Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 11, 2024





Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 11, 2024

Riley Bailey, Angelica Evans, Nicole Wolkov, Christina Harward, and Frederick W. Kagan

May 11, 2024, 8:20pm ET 

Click here to see ISW’s interactive map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report.

Click here to see ISW’s 3D control of terrain topographic map of Ukraine. Use of a computer (not a mobile device) is strongly recommended for using this data-heavy tool.

Click here to access ISW’s archive of interactive time-lapse maps of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These maps complement the static control-of-terrain map that ISW produces daily by showing a dynamic frontline. ISW will update this time-lapse map archive monthly.

Note: The data cut-off for this product was 1:15pm ET on May 11 (excluding certain evidence of Russian gains in northern Kharkiv Oblast). ISW will cover subsequent reports in the May 12 Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment.

Russian forces are conducting relatively limited offensive operations along the Russian-Ukrainian border in northern Kharkiv Oblast and continued to make tactically significant gains in likely less defended areas. The reported sizes of the Russian elements committed to these limited operations and of the Russian force grouping deployed along the border in northeastern Ukraine indicate that Russian forces are not pursuing a large-scale operation to envelop, encircle, or seize Kharkiv City at this time. Ukrainska Pravda reported that Russian forces resumed offensive operations north of Lyptsi (north of Kharkiv City) on the morning of May 11 and focused on Hlyboke (immediately north of Lyptsi), where Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces advanced to the outskirts of the settlement and later seized and cleared the settlement.[1] NASA Fire Information for Resource Management (FIRMS) data captured on May 10 indicates that there has likely been heavy fighting near Hlyboke, and ISW assesses that Russian forces have advanced up to the outskirts of the settlement.[2] Geolocated footage published on May 11 indicates that Russian forces have seized Morokhovets and Oliinykove (both northeast of Lypsti), and Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces seized these settlements.[3] Ukrainian officials reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults west of Vovchansk (northeast of Kharkiv City) near Ohirtseve and Hatyshche, two settlements that the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Russian sources claimed that Russian forces seized as of May 11.[4] ISW assesses that Russian forces have advanced at least to the outskirts of Ohirtseve and Hatyshche. The Russian MoD claimed that Russian forces also seized Strilecha, Pylna, and Borsivika (north to northwest of Lypsti), claims that ISW assesses to be accurate, as well as Pletenivka (north of Vovchansk).[5] Russian sources also claimed that Russian forces seized Hoptivka and Kudiivka (both northwest of Lyptsi and southeast of Kozacha Lopan).[6] Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces advanced further towards Lukyantsi (northeast of Lyptsi), to the northern outskirts of Neskuchne (northeast of Lyptsi), and to the western outskirts of Staritsa and Izbytske (west of Vovchansk and east of Lyptsi).[7] Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces advanced from Hatyshche to the northwestern outskirts of Vovchansk, south from Pletenivka, and towards Tykhe (on Vovchansk's northeastern outskirts).[8] Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces seized Tykhe and are currently trying to advance east of the settlement into Vovchansk.[9] ISW has not observed evidence that would support an assessment that these Russian claims correspond with Russian advances at this time.

Ukrainian Khortytsia Group of Forces Spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Nazar Voloshyn stated that Russian forces are trying to advance in areas that were already contested "grey zones," suggesting that Ukrainian forces did not maintain enduring positions in many of the small border settlements that Russian forces have seized or have reportedly seized.[10] It is unlikely that Ukrainian forces would have established serious strongholds and fortifications along a contested grey zone or enduring positions in small border settlements that Russian forces have long subjected to routine indirect fire. Russian forces will likely face more intense resistance when trying to advance near settlements further south of the border and into larger border settlements like Lyptsi and Vovchansk. The proximity of Kharkiv City to the border magnifies the significance of limited Russian tactical gains, however, as Russian forces do not have to advance much further to begin threatening Kharkiv City with routine shelling.[11]

