In today's summary:
- The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs begins to work in Bakhmut, the first task is to find civilians in the city;
- General Lapin returned - he was noted at once in two obviously staged commercials;
- Military expert Leonid Dmitriev estimates the number of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine at 17,000;
- Independent researchers suspect that some of the photographs with equipment destroyed in the Belgorod Region are staged;
- Yevgeny Prigozhin stated that the capture of Bakhmut cost 20 thousand people only killed;
- The US military is starting to train Ukrainians on M1A1 Abrams tanks;
- Germany handed over to the Armed Forces of Ukraine a new batch of military aid: reconnaissance UAVs, trucks, engineering vehicles;
- The use of Storm Shadow missiles by Ukraine has been confirmed, the likely carrier is the Su-24M front-line bomber.
The situation at the front
For the first time since December 2022, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not mention the battles in Bakhmut in the official summary. Analysts at the American Institute for the Study of War drew attention to this. In their opinion, this may indicate the advancement of the Wagnerites deep into the city. At the same time, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported on the unsuccessful offensive actions of the Russians near the village of Khromovo , located west of Bakhmut .
On the eve of the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Anna Malyar, said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine still occupy fortified positions in the city near the monument with the MiG-17 aircraft. Sergei Cherevaty, a representative of the Eastern Group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, spoke about the same.
According to Denis Pushilin, the head of the “DPR”, the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs is starting to work in Bakhmut , and the first task of the department will be to determine the presence or absence of a civilian population in the city. Pushilin claims that the "peak of anxiety" on the flanks around Bakhmut (that is, the threat of sweeping strikes from the Armed Forces of Ukraine) has passed, "the situation is stabilizing."
One of the founders and the main public representative of PMC Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said in an interview that the mercenaries intend to transfer positions in Bakhmut to units of the Russian Armed Forces from June 1 to June 10.
The Telegram channel Rybar, affiliated with the Russian Defense Ministry, was the first to report that in the southern part of the Black Sea, marine drones attacked the Russian reconnaissance ship Ivan Khurs. Subsequently, the Ministry of Defense published footage of the defeat of one of the sea kamikaze drones.
The agency's report refers to an attack by a total of three unmanned boats about 140 km northeast of the Bosphorus .
Mutual shelling and sabotage
In Russia, summing up the results of the raid of the sabotage and reconnaissance group, composed, as stated, of the fighters of two units fighting on the Ukrainian side, staffed by citizens of the Russian Federation - the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) and the Legion Freedom of Russia (LSR) - on the territory of the Belgorod areas .
The head of the region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, reports a "large number of attacks" carried out with the help of drones. In addition, he wrote about the damage to the gas pipeline in Graivoronsky District , which started a "small fire", as well as about nine victims, three of whom are in intensive care.
The most striking videos related to repulsing the attack of the DRG in the Belgorod region show General Alexander Lapin, one of the most media characters in the current war against Ukraine.
At the beginning of the war, Lapin became famous for awarding his son Denis, who was operating in the Chernihiv region, with an order (according to the SBU, it was the order “For Courage”). The commander of the 1st Tank Regiment of the 2nd Taman Motorized Rifle Division of the 1st Tank Army, Lieutenant Colonel Denis Lapin, managed to lose half of the T-72B3M tanks in three weeks of fighting. The awarding took place when the Russian army had already retreated from Kiev , Sumy and Chernigov after an unsuccessful offensive.
In mid-May 2022, Lapin, who commanded the troops of the Central Military District (TsVO), ordered a pontoon crossing across the Seversky Donets River near the settlement of Belogorovka in Luhansk Oblast . Ukrainian artillery smashed it several times, as a result of which the Russian side, according to some estimates, lost about a hundred pieces of equipment and almost half a thousand military personnel.
In October, the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, accused Lapin of having Ukrainian forces briefly break through the defenses around Terna , Torskoy , and Yampolovka . In addition, Kadyrov said that the general was absent from combat positions and did not get in touch. And the award for the capture of Lisichansk , according to the head of Chechnya, Lapin received, having never visited this city.
