DAY 456

Victory Chronicles
-DAY 456

May 25,2023


Above:  A Ukrainian child refugee hugs her stuffed animal. The Prosecutor General’s Office told Reuters on May 24 that Ukraine is investigating Belarus’ role in the illegal transfer of Ukrainian children from Russian-occupied territories. Reuters cited a report published by exiled Belarusian opposition members alleging that 2,150 Ukrainian children, including orphans between the ages of six and 15, had been forcibly relocated to recreation camps and sanatoriums on Belarusian territory. 

Meanwhile, the Kremlin’s criminal children’s rights advocate responsible for the Ukrainian child abduction program met with a leading UN official last week. The US State Department said, “We are deeply concerned that a senior UN diplomat met with a fugitive subject to an ICC arrest warrant for committing war crimes against children. Such conduct undermines our shared commitment to protecting children in conflict zones.” (Photo: Kyiv Post)

Above: UK Ministry of Defence

  • The propaganda value of the Battle of Bakhmut for the Russian MoD is subsumed by the blogosphere discussion of total losses and who should get medals.  The Angry Patriots led by Girkin (a leader of the 2014 occupation) claimed Wager is lying about casualties, pointing out 14 thousand prisoner-conscripts are unaccounted for.  Wagner and other ultra-nationalist bloggers characterized Russian military leadership as inept elites with Europe-gallivanting children, calling for the Russian people to rise up against the Kremlin.  
  • Noel Reports provides a Twitter thread summarizing what some are calling the Bilhorod Boogaloo.  The thread includes multiple interviews with Ukrainian journalists who went to the border incursion areas.  It appears that 200-300 Russian fighters, coordinating with Ukrainian armed forces, entered Russia at three locations in Bryansk, Kursk and Bilhorod Oblasts this week, creating huge publicity and a recruitment drive for Russians to rise against the Kremlin.  The incursions highlight Moscow’s inability to quickly defend its borders because all the special forces used for border security “were destroyed at the beginning of the full-scale aggression on Ukrainian territory,” according to an analyst who spoke with the New Voice of Ukraine
  • The 2nd Eurasian Economic Forum took place in Moscow this week. Titled “Eurasian Integration in a Multipolar World”, the forum is for members of the Eurasian Economic Union, a treaty-based alliance of former soviet countries including Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.  Disgraced former Ukrainian president Yanukovych’s intention for Ukraine to join the union in 2013 was one of the precipitating issues for the Maidan Revolution.  Chinese president Xi gave the opening speech online, emphasizing that the world is headed towards irresistible multipolarism – a euphemistic term for the decline of US dominance. 
  • The Moscow MoD claimed on May 24 that more than 120,000 military personnel have been trained since the start of the full-scale special operation, far lower than the 318 thousand mobilized last fall plus 134 thousand conscripted in bi-annual conscription cycles plus the unknown number recruited independently. 
  • The Ukrainian Resistance Center stated on May 25 that the enemy is training military academy cadets near the Ukrainian border in Kursk and Bryansk oblasts. Russian military academy graduates were graduated several months ahead of schedule so that they can enter the full-scale military operation as early as possible amid a dearth of commanders in the field. 
  • Belsat TV reported that Moscow and Minsk signed an agreement for the transfer of nuclear weapons to Belarus.  Moscow’s defense ministry said that Russia would be fully responsible for their maintenance and deployment. 

Video: General Staff’s Daily Video Digest with English subtitles


Above: Newsweek

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


Liquidated personnel 205260 +500
Tanks 3795 +3
Armored personnel vehicles 7432 +8
Artillery systems/ MLRS 3359/570 +20/0
Anti-aircraft systems 327  
Aircraft/ helicopters 309/296  
Unmanned aerial vehicles 2907 +36
Cruise missiles 1015  
Warships/ boats 18  
Vehicles and fuel tanks 6148 +2
Special equipment 444 +4



Above:  Kharkivchany are quickly fixing destroyed infrastructure. Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for Reconstruction noted, “”We have already demonstrated to the whole world that we are capable of rapid recovery even in the face of constant Russian attacks. Over the course of a year, we have restored 130 man-made structures and a third of all destroyed railway bridges to traffic.” (Suspilne)

Above:  Map via ISW

  • Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks northeast of Kupyansk and along the Svatove-Kreminna line on May 24. Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive actions near Masyutivka (16km northeast of Kupyansk) and Bilohorivka (10km south of Kreminna). Geolocated footage published on May 24 indicates that Russian forces captured Yahidne (22km east of Kupyansk) prior to May 24 and that Russian forces additionally made marginal advances near Spirne (25km south of Kreminna)


Above: In the trenches near Bakhmut.  The head-to-head fighting for urban infrastructure in Bakhmut has all but culminated.  It seems like Wagner really is pulling out of Bakhmut, to be replaced by conventional invaders.  Meanwhile, Ukraine is chipping away at southern and northern flanks. (RFERL)

Above:  Maps via ISW

  • Russian forces continued limited ground attacks on the outskirts of Bakhmut on May 24. Russian troops conducted unsuccessful offensive operations towards Ivanivske (3km southwest of Bakhmut) and Khromove (3km west of Bakhmut). Ukrainian troops are continuing defensive operations on the outskirts of Bakhmut.
  • Russian forces continued ground attacks along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line on May 24. Russian troops conducted unsuccessful offensive operations north of Donetsk City near Avdiivka and Novokalynove; on the northwestern outskirts of Donetsk City near Pervomaiske; and on the southwestern outskirts of Donetsk City near Marinka. Russian forces conducted a massive artillery strike on Avdiivka and launched two airstrikes with unguided aerial bombs at the city on the morning of May 24.


Above:  A pedestrian bridge in Mykolaiv Oblast under repair. (Suspilne)

  • Russian forces continue to target Ukrainian positions in southern Ukraine with FAB-500 aerial bombs. Geolocated footage published on May 24 shows a Russian FAB-500 strike on Kizomys (20km southwest of Kherson City) in Kherson Oblast. Russian forces attacked Beryslav (60km northeast of Kherson City) in Kherson Oblast with four KAB bombs (a FAB-500 variant).
  • Russian forces continue to endanger the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Russian forces continue to militarize the ZNPP by using power units No. 1, 2, and 4 as logistics and military bases. Russian forces permanently maintain armored vehicles, trucks, and personnel at the ZNPP and rotate personnel and equipment after curfew. 


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