Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1434 GMT:
More than 100 Russian National Guardsmen have been fired for refusing to fight in Ukraine.
A local Russian court rejected the collective lawsuit of the 115 national guardsmen against their dismissal.
The appeal was in Nalchik in the Russian Caucasus, where the unit is based.
UPDATE 1347 GMT:
Russian forces have surrounded 2/3rds of the city of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, says Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai.
He said Ukrainian forces are engaged in a “fierce defence” as “very strong” shelling continued unabated for two days and damaged 90% of the housing in the city.
UPDATE 1339 GMT:
Russian forces have occupied Lyman in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.
The mid-size city is a railway hub in the Donbas.
Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrolenko said Lyman is “mainly controlled by Russian troops” but Ukrainian forces have taken up new fortified positions in the area.
Ukraine Presidential advisor Oleksei Arestovych said the occupation showed that “the Russian army has improved its tactical skills and operational management”.
Lyman is the second midsize Ukrainian city seized by Russian forces this week, following the capture of Svitlodarsk.
UPDATE 1251 GMT:
Russian forces have stolen about 2,000 Ukrainian artefacts and artworks.
Among the stolen items is a 4th-century BC gold hoard from Scythia, which was in the Museum of Local History in Melitopol in southeast Ukraine.
Occupying Russia troops abducted and interrogated museum director Leila Ibrahimova. When she refused to cooperate, museum curator Galina Andriivna Kucher was taken at gunpoint to the museum and asked to point out the collection. She also refused, abducted from her home on April 30, and has been in an unknown location ever since.
Russian troops eventually found the gold hoard in boxes in the museum’s basement.
Evgeny Gorlachev, installed as museum director by Russia, justified the theft with the claim that the gold artefacts are “of great cultural value for the entire former Soviet Union”.
Russian forces also looted in Mariupol, seized after 12 weeks of siege and bombardment. Among stolen items are a handwritten Torah scroll and a gospel printed in Venice in 1811.
The Russian invasion has destroyed or severely damaged more than 250 museums and cultural institutions and more than 110 memorials.
UPDATE 1244 GMT:
Russian killed ten people and injured at least 35 in the Dnipropetrovsk region in central-eastern Ukraine on Friday morning.
Three missiles were fired from Russia’s Rostov region, with an Islander missile hitting a Ukrainian national guard firing range in Dnipro.
The head of the Dnipro territorial defence, Hennadiy Korban, said most Guard personnel were scattered throughout the region.
UPDATE 0740 GMT:
Supplies of long-life milk and juice in Russia are under threat because of a shortage of Tetra Pak aseptic packaging.
One of the two Tetra Pak manufacturers in Russia stopped operations in March.
The shortage also affects farmers who store summer milk for sale in the autumn.
Manufacturers alos lack paint, glue, and other consumables so the look of packaging is now “minimalistic and less bright”.
UPDATE 0618 GMT:
While noting a “steady, incremental” Russian advance in eastern Ukraine, the US-based Institute for the Study of War assesses that “Ukrainian defenses remain effective overall”.
The Institute echoed the analysis of Ukrainian officials that Russia will “likely seek to completely encircle the Severodonetsk-Lysychansk area in the coming days”.
It noted “persistent advances” south and west of Popasna toward Bakhmut, but said “the Russian pace of advance will likely slow as they approach the town itself”.
And it said that to the north, the Russians had been unsuccessful in advancing southeast of Izyum.
Adding to the ISW’s anticipation of challenges for further Russian success, UK military intelligence said the Russians are having to reactivate mothballed, 50-year-old T-62 tanks.
“The T-62s will almost certainly be particularly vulnerable to anti-tank weapons and their presence on the battlefield highlights Russia’s shortage of modern, combat-ready equipment,” the analysts noted.
UPDATE 0610 GMT:
Four more civilians were slain in Sievierodonetsk by shelling on Thursday, as Russian forces try to enter the city in eastern Ukraine.
Luhansk military governor Serhiy Haidai said, “Russians are targeting residential neighborhoods continuously,” adding that about 11 apartment buildings and one private house were destroyed yesterday.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Russia’s forces have renewed strikes on Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine killing at least nine civilians, including a child, and injuring 19.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly address to the nation, “Today, the occupiers shelled Kharkiv again. At the moment, the list of the dead includes nine people. 19 wounded. All civilians.”
The Ukraine military said two weeks ago that it had pushed the Russians out of artillery range of the country’s second city, after Vladimir Putin’s forces had failed to overrun it. Residents returned, a few cafes and restaurants reopened, people strolled in city parks, and the metro — used as a bomb shelter during the invasion — resumed operations.
But on Thursday, regional governor Oleh Synyehubov urged those in the city to go to shelters.
There’s no logic to it, it’s just terror against the local population, to sow panic and to destroy critical infrastructure….For two weeks it’s been relatively quiet … I think this is them saying hello, telling us they are still there, trying to create panic.
Russians Pressing Eastern Offensive
The attacks came as Russia, having been forced from northern Ukraine, pressed its offensive to seize territory in the east. Ukrainian officials said the invaders have the “upper hand” after regrouping, massing a large force, and levelling towns and cities with artillery fire.
Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said 5% of the oblast remains in Ukrainian control, down from about 10% just over a week ago, with Kyiv’s units retreating in some areas:
The Russian army has thrown all its forces at taking the Luhansk region….
It is clear that our boys are slowly retreating to more fortified positions – we need to hold back this horde.
He said Ukrainian troops might leave “one settlement, maybe two. We need to win the war, not the battle.”
The Russians are seeking to occupy the cities of Sievierodonetsk, the easternmost point of Ukrainian control, and Lysychansk across the Siverskyi Donets River.
Haidai reported, “Extremely fierce fighting is taking place on the outskirts of Sievierodonetsk. They are simply destroying the city, they are shelling it every day, shelling without pause….The coming week will decisive.”
Zelenskiy said in his nightly address:
The current offensive of the occupiers in Donbas can make the region uninhabited.
They want to burn Popasna, Bakhmut, Lyman, Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk to ashes. Like Volnovakha, like Mariupol. In cities and communities closer to the Russian border, in Donetsk and Luhansk, they gather everyone they can to fill the place of those killed and wounded in the occupation contingent.
All this, including the deportation of our people and the mass killings of civilians, is an obvious policy of genocide pursued by Russia.
Russian Propaganda Vans in Mariupol
In southeast Ukraine, in the port city of Mariupol where more than 22,000 people were reportedly killed, the Russian occupiers are deploying propaganda vans with large-screen TVs playing State news and talks shows with polemicists hailing the invasion.
The vans have been positions at points where the remaining civiians are receiving aid and drinking water and are being given Russian documents.
“The practice of ‘there is nothing to eat, so feed them lies’ is gaining momentum,” wrote Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to the exiled Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko. “[It is] cynicism of the highest level.”
Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Ukraine Interior Ministry, tweeted Russian video of the propaganda operations.
Reality & #Propaganda
russia continues "saving" #Mariupol. Having destroyed the city, they now launched three portable TV screens broadcasting russian propaganda about the risks of life in Mariupol. No anti-utopia novels couldn't even think of this.#UkraineUnderAttack pic.twitter.com/6gH8I0Viau
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) May 26, 2022
On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin signed a law for fast-track applications for Russian citizenship in Mariupol and the Russian-occupied parts of the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine.
Russia’s proxy head of the Kherson region, Kirill Stremousov, said, “The simplified system will allow all of us to clearly see that Russia is here not just for a long time but forever.”