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Russo-Ukraine War - 22 May 2022 - Day 88

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A number of claims and counterclaims are being made on the Ukraine-Russia conflict on the ground and online. While GlobalSecurity.org takes utmost care to accurately report this news story, we cannot independently verify the authenticity of all statements, photos and videos.

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]

The UK Ministry of Defence reported that Russia’s only operational company of BMP-T Terminator tank support vehicles has likely been deployed to the Severodonetsk axis of the Donbas offensive. Their presence suggests that the Central Grouping of Forces (CGF) is involved in this attack, which is the only formation fielding this vehicle. CGF previously suffered heavy losses while failing to break through to eastern Kyiv in the first phase of the invasion. Russia developed Terminator after identifying the need to provide dedicated protection to main battle tanks it used during the Afghan and Chechen wars. The Severodonetsk area remains one of Russia’s immediate tactical priorities. However, with a maximum of ten Terminators deployed they are unlikely to have a significant impact on the campaign.

Eighty-eight days of heroic opposition of the Ukrainian people to the Russian military invasion. Ukraine continued to rule out any "concessions" to Russia despite the intensive onslaught by Kremlin forces and as Polish President Andrzej Duda, in a surprise visit, urged Kyiv not to give in to the demands of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In his speech to the Verkhovna Rada, Duda said that "worrying voices have appeared, saying that Ukraine should give in to Putin's demands. Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future." He added that surrendering any Ukrainian territory would be a blow to the entire West.

Duda offered strong support for Ukraine's bid to join the EU, despite reluctance to move quickly by some major powers, including France and Germany. Duda said those who "shed their blood" in the fight to belong to Europe must be respected -- "even if the situation is complicated, even if there are doubts." He said "I have no doubt that the European Union will make such a gesture".

Unlike countries such as Germany and France – that have traditionally strong political and business ties to Russia and were trying to strike a far more balanced and diplomatic approach in terms of dealing with Russia and Ukraine – Poland has fallen squarely on the side of Ukraine because its leaders know that if Ukraine falls then suddenly the front line becomes the Polish border.

France’s European affairs minister told French radio that any bid by Ukraine to join the EU would likely take at least 15 to 20 years to finalize. "We have to be honest. If you say Ukraine is going to join the EU in six months, or a year or two, you're lying," Clement Beaune told France’s Radio J. "It's probably in 15 or 20 years -- it takes a long time."

"The war must end with the complete restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty," Ukrainian presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak said. "That is, our victory. Our common victory with the civilized world. After all, today [Ukraine] is defending not only itself," he said, adding that it was defending all of Europe.

Ukraine’s lead negotiator, presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak, said that Kyiv had ruled out any cease-fire agreement with Russia that included ceding any Ukrainian territory. “The war would not stop,” he said, in the event of such an agreement. “It would just be put on pause for a time. They’ll start a new offensive, even more bloody and large-scale.”

Diana Ohlbaum, Senior Strategist and Legislative Director for Foreign Policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, the Quaker peace lobby, argued NATO expansion might greatly worsen the situation in Europe and increase chances of a global conflict. She said that while the desire to expand NATO was a natural response to the actions of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, it is not in the interest of the US, western states, or other countries. She called the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO "short-sighted and dangerous" and stressed that they will only prolong the conflict in Ukraine, strip Putin of end-game options and increase the possibility of the use of tactical nuclear armaments that may prompt a global exchange of nukes. Ohlbaum further pointed out that the US strategy in Ukraine is already creating unnecessary risks. Despite the fact that ending the conflict is supposed to be a priority for Washington, currently policy does quite the opposite, the foreign policy advisor claimed, by shipping more weapons to Ukraine, supplying it with intelligence to strike Russians and whipping up rhetoric. The Russians did not stop conducting offensive operations in the Eastern Operational Zone and launching missile and air strikes on the territory of Ukraine. In the Volyn and Polissya directions, certain units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus perform tasks to cover the section of the Ukrainian-Belarusian border. The threat of air and missile strikes from the territory of the Republic of Belarus remains.

In the northern direction, the Russians were tightening control over the Ukrainian-Russian border in the Bryansk and Kursk regions. The Russians were conducting demonstration actions to prevent the movement of Ukrainian troops' reserves to the Eastern Operational Zone,and continued shelling of settlements and objects of civil infrastructure in Sumy and Chernihiv regions. In the Slobozhansky direction, the Russians were carrying out systematic artillery shelling of the positions of Ukrainian troops.

To increase the efficiency of the transfer of troops and cargo, measures were being taken to restore the railway infrastructure in the area of Kupyansk. The Russians did not take any active action in the Kharkiv direction during the day, but strengthened the police and administrative regime in the temporarily occupied territories. In the Slavic direction, the occupiers focused their efforts on creating conditions for the resumption of the offensive. The shelling of settlements along the line of contact continued. In some areas they tried to conduct reconnaissance by fighting, suffered losses and retreated.

In the Donetsk direction, the Russians were trying to break through the defenses of Ukrainian troops and reach the administrative borders of Luhansk region. In the Lyman direction, the Russians fired on the settlements of Lyman, Zakitne, Ozerne and Dibrova. They continued to fire on the positions of units of the Defense Forces.

In the Severodonetsk direction, the Russians fought in the area of the settlement of Prudivka. The eastern city of Severodonetsk has been attacked from four different directions overnight, but the Russians were pushed back, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office said. The occupying forces also tried to launch an offensive to capture the village of Oleksandrivka, but were unsuccessful. With mortars and artillery, the Russians continued to shell the positions of the Defense Forces along the line of contact in this direction. Russian military bloggers are hypothesising on the success of Russian tactics in the area and have dubbed it the “Battle of Severodonetsk”.

