Russo-Ukraine War - 21 May 2022 - Day 87
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. 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 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]
Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova of the Foreign Ministry stated: “ For many years we thought that Orwell was describing totalitarianism. This is one of the global fakes. Orwell wrote about the end of liberalism. He wrote how liberalism would lead humanity into a dead end. He did not write about the USSR, he wrote about the society in which he lived, about the collapse of the idea of liberalism. And they imposed on you that he wrote about you. Therefore, say that he wrote not about us, but about them. It is you who live abroad in a fantasy world where you can cancel a person.”
Ruslan Lewijew, the head of the Conflict Intelligence Team, said "At different times of this war, the Russian army tried to make "tongs" of different sizes. But I know of no case of actual success outside of Azovstal. Each time their plans were unsuccessful. Now they are trying to make a breakthrough in Popasna, wanting to close the ring. ... Fighting in Donbas will continue. If there is no mobilization, it will all come down to positional battles. They will try to carry out assault operations in order to gradually encircle one city or another" he estimated. In his opinion, "there will most likely be demonstration trials over captured Azov soldiers and Ukrainian marines who were in Azovstal" Can the Kremlin return to its plans to seize Kiev? "It's hard to get into Putin's head. Whether the Kremlin is ready for such actions depends on one person,"" he points out.
Lewijew said that among Russian soldiers: "There is an increasing number of refusals among those soldiers who are about to go to the front lines and even to the border. In different parts, according to various estimates, they range from 30 to 40 percent. Their actual number is hidden by the authorities, therefore the higher commanders do not know the actual number of troops at the border.... They are under constant psychological pressure. Each day begins with a formation in which they are told that they have left behind their colleagues, brothers who are dying for them."
Russia will create new military bases in the western portion of the country, in what Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu described as “adequate countermeasures” to Finland and Sweden’s bid to join NATO. Shoigu said the bid by the two Nordic countries was among several military threats that have increased in recent years along Russia’s northwestern border. “Tension continues to grow in the zone of responsibility of the Western Military District. We are taking adequate countermeasures,” Shoigu said.
The eighty-seventh day of the heroic opposition of the Ukrainian people to the Russian military invasion continues. The UK Ministry of Defence reported that the Russia-Ukraine war had seen Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) playing a pivotal role for both sides although they have suffered a high rate of attrition. UAVs have proved vulnerable both to being shot down and to electronic jamming. Russia attempted to implement the concept of ‘Reconnaissance Strike’ it refined in Syria, which uses reconnaissance UAVs to identify targets to be struck by combat jets or artillery. Russia is likely experiencing a shortage of appropriate reconnaissance UAVs for this task, which is exacerbated by limitations in its domestic manufacturing capacity resulting from sanctions.
Russia captured the town of Viktorivka to the N and the town of Vysjryva to the S of Popasna. Uraine had not had sufficient time or resources to establish a defensible line yet. Almost every day, there are hamlets, towns, and villages that are changing hands. The Russians are still well behind where the US believed they wanted to be when they started this revitalized effort in the eastern part of the country. And while they have made some incremental progress in the Donbas, it is incremental, it is slow, it's uneven, and the Ukrainians continue to push back.
The people's militia of the Luhansk People's Republic recaptured a large fortified area of Ukrainian security forces south of Popasna, a serviceman of the defense department told RIA Novosti. He stated that the fortifications were protected by concrete slabs that only artillery could destroy. Ukrainian security forces left ammunition and a large amount of foreign weapons, he added. Russians captured Novoselivka, Northwest of Lyman, and continued its advances in the vicinity of Popasna, taking control of the villages of Viktorivka and Vyskryva.
Ukraine’s eastern Donbas province is experiencing heavy fighting, a regional governor reported. The eastern Ukrainian town of Severodonetsk has been under fire for days, with several dead and injured, according to the governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Haidai. “The Russians are wiping out Severodonetsk like Mariupol,” Haidai said on the Telegram news channel.
