Russia-Ukraine War Newsletter – MAY 12-15, 2022

The situation as of 8:00 on May 16, 2022 (other languages version in PDF)


Russian forces continue an offensive in eastern Ukraine. Despite numerous attacks and isolated tactical successes, they have failed to break through the defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in key directions in Kharkiv and Luhansk regions. Russian forces suffered particularly heavy losses when they attempted to cross the Siverskyi Donets River. After the Ukrainian military counterattack near Kharkiv, the threat of constant shelling of the regional center decreased significantly.

Chernihiv and Sumy directions:

Russian forces continue to destroy civilian infrastructure in Chernihiv and Sumy regions. The shelling of the regions’ border areas from Russian territory is ongoing.

Kharkiv and Luhansk directions:

The Armed Forces of Ukraine forced Russian troops to retreat from Kharkiv. In some parts of the front they reached the state border in this direction. The Russian command is concentrating its efforts on ensuring the withdrawal of its units from Kharkiv and preventing the Armed Forces of Ukraine from reaching the rear of the Russian grouping operating near the town of Izium. The Russian military blew up three bridges over the Siverskyi Donets in order to halt the pace of the Ukrainian counterattack.

The retreat of Russian troops from Kharkiv led to a cessation of artillery shelling of the city. At the same time, missile strikes against civilian infrastructure in the region have been observed. In particular, on May 13, there was a strike on the House of Culture in Derhachi, where the humanitarian headquarters was located and humanitarian aid was distributed to the civilian population.

The head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration, Oleh Syniehubov, stated that on the Izium direction, the Armed Forces of Ukraine had also already launched a counterattack. Russian troops were not able to break the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ defense there and carry out a wide cordon of Ukrainian forces in the Donbas.

Consequently, the Russian Armed Forces are concentrating their efforts on a smaller-scale operation in the Luhansk region. The Russian Federation forces seek to encircle and capture Sievierodonetsk. To this end, they continued attacks on the town of Rubizhne, as well as attempted to force the Siverskyi Donets River and reach the rear of Ukrainian units. As a result, the Russian Armed Forces were unable to gain a foothold in the bridgehead. After suffering heavy losses, they were forced to retreat to the north bank of the river.

In the face of setbacks on the front, heavy shelling of Sievierodonetsk continued, resulting, among other things, in damage to the Azot chemical plant and the local hospital.

Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia directions:

In the Donetsk region, the situation remains highly challenging in Mariupol, where Ukrainian military and civilians are trapped inside the Azovstal plant. Russian troops are shelling the site and hitting it with strategic aviation. Attempts to storm the plant continue.

In the north of the region, Russian troops continue their offensive in the Lyman direction. The shelling of civilian facilities and infrastructure along the entire front line continues. They have become very intense in the Avdiivka area, where the largest coke plant in Europe was shelled. Between 12 and 15 May, 11 civilians were killed and 34 people were wounded as a result of the shelling in the region.

Also, Russian troops continue strikes on the territory of Zaporizhzhia region. On May 12, a cruise missile hit the protected part of Khortytsia Island within the city limits of Zaporizhzhia. Shelling continues near the front line — the town of Huliaipole was hit several times.

Dnipro direction:

Banned cluster munitions attacks were recorded in Dnipropetrovsk region, which destroyed energy infrastructure.

In other regions of central Ukraine, missile strikes are also taking place. Russian troops continue to destroy infrastructure in the Poltava region. On May 12, high-precision missiles were fired at the Kremenchuk refinery once again, despite the fact that it had been damaged by rocket fire in April. On the night of May 15, a missile aimed at the city of Kropyvnytskyi was intercepted.

Southern direction:

Despite ongoing attacks by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Russian troops are reinforcing their positions on the temporarily occupied Zmiinyi Island, which is strategically important for controlling the northwestern part of the Black Sea and the approaches to Odesa.

Russian forces’ shelling of Mykolaiv is ongoing. For its part, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are striking at their positions in the temporarily occupied Kherson region (including Chornobaivka).

Western direction:

On the morning of May 15, Russian troops launched a missile strike on the territory of the Lviv region. Although some of the missiles were shot down, a facility located in the Yavoriv district near the border with Poland was destroyed. The Yavoriv military training ground, one of the largest in Ukraine, is located in this area.

Information confrontation

The State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection reports that UAC-0010 (Armageddon), a hacker group affiliated with the Russian Federal Security Service, has carried out a new cyber attack in Ukraine using the theme of occupied Kherson. They distribute provocative emails, the opening of which leads to the downloading of malicious software to the user’s computer. Russian hackers also carried out a cyberattack against local authorities in Lviv. As a result, some of the working files of the city council were stolen.


According to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as of May 13, the number of civilian casualties in Ukraine since February 24, 2022, the beginning of the large-scale Russian invasion, is 7,389 (3,573 killed and 3,816 wounded).

