DAY 454

Victory Chronicles
-DAY 454

May 23,2023


Above: Civilians receive drone training near Kyiv. (New York Times)

Above: UK Ministry of Defence


Above: Pro-Kremlin Russia infantry fighting vehicle captured by anti-Kremlin Russian forces in Belgorod Monday. (Oryx)

Above: Ukrainian General Staff of the Armed Forces estimated enemy losses since February 24, 2022 (with daily additions)

Liquidated personnel 204360 +480
Tanks 3789 +4
Armored personnel vehicles 7419 +12
Artillery systems/ MLRS 3318/565 +40/0
Anti-aircraft systems 327
Aircraft/ helicopters 309/295 +0/1
Unmanned aerial vehicles 2864 +34
Cruise missiles 1015 +4
Warships/ boats 18
Vehicles and fuel tanks 6139 +10
Special equipment 433 +6


Above: Bakhmut today. (Aljazeera)


Video: The New York Times published a video of civilians cautiously moving through an utterly devastated Bakhmut as Russians advance. “It was not immediately possible to know who the people are, where they are going and how they survived.”

The Kyiv Independent reported:

Russia carried out 20 missile strikes against Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kharkiv oblasts, using cruise missiles, Iskander-M ballistic missiles, and S-300 anti-aircraft missiles over the past day.

Russia launched 48 airstrikes using Shahed drones, and targeted both civilian and military targets with up to 90 strikes using multiple-launch rocket systems, Ukraine’s General Staff reported on May 23.

Shellings resulted in injuries among civilians, as well as damage to residential buildings, kindergartens, and other civilian infrastructure.

The General Staff also reported over 30 combat engagements with the Russian military in the directions of Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Marinka.

Ukraine’s defenses downed four cruise missiles Kh-101/Kh-555, one Mi-24 attack helicopter, 25 Shahed drones, and nine reconnaissance drones over the past day.

All six of the Shahed drones that struck on the night of May 23 were successfully intercepted, along with two Merlin-VR reconnaissance drones, the Air Force reported.

Ukraine’s Air Force targeted eight military personnel and equipment positions and two anti-aircraft systems over the past day.

The artillery and missile troops struck against four Russian control points, three military equipment stations, four ammunition depots, 11 artillery systems, a radio station, and three radio-electronic combat systems.


Above: Due to increased shelling of civilians on the Sumy-Russia border, the Sumy Oblast Administration is urging the evacuation of Okhryr Raion, providing assistance, transportation and accommodations for refugees.  (Photo: Ukrainian Pravda)

Above:  Maps via ISW

Video: A Russian Volunteer Corps soldier who invaded Belgorod yesterday is a former Russian security service officer who defected to Ukraine in 2014.  These aren’t necessarily good guys – they support Ukraine less than they want to overthrow the Kremlin.  In this case, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  

Anti-Kremlin Russian paramilitary elements conducted a raid into Belgorod Oblast on May 22. Russian sources began reporting on the morning of May 22 that a detachment consisting of two tanks, an armored personnel carrier, and nine other armored vehicles crossed the international border and captured Kozinka, a settlement in the Grayvoron region of Belgorod Oblast within 600 meters of the border with Sumy Oblast. 

According to the Main Intelligence Directorate, on Monday, Belgorod officials were urgently evacuating a nuclear ammunition storage facility near Grayvoron, Belgorod,Russia.  

Ukrainian officials noted that they are aware of the attack but denied any involvement by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate spokesperson Andriy Yusov noted that these forces are comprised exclusively of Russian citizens and that the groups launched an operation in Belgorod to “liberate these territories…from the so-called Putin regime” and create a “security zone” by the border to protect Ukrainian civilians from further Russian shelling. 

Russian forces continued limited ground attacks in the Kupyansk direction on May 22. Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive actions towards Masyutivka (13km northeast of Kupyansk).

Russian forces continued ground attacks and have made incremental advances south of Kreminna as of May 22. Geolocated footage posted on May 22 indicates that Russian troops have advanced near the filtration station on the southeastern outskirts of Bilohorivka (about 13km south of Kreminna).  Russian forces also conducted unsuccessful offensive operations near Ivano-Darivka (23km south of Kreminna).



Above: Analysts review drone intelligence for Bakhmut. (New York Times)

Above:  Maps via ISW

Ukrainian officials stated that limited fighting continued in and around Bakhmut on May 22.  Russian forces conducted unsuccessful ground attacks near Hryhorivka (8km northwest of Bakhmut) and south of Ivanivske (immediately west of Bakhmut). Ukrainian forces maintain positions in a fortified area in western Bakhmut and that fighting for heights north and south of Bakhmut continues. Geolocated footage published on May 21 shows that Wagner forces advanced towards the T0504 entrance to southwestern Bakhmut.

Wagner amended its plan to withdraw completely from the Bakhmut theater on June 1 to include two months of reconstitution during which it will not be available for operations.  Wagner will give the Russian MoD control of Bakhmut on May 25 and completely withdraw from the frontline by June 1. 

The Russian MoD is reducing the length of convict training to compensate for heavy losses. Russian military leadership reduced the training for convicts at a training camp in Starobilsk Raion in temporarily-occupied Luhansk Oblast from four weeks to 10 days. ISW previously assessed that the Russian forces are diluting their combat effectiveness with poorly trained personnel in an attempt to make up for high casualties.

The Russian situation in Bakhmut is particularly vulnerable as the Russian offensive effort in the area has culminated, granting Ukrainian forces the opportunity to launch further counterattacks on Bakhmut’s already-weakened flanks. Wagner’s withdrawal will also likely result in the Russian MoD manning defensive lines with poorly trained and provisioned conventional units similar to those that retreated from their positions while defending against Ukrainian counterattacks earlier in May.

Russian forces made marginal gains in the Avdiivka area as of May 22. Geolocated footage published on May 21 shows that Russian forces made marginal territorial gains southwest of Pervomaiske (11km southwest of Avdiivka). Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations near Avdiivka, Pervomaiske, Novokalynove (7km north of Avdiivka), Vodyane (6km southweset of Avdiivka), and Marinka (18km west of Donetsk City). Russian forces shelled Avdiivka with cluster munitions.


Above:  Odesa is working overtime to finally de-russify place names.  On Tuesday, Odesa City Council reviewed suggestions for 84 locations. For example, six places named after the Russian patron saint of war (Nevsky) will be changed to Ukrainian artists, poets, writers and statesmen. (Dumska)

Russian sources continued to express concern about Ukrainian positions on the Dnipro River islands ahead of an anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive. The Kherson occupation administration amplified footage on May 22 purportedly showing Russian forces striking Ukrainian positions on unspecified islands in the Dnipro River delta with high-precision projectiles and claimed that rumors about Ukrainian forces potentially crossing the Dnipro River and the coming counteroffensive are only propaganda promoting fear and uncertainty. 


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