The greatest Russian activity continues to be concentrated in the Eastern Operational Zone. In the Volyn and Polissya areas, the situation has not changed significantly. In the Seversky direction, the Russian fired on the settlements of Semenivka, Bleshnya, and Hirsk in the Chernihiv region. He fired missiles at objects in Zhytomyr and Poltava regions. In the Slobozhansky direction, the Russians continued to fight to hold the occupied frontiers. In order to prevent Ukrainian troops from reaching the state border, he launched air strikes and fired artillery at the areas of the settlements of Chornohlazivka, Prudyanka, Dementiivka and Ternova.
Preparations of units of the occupying forces to resume the offensive in the Slavic direction were underway. During the day, the Russian carried out artillery shelling in the areas of the settlements of Velyka Komyshuvakha and Dovhenke in the Kharkiv region. In the Donetsk direction, the Russian were trying to break through the defenses of Ukrainian troops and reach the administrative borders of Luhansk region. They inflicted fire damage on the entire spectrum of armaments, including aircraft, on positions of units of the Defense Forces and civilian objects along the line of contact. In addition, they struck airstrikes on civilian infrastructure in the settlements of Vrubivka, Luhansk region and Bakhmut, Donetsk region.
The Russian continued to prepare for the offensive in the Lyman direction. With the support of aircraft and artillery, he conducted assault operations in the areas of the settlements of Lypove, Vasylivka, Maryinka, and Novomykhailivka in the Donetsk region, and was unsuccessful. They inflicted an air strike on the settlement of Mykilske, Volnovakha district, Donetsk region.
The Russian did not conduct offensive operations in the Novopavlovsk and Zaporizhzhya areas. He carried out shelling of civilian infrastructure in the settlements of Vremivka, Donetsk region, Olhivske, Zatyshshya, Gulyay-Pole, Orikhiv, Novodanylivka and Kamyanske, Zaporizhia region. The occupiers did not carry out active hostilities in the South Bug area. The main efforts were focused on maintaining the occupied frontiers, conducting reconnaissance and activities on the engineering equipment of the positions. Mortar and artillery shelling of settlements directly adjacent to the line of contact continued.
The Ukrainian military destroyed Russian vehicles and a pontoon crossing over the Seversky Donets River near the village of Serebryanka in the Donetsk region. According to Ukrinform, the 30th separate mechanized brigade named after Prince Constantine of Ostroh reported. "The Russians planned to redeploy personnel and heavy armored vehicles across the pontoon crossing, across the Seversky Donets River near Serebryanka. But the Russians forcing the Seversky Donets River is a mission impossible due to 30 OMB soldiers and other law enforcement agencies,” the statement read. As a result, the Russians lost considerable strength - at least one battalion tactical group, pontoon bridge equipment was disabled during the forcing of the river, destroyed several units of equipment and several dozen personnel.
Russian military personnel with Kalibr missiles destroyed a large batch of weapons and military equipment delivered from the United States and European countries for the grouping of Ukrainian troops in the Donbass, said Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry. Also, the Russian Aerospace Forces liquidated storage facilities with fuel intended for armored vehicles of Ukrainian nationalists at the Odessa Port Plant. The Ministry of Defense published footage of the launch of "Caliber" from the Black Sea at military facilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Artillery and missile forces of the Russian Federation destroyed 77 command posts of the Ukrainian military and 43 artillery and mortar units, ten ammunition depots, a Buk-M1 air defense system and two batteries of the Grad MLRS, 602 accumulations of Russian manpower and equipment were hit, the official said. Russian air defense systems shot down 14 drones and eight Smerch MLRS shells in a day, said Konashenkov. “14 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were shot down in the air in the areas of the settlements of Glorious, Krutaya Balka, Aleksandrovka, Krasnogorovka, Petropavlovka, Pervomaisk of the Donetsk People's Republic, Popasnaya of the Lugansk People's Republic, Novaya Kakhovka, Aleksandrovka of the Kherson region, Chervony Yar, Small Passages, Kunye and Brazhkovka Kharkiv region," he said.
The commander of the assault company of the Russian troops, Captain Adam Khamkhoyev, who was the nephew of the Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, was killed in a battle in Ukraine. This was reported by Ukrinform with reference to the Ingush news portal The Magas Times. "Approximately, the body of the deceased will be brought tomorrow, May 22, to his native Karabulak. At the entrance to the republic (Ingushetia - ed.) Will be organized a meeting of the convoy to accompany the family home, "- said in a statement.
