The Russo-Ukrainian War of 2022 – Day 90 (ground actions)

The big news is what is occurring off the battlefield, where U.S. and other international aid is now providing more than $90 billion in aid to Ukraine. Over the long run this will change the military balance between Ukraine and Russia, unless Russia fully mobilizes for war. They seem hesitant to do this.

On the ground, the only place with much action is around Popasna, south of Sievierodonetsk. The village of Svitlodarsk south of Popasna was taken by the Russian. They are also advancing on Vasuylivka to the north of Popasna. I will put any changes/updates since my last post in italics. A link to a blow up of the map is here: Wikipedia map

The map below from 20 May is borrowed from Dr. Michael Mackay @mhmck. The area threatened with encirclement contain the cities of Sievierdonetsk and Lysychansk and surrounding areas which had a population in excess of 350,000. One can see the expansion around Popasna.

The weather has been relatively clear this month, with the precipitation mostly sprinkles. It is forecasted to rain on Thursday (90%) and then from Saturday (60%) and the following two days.

Ukraine has made some advances around Kharkov. Not sure if this is because they have put together a powerful offensive force, the Russian morale is collapsing, or because the Russians have thinned this out to mass elsewhere for an offensive. Suspect the latter. Map showing front lines near Kharkov on 27 April and 17 May (cribbed from @War_Mapper), with the 17 May map showing the taking of Dementiivka.

Around Izium, Russia took one village near Lyman on 8 May and on 9 May took Velyka Komyshuvahka. This front appears quiet right now. Another map cribbed from @War_Mapper dated 9 May: 

Still waiting for Russia to start its main offensive in earnest. It does appear that they thinned their forces around Kharkov and concentrated everything around Izium. 

The real objective here seems to be the cities of Siervierdonetsk (pop. 101,135), Lysychansk (pop. 95,031), Sloviansk (pop. 106,972) and Kramatorsk (pop. 150,084) in the Lugansk and Donetsk provinces. These are all very close to each other. Is Russia going to limit themselves to cleaning up the rest of the areas claimed by the LPR and DPR (and then try to negotiate a cease fire), or are they going to strike towards other areas, like Kharkov and Dnipro?

It appears that Kiev, Chernigov, Sumy and the northeast part of Ukraine are secure. Of course, Russia can always reintroduce troops later from Russia or Belarus. They are supposed to have around 20 BTGs in Russia. A Ukranian border guard was killed on 16 May near Sumy.

The U.S. DOD is reporting that the Russian forces in Ukraine are being reinforced, with the count of BTGs going up from 92 to 105 (now 106). It this preparation for a big push in a week or two?

Russia now occupies four cities, Mariupol (pop. 431,859), Berdyansk (pop. 107,928), Melitopol (pop. 150,768) and Kherson (pop. 283,649). 

We are looking at six major areas of operations right now.

1. Kiev – secure

2. Odessa – secure

3. Kharkov – secure?

4. The Donetsk and Lugansk provinces
5. Mariupol – operations completed?
6. Crimean border/Kherson

Here is what I have heard/seen from open sources:

1. Kiev (pop: 2,962,180): It appears that Kiev is secure. 

2. Odessa (pop: 1,015,826): Appears to be secure.

3. Kharkov (pop: 1,433,886): Kharkov looks to be securely held but is still being shelled. It is not yet out of artillery range, but probably will be soon if the Ukrainian army continues pushing the Russian army away from Kharkov. 

It does appear that Russia has thinned out its forces in this area and Ukraine is taking advantage of that. They are still fighting over a front of over 900 kilometers or 600 miles (this is a rough eyeball guess; I have not measured it exactly as it does twist and turn). Russia supposedly now has 106 BTGs deployed in Ukraine, so if one is concentrating forces around Izium, still has a couple BTGs tied down in Mariupol, still has some holding Kherson, the area NE of Kherson, Melitopol and surrounding areas, etc., then this does not leave a whole lot for the Kharkov area. This is a problem Russia has warring with a defender who is roughly equal in deployed manpower.

There was an explosion on 3 May in the Belgorod region at Tomorovka (map in my Kursk book). A rail bridge also went down near Kursk. The provincial governor said it was sabotage. On 26 April an ammo depot near Belgorod, Russia was attacked. There was also a major fire also reported at an oil storage facility this last week in the Bryansk region near the border. There was a report this weekend of a Ukrainian aircraft “shelling” a village of Zhecha in the Bryansk Region in Russia. It was reported on May 11 by the governor of Belgorod province that a Russian civilian was killed and three were injured by a shelling of the village of Solokhi. This is the first Russian civilian killed inside of Russia during this war.

