Russia and Ukraine Current Events

Mendel

Senior Member.
The actual document with the well-known Baker quote is the one just after the one that I linked too above in #325.
Yes, I notice you were quoting from the same GWU archive there. I only brought it up again because someone reacted to that old post, and I'd heard of the archive in the meantime, so it seemed like an easy thing to debunk once and for all.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
The Ukrainian government confirmed that the last remaining civilians trapped in the Azovstal plant evacuated on May 7, though an unknown number of Ukrainian defenders remain in the facility.[9] The DNR and Russian media falsely claimed that some Ukrainian defenders surrendered to Russian forces under white flags, but Ukrainian units inside the plant denied the claim and stated both sides raised white flags to mark the evacuation route for civilians.[10] The remaining Ukrainian units in Azovstal appear unlikely to surrender, and Russian forces continued assaults on the facility.[11] We will likely be unable to report any discrete changes in control of terrain until Russian forces capture the plant as a whole due to the poor information environment in Mariupol and lack of direct imagery or video of fighting inside the facility.

Ukrainian forces are making significant progress and will likely advance to the Russian border in the coming days, though some reports of advances 40km north of Kharkiv appear overstated. The Russian Ministry of Defense abnormally acknowledged that Ukrainian forces recaptured Tsyrkuny (as Russian military sources rarely acknowledge any setbacks), but falsely claimed that Ukrainian forces used civilians as human shields to advance to the outskirts of Borshchva—possibly in an attempt to justify Russian setbacks.

Russian forces continued to target Odesa with cruise missile strikes and conduct false-flag attacks in Transnistria over the past several days. Ukraine’s Operational Command South reported that Russian aircraft launched four cruise missiles at Odesa Oblast on May 7 and two missiles late on May 6 to exert “psychological pressure” on civilians.[23] Ukrainian sources reported that Russian special services continued to conduct false-flag attacks at key sites in Transnistria in an attempt to frame Ukrainian forces, and Ukraine‘s Operational Command South stated the Moldovan-Ukrainian border is well protected by Ukrainian counter-sabotage groups.[24] Transnistrian sources falsely claimed that Ukrainian drones dropped four explosives on an airfield in Varancau, on the border of Transnistria and Ukraine, the night of May 6-7.[25]

ISW haven't mapped any territory changes in this update.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
In the 10 weeks since the Russian invasion, a third of Ukrainians have been forced from their homes. This is the largest human displacement crisis in the world today. As of today, more than 5.7 million refugees have fled Ukraine. A further 7.7 million people have been displaced internally within Ukraine. Some 13 million people are estimated to be stranded in affected areas or unable to leave due to heightened security risks, destruction of bridges and roads, as well as lack of resources or information on where to find safety and accommodation.

Many people who are trapped are unable to meet their basic needs including food, water and medicines. The delivery of life-saving aid remains challenging, with a lack of safe humanitarian access. UNHCR and partners continue striving to reach hard-hit areas with life-saving assistance as part of inter-agency humanitarian convoys.

UNHCR continues to call for the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure, respect for international humanitarian law, and for neighbouring countries to continue keeping their borders open to those fleeing.

Situation Update

• On 3 May, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine announced the successful evacuation of 101 civilians from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol in a safe passage operation coordinated by the UN and ICRC that began on April 29. An additional 58 people had joined the convoy in Manhush town on the outskirts of Mariupol, and 127 people in total proceeded to Zaporizhzhia. UNHCR has a team on the ground to help receive the refugees and provide basic relief items and support.

• Another UN–ICRC safe passage operation was completed on 4 May, with over 300 civilians evacuated from Mariupol, Manhush, Berdiansk, Tokmak and Vasylivk to Zaporizhzhia

• As of 3 May, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 6,546 civilian casualties in the country: 3,193 killed and 3,353 injured. OHCHR notes that the actual figures are likely considerably higher.

• Reports from Mariupol continue to underscore the dire conditions, with no centralized water supply leading to people relying on open reservoirs and ponds. Phone connection remains extremely limited. Local authorities report that up to 100,000 people still remain trapped within the city.

• Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, UN and partners have cumulatively reached at least 4.1 million people with humanitarian assistance as of 28 April.

• In Chernivtsi city, a UNHCR partner visited a psychiatric clinic accommodating 82 patients evacuated from Popasna, a city in Luhansk oblast in eastern Ukraine, and is working with the institution to restore identity documents and resolve issues with social payments.

• UNHCR and partner Rokada will provide protection services and psychosocial support to some 450 IDP children from orphanages in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Zhytomyr oblasts who are currently staying in Khmelnytskyi Oblast.

SmartSelect_20220508-084954_Samsung Internet.jpg
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Russia’s Admiral Makarov warship has been hit by Ukrainian missiles and burst into flames, according to Ukrainian officials.
Here's an overview of the available information, and a debunk of a fuzzy likely fake video:
Source: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6sW-j3pJcfM

Another day, another possible triumph for the UAF. Since the morning of the 6th of May, 2022, rumors have been circulating regarding the strike on the Admiral Grigorovich class frigate Admiral Makarov in the western Black Sea, off the now infamous Snake Island. Accompanied by the blurriest of footage, showing the supposed ship on fire, adrift. In this video we will endeavor to validate the allegations, and search out any possible independent corroborating evidence, using OSINT techniques.
Content from External Source
 

derwoodii

Senior Member.
Here's an overview of the available information, and a debunk of a fuzzy likely fake video:
Source: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6sW-j3pJcfM

Another day, another possible triumph for the UAF. Since the morning of the 6th of May, 2022, rumors have been circulating regarding the strike on the Admiral Grigorovich class frigate Admiral Makarov in the western Black Sea, off the now infamous Snake Island. Accompanied by the blurriest of footage, showing the supposed ship on fire, adrift. In this video we will endeavor to validate the allegations, and search out any possible independent corroborating evidence, using OSINT techniques.
Content from External Source



I suspect a very good fake only let down by the radar frame shape & size


US mil intel probably know what going on and assisted attack as Global hawk drone was aloft over location at th3e time

https://www.radarbox.com/data/registration/10-2045

An aviation tracker website showed a US Air Force Global Hawk long-range reconnaissance drone over the location at 0500 Friday morning.

global hawk.png
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I suspect a very good fake only let down by the radar frame shape & size
the youtube video argues that the drone is closer than it needs to be and that the picture quality is worse than other drone video. we've seen that artificial degradation of quality enough in UFO fakery to not get suspicious at it.

I think the recon drone went there after the reported hit, and that the US hasn't confirmed means they didn't see much. So at best, the Makarov was hit and recovered. It's also possible that the official who first spread the news mistook a report of a hit on a different ship:
Article:
The UNIAN news agency citing the government social media website Dumska said the vessel was a “Burevestnik” class frigate, at midday located near Zmiyiniy [Snake] Island, offshore from the Danube delta. The usually-reliable Gruz200 military news web platform said a naval source confirmed that a Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missile struck the vessel.

The Dumska statement likewise said a Ukrainian Neptune missile hit the ship, and that “large numbers” of Russian aircraft were circling overhead.

A maritime ship tracker showed a Russian rescue ship identified as SPK-46150 en route to the location following a late Thursday night dispatch. An aviation tracker website showed a US Air Force Global Hawk long-range reconnaissance drone over the location at 0500 Friday morning.

It's "Project 1135 Burevestnik" vs. "Project 11356R/М Grigorovich", a similar but not identical class of frigate.

