Russo-Ukraine War - 26 May 2022 - Day 92
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 Nalchik military court in Kabardino-Balkaria recognized as legal the early dismissal of 115 employees of the National Guard who refused to participate in the Russian special operation in Ukraine. This was reported to "Interfax" in the press service of the court. According to the judges, the plaintiffs, as part of their unit, “arbitrarily refused to carry out their official assignment and collectively departed on their own initiative to a permanent duty station,” thereby violating the terms of their service contract. The case was considered in a closed court session "in order to exclude cases of disclosure of information constituting a military secret."
Andrew Cockburn reported that "In a highly instructive piece in the May 26 Washington Post, that ran contrary to the official Ukrainian propaganda line dutifully echoed in most mainstream reporting, Sudarsan Raghavan described the sufferings of a unit on the eastern front, a 120-man company shredded to just fifty four thanks to deaths, injuries and desertions. They complained of being ill-supplied and poorly commanded. Nor were they unique. A nearby unit had posted a video saying they would no longer fight because they had no proper weapons, rear support, or military leadership. Rumors circulating in the Pentagon suggest that Ukrainian casualties, contrary to public reporting, may be running at twice the Russian level."
There are now 110 operational battalion tactical groups in Ukraine -- split among groupings of troops. The largest contingent remains in the south, but the western grouping, the central grouping and the eastern grouping each have roughly around the same number of BTGs inside Ukraine. More than 80 percent of their total battalion tactical groups are committed to the war in Ukraine. They Russians have started to rely now on volunteer contract reservists from their national Combat Army Reserve. So that's a fairly new development. They are also introducing troops that the US would call enablers, that help them with logistics and sustainment, and command and control. But most of the troops that they're putting in are combat troops.
Russia has made some incremental gains in its push towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk; not a lot but, but some incremental gains. There still is fighting for control over the town of Lyman. That town lies just to the northeast of Sloviansk and to the southeast of Izyum. So there's still a lot of activity in that northern part of the Donbas. And the other area that is worth talking about is also in the northern Donbas in the line between Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. The Russian forces have been able to seize most of northeastern Severodonetsk, even though there's still fighting going on there. And it looks as if they're really trying to squeeze off Ukrainian forces in that area and down towards Lysychansk. The Russian forces are making some slow progress north and west from around Popasna in the northeastern Donbas area, due south of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk.
"It is the strength of weapons in the war that Russia has launched against our country, against Ukraine, and at the same time against the freedom of all its neighbors, that determines what will dominate in Europe for decades to come. Either it will be justice for every nation we strive for with you, or Russia will manage to make the words "occupation", "repression", "deportation" main again for different nations." President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said to the Saeima of Latvia.
"So why did it happen that someone resolutely chooses the path of action and support, and someone does everything to really do nothing? Why can those who do not have great resources show great courage, and some quite powerful actors in global relations do not find in themselves a percentage of the power you have? Why can they tolerate criticism for cowardice, double standards and hypocrisy, even accusations of direct indulging in Russian aggression just to stay away and maintain contacts with Russia? There are various answers to these questions. Of course, often the answer is just money. There are those who are just looking for benefits and are able to think only about profits, interest and account statements."
"But now we hear again that Russia should be given what it wants. That supposedly it is necessary to accept that some nations may be deprived of part of their foreign policy rights, because certain, as they say, "historical force" wants it. There are quite serious talks about drawing some dividing lines along the body of a sovereign state in order to allegedly "appease" the aggressor. And allegedly concessions, concessions and concessions again are needed - of course, at the expense of the state, which was attacked, so that the aggressor allegedly mercifully stops."
Peskov commented about Kissinger's words about "the need for concessions to Ukraine": Moscow expects Kiev to accept Russia's demands and realize the de facto situation - the real situation that exists. These are not territorial concessions. I repeat once again, Kyiv needs to recognize the de facto situation, and simply assess it soberly". Ukraine has forever lost access to the Sea of Azov, since the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions will never return under the control of the Kiev regime, Vladimir Rogov, a member of the main council of the military-civilian administration of the Zaporozhye region, told RIA Novosti. State Duma Deputy from the Republic of Crimea Mikhail Sheremet said that the granting of Russian citizenship to the population of Kherson and Zaporozhye regions once again proves that Russia will not leave and will not leave the liberated territories unprotected.