The Russians continued to expand southward from Izium, which is listed here as it is in the Kharkov Province even though their advance is heading south. They have captured the town of Zavody and the NE outskirts of Velyka Komyshuvakha. The Russians do appear to have been pushing to the southwest towards Barvinkove (pop. 8,110), vice the south or southeast. So it is either a broader encirclement of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, or the rumored drive on Dnipro (which I really don’t believe they are going to try). Still, no villages have been reported taken in this area for the last few days. Are they taking a breather before the start of the main offensive?

A video from Sky News from Barvinkove (3:58): Ukraine War: Ukrainian soldiers stand firm in Barvinkove. Trench warfare (2:14)?

The Russians have two options for an encirclement of the Ukrainian areas of Lugansk and Donetsk province. One is the “smaller option” of striking from Kreminna and near Soledar to surround Sieverierodonesk and Lysychansk. The other is a “larger option” to strike from Izium and surround Sloviansk and Kramatorsk also. They may try both. If they are doing that, then I assume options like a renewed assault on Kharkov or a drive towards Dnipro (which is a good distance away) are off the table. 

On the other hand, depending on how the Ukrainian offensive develops around Kharkov and if any forces are freed from it, it is possible that some Ukranian forces (i.e. 92nd and 93d Mechanized Brigades) could be turned south towards Izium, greatly complicating the Russian offensive there. Izium is only 60 miles southeast of Kharkov. According to one newspaper account (Forbes), advancing out of Izium are a dozen of Russia’s “best” BTGs. The Ukrainian forces defending south of Izium include the 4th and 17th Tank Brigades and 95th Air Assault Brigade. 

4. The Donetsk and Lugansk provinces: The Russians have advanced to the northern outskirts of Sievierdonetsk. The city is being surrounded on three sides. The city is being shelled and according to Ukraine only 15,000 civilians remain in the city.

Sievierodonetsk (pop. 101,135) might soon come under direct assault or possibly siege. It is already in danger of being surrounded, with Russian or DPR forces near Bakhmut (pop. 72,310) and Soledar (pop.10,692) and pushing down from the north from Kreminna and Rubizhne and from the south from Novotoshkivske. Due west of Sievierodonesk Russia did erect a pontoon bridge across the Siversky Donets River near Bilohorivka (pop. 828), where an airstrike on 7 May killed around 60 civilians. The Ukrainians did take down the ponton bridge at Bilohorivka on 9 May and pictures show a second pontoon bridge also taken down thereNot sure if a third bridge was erected and taken down. This has been done with heavy Russia losses, perhaps the better part of one BTG. People have been counting destroyed vehicles from satellite and aerial images, with some estimates (Forbes) as high as 50 “tanks” lost. Other reports estimate Russian losses at 485 out of 550 soldiers and 80 armored vehicles from the 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade. While these are estimates, it does seem that some people are reporting it as fact.

The Russians are reported to be advancing to the south of Sievierodonetsk.. Popasna (pop. 19,672) has been in Russian hands since 7 May. Oleksandropillia did fall to the Russians, probably around 12 May. The Ukrainian general staff report today (20 May) said “Russian occupants suffered losses in the area of the settlement of Oleksandropillia.” While lot of people are leaning on these daily reports to determine what it happening, it is clear that they do not always immediately report losses of areas. On the other hand, the latest maps from @mhmck are still showing Oleksandropillia in Ukrainian hands. The village of Svitlodarsk south of Popasna was taken by the Russian. They are also advancing on Vasuylivka to the north of Popasna

The Russians are reported pushing in the direction of Zolote (pop. 13,203) and Komyshuvakha. Reports have also indicated that they have expanded in the area just south of Poposna, sort of fattening the finger pushing into Ukrainian lines. The Russians are reported to have captured Vrubivka (pop. 889), just north of Popasna, and Druzhba, just west of Popasna (see @war_mapper). Do not have confirmation of those two villages being taken. The map below is from 20 May by @War_Mapper. The advance out of Popasna looks particularly threatening.

Article in Forbes about the fighting around Popasna. The Russians are throwing everything they’ve got at one Ukrainian garrison. They do claim that Sievierodonetsk is defended by “three or so” Ukrainian brigades that “included 5,000 or more troops.” Don’t know the size of a Ukrainian brigade right now, but those manpower figures seem low. A resident of Bakhmut was arrested recently for providing Ukrainian troop locations to Russia.