There have also been reports of the Makarov's sister ship, the Essen, having sustained damage a month ago, and they're just as hard to verify.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
There was a lot of speculation in past weeks on what Russia was planning to do on Victory Day (end of WW2), most of which did not come true. (Takeaway: specific claims about the future without strong evidence tend to be bunk, cf. date of invasion early in this thread.)
Article:
Russian President Vladimir Putin used his May 9 speech to praise ongoing Russian efforts in Ukraine and reinforce existing Kremlin framing rather than announce a change. He did not announce an escalation or declare victory in the Russian war in Ukraine.[1] May 9, Victory Day, is Russia’s most important patriotic holiday and commemorates the Soviet victory in the Second World War, known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War. Putin’s much-anticipated speech was a ready-made opportunity for him to alter the Kremlin’s current framing of the war in Ukraine or announce a policy change. Putin had three general options for his Victory Day address: declare some sort of Russian victory, make a policy change to ramp up the war effort in some way (such as by calling for a larger-scale mobilization or formally declaring war on Ukraine), or what he chose—to pursue a steady state narrative and reinforce the Kremlin’s existing framing (and resourcing) of the war.

Many Western officials and analysts speculated that Putin would formally declare war on Ukraine to enable a larger-scale mobilization.[2] Instead, the Kremlin’s framing of Victory Day celebrations reiterated existing Kremlin justifications for the war and drew on purported historical parallels between the Second World War and the Kremlin‘s framing of its invasion of Ukraine. Putin reinforced each of the Kremlin’s core (and patently false) narratives attempting to justify its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine: that Ukraine is a Nazi state; that the United States and NATO refused to acknowledge Russia‘s security concerns and provoked the war; and that the Ukrainian government was preparing an imminent attack and genocide against Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine. He did not introduce any new justifications for the conflict, nor did he ask for a greater commitment from the Russian military or population.

Putin bizarrely framed Nazi Germany and modern-day Ukraine as equal Nazi threats to Russia’s security. He relied heavily on present-tense language as he congratulated servicemembers who fought in World War 2 and who “these days … are fighting for our people in Donbas. For the security of our Motherland—Russia.” Putin celebrated the participation of “fighters of different nationalities” and “the great, indestructible strength of our united multinational people,” recognizing the Russian proxy fighters from the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics and implicitly recognizing fighters from other Russian proxy separatist regions like South Ossetia.

One of the claims turning out to be bunk is the "Kherson People's Republic". From ISW reports:
The Russian occupiers are planning to hold a pseudo-referendum on the territories of Kherson region temporarily occupied by them to proclaim the so-called KhNR [Kherson National Republic], deputy of Kherson Regional Council Serhiy Khlan said.
Ukrainian military sources reported on April 21 Russian forces are preparing to conduct a “referendum” to create a “Kherson People’s Republic” on April 27
Russian occupation forces continued preparations to announce the creation of a “Kherson People’s Republic” (KNR) amid widespread Ukrainian resistance. The Ukrainian General Staff reported on April 27 that Russian forces are printing ballots and conducting a census for a “referendum” and preventing civilians from leaving the occupied territories.
These claims date back to March. However, ISW now reports a new plan:
Article:
Russian authorities are likely setting conditions to integrate occupied Ukrainian territories directly into Russia, as opposed to creating proxy “People’s Republics.” The Kherson occupation Deputy Chairman of Military Civil Administration Kirill Stremousov stated on May 9 that the Kherson region intends to become part of Russia and that Kherson authorities do not intend to hold a referendum to create an independent republic.[9]

"Setting conditions" is ISW parlance for "if they're doing what we think they're doing, this would be part of it", but it's kind of like me getting out of bed in the morning is "setting conditions" for me to go shopping: it may or may not actually happen, but phrasing it like this sure makes it sound as if it's going to (without actually committing me to anything). It's newspeak, passing speculation off as evidence of intent.

Likewise, speculation was that Russia planned to fully occupy Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts by Victory Day; it looks like Russia failed, but absent any evidence for these plans, that's really more a collapse of the speculations.

Article:
Russian forces made marginal gains around Severodonetsk in the past 24 hours.