As of the morning of May 15, more than 647 children were affected in Ukraine as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation. According to official data, 227 children were killed and more than 420 were injured. According to Ukrainian authorities, the Russian military has kidnapped more than 2,389 Ukrainian children since the beginning of the large-scale conflict. The National Police received reports of 1,214 missing children. The information is preliminary and the number of victims could be higher, as new reports from the temporarily occupied territories are expected to be confirmed.

The humanitarian disaster continues in Mariupol. There are about 600 injured Ukrainians in the surrounded Azovstal plant deprived of water, food and medicine. The Russian military is constantly shelling the territory of the plant with all types of weapons. As a result of the shelling, an operating room has fallen under the rubble, preventing people from receiving proper medical care. The city faces a major epidemic due to the lack of water supply, medical services, and widespread casualties, as hundreds of dead bodies are still under the rubble of houses. Satellite images recorded a significant increase in mass graves in the vicinity of Mariupol. According to various estimates, the Russian military is trying to conceal the deaths of more than 20,000 Mariupol residents by hiding them in mass graves.

In the temporarily occupied territories, Russian troops continue to conduct forced mobilization, and even women between the ages of 18 and 45 are registered. Forced mobilization demonstrates the lack of human resources on the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and violates the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.

An assessment of the destruction caused by the Russian military is underway. As a result of the bombing, 1,721 educational institutions were damaged in Ukraine, 139 of which were completely destroyed. Among the destroyed schools were 25 special schools for children with learning disabilities. The Chernihiv Regional Military Administration reports more than 3,500 destroyed and damaged buildings on the territory of the region, about 80 percent of which are residential buildings.


Ukraine is calculating the losses and expenses caused by Russian aggression. According to Finance Minister Serhii Marchenko, Ukraine’s forced spending on the war with Russia amounts to about $8.3 billion.

Overcoming this excessive pressure on the national economy and normalizing the economic situation is helped by financial support from partners. The European Commission made the decision necessary to provide the second tranche of the emergency macrofinancial assistance program to Ukraine. It is expected that 600 million euros will be transferred to Ukraine by May 20.

Also the European Community has demonstrated its interest in strengthening food security and is ready to support its agricultural sector. In particular, on May 12, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced that two banks and one company had received €53.25 million in credit financing to strengthen food security during the war in Ukraine. For its part, the European Commission presented an action plan to help Ukraine resume agricultural exports amid Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports. The German Food Ministry has expressed its intention to open its own office in Ukraine.

Amid Russia’s aggression, the Ukrainian authorities are taking urgent measures to put assets and capital that are directly linked to Russia or its agents at the service of the state. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal revealed that the Cabinet of Ministers decided to transfer 172 petrol stations associated with Viktor Medvedchuk’s Glusco network to Naftogaz. The National Security and Defense Council decided to nationalize the corporate rights of Ukrainian banks owned by Russian banking institutions (International Reserve Bank owned by Russian Sberbank; Prominvestbank owned by Russian Vnesheconombank).


Representatives of the Ukrainian authorities continue to establish a dialogue with foreign partners to coordinate and strengthen joint actions aimed at countering Russian aggression. The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi had telephone conversations with the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö and the President of Slovakia Zuzana Čaputová, discussing cooperation in the defense sphere, Ukraine’s integration into the EU and increasing sanctions on Russia. The Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal discussed cooperation in the financial sphere and European integration with the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba took part in the meeting of G7 Foreign Ministers in Germany. The meeting resulted in the adoption of a joint communiqué in which the countries reaffirmed strong support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression and called on Russia to stop its predatory war. The statement also focused on the food crisis created by blocking Ukrainian exports of agricultural products. Ukraine has proposed the creation of an organization of major grain exporting countries in the world. In addition, the G7 countries plan to provide Ukraine with $30 billion in financial support during the war.

Dmytro Kuleba also confirmed that Germany will hand over heavy weapons to Ukraine, in particular self-propelled artillery systems, on which Ukrainian soldiers are already being trained.

The United States remains an important partner of Ukraine. A delegation of the upper house of the US Congress, headed by Mitchell McConnell, leader of the Republican minority in the Senate, arrived in Kyiv for a visit. The senators met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi, confirming the bipartisan support of the US Congress for Ukraine. In a conversation with them, Zelenskyi called for increased sanctions pressure on Russia and the recognition of Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The sanctions restrictions imposed on the Russian Federation are being gradually expanded. In particular, Latvia added 102 more Russian citizens, including cultural figures supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to the list of persona non grata. The UK imposed sanctions against relatives and close associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision Song Contest 2022, scoring a record number of points in the audience vote. After their performance, the singers called on the international community to save the defenders of Mariupol, who have been resisting for 2.5 months surrounded by Russian troops.

The information in the digest is collected from official sources — reports of state authorities of Ukraine, Ukrainian and international news agencies. The accuracy of the data is carefully checked by the project team and corrected in case of fake news.