Situation as of 8:00 a.m. on May 15, 2023
● The Ukrainian Armed Forces carried out counterattacks in the Bakhmut area, as a result of which they improved their positions to the south and north of the city.
● Ukrainian and Russian troops are intensifying attacks on each other’s rear infrastructure, trying to bolster their position on the front line by destroying warehouses, headquarters, and logistics routes.
● The President of Ukraine visited Italy, Germany, and France on official visits. The purpose of the tour was to seek further military assistance for Ukraine, including the establishment of a “fighter jet coalition”.
● The US and Germany announced new military aid packages worth 1.2 billion dollars and 2.7 billion euros, respectively. Great Britain for the first time announced the provision of Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine, capable of hitting targets at a distance of 250 km.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine carried out counterattacks on the flanks of the Russian group, which continues street fighting in Bakhmut. As a result, the Ukrainian military managed to retake several positions and push the enemy away from the lines of communication that support the garrison. Also, as a result of the attack on the Russian command post in the Bakhmut district, the commander of the 4th Motorized Rifle Brigade and the deputy commander of the 2nd Army Corps of the Russian army were eliminated.
Ukrainian troops intensified their attacks on the rear infrastructure of the Russian army, located in the temporarily occupied territories. By destroying the headquarters, ammunition and fuel depots of the Russian troops, the Armed Forces of Ukraine form a favorable battlefield for the implementation of a counteroffensive. In particular, during May 12-13, several missile strikes were carried out against Russian objects in the territory of temporarily occupied Luhansk. Russian infrastructure in the Mariupol and Melitopol region is also being attacked.
The Russian command is trying to hinder preparations for a counteroffensive of the Armed Forces by carrying out strikes on warehouses and logistics routes for the supply of Western weapons and ammunition. For this, missiles and kamikaze drones are actively used. On the night of May 9, the Russian aviation and navy launched a missile attack on the territory of Ukraine. Ukrainian air defense shot down 23 of the 25 missiles used in the attack. On the night of May 13, as part of repelling a mass attack by kamikaze drones, air defense intercepted 17 out of 21 UAVs deployed against the territory of Ukraine (including all the devices that attacked Kyiv). At the same time, Russian troops managed to hit an infrastructure facility in Khmelnytskyi. The large-scale explosion caused damage to surrounding buildings and injured up to 30 people. During the following night, as a result of a Russian attack, a hit was recorded in the industrial zone of the city of Ternopil, as a result of which 2 people were injured.
Peaceful residents of Ukraine continue to suffer as a result of Russian shelling. Over the past week, civilian casualties amounted to at least: 12 dead and 43 wounded in the Donetsk region; in the Kherson region – 9 people died and 30 people were injured. In the Kharkiv region, 2 people were killed and 11 people were injured. In the Mykolaiv region, at least 3 people were injured as a result of a kamikaze drone attack on the night of May 13. Russian troops continue to use ballistic missiles (both converted S-300 anti-aircraft systems and modern Iskander models) and artillery to attack the Zaporizhzhia (where 8 people were injured on May 10 alone) and Dnipropetrovsk (where at least 3 people were injured) regions. Strikes continue on the territory of Chernihiv and Sumy regions (where at least 1 person died).
The command of the Russian Armed Forces actively uses aviation, which strikes the northern border regions of Ukraine from Russian airspace. However, on May 13, a similar operation led to the loss of 2 airplanes and 3 helicopters over the territory of Bryansk region. The incident was the result of an error by Russian air defense.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS
On May 8, as a result of a missile attack in Odesa, warehouses with humanitarian aid of the Red Cross Society in Ukraine with an area of 1 square kilometer were destroyed, due to which the provision of humanitarian aid in the region was temporarily suspended. The day before – on May 7 – the mobile hospital of the Red Cross Society of Ukraine in Mykolaiv was damaged by shelling.
On May 12, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi signed decrees approving five sanctions packages aimed at blocking the Russian military industry. 13 individuals and 28 legal entities were sanctioned, with the help of which Russia maintained control over the metallurgical plant “Zaporizhstal” (among the companies – Global Steel Investments, Kyiv Securities Group, Midland Capital Management and the Russian state corporation VEB.RF).
The German arms production concern “Rheinmetall” concluded an agreement with “Ukroboronprom” on the creation of a joint venture for tank repair in Ukraine, the work of which will begin in mid-July 2023. The agreement provides for maintenance and repair of vehicles transferred to Ukraine by partners; as well as further joint production of tanks and other military products of “Rheinmetall” in Ukraine.
FOREIGN POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi continues to make official visits to European countries to strengthen relations with partners and strengthen support for Ukraine on the continent. As part of his official visit to Italy, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi held a meeting with the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella, with the Prime Minister of the Italian Republic Giorgia Meloni, and the head of the Ukrainian state also met with Pope Francis in the Vatican. In addition, on May 13, 2023, the President of Ukraine and the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic signed a joint declaration on support for Ukraine.
On May 14, Volodymyr Zelenskyi also arrived on an official visit to Germany, where he held official meetings with the Federal President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier and members of the Federal Security Cabinet. As part of the negotiations between the President of Ukraine and Federal Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz, a joint declaration on partnership between the countries was signed. The Charlemagne Prize was presented to the President of Ukraine in Aachen.
From Germany, Volodymyr Zelensky went to France, where he held a meeting with Emmanuel Macron. It was about military support, the implementation of the peace formula and the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius. As a result, a joint declaration was signed.
On May 9, a summit of the Core group was held, which is working on the creation of a Special Tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine, chaired by the President of Ukraine. 37 states that are currently part of the coalition have confirmed their support for bringing Russia’s top political and military leadership to justice for the war against Ukraine. As a result of the summit, the participating states adopted a joint statement in which they supported the establishment of the Special Tribunal.
International partners continue to strengthen Ukraine’s military and economic capabilities in the fight against the enemy. Great Britain will provide Ukraine with Storm Shadow long-range air-to-air cruise missiles with a range of more than 250 km. The US Department of Defense announced a new package of military aid to Ukraine in the amount of 1.2 billion dollars. The main purpose of the package is to strengthen air defense and ensure the needs of the Ukrainian army in artillery ammunition. In turn, Germany announced a new package of military aid to Ukraine worth 2.7 billion euros, which includes Marder armored personnel carriers, Leopard tanks, howitzers, as well as four more Iris-T SLM anti-aircraft systems, Iris-T-SLS launchers. Belgium approved a new package of financial aid for Ukraine in the amount of 92 million euros, which was obtained through taxation of frozen Russian assets. The Swiss Parliament has recommended easing export controls on Swiss military equipment and its components. The draft law makes it possible under specific conditions to re-export weapons to third countries, and in particular to Ukraine.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, held talks with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who arrived on May 9 on an official visit to Ukraine. The leaders discussed promising military supplies and further steps on Ukraine’s path to membership in the European Union. Also this week, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson visited Kyiv.
During the week, the President of Ukraine held telephone conversations with the Prime Minister of Great Britain Rishi Sunak, with the President of the Republic of South Africa, Matamelu Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as with the special adviser of the President of Brazil on international affairs, Celso Amorim.
The information in the newsletter 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.