Kharkiv Battle Map Draft May 9,2022_0.png
The fact that Russia can still advance indicates to me that this war isn't going to be over anytime soon, unless an unexpected military or political upheaval occurs. I also believe that as long as the West keeps supporting Ukraine (as it should) and Ukraine is not outright losing, Ukraine will not concede to a "frozen conflict" status along any demarkation line on Ukranian land, seeing as the 2014 situation led to this war (possibly excepting the Krimean)—this can't end in a draw.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
The Belarusian Ministry of Defense escalated its false claims of US and NATO preparations to attack Belarus while announcing the start of a second stage of ongoing military exercises on May 10. However, Belarus remains unlikely to join the war in Ukraine. Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin announced the second stage of ongoing rapid response forces exercises on May 10 in response to what he falsely claimed were NATO escalations.[3] Belarusian First Deputy Minister of Defense Victor Gulevich accused the US and its allies of building up a military presence around Belarusian borders and claimed that Poland and the Baltic states are threatening Belarusian territory through reconnaissance, sabotage, and special operations.[4] Gulevich announced that Belarusian battalion tactical groups (BTGs) will subsequently advance to the Western and Northwestern operational zones as part of a ”whole range of measures aimed at countering possible threats” in these areas.[5] Gulevich additionally stated that the presence of 20,000 Ukrainian troops in Belarus’ Southern Operational District have necessitated a deployment of unspecified Belarusian troops to three tactical directions near the Ukrainian border, which is consistent with Ukrainian General Staff reporting that certain Belarusian units have deployed to the Ukraine-Belarus border area for a combat readiness check.[6]

The rhetoric of threats to Belarus’ borders is not new and was frequently employed by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in the early stages of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[7] The Belarusian exercises, which are concentrated on Belarus’ borders with Poland and the Baltic States rather than Ukraine, are likely primarily demonstrative and signal Belarus’ continued political support for Russia‘s war in Ukraine. The exercises are likely additionally intended to draw NATO attention and possibly disrupt NATO aid to Ukraine, rather than threatening an actual military operation—similar to Russian efforts to destabilize Moldova that are likely intended to distract Romania and NATO rather than directly threaten Odesa. Belarus remains unlikely to join the war in Ukraine. Lukashenko successfully repressed domestic opposition in 2020 and 2021 but remains vulnerable to further domestic unrest if his security apparatus weakens; he is likely unwilling to risk losing his military in a stalled and deteriorating Russian war in Ukraine.


this war isn't going to be over anytime soon
More evidence:
Article:
Pro-Russian reporter Aleksandr Sladkov, who is operating around Donetsk City, complained that Russian forces are fighting Ukrainians at a 1:1 assault force ratio and have not been able to push Ukrainian forces from their positions in Donetsk.[14]

That said, the Donetsk frontline has been entrenched for 8 years, and may be the worst possible place for an assault anyway.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Russian forces may be abandoning efforts at a wide encirclement of Ukrainian troops along the Izyum-Slovyansk-Debaltseve line in favor of shallower encirclements of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. Russian forces likely control almost all of Rubizhne as of May 12 and have likely seized the town of Voevodivka, north of Severdonetsk.[1] They will likely launch a ground offensive on or around Severodonetsk in the coming days. The relative success of Russian operations in this area combined with their failure to advance from Izyum and the notable decline in the energy of that attempted advance suggest that they may be giving up on the Izyum axis. Reports that Russian forces in Popasna are advancing north, toward Severodonetsk-Lysychansk, rather than east toward the Slovyansk-Debaltseve highway, support this hypothesis.

It is unclear if Russian forces can encircle, let alone capture, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk even if they focus their efforts on that much-reduced objective. Russian offensives have bogged down every time they hit a built-up area throughout this war, and these areas are unlikely to be different. Continued and expanding reports of demoralization and refusals to fight among Russian units suggest that the effective combat power of Russian troops in the east continues to be low and may drop further. If the Russians abandon efforts to advance from Izyum, moreover, Ukrainian forces would be able to concentrate their efforts on defending Severodonetsk-Lysychansk or, in the worst case, breaking a Russian encirclement before those settlements fall.