Russian fighter aircraft in an air battle near the village of Belitskoye in the DPR shot down a Ukrainian Su-25, said Konashenkov. In addition, Russian servicemen hit four more command posts, 47 areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment of the Ukrainian military, and also destroyed an ammunition depot in the Drobyshev area. “In total, more than 270 nationalists were killed as a result of air strikes, 52 units of military equipment were disabled,” Konashenkov added.
The Command of the Occupying Troops of the Russian Federation continued to carry out covert mobilization measures in order to replace servicemen who had suffered casualties outside the territory of Ukraine. Work is underway to attract to the ranks of the armed forces of the aggressor's troops persons who are temporarily occupied by the occupiers of Ukraine. To strengthen the groups, the Russian forms reserves from the 36th All-Military Army of the Eastern Military District and actively uses military transport aircraft to transfer manpower and logistics to the areas bordering Ukraine. At the same time, the occupation authorities are working on the so-called "nationalization" of telecommunications companies.
Russia’s defence ministry said the last group of Ukrainian forces holed up in Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks had surrendered, marking an end to a weeks-long attack that left the city in ruins. The defence ministry said at Azovstal, 2,439 Ukrainian fighters had surrendered in the past few days, including 531 in the final group. Ukraine did not comment on the figures.
The head of the Donetsk People's Republic, Denis Pushilin, announced the inevitability of a tribunal over the surrendered military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who were on the territory of the Azovstal plant. According to him, on the hands of these military "the blood of many, many civilians", residents of Mariupol, other cities and regions. “I believe that justice must be restored. There is a request for this from ordinary people, society and, probably, the sane part of the world community,” Pushilin said.
The Contact Group is not about setting diplomatic conditions for the end of the war. The Contact Group is an extension of the consultative meeting in Ramstein in April. And it is designed to bring together a community of nations who have a shared interest in Ukraine's ability to defend itself and to explore opportunities and capabilities that can be provided to them to that end that's the goal of the contact group, not to get involved in the geopolitical end states.
US President Joe Biden has signed into law legislation passed by Congress on 19 May providing a massive $40 billion (€37.8bn) package for Ukraine's war effort against Russia. Biden signed the bill during his official trip to South Korea. The bill includes $6bn (€5.68bn) for Ukraine to buy armoured vehicles and strengthen its air defence. $ 6 billion will be spent on weapons, intelligence support, training and other security assistance to the Armed Forces; $ 11 billion will go to weapons, military and defense equipment, which US President Joe Biden will be able to send to Ukraine at an accelerated pace - without further agreement with Congress. $ 8.7 billion will be spent on stockpiling weapons transferred to Ukraine; $ 3.9 billion will be funded by European Command operations, including intelligence support; $ 13.8 billion has been approved for the US State Department, most of which will go to the Economic Support Fund. $ 4.4 billion will be spent on food supplies to Ukraine and other countries.
Scott Ritter, a former weapons inspector with the UN in Iraq, wrote: "In supporting a corrupt, ideologically unsavory government in Ukraine with billions of dollars of US military equipment, the Biden administration appears to be falling into the same trap as its predecessors who stoked the fires of US-supported conflict in South Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.... What connects these three historical failures of American military assistance is the common theme of hubris-driven ambition, where the on-the-ground political realities were ignored by military professionals who placed all of their faith in the preeminence of US military equipment, doctrine, and training.... By supporting a Ukrainian military that has been thoroughly infiltrated by the odious ideology of neo-Nazism, the US is setting itself up for failure by once again aligning itself with a cause which, in the long run, is not worthy of the sacrifice being asked of those called upon to defend it."
The Donbas is a long-range fires artillery fight. The main need that the Ukrainians continue to stress is for long-range fires. The consistent answer is that Ukraine needs long range fires, because the terrain in the Donbas region, that kind of fighting that they're doing is heavily reliant on that in just the last couple of weeks. And so the US focus was on making sure to advantage Ukraine on the battlefield and therefore hopefully advantage them when it comes to an ultimate peace in Ukraine.
After a while, the ability to replenish out of what exists in Europe of old Soviet stocks is just starting to dwindle. And not just because there's not that much of it left, but because a lot of countries need it for their own defense. So, that led the US to look at some American made systems. And so the US wanted to try to get them the systems that meant the most to them in the fight, but that also wasn't going to require an onerous amount of training or upkeep and supply chain.
