Reznikov said.
The Polish leadership's statements about Russia "as a cancerous tumor" and about indemnities to Ukraine prompt the Russian Federation to "put it in line for denazification," said Oleg Morozov, chairman of the State Duma Committee on Control. "By its statements about Russia as a 'cancer tumor' and about the 'indemnity' that we must pay to Ukraine , Poland encourages us to put it in first place in the queue for denazification after Ukraine," Morozov wrote in his Telegram channel. Earlier, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a Telegraph column that he considers the Russian world "a cancer that poses a deadly threat to the whole of Europe", in his opinion, it needs to be "eradicated". Also, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that Russia would be forced to pay indemnity to Ukraine.
The UK Ministry of Defence reported that Russia is investing significant effort in the vicinity of Izium and Severodonetsk in an attempt to achieve a breakthrough towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk. The primary objective on this axis is to envelop Ukrainian forces in the Joint Forces Operation area, isolating them from support or reinforcement by units in the west of the country. Ukrainian forces successfully prevented an attempted Russian river crossing in the Donbas. Imagery indicate that during the crossing of the Siverskyi Donets river west of Severodonetsk, Russia lost significant armoured manoeuvre elements of at least one Battalion Tactical Group as well as the deployed pontoon bridging equipment. Conducting river crossings in a contested environment is a highly risky manoeuvre and speaks to the pressure the Russian commanders are under to make progress in their operations in eastern Ukraine. Russian forces have failed to make any significant advances despite concentrating forces in this area after withdrawing and redeploying units from the Kyiv and Chernihiv Oblasts.
The Russians continues to launch missile strikes on industrial infrastructure and fire on civilian targets in Ukraine. In the Volyn and Polissya directions, the Russians did not take active action. Their main efforts were to cover the state border in Brest and Gomel oblasts. As part of the inspection of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus in the Kobrin district of Brest region and Lida district of Grodno region, meetings with conscripts continue. The threat of missile and bomb strikes from the territory of the Republic of Belarus on infrastructure facilities on the territory of Ukraine remains.
In the northern direction, the Russians were strengthening the protection of the Ukrainian-Russian border in the Bryansk and Kursk regions. From the territory of the Russian Federation, the Russians fired artillery at civilian targets in the Sumy region and launched an air strike on the village of Tovstodubovo.
In the Slobozhansky direction, the Russian's main efforts were focused on ensuring the withdrawal of its units from the city of Kharkiv and preventing the withdrawal of units of the Defense Forces to the rear of the Russian group of troops concentrated in the city of Izyum. Russians units fired on the positions of Ukrainian troops in the areas of the settlements of Petrivka, Pytomnyk, Ruski Tyshky and Ternova.
In the Slavic direction, the Russians concentrated its main efforts on the offensive in the area of the settlement of Bogorodichne, but had no success. They conducted artillery shelling in the areas of the settlements of Nova Dmytrivka and Krasnopillya. They carried out air strikes in the areas of the settlements of Dolyna and Adamivka. Russians units continue to fire on Ukrainian troops in the Donetsk and Tavriya directions. The occupiers tried to establish control over the settlements of Novoselivka Druha, Kamyanka, Maryinka and Novomykhailivka. In the Lyman direction, the Russians tried unsuccessfully to gain a foothold in the area of the settlement of Oleksandrivka.
In the Severodonetsk direction Russians carried out active fire influence in the area of the settlement of Rubizhne. Russian forces have taken control of Rubizhne and have now entered Severodonetsk from the North. Russians have made some advances to the North of Popasna. Russian forces likely control all of Rubizhne as of Thursday and have likely seized the town of Voevodivka, north of Severodonetsk, the Institute for the Study of War has said. “They will likely launch a ground offensive on or around Severodonetsk in the coming days,” the institute said in its latest campaign assessment. “The relative success of Russian operations in this area combined with their failure to advance from Izium and the notable decline in the energy of that attempted advance suggest that they may be giving up on the Izium axis,” it added.
In the Bakhmut direction, the Russians carried out assault operations in the directions of the settlements of Zolotye and Komyshuvakha, but was unsuccessful. They carried out shelling of the settlements of Toshkivka and Orikhove. In the Avdiivka direction, with the support of artillery, Russians conducted offensive operations in the directions of the settlements of Kamyanka and Novoselivka, but had no success.
In Mariupol, the occupiers focused their efforts on blocking Ukrainian units in the area of the Azovstal plant, and the shelling continued. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said negotiations with Russia on getting defenders out of the besieged Azovstal plant in Mariupol were “very difficult” but did not give details.“The result may not be to everyone’s liking, but our task is to evacuate our boys. All of them. Alive,” she said. “God willing we will rescue them all.”