Further south Avdiyivka (31,940) is still in Ukranian hands but is being shelled. Ukraine claimed on 27 April that Avdiyivka was hit twice by phosphorus munitions. They are reported pushing towards Kamyanka and Novoselivka, to its north.

Slovyansk (pop. 106,972) and Kramatorsk (pop. 150,084) appear safe for now. Kramatorsk had its rail station hit on 9 April with over 50 civilians killed.

To the southwest of this fight, the Ukrainians have retaken Maryinka (pop. 9,256) on 19 April, which had been taken by the DPR on 17 March. 

The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) is reporting as of 19 May that they had 1,808 soldiers killed and 7,536 wounded (4.17-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio) out of a supposed strength of 20,000. This is 47% casualties out of an estimated force of 20,000, which is pretty serious. They have been surprisingly diligent about regularly reporting their casualty figures. One wonders if some Russian losses or contractors are being included in these figures. Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) is reported as of 5 April to have had 500-600 killed out of an estimated force of 14,000. This is 21% casualties, assuming a 4-to-1 killed ratio. Don’t know how many of DPR and LPR forces are Russians from Russia as opposed to locals.

Zelensky in an interview on CNN on 17 April said they had 44,000 professional military men in the Donbas.

5. Mariupol (pop: 431,859): The siege lasted seventy-seven days. As of 17 May, Mariupol is under control of Russia although they declared on 20 May that they had “completely liberated” the steel works. It apparently took a couple of days for everyone to surrender, including another 531 Ukranian troops. The Alamo held out for 13 days. The Germans surrounded in Stalingrad held out for 72 days. The count of total number of defenders who have surrendered in Mariupol is now around 1,700 soldiers according to the UK. The Russian defense minister says 1,908. So far, none have been exchanged.

The population of the city is down to 100,000 or less. I assume the civilians are not planning to return. The mayor, who is no longer in the city, claimed that more than 10,000 people have been killed. The head of DPR (Donets People’s Republic) has said over 5,000 people have been killed. The city has been decimated, lots of buildings and houses destroyed. Mariupol has no power, gas or water. 

According to the DOD on 18 April there are almost a dozen BTGs in Mariupol. The U.S. DOD claimed a couple of weeks ago that 2,000 troops and some Chechen fighters are still in Mariupol and that 10 BTGs were now moving north. Does this portend an offensive south of Sievierdonetsk pushing north? They do indicate that some of the BTGs appears to have paused to be refitted, which is not all that surprising.

There is a mass grave being reported outside of Mariupol near the town of Manhush. It looks like around 200 graves have been dug. Another mass grave is also being reported on 23 April. So far, they appear to be graves for hundreds of people, vice thousands. A third mass grave has been reported. There has been no new reports on this for a while.

6. Crimea & Kherson (pop: 283,649): Kherson is under Russian control. Are the Ukrainians going to make a push to take back Kherson? My suspicion is that Ukraine is going to launch an operation to try to reclaim Kherson and Kherson Province. Reports are that the fighting is getting heavier there. Ukraine reports fighting around Chornobaivka (pop, 9275 in 2001). It is near Kherson.

 

Weather: Kharkov at 4 PM: 65 degrees (18 Celsius) and mostly cloudy. Low tonight 47 degrees (8 Celsius). The weather has been relatively clear this month, with the precipitation mostly sprinkles. Rain is forecasted for Thursday (80%), Saturday (60%), Sunday (50%) and Monday (50%). 

Ukrainian Army Build-up: Not sure how large the army now is (assume over 200,000). There is a Ukrainian Territorial Defense Force of 100,000 to 200,000. Wikipedia was reporting 209,000 in their armed forces and 102,000 paramilitary. They are now reporting their armed forces at 196,600. President Zelensky said on 21 May that 700,000 soldiers are defending Ukraine. Most of those are militia. The Ukrainian army is around 200,000 and I gather is going to grow to 300,000. It does take a while to build up an army. The upper limited of mobilization is around 5% of the population (there have been cases where it has been higher). So Ukraine with a population of 40 million can build up an army of 2 million, especially if it continues to receive significant outside help. The Russia commentor Col. Kodaryonok stated in his outburst on Russian TV a couple of days ago that “But the situation from the overall strategic position is that the Ukrainian armed forces are able to arm a million people. They’re saying it themselves, that for us, there’s no difficulty in mobilizing a million people. The whole issue is to what extent they’re able to supply this army of modern weapons and military hardware… so a million armed Ukrainian soldiers needs to be viewed as a reality of the very near future.” I would also add that they need to be trained, which takes a while.