A little later it was reported that the general was trying to prevent the retreat of the Russian military from Svatovo by putting a gun to the head of one of them and threatening to shoot the others.
However, all this did not prevent him from holding the post of commander of the Central Military District until the beginning of November 2022. Then the Ministry of Defense announced the appointment of a new commander in the Central Military District "for the duration of the absence" Lapin. Officially, he was fired only in February 2023. At the same time, already in January 2023, he received a new position as Chief of the Main Staff of the Ground Forces of the RF Armed Forces.
Now, on one of the videos , filmed during the operation in the Graivoronsky district of the Belgorod region , you can see how Colonel General Alexander Lapin, deputy commander of the United Group of Forces (Forces) in Ukraine, leads about a dozen soldiers into the attack and shouts “Forward, bl * th! For the Motherland!
In another video, Lapin, as a traffic controller, directs a BMP-1 through a perfectly straight paved highway, shouting “Forward!”.
Lapin's whereabouts in these videos proved to be easy to locate . This is the village of Glotovo , where at that time there were no active hostilities - all of them were already taking place at the Graivoron checkpoint on the border during the shooting. Thus, the colonel general was about 5 km from the battlefield.
Lapin's adventures in the Belgorod region are reminiscent of a campaign in defense of the military leader, which unfolded in response to criticism from Kadyrov. For example, "military officer" Alexander Kharchenko told how Lapin, at the head of a special forces detachment, caught DRGs in the area of the Oskol River. Also, footage was published where the colonel general teaches the mobilized to shoot from a machine gun.
“Some don’t quite understand why General Lapin is back at the front, in command again,” propagandist Andrei Medvedev wrote on his Telegram channel in April. And he immediately found an explanation for this - allegedly in September 2022, only through the efforts of Lapin, the front survived, because the general "arrived at the forefront." He "himself commanded, walked through the trenches, sat in the dugouts." In support of this, Medvedev cited videos and photos, one of which shows Lapin talking on a field phone, standing somewhere in the forest.
Longtime enemies, one of the field commanders of the pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass in 2014, Igor Girkin (aka Strelkov / Runov) and another ex-separatist commander Igor Bezler acted as a united front in criticizing the general.
Bezler called Lapin "a platoon roly-poly" who "managed to piss off personal weapons, ammo, communications equipment" and "trying to command with his voice against the background of a running BMP engine." Girkin, on the other hand, "withdrew" his previous assertion that General Lapin was a cretin and recognized his ability to work as a "traffic controller on the road", which, in his opinion, a "complete cretin" could not do.
The shelling of the Belgorod region continues. Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov reports that the Belgorod region came under fire 8 times, the Borisov region was fired twice, the Volokonovsky region came under mortar fire, the Graivoronovsky region was shelled 9 times, and the Shebekinskiy region was shelled 13 times.
Military analyst Leonid Dmitriev, especially for The Insider, gave an estimate of the number of forces and means of the RF Armed Forces concentrated along the "old" Russian-Ukrainian border (that is, in the Belgorod , Kursk and Bryansk regions ). According to him, there are only 25 battalion tactical groups (BTGr) with a serious shortage of standard weapons:
In the Kursk, Bryansk and Belgorod regions along the border with Ukraine, up to 25 conditional battalion tactical groups are concentrated, with a total strength of about 17 thousand people. The BTG data is stretched along the border and does not represent a concentration in one location - a sector.
The total configuration of these armored personnel carriers in terms of combat-ready equipment makes them conditional, since they practically do not correspond to the standard configuration. In particular, these units are armed with:
Tanks - about 100 instead of regular 275;
Armored combat vehicles - a little over 360 instead of regular 825;
Cannon artillery - 200 instead of regular 300;
MLRS - 30 instead of regular 300.