In the South Bug direction, the Russians did not conduct active hostilities, firing at units of the Defense Forces with artillery and mortars. They continued to conduct air reconnaissance.
Satellite images reportedly show the aftermath of what were probable missile attacks on a Russian Serna-class landing craft near Snake island, close to Ukraine’s sea border with Romania. Ukraine said earlier that the Russian navy logistics ship, Vsevolod Bobrov, had been struck near Snake Island, the scene of renewed fighting in recent days, but did not give details. Images, taken by US-based private company Maxar Technologies, also showed recent damage to buildings on the island. An adviser to Ukraine’s president said that Moscow’s navy logistics ship, Vsevolod Bobrov, was carrying an air defence system from Russia’s northern fleet to Zmeiny (Snake) Island when Ukraine allegedly struck it. Oleksiy Arestovych told former Russian lawyer and politician Mark Feygin on his YouTube show that the ship was seriously damaged but was not believed to have sunk. There has been no confirmation from Russia and no reports of casualties.
Republican Representative Paul Gosar (Arizona) condemned the push from both parties in Washington to send billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine. “Crippling debt, inflation and immigration problems,” he declared, are not “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s fault.” Gosar, an immigration hardliner and anti-interventionist, was one of 57 GOP lawmakers to vote against a $40 billion economic and military aid bill for Ukraine. While a number of Republicans have been vocal in their opposition to fueling a “proxy war” in Ukraine, the GOP establishment shouted down these critics, with conservative talk show host Mark Levin on referring to the anti-war contingent of the party as “Putin ass-kissers.”
United States Senator Rand Paul single-handedly delayed the passage of a $40bn aid package for Ukraine. The allocation of funds has bipartisan support in the Senate and it was passed in the US House of Representatives earlier this week. It is also supported by President Joe Biden, with his administration warning the remaining authorised funds for Ukraine would run out by May 19. Paul demanded the legislation be altered to include an inspector general to oversee spending on Ukraine. He denied an offer to hold a vote on the amendment, which was all but assured to fail, but instead refused to support swiftly bringing the aid package to a final vote. Under Senate rules, unanimous consent among legislators is required to bypass lengthy procedural steps that can delay the passage of legislation.
“No matter how sympathetic the cause, my oath of office is to the national security of the United States of America,” Paul said. “We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the US economy.” Paul argued that the massive sum is more than the US spends on many domestic programs and would deepen federal deficits while worsening inflation. "My oath of office is to the U.S. Constitution, not to any foreign nation. Congress is trying yet again to ram through a spending bill – one that I doubt anyone has actually read – and there’s no oversight included into how the money is being spent."
“This is the second spending bill for Ukraine in two months. And this bill is three times larger than the first,” Paul said before formally blocking the aid package. “Congress just wants to keep on spending, and spending.” Paul argued that Americans are already “feeling the pain” of an inflation crisis, which he said was driven by excessive deficit spending, “and Congress seems intent on only adding to that pain by shoving more money out the door as fast as they can.” He added, “We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the US economy.”
Critics, including Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), countered that anti-Russia sanctions are only exacerbating a US inflation crisis, and prioritizing aid to Ukraine is distracting from more important domestic issues. “While you spend $40 billion for your proxy war against Russia, I’m focused on baby formula for American babies”. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) excoriated Paul for standing in the way of quickly approving the massive aid package and argued that Washington has a “moral obligation” to help Ukraine fight Russian forces. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) also pressed for an immediate vote on the bill.
The flow of US weapons to Ukraine might be cut off, at least temporarily, unless Congress quickly approves nearly $40 billion in new spending to help Kiev repel Russia’s offensive in the former Soviet republic, the Pentagon warned. “May 19 is the day we really, without additional authorities, we begin to not have the ability to send new stuff in . . .,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Friday. “By the 19th of May, it’ll start impacting our ability to provide aid uninterrupted.” Weapons shipments to Kiev wouldn’t immediately stop on May 20 without new funding because there would still be some supplies in the pipeline.
Moscow’s losses amounted to 26,900 soldiers, including some 250 in the past 24 hours, according to Ukraine’s military. Since the invasion began on February 24, Russian forces have also lost 200 planes, 162 helicopters, 1,205 tanks and 2,900 armored vehicles, the General Staff of Armed Forces claimed on Facebook. The biggest losses occurred around the city of Kurakhove in the southeastern Donetsk region, where Moscow focused its offensive after withdrawing forces from around Kyiv and northern Ukraine, it said.
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