The UK is exploring the possibility of sending modern weaponry to Moldova to protect it from any threat of invasion from Russia, foreign secretary Liz Truss said in an interview. “How do we ensure that there is deterrence by denial, that Ukraine is permanently able to defend itself and how do we guarantee that happens? That’s what we are working on at the moment,” Truss told The Telegraph.
Relations between Germany and Poland escalated due to the supply of weapons to Ukraine. This was reported on 21 May 2022 edition of Spiegel. According to the publication, the negotiations of the countries on the exchange of weapons reached a “hopeless dead end”, as Poland demanded that its tanks delivered to Ukraine be replaced with the latest German Leopards. In Germany, however, they were unable to comply with the request. As Spiegel points out, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski referred to Germany's commitments to strengthen Poland's defenses and replenish stocks, but "none of them were fulfilled." According to the newspaper, the agreement between Poland and Germany may be complicated by the fact that a quick delivery of Leopard tanks is impossible due to problems in production.
Poland transferred spare parts and armament for MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine. This was reported on May 21 by the portal Onet. “Instead of MiG-29 fighters, Poland transferred to Ukraine a large number of spare parts and weapons for these machines,” the portal said. According to publications, thanks to these deliveries, Ukrainian aviation will be able to "constantly renew the combat capability of its aircraft."
Zelenskyy devoted his nightly video address to Ukraine’s demand that Russia be held financially responsible for the damage its forces are inflicting on Ukraine. In the eastern Donbas, where the Russian attack has been fiercest, he said Russian troops turned the towns of Rubizhne and Volnovakha into ruins, just as they did with Mariupol, and were trying to do the same with Severodonetsk. Zelenskyy said Russia should be made to pay for every home, school, hospital and business it destroys. He said a legal mechanism should be created through which everyone who suffered from Russia’s actions would be able to receive compensation.
The world community must help Ukraine unblock seaports, otherwise the energy crisis will be followed by a food crisis and many more countries will face it, said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. "Russia has blocked almost all ports and all, so to speak, maritime opportunities to export food - Ukrainian grain, barley, sunflower and more. A lot of things," the Head of State said during a meeting with media representatives following negotiations with Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa in Kyiv.
According to the President of Ukraine, currently the Russian Federation has blocked 22 million tons of food products. The aggressor country is gradually stealing it and trying to sell it. "There will be a crisis in the world. The second crisis after the energy one, which was provoked by Russia. Now it will create a food crisis if we do not unblock the routes for Ukraine, do not help the countries of Africa, Europe, Asia, which need these food products. You can unblock them in different ways. One of the ways is a military solution. That is why we turn to Ukrainian partners with inquiries regarding the relevant weapons,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy added.
Dmitry Polyansky, First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, pointed out to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, who spoke about the alleged blocking of Russian ports for the export of food, that Kyiv was paying with Ukrainian grain for the supply of weapons. “A new threshold of hypocrisy has been reached! You know better than anyone that Russia does not block food exports from Ukrainian ports. You keep ports mined and use foreign ships as human shields,” he said. Polyansky emphasized that Ukraine's ongoing overland food exports are not going to Africa, but are paying the bills for arms shipments.
Agricultural crops of Mexican farmers suffer from a shortage of fertilizers due to sanctions against the Russian Federation. The country introduced a ban on the entry of ships with Russian cargo. Experts predict that by the end of the spring-summer cycle, farmers will lose up to 50% of their crops. This will lead to higher food prices, and farmers' spending on growing crops may not pay off.
As Ukrinform reported, from February 24 to May 21, the defenders of Ukraine eliminated about 28,850 Russian servicemen , which is 150 people more than in the previous day. Also destroyed tanks 1278 (+15) units, armored combat vehicles - 3116 (+26), artillery systems - 596 (+0), MLRS - 201 (+1), air defense - 93 (+0), aircraft - 204 +0), helicopters - 169 (+1), UAVs operational and tactical level - 462 (+2), cruise missiles - 104 (+1), ships / boats - 13 (+0), vehicles and tankers - 2178 +16), special equipment - 43 (+0).
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