Dmitriev draws attention to the fact that with the length of the “old” border of 700 km, 25 armored personnel carriers in cash will be enough to reliably cover only 125 km, but only if they are fully equipped with personnel, weapons and equipment:
Kursk, Bryansk, Belgorod regions are more than 700 km of the border with Ukraine, and 25 armored personnel carriers are not physically capable of covering this front. The standard for a standard BTG in defense is 4-7 km, taking into account current realities, this is 1 BTG per 1-2 km of the front.
According to the standards, 25 armored personnel carriers can cover up to 125 kilometers of the front in defense, provided they are fully staffed with both personnel and military equipment <weapons and military equipment - The Insider>.
Attacks on the territory of Ukraine by kamikaze drones of the Shahed family (aka Geran) continue. In particular, six UAVs attacked Velykyi Burluk in Kharkiv Oblast .
There are fierce disputes over the losses of units fighting on the side of Ukraine during a raid in the Belgorod region .
Twitter user Jack's House, whose post was retweeted by Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins, writes that the photo, which shows two M1151 army infantry vehicles allegedly abandoned in a trench, contains elements of a production. He believes that the cars were not stuck in it, but were pushed into the trench, as evidenced by the track under the right wheel of the first car. The second, judging by the picture, was supposed to crash into the wall of the pit, but this would cause the ejection of soil, which is not observed. The analyst believes that both cars were brought to the trench with the help of a crane to make the picture look more dramatic.
At the same time, Russian Z-bloggers published photographs that show the capture of two American International MaxxPro armored personnel carriers, an M1152 army infantry vehicle and an AMZ Dzik-2 armored car. There is also evidence that a KRAZ Cobra armored car and an Isuzu TF pickup were destroyed.
Even Z-commentators suspect that some of the Ukrainian equipment presented by the Russian side as destroyed was not actually lost in battle. Many analysts, such as the Conflict Intelligence Team , suggest that some of the vehicles may have been abandoned by saboteurs elsewhere, after which the Russians took them to the checkpoint for a "beautiful picture".
The New York Times reports that the units involved in the raid on the territory of the Belgorod region suffered minor losses that "did not affect their combat effectiveness." As a high-ranking official from Ukraine told the NYT, the Armed Forces of Ukraine provided fire support to formations that entered the territory of the Russian Federation and covered the border in case of a Russian counterattack, but not a single Ukrainian military allegedly crossed the Ukrainian-Russian border.
As for Russian losses, the Ministry of Defense still does not report anything on this score.
The 7x7 edition writes that since the beginning of the war, at least 7 conscripts have died on the border in the Belgorod region . According to the material, formally, conscripts, as required by law, are outside the war zone, but in reality they come under fire and are injured while performing the duties of border guards. The soldiers themselves say that they are practically not trained in shooting and handling weapons.
This information is confirmed to the Russian Telegram channel "VChK-OGPU" and the mother of an 18-year-old conscript soldier who was wounded during a breakthrough in the Belgorod region . According to her, after the recruits were called up, they were scattered to different points to guard the border. It is reported that the Graivoronovsky district was guarded by 25 servicemen, of which one was a lieutenant, the second was mobilized, and all the rest were conscripts.
Meanwhile, Yevgeny Prigozhin, in an interview, spoke about the losses of Wagner PMCs in the operation to capture Bakhmut . According to him, at the time of the beginning of the siege of the city, there were 35,000 fighters in the ranks of PMCs. For all the time of the so-called "SVO" among the prisoners, 50 thousand people were recruited. 20% of them (10 thousand prisoners) died in battle. Another 10 thousand "personnel" PMC fighters also died. Thus, the total loss of those killed is 20 thousand people.
Doubts in Prigozhin’s estimates are caused by the fact that he also claims that the Armed Forces of Ukraine lost 50 thousand killed in Bakhmut alone (this is three times more than the American estimate of Ukraine’s total losses in the entire full-scale war as of the end of February 2023, indicated in the Pentagon documents ) .
It is worth recalling that earlier the representative of the US National Security Council, John Kirby, called the total figure of 100,000 killed and wounded Russians since the beginning of the year, half of which falls on Bakhmut . According to Ukrainian estimates, which Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov recently voiced , a total of 70,000 Russians were killed and wounded in the battles for Bakhmut .
