Russian troops in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, May 20, 2022 (EPA)
Tuesday’s Coverage: Zelenskiy Uses Russian Drone Attacks to Call for Fighter Jets
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 2038 GMT:
Ukrainian officials say Russian forces lost at least 130 tanks and armored personnel carriers in their failed attempt to seize Vuhledar in the southern Donetsk region in east Ukraine last month.
The officials described an “epic” three-week battle — the largest tank confrontation of the Russian invasion so far — on a plain near the town.
As the Russians advanced in columns, the Ukrainian maneuvered to fire from a distance or from concealed positions.
Witnesses have described the Russians losing at least 30 tanks in one disastrous foray, with the annihilation of a mechanized brigade of about 500 troops.
The Russians entered the battle with a lack of experienced tank commanders and with many newly-mobilized, poorly-trained soldiers.
The Russians lost so much armor that they switched by last week to only infantry attacks.
UPDATE 2018 GMT:
Ukraine’s military posts, “The enemy continues to advance. The assault on the city of Bakhmut continues.”
Ukrainian volunteers running civilian evacuations in Donbas say they've stopped going to Bakhmut as there's now a direct threat of Russian ATGMs along the remaining roads into the city. Hard to see how it can hold out much longer.
— Neil Hauer (@NeilPHauer) March 1, 2023
UPDATE 1652 GMT:
A mother and her 1-year-old child have been injured during Russian shelling of Chornobaivka in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine.
UPDATE 1649 GMT:
The Finnish Parliament has backed accession to NATO in a 184-7 vote.
There was one abstention in the 200-seat legislature.
Support for the applications of Finland and Sweden are still awaited from Turkey and Hungary.
UPDATE 1643 GMT:
Russia’s authorities have sent a 12-year-old Russian girl to an orphanage after her father beaten up and arrested by authorities.
The cause? Masha Moskalev drew an anti-war picture in her art class.
Her father Alexei, a single parent in the eastern Tula region, was charged with discrediting the military in December.
When a teacher instructed students to draw pictures in support of Russia’s troops in Ukraine, Masha drew a Russian flag emblazoned with the words “No to War” and a Ukrainian flag with “Glory to Ukraine”.
The teacher informed the school’s director who called the police,.
Moskalev faces up to three years in prison if his case goes to court.
UPDATE 1637 GMT:
The head of Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has said of the failure to overrun the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine after months of assaults:
The Ukrainian army is throwing extra reserves into Artyomovsk [Bakhmut] and trying to hold the town with all their strength. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian army fighters are putting up furious resistance. The bloodiness of the battles is growing by the day.
UPDATE 1021 GMT:
A Ukrainian official says about 4,500 civilians, including 48 children, remain in Bakhmut as Russian forces continue their nine-month attempt to overrun the city in eastern Ukraine.
A spokesman for the Donetsk regional administration, Tetiana Ignatchenko, said the civilians “cannot be evacuated because they live in places that are no longer accessible”.
There is food, water and medicine in the city. People were provided with everything in advance.
Still, everyone has to leave. The situation is extremely dangerous for civilians.
Serhiy Cherevatyi, the spokesperson for the Eastern Grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said defenders continue to resist the Russian onslaught.
If we see that the threat to our personnel and our operational situation is greater than the need to hold the territory, we do it [withdraw], but we do it in an organized manner, without panic….
I can say that there is no such decision now.
Reuters journalists reached Bakhmut from the west on Tuesday, establishing that the city is not surrounded by the invaders.
The Ukraine Government’s economic advisor Alexander Rodnyansky said of the resistance against Russia’s “best” and “most well trained and most experienced” troops:
Our military is obviously going to weigh all of the options. So far, they’ve held the city, but, if need be, they will strategically pull back – because we’re not going to sacrifice all of our people just for nothing.
He said Ukrainian forces had fortified the Donetsk region west of Bakhmut so “if we were to pull back, that wouldn’t necessarily mean that the Russians would be able to advance very quickly afterward.”
The advisor added, “Make no mistake, our counter-offensives will be around the corner soon.”
UPDATE 0843 GMT:
Five civilians have been killed and three injured amid 86 Russian attacks on the Kherson region in southern Ukraine in the past 24 hours.
Three civilians were slain and four injured in Russian shelling of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: US military analysts assess that Russia is unlikely to make a significant advance in Ukraine in 2023.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl told a Congressional hearing on Tuesday about the “debilitating” situation on the frontlines.
In the coming weeks and months, you will be able to see small plots change hands. I don’t think there is anything to suggest that the Russians can move quickly and make progress in capturing new territories in the next year or so.
Kahl did not speak about an anticipated Ukrainian offensive later this year to liberate more territory.
Instead, he evaluated, “We do not know the trajectory of the conflict. It can end in six months, or maybe in two or three years.”
Kahl emphasized that President Joe Biden has promised to support Ukraine for as long as necessary, and he urged legislators to approve further allocation of funds and equipment for Kyiv.
A priority would be increase in capacity to produce necessary weapons: “It will matter in a year, two, three, because even if the conflict subsides – and no one can predict if it will – Ukraine will need an army capable of defending the territory it has reclaimed and preventing the Russians from attacking again.”
But Kahl restated that the Biden Administration is not supplying F-16 fighter jets for now.
In contrast to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s emphasis on the warplanes, the US official said, “It is a priority for the Ukrainians, but it is not one of their top three priorities.”