Russian forces reportedly launched offensive operations along the Russian-Ukrainian border in northern Kharkiv Oblast before they had completed bringing the Northern Grouping of Forces up to its reported planned end strength and have so far only committed a limited amount of combat power to offensive operations in the area. Ukrainian military observer Kostyantyn Mashovets stated on May 11 that Russian forces have committed up to two companies of the 7th Motorized Rifle Regiment (11th Army Corps [AC], Leningrad Military District [LMD]) and up to two battalions of the 18th Motorized Rifle Brigade (11th AC, LMD) to the ongoing operations in the Lyptsi and Vovchansk directions.[12] Ukrainian military observer Alexander Kovalenko stated on May 11 that elements of the 30th Motorized Rifle Regiment (72nd Motorized Rifle Division, 44th AC, LMD) and the 128th Motorized Rifle Brigade (44th AC, LMD) are also operating in the area.[13] Kovalenko stated that Russian forces have committed 2,000 personnel to the frontline along the border and have 1,500 to 2,000 personnel in immediate reserve.[14] Kovalenko stated that elements of the 44th AC are currently redeploying to Belgorod Oblast and that 3,750 additional Russian personnel from the 44th AC may arrive in the area within the next week.[15] Kovalenko stated that the Russian Northern Grouping of Forces has 30,000 to 35,000 personnel deployed along the entire border with Ukraine in Kursk, Bryansk, and Belgorod oblasts, a figure consistent with Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Deputy Chief Major General Vadym Skibitskyi's May 2 report that Russian forces had roughly 35,000 personnel deployed to the international border area.[16] Skibitskyi stated that Russian forces intend to establish a grouping in the area that is between 50,000 and 75,000 personnel in size.[17] Ukrainian sources stated that Ukrainian forces have destroyed at least 20 Russian armored vehicles since Russian forces began offensive operations in the area on the morning of May 10, but Russian and Ukrainian sources continue to characterize Russian offensive operations along the border as consisting primarily of heavy infantry assaults.[18] Russian forces will likely introduce reserves to intensify ongoing offensive operations in the area in the coming days, however, the Russian forces lack the necessary manpower required to attempt a large-scale offensive operation to envelop, encircle, or seize Kharkiv City according to all available reports.

ISW continues to assess that the Russian offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast likely aim to draw Ukrainian forces from other sectors of the front while allowing Russian forces to advance to within tube artillery range of Kharkiv City.[19] Russian forces are maintaining the tempo of their offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Chasiv Yar, and west of Avdiivka, and the Russian military command likely hopes that operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast could cause the Ukrainian military command to dedicate manpower and materiel to the defense north of Kharkiv City that it could otherwise dedicate to defending in these other directions. A Russian advance towards Kharkiv City that would allow Russian forces to conduct effective and routine indirect fire would give Russian forces the capability to inflict significant damage to Kharkiv City in order to prompt mass migration from the city and set conditions for a larger offensive operation at a later date.[20] US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby stated on May 10 that Russian forces are preparing to use long-range fire capabilities within the radius of Kharkiv City and that this indicates that the Russian military is considering a larger offensive operation against Kharkiv City.[21] Russian long-range fire may similarly intend to set conditions for a subsequent offensive operation against Kharkiv City, and Kirby did not indicate that the White House believes that the Russian military is considering an immediate effort to seize Kharkiv City. The seizure of Kharkiv City most certainly is a desired operational objective for Russian forces, but not one that the Russian military appears to be pursuing in the near term.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian military command may be evaluating the risks, prospects, and timeline of offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast based on the assumption that Ukraine cannot and will not be able to liberate territory seized by Russian forces. Putin's and the Russian military command's calculus about the threat of Ukrainian territorial gains is likely shaping Russia's overall operational approach to seizing territory in Ukraine. The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence's (ODNI) 2024 Annual Threat Assessment reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin "probably believes" that Russian forces have blunted Ukrainian efforts to retake significant territory and that US and Western support for Ukraine is "finite."[22] Russia's intended timeline for its ongoing offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast remains unclear, but Russian forces may intend for their offensive operations in northern and northeastern Kharkiv Oblast to achieve their operational objectives long after summer 2024. The Russian military command may assume that Russian forces will be able to hold any limited gains they make in northern Kharkiv Oblast and other oblasts in perpetuity because they think that Ukrainian forces will be unable to launch successful counteroffensive efforts at any point in the future. Russian forces have made a series of tactically significant advances in Donetsk Oblast, particularly near Avdiivka, in recent months without Ukrainian counterattacks even momentarily pushing back Russian forces, and these recent unchallenged gains may be contributing to Putin's and the Russian military command's calculus.[23] Putin may believe that Russian forces can continue to make opportunistic and unchallenged advances throughout the frontline over the next months, or even years, and ultimately force Ukraine to submit to total Russian subjugation. Ukrainian materiel constraints due to delays in Western security assistance have prevented Ukrainian forces from launching significant counterattacks against Russian offensive operations, but the arrival of US security assistance to the front at scale will likely allow Ukrainian forces to resume counterattacks that threaten Russian forces' ability to hold tactical gains.[24]