The Azov Regiment that was holding in Mariupol was actually a militia unit. That is the case with some of the foreign volunteer battalions also. There are some foreign volunteer units that have been there a while, including two Chechen battalions and a Georgian unit. I have yet to any statistics as to how many other foreign volunteers have been deployed, just individual stories.

There also the independent Belarussian Kastus Kalinouski Battalion, which as of 5 March is reported to have 200 members. They were serving in Irpin (near Kiev). It is reported that they have had thousands of volunteers. The deputy commander of the battalion (age 31) was killed on action on 13 March and another member was lost on 24 March in Irpin. On 16 May it was reported that a company commander had been killed. They state that a total of six Belarussians had died in this battalion since February. This, of course, threatens to bring the war into Belarus at some point.

Outside support for Ukraine is considerable and reported in a separate blog post: Outside Support for Ukraine | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Not sure I am going to update this.

The U.S. is now admitting that it helped target Russian generals. See: American intel used to kill Russian generals in Ukraine: US officials. This is something we had assumed for a while. See:  How Much is U.S. Intelligence helping Ukraine? | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and How Much is U.S. intelligence helping Ukraine? – part 2 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). And then yesterday they admitted that U.S. intel helped with tracking the sunk Russian cruiser Moskva, some we also assumed: Official: US gave intel before Ukraine sank Russian warship. Apparently, they did not provide specific targeting information. A group of Russian officers were hit 17 May in the Russian occupied city of Melitopol. Ukraine claims it was done by “partisans.” They are also reporting attacking an armored train. If true, this opens a whole new dimension to this war. Major General Kanamat Botashev was reported killed while flying an Su-25. This has not been confirmed. So far seven named generals have been reported killed in this war, with only two deaths confirmed. Three additional claims have been disputed and are probably incorrect.

Russian Army Build-up:  I have yet to see many reports of Russia expanding its army or calling up more reserves and conscripts. Their biannual call-up starts on 1 April, and Putin just signed a decree ordering up 134,500 new conscripts into the army. See the comments in the Day 35 for a discussion on the significance of this. We are now in the tenth week of the war. Are they going to expand their army as Ukraine is clearly expanding theirs, or are they expecting that this war will end shortly? It looks like the Russian Army is adding a couple of thousand volunteers. The U.S. DOD told reporters on 8 April that the Russia could be looking to recruit as many as 60,000 soldiers to join the fight. I don’t know what that really means. Who? From where? What will be their training? How long will it take?

Opposing forces: Ukraine had before the war an army (ground forces) of 169,000 in 2016. The Russian army (not armed forces) was 280,000. The current Ukrainian army is now probably over 200,000. The Russian army (ground forces) in and around Ukraine is probably around 150,000 (up to 190,000). Donetsk PR is estimated at 20,000 and Lugansk at 14,000. Russia may be able to add more forces from their own resources, but not much more. If they want to add more, they are going to have to mobilize. Russia appears to be hesitant to do so. I suspect with full mobilization; we could be looking at a Ukrainian army larger than 300,000. People are now even talking about a Ukrainian armed force of 700,000 to 1,000,000. At some point, Russia will have to mobilize to continue this war. I do not think Russia can win this war without further mobilization. If fact, with the increased aid flowing into Ukraine, Russia may very well end up losing territory it currently holds without additional mobilization. The failure to mobilize is hard to explain from a military point of view. It is clearly a result of domestic political concerns.

Economics and the Home Fronts: The U.S. congress has approved a $40 billion aid bill for Ukraine. That along with previous aid from dozens of other countries ($20-$25 billion), new economic aid from the G-7 (now reported at $19.8 billion), the previous U.S. aid bill in March ($13 billion), and so forth, is pushing the amount of aid this year towards $100 billion (40.1 + 25 + 19.8 + 13 = 98). This is enough to match the entire Russian 2021 defense budget of 61.7 billion and keep the Ukrainian economy afloat. It means that Ukraine can stay in this war for an extended fight. It changes the strategic balance and strategic considerations.

The discussion of the economic situation and the home fronts has been updated in a separate rambling blog post: The Home Fronts during the Russo-Ukrainian War – update 2 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).