Igor Girkin writes that, according to his information, the losses of Wagner PMCs are more than "at least" one and a half times. After certain calculations, Girkin comes to the conclusion that “at the very minimum” the losses of the “Wagnerites” during the assault on Bakhmut amounted to 40 thousand people. At the same time, he estimates the total losses of all Russian formations in the battles for Soledar and Bakhmut at 50 thousand people.
The Telegram channel Fighterbomber, associated with the Russian Aerospace Forces, writes that on May 13, in the sky over the Bryansk region, two helicopters and two planes were shot down from the territory of Ukraine with the help of the American Patriot air defense system. Recall that earlier CNN sources claimed that Ukraine shot down a Russian plane from a Patriot - then many analysts assumed that we were talking about losses in the sky of the Bryansk region.
Recently, another air battle took place in the sky over Ukraine: the Squadron telegram channel published a video where a Ukrainian FPV drone rams an opponent’s DJI Mavic reconnaissance drone (which costs several times more). The Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov specified that the Ukrainian side used the Pegasus kamikaze drone, delivered as part of the Army of Drones project with donations collected through the UNITED24 presidential fund and the Ukrainian public services application Diya.
Armaments and military equipment
The Russian Z-channel "Military Informant" publishes a video of the strike using FAB-500M62 gliding bombs with UMPC (universal planning and correction module that turns unguided bombs into correctable ones). The authors write that both dropped ammunition did not reach the target, which indicates some problems with the operation of the module, although not with the system.
The US military will begin training Ukrainians on M1A1 Abrams tanks "in the coming days," Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said. We are talking about 250 Ukrainian soldiers who will arrive in Germany. Training will take place on 31 Abrams tanks. At the same time, another 31 Abrams M1A1 tanks are currently under repair and will arrive in Ukraine in the fall. It is expected that the training of personnel will take 10 weeks.
British Defense Minister Ben Wallace has arrived in Kyiv. He and his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksiy Reznikov discussed the possibility of Ukraine's admission to NATO, the upcoming summit of the organization in Vilnius, and what weapons the Ukrainian side needs first of all. Wallace confirmed the transfer of Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missiles with a range of more than 250 km to Kiev.
In turn, Reznikov posted on Twitter a photo of a Ukrainian Su-24 front-line bomber carrying these missiles. The Ukraine Weapons Tracker project published a high-resolution photo and clarified that it depicts a Su-24MR reconnaissance aircraft of the 7th tactical aviation brigade of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Until recently, the researchers note, it was of little use, since reconnaissance aircraft operate at such an altitude where they are extremely vulnerable to modern air defense systems, but now it has gained a “second life” as a carrier of cruise missiles.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Oleksiy Makeev announced that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will soon receive 110 Leopard 1A5 tanks. He also announced the allocation by the Netherlands of 260 million euros for the purchase of 155-mm artillery ammunition for Ukraine. Earlier, the head of the European Union's foreign policy, Josep Borrell, reported that since March, the EU had already supplied Ukraine with 220,000 shells out of a million promised for a year.
In Ukraine, for the first time, German COBRA counter-battery radars, handed over by the Bundeswehr in September, were noticed .
Germany also updated the list of military equipment transferred to Ukraine. New shipments include:
- TRML-4D Airborne Radar System;
- 54 VECTOR reconnaissance drones;
- 2 armored bridge layers BIBER;
- 3 mobile and protected demining devices;
- 8 anti-drone systems;
- 6 border vehicles;
- 1 frequency scanner / frequency suppressor;
- 2 swap body trucks with retractable platforms;
- 5 heavy articulated trucks;
- 8 cars;
- 34 pickups;
- 17 Zetros trucks
About the main events of the war on May 23 - in the previous report: “In the Belgorod region they fought off saboteurs, they are not taking out tactical nuclear weapons from Grayvoron, the vulnerable position of the Russians in Bakhmut. What's going on at the front.