Russia-Ukraine War Newsletter – MAY 16-18, 2022

The situation as of 8:00 on May 19, 2022 (other languages version in PDF)


Fighting on the front acquires a positional nature, despite local tactical successes of the Russian military in eastern Ukraine. The Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to liberate individual settlements to the north and east of Kharkiv, pushing Russian troops back to the state border in certain areas. Russian troops are striking infrastructure facilities on Ukrainian territory, and intensifying attacks on military training grounds.

Chernihiv and Sumy directions:

Shelling of the border areas of Chernihiv and Sumy regions is ongoing. According to the State Border Guard Service, seven shelling of the respective territories by the Russian Federation was recorded on May 18 alone.

In addition, on the morning of May 17, Russian troops struck the village of Desna in Chernihiv region, where a training center of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is located. As a result of the shelling, 11 people were killed and 14 were wounded. In Sumy region, a number of civilian facilities were hit by missile strikes on May 17. In particular, the Russian military shelled the town of Okhtyrka, where at least 5 people were injured.

On May 17, in the north of Sumy region, a Russian sabotage and reconnaissance group attempted to cross the state border. The incident is evidence of diversionary maneuvers of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, which in this way are trying to prevent the transfer of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ reserves to the areas of active combat operations in the east.

Kharkiv and Luhansk directions:

On the territory of the Kharkiv region the counteroffensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces continues. Russian troops attempted to prevent Ukrainian units from reaching the state border and force the Siverskyi Donets River. Despite this, Ukrainian Armed Forces units managed to liberate at least one settlement in Kharkiv region.

In the Izium direction, the Russian military resumed attacks in order to reach the town of Sloviansk in the rear of the Ukrainian forces defending in Luhansk and northern Donetsk regions.

In Luhansk region, fighting continues along the entire front line. Russian forces have concentrated their efforts on an offensive aimed at capturing the city of Sievierodonetsk, which has served as the regional center since the capture of Luhansk in 2014. Intense shelling of the city continues, resulting in civilian deaths (at least 10 people were killed in Sievierodonetsk on May 16, 2022 alone).

Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia directions:

Battles continue along the entire front line in the Donetsk region. Fighting is particularly active near Lyman (in the north of the region) and Avdiivka (near Donetsk). The blockade of the Mariupol garrison at the Azovstal plant and the shelling of this facility continue.

Russian forces continue air strikes and destruction of civilian infrastructure in the region. Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration, reported that as a result of the shelling, one of the schools in the town of Avdiivka was completely destroyed. During May 16 18, 26 civilians were killed and 19 were wounded in the region.

On the territory of Zaporizhzhia region, Russian troops did not conduct active offensive operations, but continued shelling civilian infrastructure near the front line. Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration reports that the Ukrainian Armed Forces completed the construction of two lines of fortifications for the defense of the city.

Dnipro direction:

On May 18, Dnepropetrovsk region once again suffered a missile strike from the Russian military attempting to destroy the region’s transportation infrastructure. The intentions of the Russian Armed Forces to prevent the redeployment of reserves of the Ukrainian army and foreign military aid to the zone of active combat operations are being monitored.

Southern direction:

Russian forces continue to attack transport infrastructure and other strategic targets in the Odesa region. Once again, missile strikes were carried out on the railroad bridge over the mouth of the Dniester estuary, which had already been damaged earlier. Also as a result of the May 16 attack, a tourist infrastructure facility was hit.

On the front line near the administrative border of Kherson with the Mykolaiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions, shelling is ongoing. In particular, on May 18, a civilian convoy was shelled, as a result of which 3 people were killed and 6 others were injured. Mykolaiv also remains the target of shelling. Russian troops are using prohibited cluster munitions to strike at it.

Western direction:

Russian troops continue to strike military infrastructure located in the Yavoriv district of Lviv region. On the night of May 17, one of the military facilities was shelled once again. Some of the missiles were neutralized by Ukrainian air defense forces, but debris from one missile damaged railway infrastructure.


According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as of May 18, the number of victims among the civilian population of Ukraine since February 24, 2022 — since the beginning of the large-scale Russian invasion — is 7,964 people (3,778 killed and 4,186 wounded).

As of the morning of May 18, more than 653 children were affected in the armed aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine. According to official figures, 229 children were killed and more than 424 were injured.

The humanitarian situation in the territories temporarily occupied by Russian troops remains persistently challenging. There is a shortage of medicines and food (especially baby food) on the territory of Kherson region. There are difficulties in receiving humanitarian aid from Ukraine as the Russian military detains or confiscates it at checkpoints.

Settlements that are located directly in the combat zone or near the front lines are also affected. Part of the territorial communities lack electricity, gas, and water supplies. In Mykolaiv region, the problem of lack of drinking water has been acute since mid-April. Due to damage to the Dnipro-Mykolaiv water pipeline as a result of hostilities, people’s needs are only supplied with water brought in from other locations.

WHO expressed concern about the epidemiological situation in Mariupol. Due to damage to the water supply system, infectious diseases such as cholera may spread.

In the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, kidnappings of Ukrainian citizens continue. In Zaporizhzhia region alone, 117 people are still being held hostage.