The limited Russian offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast suggest that the resumption of US security assistance has not changed Putin's calculus or that he launched the Kharkiv effort without reassessing the operation's fundamental assumptions about Ukrainian capabilities in light of the resumption of aid. Russian forces are currently attacking with a force grouping well below its reported intended end strength, a risky decision if Putin and the Russian military command believed that there was a threat for Ukrainian forces to roll back any tactical gains that this understrength force could make before Russian forces staffed it to end strength. Russian forces are currently advancing in several areas that do not provide immediate avenues of advance toward Kharkiv City or other immediate operationally significant objectives. Russian forces may be advancing in these areas because they believe that they can hold any seized ground indefinitely and use that ground to launch subsequent operations to more operationally significant goals. Russian forces may also believe that they can pursue gradual creeping advances across a wide swath of territory in northern and northeastern Kharkiv Oblast for an extended period of time without achieving relatively rapid operationally significant advances but in a way that would disadvantage any future Ukrainian counteroffensive operations in the area.

It is imperative for Ukrainian forces to disrupt any such Russian calculations as soon as possible through both limited and large-scale counteroffensive operations that liberate Russian-occupied territory as soon as conditions permit. ISW has routinely argued that Ukrainian forces should contest the theater-wide initiative as soon as possible because ceding the theater-wide initiative to Russia into 2025 affords Russian forces the ability to determine the timing, location, and intensity of Russian attacks and control the resources that Ukrainian forces expend during this protracted period.[25] Ukrainian forces will not have a chance to liberate territory if they remain on the defensive for the foreseeable future, and remaining entirely on the defensive will only encourage Putin to continue grinding offensive operations indefinitely seeking complete victory over time. ISW has repeatedly assessed that the consistent provision of key Western systems to Ukraine will play a critical role in Russia's prospects in 2024 and Ukraine's ability to conduct future counteroffensive operations and liberate Ukrainian territory from Russian occupation.[26] The West must proactively and preemptively provide Ukrainian forces with the necessary equipment and weapons for their future counteroffensive operations if Ukrainian forces are to liberate significant swaths of occupied Ukraine and challenge Putin's belief that Ukraine is and will remain unable to do so.

The directions of Russian offensive operations in the international border area suggest that Russia may be attempting to create a "buffer zone" to protect Belgorod City, as Russian and Ukrainian officials have recently stated. Russian officials, including Russian Vladimir Putin, have recently called for the creation of a "buffer zone" to protect Russia's claimed and actual territories from Ukrainian strikes.[27] Although this stated goal is actually unachievable as long as an independent Ukraine with any strike capabilities and will to fight remains, Kremlin officials have explicitly listed Kharkiv City as a part of a hypothesized limited demilitarized zone aimed at protecting Belgorod City.[28] Western and Ukrainian media reported on May 10 that Ukrainian military sources stated that Russian forces intend to establish a 10-kilometer deep buffer zone along the northern border in Kharkiv Oblast.[29] This objective likely is intended not only to push Ukrainian tube artillery out of range of Russian military logistics in Belgorod Oblast, but also to bring Russian tube artillery within striking distance of Kharkiv City. Russian forces are currently conducting offensive operations near Hoptivka (northwest of Lyptsi), and it is notable that Russian forces are also attempting to advance in areas that are separate from the area north of Lyptsi where Russian forces have already made tactically significant advances. Russian forces are also notably conducting offensive operations north and west of Vovchansk on both sides of the Siverskyi Donetsk River, which would pose a significant obstacle to Russian forces on the east side of the river should they attempt to advance southwestward to Kharkiv City. These various directions of Russian offensive operations further suggest that Russian offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast are not aimed at an immediate large-scale offensive operation to envelop, encircle, or seize Kharkiv City. Russian forces may, however, be aiming to seize a wide swath of Ukrainian territory in the area immediately south of the border with Belgorod Oblast, likely including Vovchansk, to create a "buffer zone." Russian attempts to advance in an area that is relatively wide and not very deep along the border, especially in the area north of Hoptivka towards Kozacha Lopan, would further indicate that this is the Russian operational objective in the international border area.

