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Russo-Ukraine War - 28 May 2022 - Day 94

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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 Russian forces had likely captured most of the town of Lyman, in the north of Donetsk Oblast, in what is likely a preliminary operation for the next stage of Russia’s Donbas offensive. Lyman is strategically important because it is the site of a major railway junction, and also gives access to important rail and road bridges over the Siverskyy Donets River. In the coming days, Russian units in the area are likely to prioritise forcing a crossing of the river. For now, Russia’s main effort likely remains 40 km to the east, around the Sieverodonetsk pocket but a bridgehead near Lyman would give Russia an advantage in the potential next phase of the Donbas offensive, when it will likely seek to advance on key Ukrainian-held cities deeper in Donetsk Oblast, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

On 26 May 2022, head of the self-declared, Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, told Russian state-controlled media that a referendum would be held if Russia captured the entirety of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. If Russia did succeed in taking over these areas, it would highly likely be seen by the Kremlin as a substantive political achievement and be portrayed to the Russian people as justifying the invasion. However, the Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to conduct a well-organised defence of the sector, and continue to impose a high level of casualties on Russia.

Russia’s army in a statement claimed that it captured the strategic town of Lyman in eastern Ukraine. “Following the joint actions of the units of the militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Russian armed forces, the town of Lyman has been entirely liberated from Ukrainian nationalists,” the defence ministry said in a statement, confirming an announcement a day earlier by pro-Moscow separatists.

Russia’s plan to remobilise its forces to the east and the south seems to be working amid Russian claims it had taken full control of the city of Lyman. Lyman is not a very big place. It’s a village town, about 20,000 people in total lived there before the invasion but it does represent a strategic location. If Lyman, as the Russians say, has fallen to their full control, then what they could do is use Lyman as a staging ground to move further south and east to encircle troops that are currently fighting for Severodonetsk, potentially cutting off 8,000 plus Ukrainian forces from making a tactical retreat.

The governor of the Luhansk region has denied Russian claims that their forces have surrounded the eastern city of Severodonetsk but said Ukrainian soldiers may have to retreat. Serhiy Haidai wrote on Telegram that the Russians had seized a hotel and bus station. “The Russians will not be able to capture Luhansk region in the coming days, as analysts predict. We will have enough forces and means to defend ourselves,” Haidai wrote. He added that it is possible that “not to be surrounded, we will have to leave”. A critical supply and evacuation path, the Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway, is constantly under fire, but supplies and people are still passing on it, Haidai said.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said Russia’s direct attacks on Severodonetsk began even before the city had been completely encircled, which could make it difficult for the military to advance quickly in the town. “Russian forces have performed poorly in operations in built-up urban terrain throughout the war to date,” the think-tank said.

Putin cautioned German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron against providing Ukraine with heavy weapons in an 80-minute phone call. Deliveries of more powerful weapons posed the risk of further destabilising the situation and exacerbating the humanitarian crisis, Putin said, according to a Kremlin statement issued after the call.

In talks with Scholz and Macron, Putin talked about how the discussions have stalled between the two sides as a result of the Kyiv government not being serious and responding to the offers that have been made by the Russian negotiators, the last one being made on April 15. The French and German leaders were seemingly satisfied by the answers given by the Russian president about the status of the prisoners, the Ukrainian military personnel that are being held as prisoners of war by the Russian military. Putin said that Russia was willing to allow the passage of the ships, roughly around 300 of them, from the main port in Odesa in Ukraine. That is something up for discussion, but of course, that is something that has to be done through the Russian military.

Putin told the leaders of France and Germany Moscow is ready to look for ways to ship grain stuck in Ukrainian ports but demanded the West lift sanctions. The difficulties in supplying grain to world markets were the result of “erroneous economic and financial policies of Western countries” Putin said. “Russia is ready to help find options for the unhindered export of grain, including the export of Ukrainian grain from the Black Sea ports,” Putin told Macron and Scholz, the Kremlin said. “An increase in the supply of Russian fertilisers and agricultural products will also help reduce tensions on the global food market, which, of course, will require the removal of the relevant sanctions.”

Ukrainian presidential adviser and peace talks negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak has said any agreement with Russia cannot be trusted and Moscow can only be stopped in its invasion by force. “Any agreement with Russia isn’t worth a broken penny,” Podolyak wrote on the Telegram messaging app. “Is it possible to negotiate with a country that always lies cynically and propagandistically?”

