Russo-Ukraine War - 30 May 2022 - Day 96
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 ninety-sixth day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military invasion continues. At Severodonetsk, the Russians advanced into the city's center, street fighting continues. Residents are strongly advised to stay in shelters. The fact that Russian forces were reportedly able to enter the center of the city (if confirmed) suggested the possibility of a tactical withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the area of Severodonetsk & Lysychansk. In the Sievierodonetsk direction, Russians conducted assault operations in the areas of the settlements of Sievierodonetsk, Toshkivka and Ustynivka, and hostilities continue. An estimated 15,000 civilians in Severodonetsk remained trapped by heavy fighting amid a constant barrage of artillery and air attacks.
“Unfortunately we have disappointing news, the enemy is moving into the city,” Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai told national television. “The fighting continues, the situation is very difficult.” Severodonetsk – with a prewar population of about 100,000 people – is one of several important urban hubs that lie on Russia’s path to capturing the entire Luhansk region, a key objective of Moscow’s military. “They [Russian army] use the same tactics over and over again. They shell for several hours – for three, four, five hours – in a row and then attack. Those who attack die. Then shelling and attack follow again, and so until they break through somewhere,” Haidai said.
The battle for Donbas has seen Russia switch to artillery barrages that last day and night. The Institute for the Study of War [ISW], a U.S. think tank, said Russian progress around Severodonetsk resulted largely from the fact that the Kremlin has concentrated forces, equipment and material from all other axes on this one objective. ISW questioned the Kremlin’s strategy of assembling a huge military effort to take Sieverodonetsk, saying it was proving costly for Russia and would bring few returns. Zelenskyy said in a video that all the critical infrastructure in Severodonetsk has been demolished. He said 90 percent of the city's houses have been damaged and that more than two-thirds of the city's housing stock had been completely destroyed. He added that there is "no mobile connection."
The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russia was preparing to attack Ukraine from three directions. The Russian military is regrouping in Donetsk Oblast near the town of Lyman, seeking to launch an offensive. An attack is also expected in Kharkiv Oblast, near the city of Izyum, and in Sumy Oblast.
In the Counteroffensive in Kherson Oblast, Ukrainian troops broke 9km into Russian defense lines. But it was too early to talk about the collapse of Russia here. “Kherson, hold on. We’re close!” Ukraine’s general staff tweeted as forces counterattacked in the only region of the country fully controlled by Russian troops. Russian combat forces reportedly began to withdraw from the cities of Mikolaivka and Snihurivka along the Kherson/Mykolaiv Front due to heavy Ukrainian counteroffensives in the region with air and ground Forces. Russian generals are now actively maneuvering troops and equipment in the Kherson Obl and their counterattacks may begin soon. Kherson region is the part of the front line where there are the least RU BTGs per kilometer. According to @HN_Schlottman there are about 7 BTGs in the area and they control an average of 22.8km each. During the successful offensive of the Ukrainian Defense Forces, Russians suffered losses and withdrew from the village of Mykolayivka, Kherson oblast, which led to panic among servicemen of other units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation.
The Ukrainians are raising the alarm that a new Russian Army grouping is being formed in the Kursk region that will cross into the Sumy region. The commander of the Dnepro Ter-Def has called for an urgent construction of a multi-layered defence line across northern Ukraine.
The Kremlin's "top priority" is the "liberation" of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. In an interview with France's TF1 Television, Lavrov said the war was not about the "annexation" of eastern regions of Ukraine but "restoring their territorial integrity." He spoke as Russian forces stepped up their offensive in Donbas over the weekend. Lavrov said that the path for a return to peace talks had not been cut, but that Moscow's objective was still to "demilitarize Ukraine" so that there are "no longer any weapons on its territory that pose a threat to the Russian Federation." Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he didn't believe all the land seized by Russia since 2014, which includes Crimea, could be recaptured by force. "I do not believe that we can restore all of our territory by military means. If we decide to go that way, we will lose hundreds of thousands of people," he said. He was, however, adamant that "Ukraine will get everything back. Everything."
In the Volyn and Polissya directions there are without much change. Until June 4 this year, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus will continue to check combat readiness. In the Siversky direction, Russians continued to carry out artillery shelling from the territory of the Russian Federation of Border Areas, namely the settlements of Boyaro-Lezhachi and Manukhivka in the Sumy oblast and Yanzhulivka and Kamenska Sloboda in the Chernihiv oblast. In the Slobozhansky direction, Russians continued to prepare for the offensive, studies the probable ways of advancing, supplying weapons and military equipment and material resources from the territory of the Russian Federation.