An operation was launched to evacuate wounded fighters from the Mariupol garrison, which is holding up defenses at the Azovstal plant. On 16 May, 264 Ukrainian soldiers (including 53 seriously wounded fighters) were transported to the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk under the control of the Russian Armed Forces. It is expected that they will be able to return to Ukrainian-controlled territory due to the prisoner-of-war exchange procedure. So far, the issue of the current conditions of stay and the further relevant exchange of fighters remains unresolved. The international human rights organization Amnesty International has already stated its concern over further developments with the evacuees who found themselves in the de facto status of prisoners of war in the temporarily occupied territory. Representatives of the Russian authorities want to exclude from a possible exchange members of the Azov Regiment, which they propose to recognize as a terrorist organization.

The Mariupol City Council reported the threat of an environmental disaster in the Sea of Azov. The bombing of Azovstal could have damaged the technical structure holding back tens of thousands of tons of concentrated hydrogen sulfide solution. The leakage of this liquid can cause irreparable damage to the flora and fauna of the Sea of Azov, and then the dangerous substances can get into the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The mayor of Mariupol Vadym Boichenko called for the immediate admission of international experts and representatives of the UN to study the situation and prevent an ecological catastrophe of the world level.

Human Rights Watch investigates shootings, torture and other war crimes committed by Russian troops on the territory of the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions from late February to early April 2022. In April, representatives of the organization visited 17 populated areas in these regions, where they found facts of 22 executions, 9 other illegal murders, 6 possible enforced disappearances, and 7 cases of torture. 21 civilians reported that they had been illegally confined by the Russian military in inhumane and degrading conditions.

Information on the number of civilian casualties in the Kyiv region, who died during the occupation of its certain districts, is being updated. Andrii Niebytov, head of the main department of the National Police of the Kyiv region, reported that as of May 18, the bodies of 1,288 civilians had been found on the territory of the region. He added that this figure is not final, because law enforcers continue to identify buried people while inspecting the territories.


A guerrilla movement is unfolding in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. On May 18, shooting and explosions were recorded in temporarily occupied Melitopol. The Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration informed that unidentified individuals detonated a grenade near the Russian commandant’s office. The Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (Mirror Weekly) reported that a Russian armored train was blown up, which may indicate sabotage activities.


The State Statistics Service of Ukraine revealed the dynamics of Ukrainian trade as a result of the large-scale Russian invasion. This year’s seasonally adjusted March exports were down 57.9 percent from February, and imports fell 75.8 percent.

Ukraine is working on the issue of securing grain exports amid the blocking of Ukrainian ports. On May 16, the press service of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food reported that Ukraine and Poland signed a joint statement on the export of Ukrainian grain. The states agreed to simplify veterinary control of shipments of these products.

The government is trying to stabilize the situation on the fuel market. On May 17 the Ministry of Economy Yuliia Svyrydenko indicated that the Operational Headquarters at the Cabinet of Ministers decided to temporarily abandon state regulation of gasoline and diesel fuel prices, which will lead to a projected increase in fuel prices by 50-60%.


Russian aggression has entailed a transformation of the entire security system on the European continent. Amid the actualization of the Russian threat, Sweden and Finland — states that have long remained neutral — applied to join NATO on May 18.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi continues to brief foreign leaders on the situation in the country amid Russian aggression, as well as negotiating solutions to common problems. He held telephone conversations with German Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, discussing tougher sanctions against Russia, prospects for the negotiation process, and defense support from France and Germany. During his telephone conversation with the newly elected President of the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, they discussed the possibility of supplying fuel to Ukraine and involving the UAE in the post-war reconstruction of the state. Zelenskyi also held talks with the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, on financial support for the Ukrainian economy.

The U.S. State Department has launched a program to collect and analyze evidence of Russian military crimes in Ukraine, the Conflict Observatory. The program will analyze and store available information (satellite photos, social media data) for further use as evidence in investigations. In addition, 42 representatives of the International Criminal Court came to Ukraine on May 17 to investigate crimes committed by the Russian military.

International partners are increasing defense support for Ukraine. Following a meeting between Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren, additional weapons are planned to be delivered to Ukraine. Germany is ready to transfer 7 Panzerhaubitz 2000 self-propelled artillery systems, Gepard anti-aircraft guns, grenade launchers and other military equipment to Ukraine. Portugal will provide Ukraine with another 160 tons of aid, including military aid.

Financial assistance from the international community is also increasing. The Council of Ministers of the European Union has approved additional aid to Ukraine in the amount of 500 million euros for the purchase of military equipment. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced that this institution proposed to provide Ukraine with new macrofinancial assistance worth up to 9 billion euros. The European Commission also proposed the creation of the RebuildUkraine mechanism, under which the EU would support Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction. The head of the National Agency for Public Service, Nataliia Aliushyna, said that the IBRD would finance the work of Ukraine’s state apparatus to the amount of $492 million. On 17 May, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced that the German government will provide 150 million euros to support Ukraine. Japan will provide Ukraine with an additional $300 million of credit aid, so the total amount of loans from this country will be $600 million.

In addition, the most advanced economies of the Group of Seven (G7) are preparing a massive new $15 billion economic aid package for Ukraine to compensate for the losses from the Russian invasion.

Ukraine is preparing for an extended conflict with Russia. President Volodymyr Zelenskyi has introduced several bills proposing to extend martial law and the period of general mobilization from May 25 for another 90 days — that is, until early August.

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.