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Russo-Ukraine War - 20 May 2023 - Day 451

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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" (SVO - spetsialnaya voennaya operatsiya) 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 in the last four days, Russia has highly likely redeployed up to several battalions to reinforce the Bakhmut sector.

This follows Ukrainian tactical gains on the flanks of the contested Donetsk Oblast town through mid-May and publicly aired doubts about the commitment of Wagner Group forces to continue fighting in the sector.

With Russia likely maintaining relatively few uncommitted combat units in Ukraine, the redeployment represents a notable commitment by the Russian command.

Russia's leadership likely continue to see capturing Bakhmut as the key immediate war aim which would allow them to claim some degree of success in the conflict.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that during the day of May 20th, Russian forces launched 3x missile and 56x air strikes, carried out more than 40x MLRS attacks. The civil infrastructure was destroyed. Unfortunately, there are dead and wounded among civilians, private houses and other civilian infrastructure have been destroyed.

The threat of missile and air strikes remains high across Ukraine.

Russia is concentrating main efforts on the Kup'yans'k, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Mar'inka axes. During the day, 39x combat clashes took place on the specified areas of the front. The fiercest battles are fought for Bakhmut and Mar'inka.
Volyn' and Polissya axes: the operational situation has not changed significantly.
Sivershchyna and Slobozhanshchyna axes: during this day, Russian forces carried out an airstrike in the area of Nesterne settlement of the Kharkiv Oblast, carried out mortar and artillery strikes on the settlements of Galaganivka in the Chernihiv Oblast; Golyshivske, Volfine, Kindrativka, Yunakivka, Uhroidy of the Sumy Oblast, as well as Udy, Kozacha Lopan', Ternova, Hatyshche, Vovchans'k, Pletenivka, Pokalane, Nesterne, Budarky, Zemlianka, Ustinivka, and Hatne in the Kharkiv Oblast.
Kup'yans'k axis: during the day, the Russian forces did not conduct offensive operations. They carried out airstrikes in the districts of Kislivka and Kotlyarivka of the Kharkiv Oblast. Topoli, Figolivka, Novomlyns'k, Dvorichna, Zapadne, Masyutivka, Kislivka, Kotlyarivka, Tabaivka and Berestovka of Kharkiv Oblast and Stelmakhivka of Luhansk Oblast were shelled by artillery and mortars.
Lyman axis: during the day, Russian forces did not conduct offensive operations. Russian carried out airstrikes in the areas of Yampil' and Spirne settlements. Makiivka, Nevs'ke, Belogorivka of the Luhansk Oblast; Tors'ke, Verkhn'okam'ians'ke and Spirne of the Donetsk Oblast were hit by artillery fire.
Bakhmut axis: the Russian troops continue to conduct offensive actions. Heavy battles for the city of Bakhmut do not stop. In addition, the Russian invaders conducted unsuccessful offensive actions on the axis of Bila Hora. Delivered missile strikes on the areas of Slov'iansk and Druzhkivka, and air strikes on the areas of Slov'iansk, Druzhkivka, Bakhmut, Ivanovs'ke, Bila Hora and Torets'k. Vasyukivka, Orihovo-Vasylivka, Hryhorivka, Bohdanivka, Bakhmut, Ivanovske, Chasiv Yar, Stupochki, Predtechine, Bila Hora of the Donetsk Oblast were shelled by the Russian forces.
Avdiivka axis: the Russian forces conducted offensive actions in the vicinities of Novokalynovy, Avdiivka, Severny, albeit without success. During the day, they carried out an airstrike near Avdiivka, and conducted artillery shelling near the settlements of Novokalynove, Berdychi, Stepove, Avdiivka, Tonenke, Pervomaiske, Karlivka and Nevels'ke of the Donetsk Oblast.
Mar'inka axis: Ukrainian armed forces repelled numerous Russian attacks in the area of the city of Mar'inka. Russian forces launched an air strike in the Krasnohorivka area. At the same time, Hostre, Heorgiyivka, Mar'inka and Pobeda of the Donetsk Oblast got under Russian fire.
Shakhtars'k axis: the Russian forces carried out unsuccessful offensive operations in the Novomykhailivka area. At the same time, they carried out airstrikes near Vugledar and Prechistivka. russians shelled Paraskoviivka, Kostyantynivka, Novomykhailivka, Novoukrainka, Vugledar, and Prechistivka.
Zaporizhzhia and Kherson axes: Russian forces are on the defensive. They carried out airstrikes on Poltavka settlement in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast and Beryslav and Kindyka in the Kherson Oblast. At the same time, they shelled more than 30x settlements. Among them are Vremivka, Novosilka, Zelene Pole, Novopil' of the Donetsk Oblast; Ol'hivske, Hulyaipole, Biloghir'ya, Mala Tokmachka and Kam'ians'ke of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast; Nikopol', Dnipropetrovsk Oblast; Zolota Balka, Vesele, Lviv, Antonivka, Dniprovs'ke, Veletens'ke of the Kherson Oblast and the city of Kherson.

