You may have already read this since the Institute for the Study of War seems to be one of the major go-to sites for information on the war, but their May 11 assessment noted that "Russian forces did not make any significant advances anywhere in Ukraine on May 11, and Ukrainian forces took further ground northeast of Kharkiv." The Ukrainian successes apparently were forcing Russian commanders to shift forces from those fronts where Russia intended on making their advances. Yesterday's (May 12) assessment mentions what seem to be the consequences, noting that "Russian forces may be abandoning efforts at a wide encirclement of Ukrainian troops along the Izyum-Slovyansk-Debaltseve line in favor of shallower encirclements of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk," and that "[i]t is unclear if Russian forces can encircle, let alone capture, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk even if they focus their efforts on that much-reduced objective."
The Ukrainian counteroffensive around Kharkiv is also forcing the Russian command to make hard choices, as it was likely intended to do. The UK Ministry of Defense reports that Russian forces pulled back from Kharkiv have been sent toward Rubizhne and Severodonetsk but at the cost of ceding ground in Kharkiv from which the Russians had been shelling the city. The counteroffensive is also forcing Russian units still near the city to focus their bombardment on the attacking Ukrainian troops rather than continuing their attacks on the city itself. The Ukrainian counteroffensive near Kharkiv is starting to look very similar to the counteroffensive that ultimately drove Russian troops away from Kyiv and out of western Ukraine entirely, although it is too soon to tell if the Russians will make a similar decision here.
It also interesting to observe that Russian forces have yet to capture or completely neutralize the Ukrainian forces at the steel plant in Mariupol.
Russian forces continued to conduct air and artillery strikes against Ukrainian positions in the Azovstal Steel Plant on May 12. Russian troops notably did not conduct a ground offensive on Azovstal on May 12 but rather focused on blocking Ukrainian defenders from using tunnels to exit the plant.
This is not to say that the Russians are completely stymied. "Russian forces made marginal gains to the north of Severodonetsk and have likely captured Rubizhne and Voevodivka," and "Russian forces are strengthening their position on Snake Island in an effort to block Ukrainian maritime communications and capabilities in the northwestern Black Sea on the approaches to Odesa."
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense stated that the Russian grouping on Snake Island is trying to improve its position on the island in an effort to block Ukrainian maritime communications and capabilities in the northwestern Black Sea, particularly toward Odesa. The Ukrainian General Staff noted that Russian forces have built up their air defense system in Western Crimea in a likely attempt to provide air cover for naval activities in the northwestern Black Sea.
Some other headlines:
- "Top oligarch is secretly recorded saying Putin 'has blood cancer' as experts match his limp and extreme Covid distancing to recovery from surgery"--Daily Mail.
- "Erdogan says Turkey does not support Finland and Sweden joining NATO"--Yahoo. His reason? “Scandinavian countries are guesthouses for terrorist organizations.”
- "Ukrainian artillery frustrating Russian offensive"--USA Today.
- "Russia to halt electricity supplies to Finland"--RT.
- "A Journalist Just Spotted Russia’s ‘Admiral Makarov’ Frigate, Intact And At Sea"--Forbes.
- "Panzerfaust 3: The Cold War weapon wrecking Russian tanks in Ukraine"--Air Force Times.
- Correlation is not causation. "Russians using chips from kitchen appliances in military equipment"--CBS News. The article blames it on U.S. sanctions and export controls imposed at the outset of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. So what is the cause of large companies in the West having to do the same thing? (See also here). From the latter article:
Tech firms are buying up new washing machines so they can harvest their computer parts in a desperate bid to beat the global microchip shortage.Once solely used in PCs and mobile phones, semiconductors are now vital in cars, kitchen appliances, TVs, smart speakers, thermostats, smart light bulbs and even some dog collars.Microchip manufacturers are unable to meet the ever-growing demand – accelerated by families buying more computers and gadgets during lockdown – as it takes two years and billions of pounds to build each factory.Severe shortages have hit production at multinational firms, from car giants such as Tesla and Ford to appliance firms such as Bosch and Hotpoint and video games console makers Sony and Microsoft.Hardest hit are car makers, which can end up with vehicles worth £100,000 or more stuck in factories because they cannot get hold of basic chips that two years ago cost just £1.They are now having to resort to buying washing machines and cannibalising them for semiconductors rather than wait six months with such expensive goods stuck in a factory.Modern washing machines can contain several chips which allow the operation of touchscreen displays, wi-fi connection, load weight sensors and fault detectors.
- "Ruble named world’s best-performing currency"--RT. Citing a report from Bloomberg on the performance of the Ruble and its value versus other currencies. I would note that this is largely being driven by Russia offering high interest rates on its government bonds.
- Impressive! Most Impressive! Moment a Russian tank is blown up sending its turret flying 250ft in to the air"--Daily Mail. Click over to see the video.
- "Horrifying moment Russian troops gun down and kill two unarmed Ukrainian men after asking them for cigarettes - and then loot their office"--Daily Mail.
- "Putin's latest battlefield humiliation: Ukraine thwarts Russian battalion's river-crossing and destroys at least 58 vehicles inflicting heavy casualties as Donbas offensive stalls and Kyiv's troops counter-attack"--Daily Mail.
- Longer read: "How a century of political violence in Ukraine is linked to the atrocities of today"--RT. From the lede:
Troops shot in the legs screaming in pain. Others dying from blood loss and shock. With no one around to provide medical assistance. A Russian soldier crucified on an anti-tank barrier, chained to a metal ‘hedgehog’ and then burned alive…
For many, graphic footage of Russian servicemen tortured and killed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and nationalist battalions, came as a real shock. But this did not surprise those who are familiar with the ‘traditions’ of Ukraine’s ‘fighters for national freedom’, as they have more than a century of history in this sort of thing.
While the article is intended to paint the Ukrainians as cold-hearted, murderous bastards, it seems to actually underline the intense animosity that exists between Ukrainians and Russians.
- Even longer read: "Briefing: analysis of documents related to the military biological activities of the United States on the territory of Ukraine May 11, 2022"--The Saker. It would be easy to dismiss this a propaganda except that the federal government has a long history of contracting out work or activities to foreign nations and private companies that it is not legally permitted to do itself, whether it is the CIA holding prisoners in foreign countries to conduct interrogation that would be illegal here, having arrangements (e.g., Five-Eyes) with foreign intelligence agencies (or domestic police agencies, looking at you NYPD) to conduct surveillance inside the United States that it would otherwise be illegal for the federal intelligence agencies to perform, the NIH conducting gain-of-function research in China using a private company as a mediary because it was illegal for the NIH to conduct such research, programs like Operation Chokepoint to weaponize the financial industry against disfavored industries, to the countless "contractors" and "consultants", the cozy relationships between the FBI, CIA and media outlets (the phony Russian dossier ring a bell). So it would not be shocking to the see the Feds attempt to get around both Congressional and treaty restrictions on bio-weapons research by having some other country conduct the research.