DAY 457

Victory Chronicles
-DAY 457

May 26,2023


Above:  One of several large wind farm projects in southern Ukraine now under enemy occupation. Ukraine’s state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz announced the start of operations at a new well producing 580 thousand cubic meters of natural gas per day.  Earlier in May, Naftogaz announced ambitious plans to double output by 2027.  

Ukraine has always felt the threat of Russian energy blackmail and is one of Europe’s leading countries in terms of striving towards energy independence through the development of domestic fossil fuel resources and transition to renewables.  Unfortunately, a lack of investment and legacy soviet infrastructure makes Ukraine one of Europe’s most energy-intensive economies.  

Meanwhile, Russia’s state-owned gas monopoly Gazprom announced this week a year-on-year fall in profits of 40%, blaming higher taxes imposed to fund Putin’s war and the loss of almost all its European markets. 

Above: Kyiv’s Golden Gate metro station, named after the 11th c. Kyivan-Rus eastern city gate that once stood there. Eighty percent of the Kyiv Metro’s rolling stock was produced in Russian USSR.  Suspilne looked at how Kyiv maintains the Metro during war by getting soviet carriages and spare parts from old Polish stocks while using a €450 million loan to start replacing Russian-made equipment.  

Above: UK Ministry of Defence

  • As of the morning of May 26, 11 oblasts were under fire from the aggressor state including Kyiv, Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Mykolaiv.  
  • Reuters reports that the world’s largest maritime certification authority, Lloyd’s Register, has notified India’s Gatik Ship Management that it will withdraw certification on 21 of its vessels by June 3. Gatik has  become a major carrier of Russian oil since the Ukraine war. A prime mechanism for enforcement of sanctions on Russian oil is the withholding of Western insurance and certification for sea vessels that help Russia circumvent sanctions.  India does not recognise the sanctions imposed on Russia and has quickly become the biggest buyer of seaborne Russian crude.
  • As Ukraine prepares for a major upgrade in the Ukrainian Air Force with the introduction of Western aircraft, New Voice of Ukraine spoke with an aviation expert on the state of the Russian air force. He notes that Ukraine largely depleted its air force in the context of the Budapest Memorandum or transferred to Moscow to pay gas debts.  Russia hasn’t produced a new military aircraft in 30 years and relies on grossly outdated soviet technology, but can still deliver cruise missile strikes on civilian and military targets.  Another story looks at Moscow’s Tupolev cruise missile carriers and how Ukraine currently intercepts 80% of “invincible” Kinzhal missiles.
  • The Eurasian Economic Forum served as an opportunity for Moscow to enhance sanction evasion opportunities. The band of former soviet respublics courted closer technology relations with non-members UAE, China, India, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel and Iran. Kazakhstan offered to support a new 2870 km (1780 mile) high-speed rail line planned from Chelyabinsk to Tehran. Moscow suggested rebranding products produced in the union as “Made in EEU” to obscure actual place of origin.  
  • The governor of Bilhorod, Russia, again announced the formation of seven “combat-ready” territorial defense battalions (they were also announced in December but apparently didn’t exist).  There is a snag, however, in that current Russian law doesn’t allow for arming local battalions. Milbloggers complained that these battalions “ready” don’t have adequate equipment and weapons. Meanwhile, Wagner’s leader is promoting himself as the guy to organize and direct the defense of Bryansk, Kursk and Bilhorod Oblasts. 


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


Above: The Ukrainian National Guard shot down two Su-25 attack aircraft near Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia, on Thursday.  (Photo: Ukrainska Pravda)

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

Liquidated personnel 205720 +460
Tanks 3796 +1
Armored personnel vehicles 7435 +3
Artillery systems/ MLRS 3384/570 +25/0
Anti-aircraft systems 328 +1
Aircraft/ helicopters 310/296 +1/0
Unmanned aerial vehicles 2910 +3
Cruise missiles 1015  
Warships/ boats 18  
Vehicles and fuel tanks 6161 +13
Special equipment 446 +2



Above: Missile strikes on a house in Kharkiv region. (National Review)

  • Russia launched 17 missiles and 31 drone strikes overnight, Ukraine’s Air Force reported on May 26. Ukraine intercepted 23 Iranian-made Shahed kamikaze drones, two reconnaissance drones, and 10 cruise missiles. 
  • The Air Force recorded 10 Kalibr cruise missiles launched from Tu-95 bombers near the Caspian Sea, all of which were shot down, as well as seven S-300/S-400 missiles fired from temporarily-occupied Tokmak,  Zaporizhzhia.
  • Russia attacked with 31 Shahed drones from the south and north. Drones, cruise missiles and rockets were shot down in Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Dnipropetrovsk. 
  • Kyiv also came under attack on May 26, resulting in the damage of a mall and a house in two Kyiv districts.

The General Staff summarized attacks on civilians: 