Casualties: Ukraine admitted on 29 April that they have suffered “serious losses” in battles. We take that claim at face value. They also claim that Russian losses are “colossal.” That claim has not been confirmed. Zelensky told CNN on 15 April that Ukrainian Army had lost between 2,500-3,000 troops since the fighting has begun and about 10,000 have been wounded (wounded-to-killed ratio of 4.00- or 3.33-to-1). According to NYT the U.S. intelligence estimates as of 19 April are between 5,500 to 11,000 Ukrainians killed and between 7,000 to 10,000 Russians killed.

Ukraine is claiming as of 19 April that 20,800 Russian and DPR soldiers have been killed, Russians are claiming as of 16 April that 23,367 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed. Are both sets of figures similarly inflated? It does argue that losses on both sides are similar in size.

Prisoner swap of wounded Ukrainians trapped in Mariupol appears to have been negotiated. They have been doing prisoners swaps for months now, which is always an encouraging sign. I gather that the 53 seriously wounded prisoners are being swapped. Don’t know about the rest of the people.

The UN is reporting on 23 May at least 3,930 civilians confirmed dead in the war. Of those 2,200 of the deaths are in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk with 128 killed in territory controlled by Russian separatists. Ukraine is reporting that as of 25 April, 3,818 civilians were killed in Ukraine. This is not that far from the UN figure. One wonders if the claimed Mariupol casualties are included in these figures. The rate of accrual of reported civilian casualties has gone down. 

It is clear that more than 12,000 people have died in this conflict (1,351 (Russian Army) + at least 2,000 more (Russian Army) + 3,000 (Ukrainian Army) + 3,930 (Civilians) + 1,808 (DPR) + 600 (LPR) = 12,689). It is probably in excess of 18,000 total deaths depending on Ukrainian and Russian military deaths and the real count of civilian losses. The number of deaths of Mariupol are unverified and unknown and could add thousands to these totals.

A more detailed discussion is provided here. It will be updated soon: Losses during the Russo-Ukrainian War of 2022 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Air Power: The Pentagon on 12 March is reporting that Russia is flying about 200 sorties a day. The Ukrainian air force has 56 operational jets flying 5 to 10 hours a day. March 22 it was reported by the U.S. that Russia flew more than 300 sorties into Ukraine. March 24 it was reported that more than 250 Russian sorties were flown, mostly around Kiev and Kharkov. On 12 May, the U.S. was claiming that the Russians flew 300 sorties over Ukraine in the last 24 hours. On 14 May they were claiming 250 Russian sorties. It has been pretty consistent reporting of 250-300 sorties a day for quite some time now.

The pilot Major Stepan Tarabalka, age 29, died on 13 March piloting a MiG-29. Some claimed he was the “Ghost of Kiev.” The Ukrainians claim as of 30 April 190 Russian aircraft destroyed, and the “Ghost of Kiev” is credited with 40 kills. The videos evidence has confirmed as of 2 May that 23 Russian jets destroyed. 

Somewhat relevant (23 x 8 = 184): 

Soviet versus German kill claims at Kursk | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

The publisher has posted a publication date of 6 November on Amazon.com:

Aces at Kursk – Summation | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Missile Defense: According to Zelenskyy the missile barrage near Lvov on 12 March consisted of 30 missiles, 8 missiles that landed and 22 missiles that were intercepted and shot down. On the morning of 16 April in the Lvov region, Ukraine claimed it downed four cruise missiles fired by Su-35s operating from Belarus. Zelensky claimed on 26 April that Russians have fired more than 1,100 missiles at Ukraine. The U.S. DOD claimed on 29 April that more than 1,950 missiles have been fired at Ukraine since the start of the war and they are currently firing about 50 a day.

End of the War: It does look like Russia intends to take and hold onto all of Donetsk and Lugansk provinces, and possibly all of Kherson province and four-fifths of Zaporizhzhia province. The capital Zaporizhzhia (pop. 722,713) may not be on their list of areas to take. So, four out of Ukraine’s 24 provinces and Crimea.

Populations of partly or completely occupied areas (2019 estimates):

Donetsk: 4,165,901

Lugansk: 2,151,833

Crimea: 2,033,700 (2001 census)

Zaporizhzhia: 1,705,836

Kherson: 1,037,640

Sevastopol: 509,992 (2021 estimate)

 

Population of Ukraine (excluding Crimea), 2022 estimate: 41,167,336

What they are willing to later negotiate away to achieve peace or a ceasefire is unknown. What Ukraine is willing to negotiate away is also unknown, although they are now saying the war will continue until all areas are freed. Does that include the LPR, DPR and Crimea? When they are ready to return to talks is unknown. This looks like an extended war and I don’t think will be over before the end of summer. At this point, unless Russia mobilizes, it will slowly turn to Ukraine’s advantage.