In the Bakhmut direction, with the support of artillery, the occupiers tried to improve the tactical position of their units. They fought in the settlements of Toshkivka, Komyshuvakha, Trypillya and Vasylivka. On Avdiivsky, Kurakhiv, Novopavliv and Zaporizhzhya directions recorded a decrease in the intensity of hostilities. The Russians regrouped to strengthen certain areas. The Russians did not conduct active hostilities in the South Bug area, but continued to build a second line of defense and strengthened the artillery group and increased the air defense system.

In the Bessarabian direction, in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova, the situation remained tense. Personnel of units of the operational group of Russian troops continued to be on high alert. The main efforts of the occupiers are to keep weapons and military equipment ready for use. The inspection of local armed groups was carried out. In the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, Russians naval groups continue to carry out tasks to isolate combat areas and block civilian shipping.

High-precision air-launched missiles of the Russian Federation hit three command posts, 13 areas of concentration of manpower and Ukrainian military equipment, as well as four ammunition depots in the DPR and LPR in a day, Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, told reporters. "During the day, high-precision air-launched missiles hit three command posts, 13 areas of concentration of manpower and Ukrainian military equipment, as well as four ammunition depots in the areas of the settlements of Soledar, Sol of the Donetsk People's Republic and Nyrkovo of the Luhansk People's Republic," Major General said.

Also, Russian aviation hit three command posts and a warehouse with ammunition of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in a day. "Operational-tactical and army aviation hit three command posts, 26 areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and also destroyed an ammunition depot near the village of Krasny Liman," he said. Konashenkov added that in total, more than 210 nationalists were killed as a result of air strikes, and 38 units of Ukrainian military equipment were disabled.

According to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, since the beginning of the special military operation, 174 aircraft, 125 helicopters, 977 unmanned aerial vehicles, 317 anti-aircraft missile systems, 3,198 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 408 multiple rocket launchers, 1,622 field artillery pieces have been destroyed since the start of the special military operation. and mortars, as well as 3,077 units of special military vehicles.

During the course of a special operation, Russian air defense systems destroyed 11 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and intercepted two detachments of Ukrainian MLRS during a special operation, Konashenkov said. "Russian air defense systems shot down 11 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles in the air during the day in the areas of the settlements of Kurakhovo, Guselskoe of the Donetsk People's Republic, Popasnaya of the Lugansk People's Republic, Chernobaevka of the Kherson region, Ruska Lozovaya, Kazachya Lopan, Nizshee, Malaya Kamyshevakha and Petrivske of the Kharkov region ", - he said.

According to Konashenkov, two Ukrainian Smerch MLRS shells were also intercepted. In addition, the missile troops and artillery of the Russian Ground Forces during a special operation in Ukraine hit about 700 targets of the Armed Forces of Ukraine per day. "Missile forces and artillery hit 583 areas of concentration of enemy manpower and military equipment, 41 command posts, 76 artillery and mortar units in firing positions, including three batteries of Grad multiple launch rocket systems, as well as the Ukrainian EW station Bukovel" near the settlement of Annovka, Mykolaiv region," Konashenkov said.

Moscow will consider exchanging prisoners from Ukraine’s Azov battalion for Viktor Medvedchuk, a wealthy Ukrainian businessman close to President Vladimir Putin, a Russian negotiator said. “We are going to study the possibility,” said Leonid Slutsky, a senior member of Russia’s negotiating team on Ukraine, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. Slutsky did not say the number of Azov fighters Moscow was considering for exchange. A separatist leader in eastern Ukraine has said nearly 2,500 Ukrainian fighters were in custody and were sure to face tribunals. Medvedchuk, 67, is a politician and one of Ukraine’s richest people and is known for his close ties to Putin. He escaped from house arrest after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February but was re-arrested by Ukrainian forces in mid-April.

Scott Ritter, a military analyst and former US Marine intelligence officer, said that if Russia is "able to achieve some sort of demonstrable battlefield victory of such a large scale that the inevitable defeat of Ukraine is played before the European community, that would put a damper on the provision of weaponry [by the West] in a futile exercise.... I think with what we're seeing in Donbass we see the potential formation of several cauldrons that have the potential of surrounding many thousands of Ukrainian troops. That's the victory I think that could turn the tide in terms of shaping or influencing opinion in Europe and elsewhere.... some of these encirclements are taking place as we speak, especially near Severodonetsk to get some other areas. So I believe Russia is on the cusp of achieving some very major battlefield victories that will immensely further its phase two objectives of liberating Donbass from the Ukrainian forces....

"... when Russia finishes phase two, they're still going to be confronted with a hostile Ukraine that is more closely linked to NATO's today than they were when the conflict started. And with a NATO that is not willing to roll over and accept Russia's demands regarding a new European security framework where both sides can live in peace together, but rather which is focused on destroying Russia and Ukraine through continued nonstop combat operations. Which means that Russia better have a phase three in mind because this war isn't over when they finish with phase two."

EU foreign and security policy chief Josep Borrell said that the bloc had run out of military hardware helping Ukraine and urged member states to bolster their defense capabilities. The depleted stockpiles resulting from the military support we provided to Ukraine are the most obvious example of our shortfalls. However, this comes on top of the ones inherited from past budget cuts and underinvestment," he wrote in a blog post. "However, this comes on top of the ones inherited from past budget cuts and underinvestment." Borrell argued that EU’s defense capabilities and military expenditure did not match the ones he claimed it needed to counter security threats at hand. "From 1999 to 2021, EU combined defence spending increased only by 20% - against 66% for the US, 292% for Russia and 592% for China. Certainly, one have to take into account the starting level of the military capacities, but this figures show very different trends," he said.

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Page last modified: 17-10-2022 19:16:47 ZULU