President of Ukraine Zelensky puts forward conditions for a "truce" that are impossible in principle and amount to idiocy, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev said. “The conditions that Zelensky puts forward for a truce are categorical to the point of idiocy and are impossible in principle ,” Medvedev wrote. As an example of such idiocy, he pointed out that the President of Ukraine “demands to make Donbass and Crimea Ukrainian again, as if he does not know the will of their inhabitants.” “Withdraw all troops from the Donbass, leaving the Ukrainian army full scope for repressions against people. And then, perhaps, it will begin to agree on something. ” In addition, the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation advised the President of Ukraine to compose ultimatums in a sober state, "and not under psychotropic drugs." Medvedev emphasized “Ultimatums sound beautiful only on paper. Yes, and they usually put them all the same from a position of strength, and not obvious weakness.”
The UK Ministry of Defence reported that Russia’s airborne forces – the VDV – have been heavily involved in several notable tactical failures since the start of Russia’s invasion. This includes the attempted advance on Kyiv via Hostomel Airfield in March, the stalled progress on the Izium axis since April, and the recent failed and costly crossings of the Siverskyi Donets River. Russian doctrine anticipates assigning the VDV to some of the most demanding operations. The 45,000-strong VDV is mostly comprised of professional contract soldiers. Its members enjoy elite status and attract additional pay. The VDV has been employed on missions better suited to heavier armoured infantry and has sustained heavy casualties during the campaign. Its mixed performance likely reflects a strategic mismanagement of this capability and Russia’s failure to secure air superiority. The misemployment of the VDV in Ukraine highlights how Putin’s significant investment in the armed forces over the last 15 years has resulted in an unbalanced overall force. The failure to anticipate Ukrainian resistance and the subsequent complacency of Russian commanders led to significant losses across many of Russia’s more elite units.
The ninety-second period of the heroic opposition of the Ukrainian people to the Russian military invasion continues. The Russians conducted offensive operations in the Eastern Operational Zone and continued to launch missile and air strikes on infrastructure facilities in Ukraine.
The Russian offensive in Donbas has been underway for several weeks. The Russians are struggling to take control of the entire eastern region of Ukraine. However, the Ukrainians put up a strong resistance. One of the key cities that the Russians must conquer is Severodonetsk, known as Severus. Currently, about 10,000 people are fighting for this city. Russian soldiers. Behind them is a river crossed by three bridges, two of which have probably already been destroyed.
Russian activities in Donbas are being followed not only by the Ukrainian side. The retired Russian KGB colonel Igor Girkin, who is a legend of the first Donbass war, also referred to the problematic Russian offensive. He criticizes the Russian command without mincing words. "As expected, the enemy is not going to surrender Severodonetsk and Lisiczanska without a long battle, even under the threat of encirclement," wrote the Russian on Telegram. In addition, he described many clashes between Russian and Ukrainian soldiers as "outstanding bunglers". In his opinion, the progress of the Russian offensive is too slow. "Our troops are drawn into grueling offensive battles, they play according to the rules proposed by the enemy, on the terrain prepared by him. The losses incurred in these daily battles, not ending with defeating the enemy, cannot be quickly compensated by trained substitutes. Our soldiers will eventually run out of power." writes Girkin.
Girkin has long named the Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu as one of the main ones responsible for Russia's failures in Ukraine. The former KGB commander also criticizes local authorities for careerism and corruption. In his entry, Girkin calls for the removal of those responsible for "leading us to the brink of military defeat" from Putin's entourage. In his opinion, traitors want to bring about "shameful and humiliating" peace. In his opinion, there may be a coup in the Kremlin afterwards. In his opinion, the scenario of such events has been known for a long time. First there is a "shameful defeat", then an economic crisis, which leads to the discrediting of power and social unrest. Finally, there is a "palace coup".