Atrocities: The stories coming out of Bucha are pretty appalling. At least seven civilians have been reported killed in incidents not related to combat, 18 civilians were found dead in a basement, and another 20 civilians were found lying dead in the street, two with hands bound. The mayor of Bucha says they were executed. There are other claims scattered about Ukraine. How extensive and widespread this is still not certain, but this appears to be well beyond what one would expect from “collateral damage” from combat, and some appears to be deliberate. It does indicate, as a minimum, a lack of military discipline in some Russian units. This story is continually being updated right now. The latest figure (12 April) is that 403 civilians were killed in Bucha. The deputy mayor of Bucha says that 50 of the victims have been confirmed as extrajudicially executed. Additional reports from Ukraine have put the body count of civilians found in the towns and villages surround Kiev at 1,222. This has not been independently confirmed. Ukraine has identified ten Russian soldiers wanted for “pre-mediated murder” in Bucha. They are all enlisted from the 64th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade. These are the first charges unveiled of over 8,000 criminal investigations. The U.S. is claiming it has “credible information” of Russians killing Ukrainians in the vicinity of Donetsk who were trying to surrender.

There are also various accusations against the Russian Army Chechen unit operating around Bucha: Brutal Sect of Putin’s Army Accused of Murdering Their Own Comrades.

More claims of atrocities coming out with videos of Russian troops shooting two civilians outside of Kiev in March. Ukraine has sentenced a POW to life in prison for shooting a civilian who was talking on his phone.

There is also a video out there of Ukrainian soldiers shooting several Russian prisoners in their legs. There is a second video showing Ukrainian troops executing what appears to be four Russian prisoners seven miles SW of Bucha. See: https://news.yahoo.com/video-appears-show-ukrainian-soldiers-192219323.html. More detailed description from BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/61025388. It is on Youtube, if you want to look it up. I believe they are members of the Georgian Legion, a group of Georgian volunteers fighting for Ukraine.

There are also some retribution killings going on: Ukrainian Chief Intelligence Directorate: another traitor of Ukraine found shot.

Other Issues: Azerbaijani troops have occupied an area in Nagorno-Karabakh that they are claiming is theirs. The Russian peacekeeping troops there have not expelled them. Widespread protests in Armenia this weekend over Nagorno-Karabakh followed by 180 detentions. There were more protests this Sunday and another 237 protesters were detained. On 10 May another 61 protesters were detained.

NATO has confirmed 18 May that both Finland and Sweden have officially applied to join NATO. NATO has said it will welcome them with open armsThe process of accepting them is expected to take about two weeks and they could be members within a few months. It does require unanimous consent of all 30 members for them to join NATO. Turkey is withholding consent until there is some resolution concerning some weapons embargoes against Turkey and the presence in Sweden of Kurdish refugees wanted by Turkey. It does add an 810-mile (1300 km) border with Russia, but NATO already abuts Russian and Belarussian territory in the Baltic states. 

Ukraine was supposed to be on the fast track to join the European Union (EU), which was the issue that started all the turmoil in 2013. But EU member Austria has objected, and now France is saying that it may take years. All EU members must unanimously agree for a country’s membership negotiations to begin. This is the issue that fueled all the conflict over the last nine years, for the Euromaidan revolt occurred when Ukrainian President Yanukovich decided to join Putin’s Eurasian Union vice the EU. The subsequent conflicts included the whole three-month Euromaidan revolt in the dead of winter of 2013-2014 that led to over 100 Ukrainians being killed, many protesters shot in the street by President Yanokovich’s security forces; the seizure of Crimea; the creation of LPR and DPR; the subsequent war; and now this war. Ukraine certainly has paid a much higher cost to join the EU than anyone else ever has. Current polling (Reuters April 5) shows that 91% of the Ukrainians support joining the EU. 

The Ukranian group Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision Song Contest.

The Map: The attached map is from Wikipedia. It is dated 23 May. Apparently other news services are now using this map. Last dated update was 10 May, except for Mariupol which is dated 17 May. It is showing an advance to just outside of Barvinkove and showing advances around Popasnia and Zolote. The maps by @mhmck does not show the advance going all the way to Barvinkove. No two maps are the same.

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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