May 15,2024

Victory Chronicles-DAY 812

Defense forces drive enemy out of Vovchansk

According to a report from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Defense Forces have managed to drive out Russian occupiers from Vovchansk partially. Currently, defensive operations are ongoing in the northern and northwestern outskirts of the city. The report also mentioned three combat engagements in the Kharkiv sector. The enemy is attempting to attack in the direction of Liptsy, and two strikes were conducted by enemy aircraft in the areas of Liptsy and Mala Danylivka. Despite these challenges, the Defense Forces successfully repelled the offensive actions of the Russian occupiers in the Vovchansk area. However, further details regarding enemy casualties are still being gathered and updated.


Symbolic number of the Day


In a battle near Novomykhailivka, Donetsk Oblast, the Mykolaiv paratroopers successfully destroyed 11 enemy armored vehicles, according to a report from the 79th separate airborne assault brigade. The enemy had launched a massive offensive after a few days of regrouping, using 17 units of armored vehicles. However, the paratroopers were able to defend their positions and promptly engage the enemy column using artillery, attack drones, and anti-tank missile systems. Even with a protective metal coating, the precision fire proved to be effective against the enemy tanks, with additional units being hit by mines. As a result of their skill and coordinated efforts, four tanks, six infantry fighting vehicles, and an armored recovery vehicle were left on the battlefield while the rest of the enemy equipment was withdrawn. The 79th separate air assault brigade has, in total, destroyed 314 units of enemy equipment over six months of combat operations.


War in Pictures


Russian occupants have carried out massive attacks on residential areas of Kharkiv; there are casualties. This afternoon, the enemy launched rocket and bomb attacks on residential areas in different parts of the city. As a result of a direct hit on a 20-story residential building, its structures were destroyed. At other addresses, fires broke out in a garage cooperative on an area of 80 square meters, and grass was burning in an open area. The nearby high-rise buildings were damaged and there were victims. In total, more than 80 rescuers and 15 pieces of equipment were engaged in firefighting.


Video of the Day

In the Vovchansk sector, Ukrainian border guards successfully detected and stopped a convoy of enemy forces. With an accurate shot, they disabled the first URAL vehicle in the convoy, and the artillerymen completed the task by destroying the entire convoy. The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine reported this. The border guards’ actions actually stopped the enemy’s advance and prevented its further breakthrough.


ISW report


The pace of Russian offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast appears to have slowed over the past 24 hours, and the pattern of Russian offensive activity in this area is consistent with ISW’s assessment that Russian forces are prioritizing the creation of a “buffer zone” in the international border area over a deeper penetration of Kharkiv Oblast. 

Several Ukrainian military officials reported on May 14 that they believe the situation in Kharkiv Oblast is slowly stabilizing — Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Head Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov stated on May 14 that the situation in Kharkiv Oblast began stabilizing on the night of May 13 into May 14 as additional Ukrainian units deployed to the area and began defending against Russian advances.

The Ukrainian General Staff and Ukrainian Khortytsia Group of Forces Spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Nazar Voloshyn noted that Ukrainian forces have begun to “clear” Vovchansk by targeting visible Russian assault groups in the settlement. Several Russian and Ukrainian sources also reported that Russian forces are using new tactics in this direction — using smaller assault groups of no more than five people to penetrate Ukrainian positions before merging with other small assault groups to unite into a larger strike group. Drone footage purportedly from Vovchansk shows Russian foot mobile infantry operating within the settlement in small squad-sized assault groups, consistent with Ukrainian reports.

The use of small assault groups, however, may be contributing to higher Russian manpower and materiel losses and slowing the overall pace of the Russian offensive in this direction. One Russian military commentator, who previously served as a “Storm-Z” unit instructor, complained that footage of small Russian assault groups is indicative of poor training and preparation, not an effective new tactic. Ukrainian military observer Kostyantyn Mashovets noted that growing Russian losses in this direction are leading to a decrease in the overall pace of offensive operations. Ukrainian Chief of the General Staff Major General Anatoliy Barhylevych suggested that Russian forces have lost up to 1,740 soldiers in this direction over just the past day, which would be a very high rate of losses.

ISW cannot independently confirm this number, but the purported loss rate may be consistent with the generally slower rate of offensive operations observed on May 14. If the pace of Russian operations remains relatively lower, Russian forces will likely focus on consolidating new positions and building out a lateral salient in Kharkiv Oblast by merging the Lyptsi and Vovchansk efforts and creating a “buffer zone” in the border area, as opposed to pushing further into the oblast, as ISW has previously assessed.


War heroes


Fighter Vitalii Merinov was seriously injured in a battle with the Russian occupiers in the Luhansk Oblast. He died on March 31, 2023 in a hospital. The fighter was 32 years old.

Vitaliy Oleksandrovych was born in Ivano-Frankivsk. In 2006, he graduated from high school #15. He was fond of kickboxing. He graduated from Ivano-Frankivsk College of Physical Education. In 2014, he participated in an anti-terrorist operation as a member of the National Guard of Ukraine.

In 2015, he became a deputy of the Ivano-Frankivsk City Council. He was a Standing Committee on Urban Development and Land Relations member. In 2018, he graduated from the Department of Management and Business Administration at Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University and received a master’s degree. He was the president of the Ivano-Frankivsk Boxing Federation and organized boxing matches in the city with boxers from different countries.

From the first day of the full-scale invasion, he went to the front to defend his country. 

“During one of the battles, Vitaliy received a gunshot shrapnel wound to his leg. He recovered and returned to the front. He defended Ukraine until his last breath,” wrote Ivano-Frankivsk Mayor Ruslan Martsinkiv. The defender was buried in the village of Chukalivka on the Walk of Fame. Vitalii is survived by his wife and daughter. On June 15, 2023, Nova Street in Ivano-Frankivsk was renamed Vitaliy Merinov Street.

*Vitaliy’s story on the Heroes Memorial – a platform for stories about the fallen defenders of Ukraine.


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