Tactical exercises of units of special operations forces, air forces and air defense forces of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus are underway in the Volyn and Polissya directions, in the Brest region. In the northern direction, the Russians continued to carry out engineering equipment positions in the border areas of the Bryansk region. According to available information, to strengthen the protection of the Russian-Ukrainian border in this direction, the Russians involved units of the airborne troops of the armed forces of the Russian Federation. The Russians continued to fire mortars and artillery at the positions of the Defense Forces in the border areas of Sumy region. The Russians did not conduct active offensive operations in the Slobozhansky direction.
In the Kharkiv and Slavic directions, the Russians focused main efforts on holding occupied positions and restraining the advance of Ukrainian troops, shelling Ukrainian positions. In order to clarify the position of Ukrainian troops, he conducted Orlan-10 UAV air reconnaissance. They carried out remote mining on the routes of possible deployment of units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine. With the support of artillery, the Russians led the offensive in the direction of the village of Bogorodichne, had no success, retreated to the position previously held.
On the territory of Belgorod and Voronezh regions, the Russians continued to prepare reserves and replenish stocks in order to further resume the offensive. In the Donetsk direction, the Russians continued to shell units of Ukrainian troops, launch missile strikes, conduct reconnaissance, increase air support, and regroup troops. Strengthens the group by moving reserve units. In the Lyman direction, the Russians focused its efforts on the fire damage of Ukrainian units in the areas of Ozerny and south of the settlement of Lyman.
Severodonetsk has just over 100,000 residents. On the other hand, across the river, there is the town of Lisiczansk with a slightly smaller population. Taking control of this agglomeration is of strategic importance for the Russians in taking control of the entire Luhansk region and then proceeding to a further offensive. The Russians will do their best to encircle both cities and close them in specific rings. In recent days, Russian soldiers have made good progress in achieving their goals.
In the Severodonetsk direction, the Russians advanced in the directions of the settlements of Severodonetsk and Borivske. It is not successful. In the direction of the settlement Ustynivka the Russians had partial success. In order to disrupt logistics and prevent the maneuver of Ukrainian troops strikes were confucted on bridge crossings. In the Bakhmut direction, the Russian occupiers conducted an offensive in the directions of the settlements of Komyshuvakha, Nirkove, Berestove and Belogorovka, but had no success, suffered losses and withdrew. Russian forces withdrew from their positions on the Bakhmut - Lysychansk road. While the route can still be shelled, it has been used again for carrying supplies. Russian forces are advancing West from Troits'ke (South of Popasna).
In the directions of Pokrovsky and Klinov the Russians had partial success, captured the settlement of Medna Ruda, and performed regrouping. In the Avdiivka direction, the Russians tried to resume the offensive, but without success. The Russians did not conduct active hostilities in the Kurakhiv, Novopavliv, and Zaporizhzhya areas.
In the Zaporizhzhya direction, the Russians group was additionally reinforced by a formed tank battalion on T-62 tanks. The Russians did not conduct active hostilities in the South Bug area. He continued to fire on Ukrainian troops and conducts air reconnaissance using UAVs. It was revealed that the engineering units of the occupiers were carrying out measures to mine the coast of the Kakhovka Reservoir. In the Bessarabian direction, in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova, the level of terrorist threat has been reduced. At the same time, the personnel of the operational group of Russian troops in the region continued to serve in an enhanced mode.
The occupying power continued the measures of the administrative-police regime in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. Obstruction of civilians to the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities continues. In addition, the occupiers intensified the broadcasting of propaganda information materials through available and special means of television and radio broadcasting.
Ukraine received a batch of Su-25 attack aircraft and Soviet-made Mi-17 multi-purpose helicopters from Eastern European countries, TG-Kanaal reports, citing Foreign Policy. “Aircraft equipment was handed over to the Ukrainian side in a disassembled state. The delivery was carried out with the support of the US European Command."" The number of aircraft and from which countries it was sent is not reported.