In order to reduce the offensive potential of Ukrainian troops, it fired down the positions of the Defense Forces with tube artillery and rocket artillery. Russians did not take active action in the Kharkiv direction. The main effort is focused on deterring the actions of Ukrainian units. It fired on civilian infrastructure in the settlements of Odnorobivka, Udy, Ruski Tyshky and Cherkasy Tyshky.
In the Slovyansk direction, Russians continued to regroup troops to resume the offensive in the directions of Izyum - Barvinkove and Izyum - Slovyansk. In the direction of the settlement Kurulka Russians made an attempt to conduct assault operations, was unsuccessful, retreated to previously occupied positions.
In the Donetsk direction, Russians, in addition to artillery shelling, struck air strikes in the areas of Novoselivka and Lysychansk, missile strikes in the areas of Soledar and Siversk. In the Lyman direction, Russians regrouped and prepared for the offensive. It tried to reconnoiter the routes of advance through water obstacles.
Fighting continues in the Bakhmut direction in the areas of the settlements of Komyshuvakha, Novoluhanske and Berestove. In the Avdiivka, Kurakhiv, Novopavliv and Zaporizhzhia areas, Russians were unsuccessful, trying to strengthen the group and make up for losses due to outdated and restored equipment.
Russians did not conduct active hostilities in the South Buh area. It fired on civilian infrastructure in the areas of settlements Posad-Pokrovske, Osokorivka, Novovorontsovka, Blahodatne, Partyzanske and others. In the Kryvyi Rih direction, the enemy fired artillery at Ukrainian troops and fought a counter-battery battle.
In the Black and Azov Seas, Black Sea Fleet ships continue to carry out tasks to isolate the combat area, conduct reconnaissance and fire support in the coastal direction. Russians is blocking civilian shipping in the northwestern part of the Black Sea. One carrier of naval-based cruise missiles of the "Caliber" type is ready to use missile weapons in the Black Sea. In order to ensure the consolidated unit of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, located on the island of Snake, marked the transition in the direction of the island of the landing boat "Dugon" and two anti-sabotage boats "Raptor".
Russians continued to increase the air defense system in the temporarily occupied Crimea. In certain areas, Russians deployed additional S-300 anti-aircraft missile divisions of the 4th Army of the Southern Military District to two anti-aircraft missile divisions.
High-precision air-launched missiles hit two command and observation posts of battalions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, a communications center, as well as 34 areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Operational-tactical, army and unmanned aircraft hit three command posts and 67 areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
In total, as a result of Russian air strikes, up to 320 Ukrainian nationalists were destroyed per day, as well as 47 units of weapons and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Russian air defense systems shot down 15 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles in the areas of the settlements of Severodonetsk, Novochervonoe, Vasilevka of the Lugansk People's Republic, Panteleymonovka, Grigorovka, Krasnogorovka, Nevelskoye of the Donetsk People's Republic, Petrapolye, Petrovskoye, Glinskoye of the Kharkiv region, Chernobaevka and Aleksandrovka of the Kherson region.
In addition, in the areas of the settlements of Malaya Kamyshevakha, Kamenka, Brazhkovka, Glinskoye, Kharkiv region and Chernobaevka, Kherson region, 9 Ukrainian rockets of the Smerch multiple launch rocket system were intercepted. Missile forces and artillery hit 62 command posts, including the operational command "South" in the area of the settlement of Novy Bug in the Nikolaev region, as well as 593 areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and 55 artillery and mortar batteries in firing positions.
Four BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launchers, 46 weapons and Ukrainian military equipment, as well as an ammunition depot in the Novomikhailovka area of the Donetsk People's Republic were destroyed. In addition, as a result of an artillery strike on a hangar on the territory of the Okean shipbuilding plant in the city of Nikolaev, more than 15 Ukrainian tanks and infantry fighting vehicles and 5 large-caliber artillery pieces were destroyed.
Western politicians say they give Ukraine a lot of weapons, but that's not the case. Despite statements by some Western politicians about providing Ukraine with a large number of weapons, they are not in the Ukrainian army to the extent necessary to liberate the territory. This was stated by the adviser to the head of the President's Office Mykhailo Podolyak. "They [Western politicians] keep saying that they are giving us something. But we do not have these weapons to the extent that we need to unblock our territory. In order to please their society, they say they provide a lot of help to Ukraine, but that's not the case," Podolyak said.
