Day 72

May 6, 2022Occupied area

Russian advance

200 kmMap from 5 May 2022

  • Warns counter-offensive at Izium: Although Russia has succeeded in taking Izium, they have struggled to move further southeast. The New York Times writes that the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian defense, Valery Zaluzhny, says Ukrainian forces are moving from defensive to offensive operations in the strategically important Izium area. On Thursday, Lieutenant Colonel Palle Ydstebø at the War School also wondered if a Ukrainian counter-offensive could be underway here: "Just west of Izium, there has been some Ukrainian movement that may indicate something, but it is unclear," he said. Outside Kharkiv, Ukrainian forces have this week succeeded in driving back the Russians .
  • Azovstal attacks continue: Attacks on the Mariupol steel plant continue, says the President of Ukraine, despite the fact that many civilians are still there. The think tank The Institute for the Study of War believes Russia will take Azovstal in a few days. If it happens by Monday, it could be the victory many believe the Russian president is seeking before the May 9 celebrations . At the same time, a third round of evacuation from the steelworks is underway, according to the UN Secretary-General .
  • Alleged US intelligence contributed to the sinking of "Moscow": Officials tell NBC that the Russian flagship "Moscow" was sunk with the help of US intelligence . The Pentagon has denied the allegations.

Last updated: about 12 hours ago

Day 71

The brutal video evidence

1 video has been verified by VG on May 6, 2022

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HOLDS UP: So far, Russian forces have not succeeded in breaking through the Ukrainian defense and now the strategically important city of Kramatorsk, through which Ukrainian forces are rolling.

Get an overview: Here, Russian forces are struggling with the offensive

After failing against the Ukrainian forces around Kyiv, Russia shifted its focus to the east. But even here they are struggling.

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ODA LERAAN SKJETNEPublished:Updated today 04:23

The think tank Institute for the Study of War believes that Ukrainian defense has largely stopped the Russian advance in eastern Ukraine. Norwegian military experts agree.

- It stands and stomps a little. The great battle for Donbas that was expected has not been seen, says Lieutenant Colonel Palle Ydstebø at the War School.

It has been pretty quiet for the last two weeks, his colleague points out:

- I absolutely agree that it has stopped a bit, says Tom Røseth, who is the head teacher in intelligence at the Norwegian Defense College.

Two important development features from the last few days are:

  1. That Ukraine is pushing the Russians back outside Kharkiv - Ukraine's second largest city.
  2. That Russian forces have little progress in the battle for the Donbas, but there is tension associated with the force building around Izium.

1. Pushed back outside Kharkiv

Ukraine's second largest city has been under heavy bombardment since the start of the invasion. From positions outside the city, Russian forces have hammered the city with artillery fire . But something has now happened there.

- They had the artillery closer to the city, but now they have slowly but surely had to withdraw, says Røseth at the Norwegian Defense College.

Ukrainian forces are said to have pushed Russian troops back to positions 40 kilometers from the city on Monday. Then there is the question of whether they risk losing the remaining artillery positions that can reach the city.

- Now they only reach the outer limits of the city, Røseth points out.Last week, the VG team in Kharkiv had to turn around at full speed due to artillery fire0 seconds of 1 minute, 14 seconds Volume 90%

- They must either distribute forces from Izium and northwards or use very large forces to keep the area there, says Røseth about Kharkiv.

2. Trying to surround Ukrainian forces in the east - goes slowly

However, the think tank ISW believes that capturing the entire Donbas area and encircling the Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine is Russia's main goal.

See how the fronts now form an arc from Donetsk in the south, up to the right and out again towards Izium:

Should something bigger happen, it will be an attempt to cut off the Ukrainian forces that are inside this arch . So far, there have been a number of attacks, but no progress to track, says Ydstebø.

- They are trying to take Slovjansk and Kramatorsk, but it has stopped, Røseth thinks.

The think tank ISW points out that Russia carried out several failed ground offensives south of Izium on Wednesday.

CENTRAL CITY: This picture from Saturday will show an attack on a Russian military convoy in Izium. According to the New York Times, Russian General Staff Chief Valery Gerasimov escaped a Ukrainian attack here on Saturday.

- There is tension associated with what is happening with the strength building around Izium, which so far has not been particularly successful, Røseth believes.

- If the Russians are to achieve something of any size, they must have a larger offensive there, is the message from Ydstebø.

To get up to Slovyansk and Kramatorsk from the south or southeast, is more difficult.

- It is extremely difficult to break through, because there are fortified positions from the war that have lasted for eight years in the area. Even if they try, the Ukrainians are well fortified there. Then the Russians sacrifice a lot, they will try to go through there, Røseth points out.Along the old front lines of the Donbas, there are still attacks and fierce battles0 seconds of 38 seconds Volume 90%

What can happen next: - Do not think the Russians have the capacity

So the question is whether there can be a new, bigger offensive now anyway.

- There is no convincing military force from the Russian side that seems to provide any decisive and significant progress in the next few days, Røseth believes.

- I do not think the Russians have the capacity for any significant changes, then they will probably have to spend more time pulling forces together and setting up more coordinated departments, says Ydstebø.

So far they have not done so.

- We actually expected them to let the force rest and build up the forces for a larger offensive. But they have only fed on, Røseth points out.

"They have phased in and divided the forces, both the new ones and those that have come with a lot of wear and tear from north of Kyiv," says Røseth.

He points out that the forces that have moved from Kyiv "have been beaten".

- To then be put in the east together with a patchwork quilt by others and be sent to the front ... It is not optimal, neither for military effect nor in terms of motivation, says Røseth.

- The Russians sought to have "momentum" and progress before the Ukrainians managed to regroup, but they have not managed, Røseth from the Norwegian Defense College emphasizes.Published:Published: 06.05.22 at 09:06Updated: 06.05.22 at 09:23