According to most reports, Russia’s East Donbas offensive has still failed to make any major territorial gains despite small-scale successes south of Izyum. Meanwhile, Ukrainian operations north of Kharkiv may signal the beginning of a hypothesised strategic offensive against the Belgorod-Izyum supply routes that support much of Russia’s offensive in East Donbas.
According to Ukrainian sources, 4 Russian submarines have been deployed to the Black Sea, having previously been in port at Sevastopol.
Footage from Kherson claims to show the destruction of a Russian vehicle convoy. This front has remained relatively static for several weeks, with neither side apparently able to secure a decisive advance despite daily exchanges of artillery fire.
The general consensus regarding Russia’s offensive in East Donbas is that Russia has achieved only limited territorial gains, despite a great deal of firepower invested into bombardments and airstrikes of Ukrainian positions. Whether this consensus is true or not shall become clear in the coming days.
More airstrikes and shelling have taken place in Popasna, a well-defended urban location which is proving difficult for Russian forces to assault. Towns such as Popasna are highly defensible strongpoints which form the linchpins of Ukraine’s defence in the East, particularly those situated behind rivers and other geographical obstacles.
Around Lysychansk in the north of the salient, a number of towns are experiencing a lack of running water following damage to a water treatment plant as a result of recent Russian shelling.
An eastbound Ukrainian counterattack appears to be underway to the north of Kharkiv. It has been speculated that a successful strategic counterattack in this sector could threaten supplies to Izyum, at the northern extremity of the East Donbas salient, and thus reduce the strength of Russian offensive operations in this region.
Continually emerging footage of extremely accurate artillery strikes supports the theory that Ukraine is making extensive use of (laser-) guided munitions in this conflict.
Russian troops appear to have advanced as far as the village of Zelene Pole to the southwest of Velyka Novosilka, at the southern extremity of the East Donbas salient. Ukrainian Army reports claim that the Russians were repelled in this location.
Footage of the crashed Ukrainian transport plane (reported yesterday) has emerged on social media.
Conflicting reports from Mariupol claim that Russian forces are continuing to bombard the surrounded Azovstal industrial plant; that ground assaults are taking place (or not taking place); and that the Russians have been seen burying bodies in mass graves. Civilian evacuations appear to be underway from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has stated in a speech that he is reluctant to send heavy weapons to Ukraine ‘because of the very real threat of nuclear war’ — something which other Western leaders appear to have excluded from their calculations. Whether this constitutes a display of prudence or of cowardice, I leave to the reader’s opinion.
Displaying no such hesitation, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada has sent heavy artillery to Ukraine. The US Pentagon has released a partial list of weaponry sent to Ukraine, including 121 ‘Phoenix Ghost’ drones developed specifically to meet Ukraine’s needs in its war against Russia. The Phoenix Ghost is a ‘loitering munition’: a single-use kamikaze drone. Beyond this, its specifications are of course classified.