Ukraine expects from its international partners samples of weapons that strike the enemy at a great distance. As Ukrinform reports, this was announced in the Telegram by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny. "It is very difficult for us, but we are standing. We are fighting for every section of the front, for every settlement. Western weapons and equipment help us drive the enemy out of our land. We are grateful for the international technical assistance provided. At the same time, we are in dire need of weapons that will be able to hit the enemy at a great distance. And this should not be delayed, because the price of the delay is measured by the lives of people who have protected the world from racism, "said the commander in chief.
Kyiv expects from the allies an important decision on armaments, which, according to experts, could dramatically change the rules on the battlefield. During the three months of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, artillery became one of the key factors in the fighting. Artillery requires a lot of ammunition. Each gun is up to two hundred shells a day. And now let's imagine: in the battery of the Armed Forces (conditionally) 3 guns, 2 or 3 batteries in a battalion, and battalions… So how many shells are there - hundreds of thousands. At least. At the same time, it is obvious that it is impossible to hold the defense for a long time if artillery shells are in short supply. The enemy will advance where guns will not be constantly working on it.
According to the American publication Politico, the administration is delaying the transfer of rocket artillery to Ukraine, fearing that it will be used to strike at Russia and the Kremlin will consider it an "escalation." Allegedly, this would lead to a "prolongation of the war" or "the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction." Meanwhile, military analyst and author of the Armchair General UA channel Mykola Beleskov believes that the United States itself has different opinions and views. For example, someone says that Ukrainians have shown themselves to be adequate, and if they strike, it is exclusively for military purposes. But there is another point of view. "Some fear that in response to the massive strikes on Crimea, there will be a demonstrative use of tactical nuclear weapons. All this is theoretical, but this argument is very difficult to refute. We will see very soon whose point of view will win, "said Mr. Beleskov.
Of the now total of 108 M777 howitzers that were committed over the last three PDAs, 85 of them are forward with the Ukrainian military, providing long range fire capability. And of the now total of 209,000 155 millimeter projectiles that were promised to Ukraine, we now know that 91 percent of that -- basically 190,000 of them -- have been transferred to the Ukrainian military and are in their possession. Nine of the 11 Mi-17s have been transferred to the Ukrainians. The last two will be arriving either late in May or very early in June. A total of 73 percent of the Switchblades, the 300 Switchblades, have been transferred to the Ukrainians.
On the training side, 419 Ukrainian soldiers have completed M777 training. That's the operator training. About 30 have completed the basic main -- maintenance course and then another 17 have completed the advanced 14-day maintainer course, which is a little bit longer, a little bit more detailed. On the Phoenix Ghost, the second iteration with about 14 Ukrainian -- I'm sorry, be a total of almost 20 Ukrainian troops -- are continuing now in the second iteration of Phoenix Ghost training. They -- they'll complete that training by the end of the month but this is the second class, about 20. They'll go through the end of the month.
The US was also helping facilitate some training of Ukrainians for coastal defense missiles, now that the Danes are going to be contributing Harpoon launchers and vehicles. So there's some training that needs to be done. The Harpoon was not designed for coastal defense, it was designed for anti-ship warfare, ship-to-ship warfare, so this is a relatively new application of the missile, and therefore they're going to need a little bit of training on that. And just under 20 Ukrainians are going through that training right now.
The West must understand that supplying Ukraine with weapons worsens the situation. Kiev is asking for weapons that can reach Russia, and the West is encouraging this policy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. Noting that there is a call from the West to Kiev "to defeat Russia on the battlefield," the Russian Foreign Minister noted that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky publicly demands from his curators weapons "that can reach the Russian Federation." Lavrov said “We warned the West in the most serious way that they are already, in fact, waging a proxy war with the Russian Federation with the hands, bodies, brains of Ukrainian neo-Nazis, but this will be a serious step towards an unacceptable escalation.”
The US believes they Russians have lost or rendered inoperable almost 1,000 of their tanks. They still have a lot left available to them. They've lost well over 350 artillery pieces. They have lost almost three dozen fighter -- fighter bomber fixed-wing aircraft and more than 50 helicopters.
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