A resident walks past buildings damaged by a Russian strike on Sievierodonetsk in the eastern Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine (Reuters)

Friday’s Coverage: Zelenskiy Sees Positive Signs v. Russia’s Invasion

Source: Institute for the Study of War


Responding to an offer by French President Emmanuel Macron to mediate between Ukraine and Russia, Ukrainian Presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said:

Until we receive weapons in their full amount, until we strengthen our positions, until we push them back as far as possible to the borders of Ukraine, there is no point in holding negotiations.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba dismissed Macron’s call not to “humiliate” Russia.


A 16th-century church in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine is on fire after it was hit by Russian shelling.

The Skete of All Saints of Svyatohirsk Lavra was built in 1526.


Ukraine Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov has warned of global food shortages unless Russia lifts its blockade on Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea.

Kubrakov noted that options by road, river, and rail to bypass the blockade currently “won’t cover even 20% of what we could do through the Black Sea ports….Everyone is doing superhuman activity, and the [amount exported] is growing every month…. In the short term it could go up to 30%.”

Speaking a day after Vladimir Putin hosted African Union head Macky Sall in Sochi in southern Russia, Kubrakov said, “They don’t care about the lives of these people in Africa. They’re telling them: ‘We don’t care about you. We are only worried about sanctions against us. Now you are hostages.’”


In a lengthy message, a Russian military blogger, “Boytsovyi Kot Murz” says Russia’s 35th Combined Arms Army was destroyed in Izyum in northeast Ukraine due to incompetent commanders.

The blogger says the 64th and 38th Separate Guard Motor Rifle Brigades now have less than 100 servicemen in total after commanders failed to provide necessary equipment for wooded terrain and did not repair heavy artillery quickly.

Russian forces also reportedly lacked effective communication with command centers and relied on messengers due to the shortage of encrypted phones. This allowed Ukrainian forces to strike Russian advanced positions with drones.

The blogger also claims that mercenaries of the Wagner Group refused to participate in combat.

In criticism beyond the Izyum operation, Boytsovyi Kot Murz criticizes the Russian Defense Ministry for failing to prepare medical equipment and field hospitals for wounded servicemen.


The US-based Institute for the Study of War says Russian occupation authorities have begun issuing Russian passports in occupied Kherson and Melitopol in southern Ukraine.

However, the Institute assesses that the Russians “continue to face challenges establishing societal control over occupied territories and ending Ukrainian partisan actions”.


A Russian missile wounded two people when it struck an agricultural building in the Odesa region in southern Ukraine on Saturday morning.

Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesperson for the Odesa regional military administration, said several Russian ships with cruise missiles remain in the Black Sea, adding that Russian forces are trying to strengthen their foothold on Snake Island.

Russia’s Defense Ministry claims that its forces downed a Ukrainian military transport plane with weapons and munitions near Odesa.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukrainian forces have fought back against the Russian attempt to overrun Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, retaking about 20% of the city in the Luhansk Oblast of the Donbas.

Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai said on national TV on Friday, “Whereas before the situation was difficult, the percentage [held by Russia] was somewhere around 70%, now we have already pushed them back by approximately 20%.”

Sievierodonetsk, the easternmost city under Ukraine’s control, and nearby Lysychansk are the last major areas in the remaining Ukrainian-held pocket of Luhansk. Each city had about 100,000 residents before the Russian invasion; about 13,000 civilians are still in Sievierodonetsk despite the Russian levelling of the city.

Haidai said Russian forces attacked and advanced upon Ukrainian positions for hours, “This is how they are moving forward, step-by-step, because with artillery, aircraft, mortars, they are simply destroying everything.”

However, he said the assaults were being driven back by Ukrainian defenders. He added, with reference to the latest commitments of military support such as US medium-range rocket systems, “As soon as we have enough Western long-range weapons, we will push their artillery away from our positions. And then, believe me, the Russian infantry, they will just run.”

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Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzianyk said on Friday that the Russians persisted in efforts to surround Ukrainian troops near Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, but Ukrainian units had thwarted Russian efforts to seize the nearby towns of Metiolkine and Bilohorivka.

The announcements came soon after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy declared that “Victory shall be ours” in a video message, from in front of the Presidential office in Kyiv, marking Day 100 of Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

Flanked by top advisors, he said:

Our team is much bigger. The armed forces of Ukraine are here. Most importantly, our people, the people of our country, are here.

We have been defending Ukraine for 100 days. Victory shall be ours.