Russia continues to use civilian medical facilities in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine for their own purposes. Thus, the Russian occupiers turned the upper floors of the Lutuginsky District Territorial Medical Association into a military hospital, and to cover it up, they left a children's ward on the first floor. Currently, about 100x Russian soldiers with injuries of varying degrees of severity are being treated at the medical facility. This number is the peak of the military hospital's capacity. At the same time, medical assistance to the civilian population is not provided by the personnel of the military hospital.

Ukrainian Air Force per day carried out 8x strikes on manpower and military equipment concentration areas. Ukrainian missile and artillery units hit 4x areas of weapons and equipment concentration, 1x ammunition depot, 4x artillery units at firing positions, 1 air defense system and 1x more important Russian target.

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation reported that In Kupyansk direction, the attacks, launched by aviation, as well as the artillery of the Zapad Group of Forces, have resulted in the neutralisation of the enemy units close to Peshotravnevoye (Kharkov region), and Stelmakhovka (Lugansk People's Republic).

The actions of one Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group have been disrupted close to Kislovka (Kharkov region).

The AFU losses were up to 55 Ukrainian servicemen, two armoured fighting vehicles, three motor vehicles and one D-20 howitzer.

In Krasny Liman direction, Operational-Tactical and Army aviation, as well as the artillery of the Tsentr Group of Forces, have neutralised the enemy close to Ploshchanka and Kusmino (Lugansk People's Republic).

In addition, two Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance groups have been neutralised close to Torskoye (Donetsk People's Republic) and Kremennaya (Lugansk People's Republic).

The enemy losses were over 60 Ukrainian servicemen, two armoured fighting vehicles, two pickup trucks, one Gvozdika self-propelled artillery system, and one D-30 howitzer.

In Artyomovsk tactical direction, the assault units continue fighting to liberate the western part of the city. The units of the Yug Group of Forces provide cover and containment of the enemy on the flanks.

Operational-Tactical, Army aviation and artillery have hit the enemy units close to Bogdanovka and Yagodnoye (Donetsk People's Republic).

The Russian aviation have made 6 sorties in this area during the day. The Group's artillery has performed 73 firing missions.

The enemy losses were over 95 Ukrainian servicemen and mercenaries, one tank, one armoured personnel carrier, three pickup trucks and one Gvozdika self-propelled artillery system.

In Donetsk direction, as a result of artillery fire and active actions of the Yug Group of Forces, the enemy suffered losses up to 210 Ukrainian servicemen, one tank, five motor vehicles, one Polish-manufactured Krab self-propelled artillery system, and one D-20 howitzer.

In addition, two ammunition, rocket and artillery weapon depots of the AFU 110th Mechanised Brigade have been destroyed close to Avdeevka (Donetsk People's Republic).

In South Donetsk and Zaporozhye directions, the units of the Vostok Group of Forces have hit the enemy units close to Ugleda (Donetsk People's Republic).

The enemy losses were up to 85 Ukrainian servicemen, two motor vehicles and one Msta-B howitzer.

In Kherson direction, the enemy losses were over 30 Ukrainian servicemen, two armoured fighting vehicles and three motor vehicles.

Operational-Tactical and Army aviation, and Artillery of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have neutralised 72 artillery units of the AFU at their firing positions, manpower and military hardware at 89 areas.

One U.S.-manufactured AN/TPQ-50 counterbattery warfare radar has been destroyed near Kopanki (Kharkov region).

Air defence facilities have intercepted 12 HIMARS multiple rocket-launching system projectiles, Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles, and one U.S.-manufactured GBU-32 guided air bomb.

Moreover, 8 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles have been intercepted close to Verkhnetoretskoye, Novoandreevka, Sladkoye (Donetsk People's Republic), Kremennaya, Ploshchanka and Novodruzhesk (Lugansk People's Republic).

In total, 428 airplanes, 234 helicopters, 4,236 unmanned aerial vehicles, 423 air defence missile systems, 9,236 tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, 1,100 fighting vehicles equipped with MLRS, 4,859 field artillery cannons and mortars, as well as 10,322 special military motor iehicles have been destroyed during the special military operation.

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