May 16,2024

Victory Chronicles-DAY 813

Ukrainian forces disrupt Russia's plans to gain foothold in the urban area of Vovchansk

According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have successfully prevented Russia from gaining a foothold near the city of Vovchansk in the Kharkiv Oblast.

Since the enemy’s offensive began on May 10, the Ukrainian forces have been able to reduce the intensity of Russian actions and foil their plans to penetrate deep into Vovchansk. Ukrainian units continue to fight in the built-up area of Vovchansk, keeping the enemy under control. 

Throughout the day, there have been 23 combat engagements, including two missile attacks, four air strikes, and 48 attacks by kamikaze drones launched by the Russians. Additionally, Ukrainian positions have faced 564 attacks. The situation is ongoing but under the control of the Ukrainian forces.


Symbolic number of the Day


Representatives from 50 countries and organizations have agreed to participate in the Ukraine Peace Summit in Switzerland. This is out of a total of 160 countries and organizations that were invited. The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Sport is actively working to persuade those who have not yet confirmed their participation. Approximately 100 invited parties are expected to attend the summit. 

Leaders such as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and President of the European Council Charles Michel have already confirmed their attendance. 

While the organizers are pleased with the responses received so far, the Swiss Foreign Ministry acknowledges that they had hoped for more participation, particularly from countries in the southern region. The objective of the summit is to have an open discussion about various options and factors necessary for achieving peace.


War in Pictures


The 35th Separate Marine Brigade, named after Rear Admiral Mykhailo Ostrogradsky’s public relations service, published a photo of marines training to practice their combat skills in urban areas. The main task is to approach the building as undetected as possible and drive the enemy out. Thanks to such exercises, the marines have the opportunity to improve their professional skills repeatedly, which will help them in real combat.


Video of the Day

The Ukrainian Armed Forces, along with the Special Operations Forces and the 92nd Separate Mechanized Brigade, conducted an operation to clear a settlement in the Kharkiv Oblast of Russian occupants. During the operation, four Russian servicemen who were occupying a civilian building and resisting were killed, while two others were captured. In a video released by the press service of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Ukrainian fighters can be seen providing first aid to the wounded Russians. 


ISW report


The US Helsinki Commission stated that the US should allow Ukraine to conduct strikes against military targets in Russia’s border areas amid an ongoing Russian offensive operation into Kharkiv Oblast from Russia, although US officials continue to express unwillingness to support such strikes.

The US Helsinki Commission stated on May 15 that the US should “not only allow but encourage” Ukrainian forces to strike Russian forces firing and staging in Russia’s border areas as part of Russia’s offensive operations into northern Kharkiv Oblast.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated earlier on May 15 that the US has not “encouraged or enabled” Ukrainian strikes on Russian territory but noted that Ukraine must decide how to conduct this war. Politico reported on May 14, citing two unnamed US officials, that the Biden Administration’s policy prohibiting Ukraine’s use of US-provided weapons to strike Russian territory has not changed. 

Politico’s sources stated that US military assistance to Ukraine is “for the defense and not for offensive operations” into Russian territory. A Ukrainian operation to strike systems in Russia that are directly supporting Russia’s offensive ground operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast would be an inherently defensive effort and to characterize such an effort as “offensive” would be inaccurate. 

ISW recently assessed that US limitations on Ukraine’s ability to strike military targets in Russia have created a sanctuary in Russia’s border areas from which Russian aircraft can conduct glide bomb and missile strikes against Ukrainian positions and settlements and where Russian forces and equipment can freely assemble before entering combat. This US policy is severely compromising Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against Russian offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast.


War heroes


Senior fighter Mykola Rukin, with the call sign “Confectioner”, died on August 2, 2023, near the village of Myrne, Zaporizhzhia Oblast. While performing a combat mission, the defender received multiple penetrating shrapnel wounds to the torso and limbs with damage to internal organs. The injuries were incompatible with life. 

Mykola was 44 years old. He was born in the village of Zapovitne, Zaporizhzhia Oblast. He studied at a boarding school and then graduated from a vocational school. He loved to cook and was very fond of children. In peacetime, he worked as a pastry chef at Sakharok LLC.

On September 28, 2022, he was called up for military service. He defended the integrity of Ukraine as part of the 108th separate territorial defense brigade. He fought in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia directions. He was an assistant grenade launcher shooter. 

“A very sensitive, kind, reliable person,” wrote his wife Natalia Rys. Mykola Mykolayovych was buried in Kharkiv, where he lived. The defender is survived by his wife and son.

Mykola’s story is featured on the Heroes Memorial, a platform dedicated to sharing the stories of Ukraine’s fallen defenders.


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