  • Glory to Ukraine! Day 457 of the russian full-scale military aggression against Ukraine has begun.
  • Last night, russian terrorists launched yet another missile strike and Shahed UAVs air strike in Ukraine. During the day of May 25, the adversary launched a total of 4x missile strikes. 1x S-300 missile hit a dam near Karlivka, Donetsk oblast. As a result, other nearby settlements are under a great risk of flooding. In addition, the enemy launched 55x air strikes. In particular, 36x Iranian Shahed UAVs were employed, with all of these air targets intercepted. 19x MLRS attacks were also reported.
  • Sivershchyna and Slobozhanshchyna axes: the enemy fired mortars and artillery at the settlements of Sen’kivka, Snovsk, Hai, Kam’yans’ka Sloboda (Chernihiv oblast), Bachivs’k, Khodyne, Volodymyrivka, Basivka, Oleksandrivka, Velyka Pysarivka (Sumy oblast), Strilecha, Krasne, Cherkas’ki Tyshky, Luk’yantsi, Neskuchne, Ternova, Vovchans’k, Chuhunivka, and Khatnje (Kharkiv oblast).
  • Kup’yans’k axis: The invaders launched air strikes near Chaikivka and Kyslivka (Kharkiv oblast). The invaders fired artillery and mortars at Topoli, Fyholivka, Novomlyns’k, Dvorichna, Masyutivka, Zapadne, Kyslivka (Kharkiv oblast), Novoselivs’ke, and Stel’makhivka (Luhansk oblast).
  • Lyman axis: The invaders also launched air strikes at Bilohorivka and near Ivano-Dar’ivka (Donetsk oblast).  Makiivka, Nevs’ke, Dibrova, Bilohorivka (Luhansk oblast), Ivanivka, Tors’ke, Verkhn’okam’yans’ke, and Spirne (Donetsk oblast) were shelled with artillery.
  • Bakhmut axis: Vasyukivka, Pryvillya, Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Hryhorivka, Bakhmut, Kalynivka, Chasiv Yar, Ivanivske, Stupochky, Predtechyne, Kostyantynivka, Bila Hora, and Pivnichne (Donetsk oblast) came under enemy fire.
  • Avdiivka axis: The occupiers launched air strikes in the vicinity of Avdiivka and Vodyane. The invaders fired artillery near Avdiivka, Pervomais’ke, and Karlivka (Donetsk oblast).
  • Mar’inka axis: Mar’inka and Pobjeda (Donetsk oblast) were shelled by the enemy.
  • Shakhtars’ke axis: the occupant forces shelled Vuhledar, Prechystivka, and Novosilka, among other targets.
  • Zaporizhzhia and Kherson axes: The occupiers shelled the settlements of Zelene Pole, Ol’hivs’ke, Malynivka, Hulyaipole, Huliaipilske, Charivne, Mala Tokmachka, Novodanylivka, Shcherbaky, Stepove, Kam’yans’ke, Stepnohirs’k (Zaporizhzhia oblast), Nikopol’ (Dnipropetrovsk oblast) (7x private residential buildings were damaged), Zolota Balka, Novooleksandrivka, Havrylivka, Vesele, Kozats’ke, L’vove, Vysuntsi, Bilozerka, Antonivka, Veletens’ke (Kherson oblast), and the city of Kherson.


Above: State Emergency Service divers are removing explosives from underwater, shown in Sumy Oblast yesterday.  The service warns Ukrainians to be very careful in and around lakes and reservoirs this summer. (Sumy Post)


Video: Temporarily-occupied Luhansk City is suffering flooding amid heavy rains in large parts of eastern and southern Ukraine.  

Above:  Map via ISW

Russian forces continued limited ground attacks northeast of Kupyansk and south of Kreminna on May 25. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations near Masyutivka, Kharkiv Oblast (13km northeast of Kupyansk) and Bilohorivka, Luhansk Oblast (12km south of Kreminna).[44] Geolocated footage published on May 24 shows Ukrainian forces recapturing positions on the eastern outskirts of Spirne (25km south of Kreminna) on an unspecified date.


Above: On May 25, the Russian military shelled and damaged the dam of the Karliv Reservoir about 24 km northwest of Donetsk City, forcing evacuations and risking flooding in several communities. (Suspilne)

Above:  Maps via ISW

  • Countdown to June 1! Wagner published video of preparations to withdraw forces from Bakhmut and hand operations over to conventional forces by June 1. As Ukraine increases pressure on conventional forces defending Bakhmut’s southern and northern flanks, war analysts are closely monitoring the handover to see how Moscow’s “second best army in Ukraine” handles the defense of an utterly flattened urban hellscape. Russian sources say that Donetsk People’s Republic troops are increasingly arriving in Bakhmut to take over for Wagner.
  • Russian forces continued limited ground attacks around Bakhmut. Russian troops conducted unsuccessful offensive operations in the direction of Bakhmut and Ivanivske (3km southwest of Bakhmut). 
  • Russian forces continued ground attacks along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line on May 25. Russian troops conducted unsuccessful offensive operations north of Donetsk City near Avdiivka and Novokalynove; on the northwestern outskirts of Donetsk City near Krasnohorivka; and on the southwestern outskirts of Donetsk City near Marinka.  Geolocated footage posted on May 22 shows that Russian forces have made a marginal advance towards Polihrafichna Street in western Marinka. Geolocated footage posted on May 23 shows that Ukrainian troops may hold positions south of Avdiivka near Opytne.


Above:  Flooding in communities along the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine caused by “Russia’s chaotic control of the Kakhovka Dam” and seasonal rains. (IB Times)

Ukraine hit occupied city of Berdyansk with UK’s Storm Shadow” missiles

Video: Ukraine conducted a massive Storm Shadow missile strike on enemy military targets around Berdyansk, Zaporizhzhia on Thursday, the second strike this week. Footage appears to show a hit on at least one ammo depot. 

  • Russian forces continued to target Ukrainian positions in southern Ukraine with FAB-500 aerial bombs on May 25. Russian forces conducted two KAB (a FAB-500 variant) strikes near Beryslav in Kherson Oblast
  • Occupier claims that they bravely blew up three kamikaze marine drones headed towards the intelligence ship Kivan Khurs in the Black Sea on Wednesday.  However, video from one of the drones striking the ship proves it’s just more Russian lies. No word yet on the extent of damage to the vessel.  
  • Also on Thursday, a series of explosions were reported along the Zaporizhzhia front in Vasylivka, Tokmak, and Melitopol. Local residents published footage of smoke near the Melitopol airfield. Ukrainian air defense shot down a Russian fighter jet near Melitopol and struck at least two command centers in Vasylivka and Tokmak.

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