The ninety-fourth day of the heroic opposition of the Ukrainian people to the Russian military invasion continues. The situation in the Volyn and Polissya areas remains without significant changes. Certain units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus continue to perform tasks on protection of the Belarusian-Ukrainian border on a rotating basis, the grouping has been strengthened by units of brigades of internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic. The threat of missile and air strikes on objects on the territory of Ukraine remains. In order to ensure enhanced administrative, police and counterintelligence regimes in the Republic of Belarus until August 31, 2022, temporary restrictions are imposed on entry and stay in the border with Ukraine Bragin, Loiv and Khoiniki districts of Gomel region.

In the Seversky direction, in order to prevent the transfer of Ukrainian troops to other threatening directions, the Russians were holding troops on the section of the Russian-Ukrainian border in the Bryansk and Kursk regions. The Russians rotated part of the units and improved the engineering equipment of the concentration areas. The Russians fired mortars four times at the positions of the border service units in the areas of the settlements of Seredyna Buda, Stari Vyrky and Znob-Trubichevska. In addition, the operational and tactical aircraft from the airspace of the Kursk region fired a missile at a civilian industrial facility in the Sumy region.

In order to clarify the position of Ukrainian troops, the Russians conducted air reconnaissance with the help of UAVs in Chernihiv and Sumy regions. In the Kharkiv direction, Russians units were concentrating their main efforts on maintaining their occupied positions and preventing the further advance of Ukrainian troops. In the Slavic direction, a group of Russians troops was taking measures to resume the offensive in certain areas. The Russians continued to transfer weapons, military equipment and other material resources from the territory of the Russian Federation to the Kupyansk district of Kharkiv region by rail. After conducting reconnaissance with unmanned aerial vehicles, they fired artillery at the positions of Ukrainian troops in the areas of Nova Dmytrovka, Velyka Komyshuvakha, Dovhenke, Dibrova and struck helicopters with helicopters in the area of Dovgenke.

With the support of artillery, the Russians tried to develop offensive operations in the area of the settlement of Pasika, were unsuccessful, withdrew. In the Donetsk direction, the Russians were conducting active hostilities in the Lyman, Severodonetsk, Bakhmut, Kurakhiv and Avdiivka directions. The main goal is to surround Ukrainian troops in the areas of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk and reach the administrative border of Luhansk region.

In the Lyman direction, Russians units are consolidated on the captured frontiers in the settlement of Lyman. Assault aircraft struck three airstrikes near the village of Dibrova. In the Severodonetsk direction, the Russians, with the support of artillery, led the offensive in the direction of Borivsky, suffered losses, retreated to previously occupied positions. They conducted reconnaissance of the district in order to identify and suppress elements of the fire system of units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine. In the Bakhmut direction, the invaders were trying unsuccessfully to improve the tactical situation in the areas of Komyshuvakha and Novoluhanske. Fighting continued.

In the Avdiivka direction, the Russians inflicted intense artillery strikes along the entire line of contact, and fighting continued. Assault aircraft struck in the areas of Avdiivka, Vesele and Kamyanka. In the Kurakhiv, Novopavliv, and Zaporizhzhya areas, the Russians waged a counter-battery battle and fired on Ukrainian troops. In the South Bug direction, the Russians were concentrating main efforts on maintaining the occupied frontiers. Two Caliber naval-based cruise missile carriers are ready for use in missile weapons in the Black Sea.

As a result of offensive actions of units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces, the Russians suffered losses and occupied the defense on unfavorable borders near Andriyivka, Lozovo and Belogorka, Kherson region. The fighting continued. The Russians fired on civilian infrastructure in the areas of the settlements of Prybuzke, Posad-Pokrovske, Blagodatne, Osokorivka, Novovorontsovka, Novooleksandrivka and others. With the help of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, the Russians continued to increase the air defense system.

Kyiv has started receiving Harpoon anti-ship missiles from Denmark and self-propelled howitzers from the United States, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov announced, saying the arms would bolster forces fighting Russia’s invasion. “The coastal defence of our country will not only be strengthened by Harpoon missiles – they will be used by trained Ukrainian teams,” Reznikov wrote on his Facebook page. He said Harpoon shore-to-ship missiles would be operated alongside Ukrainian Neptune missiles in the defence of the country’s coast including the southern port of Odesa.

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Page last modified: 17-10-2022 19:16:48 ZULU