The United States will not send Ukraine rocket systems that can reach into Russia, President Joe Biden said. This means HIMARS rocket launchers U.S. gives to Ukraine will not come with 186-mile-range ATACMS missiles useable to attack distant cities. They will come with M30/M31 munitions (range 43 miles).
Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said that Washington’s decision not to send Ukraine rocket systems that could reach into Russia was ‘rational.’ "Otherwise, when attacking our cities, the Russian Armed Forces would have fulfilled their threat and struck at the centers for making these criminal decisions," Medvedev added, pointing out that some of these centers "are not located in Kyiv at all." "What's next, no need to explain," - concluded the deputy head of the Security Council of the Russian Federation.
Lithuania will deliver armored vehicles, trucks, SUVs anti-drones, and thermal imagers to Ukraine in the nearest future, as well as crowdfunded Bayraktar drone. "Lithuanians just did it! Thank you all who helped us," the country's Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas posted on Twitter. "This is the first case in history when ordinary people raise money to buy something like a Bayraktar. It is unprecedented, it is unbelievable," Ukrainian Ambassador to Lithuania Beshta Petro told Laisves TV, the news outlet which helped launched the campaign.
Slovakia is negotiating the supply of Zuzana self-propelled howitzers to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This was reported by the news agency TASR, citing the press secretary of the Slovak Ministry of Defense, Martina Koval-Kakashchikova. The issue of deliveries of howitzers was discussed during the talks held on Monday in the format of a videoconference between Defense Ministers of Slovakia Yaroslav Nagy and Ukraine Alexei Reznikov. Among other things, the parties reviewed the current situation in Ukraine. Bratislava, according to the Ministry of Defense, intends to provide all possible assistance to the Kyiv authorities.
A representative of the German Interior Ministry said that the German Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as well as the government's commissioner for culture and the media, Claudia Roth, agreed to simplify the issuance of visas for journalists from non-state media from Russia, as well as human rights activists and oppositionists. The agreed criteria imply "reduction of bureaucratic barriers" for obtaining the right to stay in the republic for a period of more than 90 days.
Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev is not against the speedy departure to Germany of opponents of the special military operation to protect Donbass and suggests thinking about simplifying the entry into Russia of opponents of the Western authorities. The politician wrote about this on his Telegram channel on Monday, commenting on the decision of the German authorities to simplify the issuance of visas for journalists from non-state media from the Russian Federation, human rights activists and oppositionists.
"Germany has decided to make it easier for Russian critics of the special operation in Ukraine to enter it. In other words, for those who oppose their country and wish it to lose. Well, we can draw two conclusions," Medvedev wrote. The first conclusion: "Let such people go to the Germans as soon as possible. And preferably irrevocably under pain of criminal liability for fakes about the Armed Forces." Medvedev outlined the second conclusion in the form of a proposal "to think about preferential entry into Russia for all those who actively oppose in Germany and not only against" German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and European figures like him.
The UK Ministry of Defence reported that Russia has likely suffered devastating losses amongst its mid and junior ranking officers in the conflict. Brigade and battalion commanders likely deploy forwards into harm’s way because they are held to an uncompromising level of responsibility for their units’ performance. Similarly, junior officers have had to lead the lowest level tactical actions, as the army lacks the cadre of highly trained and empowered non-commissioned officers (NCOs) who fulfil that role in Western forces. The loss of large proportion of the younger generation of professional officers will likely exacerbate its ongoing problems in modernising its approach to command and control. More immediately, battalion tactical groups (BTGs) which are being reconstituted in Ukraine from survivors of multiple units are likely to be less effective due to a lack of junior leaders. With multiple credible reports of localised mutinies amongst Russia’s forces in Ukraine, a lack of experienced and credible platoon and company commanders is likely to result to a further decrease in morale and continued poor discipline.
The Ukrainian serviceman of the tank battalion, who laid down his arms, said that he was sent by his command into battle against his will and without preparation. “I was told that I would be a tanker. But I didn’t want to, I never was a tanker. I didn’t want to go into battle at all,” captive Vladislav Bogdanchuk said in a Russian Defense Ministry video. According to him, in response he was told: "If you want to live, you will learn to shoot." "They gave me only two shots and that's it," he stressed.
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