May 19, 2022

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Russia’s Military Offensive in Ukraine: Battlefield Advance, Siege Tactics and Stalled Convoy

Russia's Military Offensive in Ukraine: Battlefield Advance, Siege Tactics and Stalled Convoy

Russian state media, citing defense officials, said Russian forces were in control of Kherson, a vital port in southern Ukraine where the Dnieper River meets the Black Sea. The mayor of Kherson confirmed the presence of Russian tanks and troops in the city, but said they were still in the hands of the Ukrainians as he made a public appeal to create a humanitarian corridor to evacuate the wounded and dead. On Wednesday, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said via WhatsApp that the battles are now continuing and that “the city has not been completely captured”.

The Russian attack on Kherson is part of an effort to pave the way for an advance towards Odessa, a major prize on the Black Sea coast of Ukraine. But “Russian operations in the south do not seem to pose an imminent danger to Odessa in the next 24 hours,” according to the newspaper. evaluation Published by the Institute for the Study of War Tuesday.

Seven days after Russia invaded Ukraine, Moscow’s offensive, beset with logistical challenges as well as a fierce Ukrainian response, did not progress as quickly as some had expected, leaving major cities, including the capital, Kyiv, in the hands of the Ukrainian government. But the picture on the battlefield was smooth on Wednesday. Russia has continued to turn toward what human rights groups have warned are lethal siege tactics used by Moscow in other war zones, including Syria, and Ukrainian officials have said they have begun receiving promised arms shipments from allies that may derail Russia’s plans.

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The United Nations has recorded the deaths of more than 130 civilians, including 13 children, since the fighting began last week, mostly due to shelling and rocket fire. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said the actual number may be much higher.

The flow of arms to Ukraine increased this week when Germany opened its stockpile of weapons, and Australia said it would provide Kyiv with about $70 million in “lethal military assistance,” including missiles and unspecified weapons. On Wednesday, Ukraine announced that it had received a shipment of Turkish drones, which it has used in recent days to damage the advanced Russian armored columns. Turkey, which is trying to maintain stable relations with both Russia and Ukraine, has not commented on the shipment.

Ukrainian officials across the country have reported an intensification of Russian bombing, including against civilian areas. In Mariupol, southern Ukraine, the city council accused Russia of bombing homes, hospitals and hostels for migrants. The city – a strategic location that could allow Russia to create a land bridge from southern Russia, through Ukraine, to Crimea, which is controlled by Moscow – remained under Ukrainian control on Wednesday, the city council said.

The city of Kharkiv suffered another night of airstrikes, with videos on social media, which could not be immediately verified, allegedly showing explosions at the regional police headquarters and in residential areas. Russian paratroopers landed and engaged Ukrainians in a gun battle at a medical center, a local official said.

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Britain’s defense minister, Ben Wallace, said a long column of Russian troops and tanks north of Kyiv, spanning dozens of miles, remained frozen and sat “days, not hours” behind schedule as Russia turned to siege tactics. Speaking in televised interviews on Wednesday morning, Wallace said the approaching convoy had experienced logistical supply chain challenges, low morale and Ukrainian resistance.

“When any moving army takes longer to do things, your logistical supply chain is stretched. If you give enough rations for two days and it takes six days, you suddenly have a problem. I think what we’ve seen is a lot of these issues,” he told Sky News. He said the Ukrainians are also “implementing a very smart plan. We’ve seen footage, we can’t verify it, but we’ve seen footage of Ukrainians using drones [unmanned aerial vehicles] To attack convoys of petrol trains, to go after logistics – we’ve seen queues explode – all the things you and I think of when it comes to the resistance.”

Others said it was too early to say how long the Russian ground offensive would be delayed.

The Institute for the Study of War Assessment said that Russian forces “receive the necessary supplies and reinforcements that may facilitate more rapid and effective operations within the next 24-72 hours”. She added that the Russian effort around Kyiv “remains poorly organized, however, with elements from many different battalions combined into what appear to be ad hoc groups rather than operating under the command of a standing regiment or brigade.”

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“Russian logistical and operational failures around Kyiv will be difficult to address quickly and will likely continue to cause friction and reduce the effectiveness of Russian operations even as supply issues are addressed and reinforcements are brought into battle. It is still too early to assess the potential effective combat power that the added Russian forces will bring.” .