Russian forces appear to be attempting to quickly isolate the battlespace east of the Siverskyi Donets River and seize Vovchansk, a direction of advance that Russian forces may believe could threaten the Ukrainian grouping defending in the Kupyansk direction. Geolocated footage published on May 11 shows a Russian strike destroying the Siverskyi Donets Dam bridge in Stary Saltiv (southwest of Vovchansk).[30] Footage published on May 11 purportedly shows Russian forces striking a bridge over the Vovcha River connecting Tykhe and Vovchanski Khutory (both west of Vovchansk).[31] Russian forces likely destroyed the bridges in an effort to isolate the Ukrainian forces operating on either side of the water features to prevent them from supporting Ukrainian forces defending against ongoing Russian attacks near Vovchansk. Russian attempts to destroy Ukrainian ground lines of communications (GLOCs) southwest and east of Vovchansk indicate that Russian forces will likely focus on seizing Vovchansk instead of attempting to bypass the settlement or expanding the front further east along the international border between Russia and Ukraine. Russian forces reportedly conducted at least 20 glide bomb strikes against Vovchansk on May 11 and are heavily focusing artillery, MLRS, and drone strikes on the settlement.[32] Russian forces may also intend to use offensive operations near Vovchansk to pressure the operational rear of Ukrainian forces defending against Russian attacks in the Kupyansk direction and draw away Ukrainian units defending in the Kupyansk area. A Russian foothold in Vovchansk does little to support a Russian effort to advance towards Kharkiv City, although Russian forces may imagine that a foothold in the settlement could allow Russian forces to launch offensive operations in the direction of Velykyi Burluk, a notable settlement in the rear of the Ukrainian grouping in the Kupyansk direction. Russian advances further south of Vovchansk would require long drives across open terrain, a capability that Russian forces have not shown in the past year and a half of fighting in Ukraine even during the period of most acute Ukrainian resource shortages.[33]

Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) Head Denis Pushilin reiterated a series of Kremlin narratives intended to justify Russia's invasion of Ukraine and attempted to flatter Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian military during an interview in honor of the 10th anniversary of the DNR's founding, likely in an attempt to curry favor in the Kremlin. Pushilin claimed during an interview with Kremlin newswire TASS on May 11 that Russia must seize Kharkiv, Odesa, Dnipro, Sumy, and a number of other unspecified cities during its invasion of Ukraine and "liberate" all of the "Russian people" who live in these supposedly "Russian" cities.[34] Pushilin strangely claimed that his list of cities encompasses more than "real historical Russian cities." Pushilin claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian forces to not conduct strikes against Ukraine's energy grid this past winter due to Putin's great concern for Ukrainian civilians but also claimed that Russian forces should intensify their strikes against bridges and transportation hubs in Ukraine.[35] Pushilin claimed that Putin is the "main curator" of Donbas and Novorossiya and is "immersed" in the details of everything happening in occupied Ukraine and that the pace of Russian forces operation to seize the remainder of Donetsk Oblast is "adequate" and is not "too fast or too slow."[36]

Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted successful drone strikes against a Russian oil refinery in Volgograd Oblast on the night of May 10 to 11. Sources in Ukrainian special services told Ukrainian outlet Suspilne that Ukraine's Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) conducted drone strikes against a Lukoil refinery in Volgograd Oblast and damaged the AVT-1 and AVT-6 oil processing facilities and control cables for the facility's air coolers.[37] Volgograd Oblast Governor Andrei Bocharov claimed on May 11 that Russian forces intercepted a drone over Volgograd Oblast and that it did not damage any infrastructure.[38] Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) reportedly conducted a drone strike against the same oil refinery on February 3.[39]