The Ukrainian counteroffensive around Kharkiv is also forcing the Russian command to make hard choices, as it was likely intended to do. The UK Ministry of Defense reports that Russian forces pulled back from Kharkiv have been sent toward Rubizhne and Severodonetsk but at the cost of ceding ground in Kharkiv from which the Russians had been shelling the city.[2] The counteroffensive is also forcing Russian units still near the city to focus their bombardment on the attacking Ukrainian troops rather than continuing their attacks on the city itself. The Ukrainian counteroffensive near Kharkiv is starting to look very similar to the counteroffensive that ultimately drove Russian troops away from Kyiv and out of western Ukraine entirely, although it is too soon to tell if the Russians will make a similar decision here.

Luhansk Battle Map Draft May 12,2022.png

Russian forces likely seized Rubizhne and made marginal advances to Voevodivka, a suburb of Severodonetsk. Luhansk Oblast Administration Head Serhiy Haidai said that Ukrainian forces partially control Rubizhne, but Ukrainian servicemen claimed that Ukrainian forces only have access to the T1302 highway exit on the settlement’s western outskirts.[8] The Luhansk People’s Republic and Chechen units entered the Zorya Chemical Plant between Rubizhne and Voevodivka on May 11. Fighting was ongoing at the plant as of May 12.[9] Ukrainian forces destroyed a second Russian pontoon bridge in the vicinity of Bilohorivka, approximately 13 km from Rubizhne, on May 11 to slow the Russian encirclement of the settlement from the northwestern direction.[10] Severodonetsk Regional State Administration Head Oleksandr Stryuk confirmed that Russian forces seized Voevodivka on May 12, contradicting the Ukrainian General Staff’s assertion that the Russian offensive was unsuccessful.[11] Russian forces will likely launch a ground offensive on Severodonetsk in the coming days once they fully secure Voevodivka.

Russian authorities additionally continued occupation activity in Mariupol. Advisor to the Mayor of Mariupol Petro Andryushchenko stated that Russian forces have established filtration checkpoints throughout the entire city to further consolidate control.[17] Andryushchenko noted that occupation authorities may hold a referendum for Mariupol to join Russia as soon as May 15.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense stated that the Russian grouping on Snake Island is trying to improve its position on the island in an effort to block Ukrainian maritime communications and capabilities in the northwestern Black Sea, particularly toward Odesa.[24] The Ukrainian General Staff noted that Russian forces have built up their air defense system in Western Crimea in a likely attempt to provide air cover for naval activities in the northwestern Black Sea.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Russian forces made significant tactical mistakes during the attempted large-scale crossing of the Siverskyi Donets River from Kreminna. The Russian command reportedly sent 550 servicemen of the 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 41st Combined Arms Army to cross the Siverskyi Donets River in order to encircle Ukrainian forces near Rubizhne from the northwest.[3] Ukrainian artillery destroyed the Russian pontoon bridges and tightly-concentrated Russian troops and equipment around them on May 11, which reportedly resulted in 485 casualties and damages to over 80 pieces of equipment.[4] The 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade had previously attempted a river crossing (over the Desna River in Chernihiv Oblast on March 8) without suffering such setbacks.[5] The unit’s command and staff may have failed to recognize the dangers that Ukraine’s improving artillery capabilities posed two months later, or may simply have been incompetent or unable to control their troops.

Prominent pro-Russian Telegram channels (with approximately 300 thousand followers) largely criticized Russian General Staff for failing to learn from previous combat mistakes and expressed concern that censorship and self-censorship was depriving them of situational awareness.[6] Other pro-Russian Telegram channels noted the slow pace of Russian offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast, blaming it in part on ineffective aerial reconnaissance and the negative effects of bad morale within the Russian military.[7] Some Telegram channels reported receiving criticism for “misrepresenting” the performance of the Russian military.[8] The Russian Defense Ministry posted a video that it claimed showed that Russian forces in turn destroyed Ukrainian pontoon crossings on May 14, although we have no independent confirmation of these claims.[9]

Russian forces conducted ground, air, and artillery assaults on the Azovstal Steel Plant on May 14.[15] Ukraine’s Azov regiment said that Russian forces used heavy artillery, tanks, and infantry to launch an assault on Azovstal but that Ukrainian forces continued to hold defensive positions at the plant and its outskirts.[16] A Donetsk Oblast Police Representative reported that there are over 600 wounded Ukrainian servicemen surviving in unsanitary conditions at the Azovstal.[17] Ukrainian officials are attempting to negotiate the evacuation of 60 medical professionals and heavily wounded servicemen as of May 14.[18]

