Donbas : Ukraine mounts counter-offensive

KYIV, Ukraine, May 15 (Reuters) – A Ukrainian counteroffensive was underway near the Russian-held town of Izium, but its military reported on Sunday that Russian forces were advancing elsewhere in the Donbas region, which has become the main theatre of war over the past month.

Having resisted fiercely since Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24, Ukraine’s military has notched a string of successes, first forcing Russia’s commanders to abandon an advance on the capital Kyiv, and then making rapid gains in the northeast in recent week to drive the enemy away from the second biggest city of Kharkiv.Since mid-April, Russian forces have focussed much of their firepower on the east for what has become known as the “Battle of the Donbas”.


Delivering an update on Sunday morning, Ukraine’s military said: “Despite losses, Russian forces continue to advance in the Lyman, Sievierodonetsk, Avdiivka and Kurakhiv areas in the broader Donbas region.”

Ukraine’s military reported destroying eight Russian tanks, five artillery systems, along with other armoured vehicles, and drones in fighting across the Donbas over the previous day.


A regional governor said Ukrainian forces had mounted a counter attack near Izium, a strategic city straddling the Donets river, about 120 km (75 miles) southeast on the highway from Kharkiv.

“The hottest spot remains the Izium direction,” Governor Oleh Sinegubov said in comments aired on social media. “Our armed forces have switched to a counteroffensive there. The enemy is retreating on some fronts and this is the result of the character of our armed forces

Reuters could not independently verify the Ukrainian reports.

But British military intelligence delivered a damning assessment on Sunday of Russia’s Donbas campaign. It reckoned that Russia had lost about a third of the ground combat force deployed in February, and its offensive in the Donbas had fallen “significantly behind schedule” and was unlikely to make rapid advances during the coming 30

“They are not stopping their efforts,” he said. read more

Elsewhere, the Ukrainian military said there was no let-up on Sunday in Russia’s bombardment of the steel works in the southern port of Mariupol, where a few hundred Ukrainian fighters are holding out weeks after the city fell into Russian hands.

Zelenskiy said talks were underway seeking a way to evacuate wounded soldiers from Mariupol in return for the release of Russian prisoners of war.

May 15, 20228:53 AM GMT+2Last Updated an hour ago

Europe

Frontlines moving in “Battle of the Donbas’, Ukraine mounts counter-offensive

By Tom Balmforth

5 minute read

Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv
Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv
Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv

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A view shows a damaged house, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 14, 2022. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

Read More

  • Summary
  • Ukrainian forces press towards Russian-held Izium in east
  • Russian forces make some advances in Donbas – Ukraine military
  • Russian Donbas campaign has lost momentum – British military
  • Russia has lost about third of ground force – British military
  • Ukraine in ‘complex talks’ on evacuating Mariupol wounded

KYIV, Ukraine, May 15 (Reuters) – A Ukrainian counteroffensive was underway near the Russian-held town of Izium, but its military reported on Sunday that Russian forces were advancing elsewhere in the Donbas region, which has become the main theatre of war over the past month.

Having resisted fiercely since Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24, Ukraine’s military has notched a string of successes, first forcing Russia’s commanders to abandon an advance on the capital Kyiv, and then making rapid gains in the northeast in recent week to drive the enemy away from the second biggest city of Kharkiv.

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Since mid-April, Russian forces have focussed much of their firepower on the east for what has become known as the “Battle of the Donbas”.

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Delivering an update on Sunday morning, Ukraine’s military said: “Despite losses, Russian forces continue to advance in the Lyman, Sievierodonetsk, Avdiivka and Kurakhiv areas in the broader Donbas region.”

Ukraine’s military reported destroying eight Russian tanks, five artillery systems, along with other armoured vehicles, and drones in fighting across the Donbas over the previous day.

A regional governor said Ukrainian forces had mounted a counter attack near Izium, a strategic city straddling the Donets river, about 120 km (75 miles) southeast on the highway from Kharkiv.

“The hottest spot remains the Izium direction,” Governor Oleh Sinegubov said in comments aired on social media. “Our armed forces have switched to a counteroffensive there. The enemy is retreating on some fronts and this is the result of the character of our armed forces.”

Reuters could not independently verify the Ukrainian reports.

But British military intelligence delivered a damning assessment on Sunday of Russia’s Donbas campaign. It reckoned that Russia had lost about a third of the ground combat force deployed in February, and its offensive in the Donbas had fallen “significantly behind schedule” and was unlikely to make rapid advances during the coming 30 days.

Keeping up pressure on Izium and Russian supply lines will make it harder for Moscow to encircle battle-hardened Ukrainian troops on the eastern front in the Donbas.

Russia’s defence ministry said its forces killed at least 100 Ukrainian “nationalists” in a series of strikes on military sites, including in the Donbas. Reuters could not independently verify that report.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the situation in Donbas remained very difficult, adding that Russian forces were still trying to salvage some kind of victory there.

“They are not stopping their efforts,” he said. read more

Elsewhere, the Ukrainian military said there was no let-up on Sunday in Russia’s bombardment of the steel works in the southern port of Mariupol, where a few hundred Ukrainian fighters are holding out weeks after the city fell into Russian hands.

Zelenskiy said talks were underway seeking a way to evacuate wounded soldiers from Mariupol in return for the release of Russian prisoners of war.

A large convoy of cars and vans carrying refugees from the ruins of Mariupol arrived in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia after nightfall on Saturday after waiting days for Russian troops to allow them to leave. read more

Russia, rejecting Ukraine’s claim to have struck and set alight a modern navy logistics ship in the Black Sea, showed photos of what it said was the Vsevolod Bobrov with no signs of damage. read more

EUROVISION MORALE BOOSTER

On Saturday night, Ukraine celebrated a morale-boosting triumph in the Eurovision Song Contest that was seen as sign of the strength of popular support for Ukraine across Europe.

“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe! Next year Ukraine will host the Eurovision song contest,” Zelenskiy said in an online message after Kalush Orchestra won with their entry “Stefania”.

Eurovision’s winners traditionally get to host the event the following year. read more

In another token of international solidarity, U.S. Republican senators paid an unannounced visit to Kyiv. The delegation discussed further strengthening sanctions on Russia, Zelenskiy said. read more

As well as losing large numbers of men and much military equipment, Russia has been hit by economic sanctions. The Group of Seven industrial powers pledged on Saturday to “further increase economic and political pressure on Russia” and supply more weapons to Ukraine. read more

NATO APPLICANTS

Moscow’s invasion, which it calls a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists, has jolted European security. Kyiv and its Western allies say the fascism assertion is a baseless pretext for an unprovoked war of aggression.

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