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin submitted proposals on the composition of the new Russian government to the State Duma on May 11.[40] Mishustin proposed that current Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev become a Deputy Prime Minister and that current Kursk Oblast Governor Roman Starovoit become the Minister of Transport.[41] Mishustin also proposed that current Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov leave his position as Minister of Industry and Trade and become First Deputy Prime Minister. Mishustin nominated current Kaliningrad Oblast Governor Anton Alikhanov to replace Manturov as Minister of Industry and Trade. Dmitry Patrushev is notably the son of Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, and this is the second recent case of nominations to high ranking positions for children of people in Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle after Russian Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matvienko nominated Boris Kovalchuk – the son of Putin's "personal banker" Yuri Kovalchuk – as a candidate for the head of the Federation Council Accounts Chamber on May 10.[42]

Key Takeaways:

  • Russian forces are conducting relatively limited offensive operations along the Russian-Ukrainian border in northern Kharkiv Oblast and continued to make tactically significant gains in likely less defended areas. The reported sizes of the Russian elements committed to these limited operations and of the Russian force grouping deployed along the border in northeastern Ukraine indicate that Russian forces are not pursuing a large-scale operation to envelop, encircle, or seize Kharkiv City at this time.
  • Russian forces reportedly launched offensive operations along the Russian-Ukrainian border in northern Kharkiv Oblast before they had completed bringing the Northern Grouping of Forces up to its reported planned end strength and have so far only committed a limited amount of combat power to offensive operations in the area.
  • ISW continues to assess that the Russian offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast likely aim to draw Ukrainian forces from other sectors of the front while allowing Russian forces to advance to within tube artillery range of Kharkiv City.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian military command may be evaluating the risks, prospects, and timeline of offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast based on the assumption that Ukraine cannot and will not be able to liberate territory seized by Russian forces. Putin's and the Russian military command's calculus about the threat of Ukrainian territorial gains is likely shaping Russia's overall operational approach to seizing territory in Ukraine.
  • The limited Russian offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast suggest that the resumption of US security assistance has not changed Putin's calculus or that he launched the Kharkiv effort without reassessing the operation's fundamental assumptions about Ukrainian capabilities in light of the resumption of aid.
  • The directions of Russian offensive operations in the international border area suggest that Russia may be attempting to create a "buffer zone" to protect Belgorod City, as Russian and Ukrainian officials have recently stated.
  • Russian forces appear to be attempting to quickly isolate the battlespace east of the Siverskyi Donets River and seize Vovchansk, a direction of advance that Russian forces may believe could threaten the Ukrainian grouping defending in the Kupyansk direction.
  • Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) Head Denis Pushilin reiterated a series of Kremlin narratives intended to justify Russia's invasion of Ukraine and attempted to flatter Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian military during an interview in honor of the 10th anniversary of the DNR's founding, likely in an attempt to curry favor in the Kremlin.
  • Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted successful drone strikes against a Russian oil refinery in Volgograd Oblast on the night of May 10 to 11.
  • Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin submitted proposals on the composition of the new Russian government to the State Duma on May 11.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances in northern Kharkiv Oblast; near Svatove, Chasiv Yar, Avdiivka, and Donetsk City; in western Zaporizhia Oblast; and in east (left) bank Kherson Oblast.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) continues to highlight frontline Russian units fighting in Ukraine.

 

We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because these activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We will continue to evaluate and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian military and the Ukrainian population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict and the Geneva Conventions and crimes against humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.

  • Russian Main Effort – Eastern Ukraine (comprised of two subordinate main efforts)
  • Russian Subordinate Main Effort #1 – Push Ukrainian forces back from the international border with Belgorod Oblast and approach to within tube artillery range of Kharkiv City
  • Russian Subordinate Main Effort #2 – Capture the remainder of Luhansk Oblast and push westward into eastern Kharkiv Oblast and encircle northern Donetsk Oblast
  • Russian Subordinate Main Effort #3 – Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast
  • Russian Supporting Effort – Southern Axis
  • Russian Air, Missile, and Drone Campaign
  • Russian Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts
  • Russian Technological Adaptations
  • Activities in Russian-occupied areas
  • Ukrainian Defense Industrial Base Efforts
  • Russian Information Operations and Narratives
  • Significant Activity in Belarus

Russian Main Effort – Eastern Ukraine

Russian Subordinate Main Effort #1 – Kharkiv Oblast (Russian objective: Push Ukrainian forces back from the international border with Belgorod Oblast and approach to within tube artillery range of Kharkiv City)

NOTE: ISW is adding a section to cover Russian offensive operations along the Belgorod-Kharkiv axis as these offensive operations comprise an operational effort separate from Russian offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line. ISW may enlarge the scope of this section should Russian forces expand offensive operations along the Russian-Ukrainian international border in northeastern Ukraine.