Article:
Russian private military companies are reportedly forming combined units with airborne elements due to significant losses in manpower.[5] Denaturing elite airborne units with mercenaries is shocking, and would be the clearest indication yet that Russia has exhausted its available combat-ready manpower reserves. The Russian 810th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade is reportedly receiving personnel from other Black Sea Fleet units, including navy ship crewmembers.[6] Newly formed or regrouped units are unlikely to be effective in combat.

Ukrainian aviation continues to operate over Russian-controlled settlements near Izyum.

Russian forces conducted artillery, air, and naval strikes on the remaining Ukrainian defenders in the Azovstal Steel Plant on May 15.[23] Ukrainian officials said that Russian forces fired incendiary munitions with thermite layers at Azovstal on May 14.[24] Families of the Mariupol defenders said that Ukrainian servicemen barely leave shelter at Azovstal and then only to procure food and water.[25]

Mariupol Mayor Advisor Petro Andryushenko reported that a column of over 500 vehicles evacuated from Mariupol to Zaporizhia City on May 15.[26] Andryushenko added that Russian forces did not fix access to water or electricity for Mariupol residents and focused on strengthening occupation authority in the city.[27]

Russian forces continued to fortify their positions in southern Ukraine and did not conduct active offensive operations on May 15. The Zaporizhia Military Administration reported that Russian forces dug trenches in southern Melitopol along the Molochna River and in villages 30 km south of the city.[31] ISW previously reported that Russian forces reportedly also created trenches 35 km east of the Kherson Oblast border.[32] The Ukrainian General Staff noted that Russian forces are also creating reinforced concrete structures in Mykolaiv and Kherson Oblasts.[33] Russian trenches and concrete shelters are indicators that Russian forces seek to establish and defend permanent control over the occupied areas. Russian forces are also attempting to restart operations at an auto parts plant in Zaporizhia Oblast in an effort to start military production in the region.[34]
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
Russian and Ukrainian officials negotiated the evacuation of 264 wounded Mariupol defenders from Azovstal Steel Plant to occupied Donetsk Oblast on May 16.[17] Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar reported that Russian forces evacuated 53 seriously wounded servicemen to Novoazovsk approximately 60 kilometers and 211 to occupied Olenivka south of Donetsk City.[18] Russian Defense Ministry claimed to have opened a humanitarian corridor for wounded Ukrainian defenders to receive treatment in occupied Donetsk Oblast on May 16.

Russian forces are trying to reopen the Port of Mariupol to establish shipping routes from Russia. The Donetsk People’s Republic claimed that proxy militia will demine the port by May 25.[21] Russian forces have raised a sunken Ukrainian ship from the sea floor in the port on May 15.[22] Andryushenko said another sunken Ukrainian ship and mines are preventing Russian forces from reopening the port.[23]

The Ukrainian nuclear power company Energoatom reported that Russian forces dug trenches and established concrete barricades along the entire perimeter of the Zaporizhya Nuclear Power Plant in Enerhodar City.

Russian forces launched another missile strike on Odesa Oblast, likely in effort to completely destroy the damaged bridge over Dniester estuary.[34] Russian forces will likely continue to target Ukrainian transport infrastructure connecting Odesa Oblast with Romania to disrupt one route by which Western countries can provide aid to Ukraine.

I'm not really clear why they're calling the Azovstal news an "evacuation" when it looks like a (partial?) surrender—perhaps because it concerned injured and therefore non-belligerent people?

ISW is repeating that some "milbloggers" are "skeptical of Russian efforts and increasingly in-line with Western assessments of Russian military failures in Ukraine". Another example of a possibly changing propaganda in Russia is this TV broadcast:
Source: https://mobile.twitter.com/BBCSteveR/status/1526329765065539592
 
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