See topline text.

Russian Subordinate Main Effort #2 – Luhansk Oblast (Russian objective: Capture the remainder of Luhansk Oblast and push westward into eastern Kharkiv Oblast and northern Donetsk Oblast)

Russian forces recently made a confirmed advance along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line amid continued Russian offensive operations in the area on May 11. Geolocated footage published on May 11 indicates that Russian forces recently advanced west of Kolomyichykha (west of Svatove).[43] A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces also advanced one kilometer in depth towards Pishchane (southeast of Kupyansk), but ISW has not observed visual confirmation of this claim.[44] Fighting continued northeast of Kupyansk near Synkivka and Vilshana; northwest of Svatove near Ivanivka, Stelmakhivka, and Berestove; southwest of Svatove near Novoyehorivka and Makiivka; northwest of Kreminna near Nevske; west of Kreminna near Terny and Torske; southwest of Kreminna near the Serebryanske forest area; and south of Kreminna near Bilohorivka.[45]

Ukrainian forces struck an oil depot in occupied Rovenky, Luhansk Oblast on May 10. Geolocated footage published on May 10 shows a strike against an oil depot in Rovenky.[46] Russian Luhansk People's Republic (LNR) Head Leonid Pasechnik and Ukrainian Mariupol Mayoral Advisor Petro Andryushchenko stated that Ukrainian forces likely used an ATACMS missile in the strike.[47] Ukrainian Luhansk Oblast Head Artem Lysohor stated that the Ukrainian strike caused "considerable" damage and that there are no fuel reserves left at the depot.[48]

 

Russian Subordinate Main Effort #3 – Donetsk Oblast (Russian objective: Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)

The Ukrainian General Staff reported on May 11 that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults in the Siversk direction (northeast of Bakhmut) near Rozdolivka (south of Siversk), Verkhnokamyanske (southwest of Siversk), and near Spirne and Vyimka (southeast of Siversk).[49]

 

Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Chasiv Yar amid continued Russian offensive operations in the area on May 11. Geolocated footage published on May 10 indicates that Russian forces recently advanced north of the Kanal Microraion (easternmost Chasiv Yar) and south of Chasiv Yar near the T0504 (Bakhmut-Kostyantynivka) highway.[50] Fighting continued northeast of Chasiv Yar near Hryhorivka and Bohdanivka, near the Novyi and Kanal microraions in eastern Chasiv Yar, east of Chasiv Yar near Ivanivske, and southeast of Chasiv Yar near Andriivka.[51] Elements of the Russian 58th Spetsnaz Battalion (1st Donetsk People's Republic [DNR] Army Corps [AC]), 17th Artillery Brigade (3rd Army Corps [AC]), and the “Sarmat” Battalion of the DNR's “Pyatnashka” International Volunteer Brigade are reportedly operating near Chasiv Yar.[52] Elements of Chechen “Shustry” Detachment of “Akhmat” Spetsnaz along with elements of the Russian 4th Motorized Rifle Brigade (2nd LNR AC) reportedly continue operating near Klishchiivka (southeast of Chasiv Yar), and elements of the 27th Artillery Regiment (6th Motorized Rifle Division, 3rd AC) are reportedly operating in the direction of Stupochky (south of Chasiv Yar).[53]

 

Russian forces recently made confirmed advances west of Avdiivka amid continued Russian offensive operations in the area on May 11. Geolocated footage published on May 10 indicates that Russian forces recently advanced within central Netaylove (southwest of Avdiivka) and south of the settlement.[54] Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces advanced west of Netaylove and south of Pervomaiske in an area up to 1.5 kilometers wide and 750 meters deep, although ISW has not observed visual evidence of these claims.[55] Fighting also continued northwest of Avdiivka near Kalynove, Novooleksandrivka, Yevhenivka, Novopokrovske, Ocheretyne, Semenivka, Novoselivka Persha, and Sokil; and west of Avdiivka near Umanske, and Netaylove.[56]

 

Russian forces recently made confirmed advances west of Donetsk City amid continued Russian offensive operations in the area on May 11. Geolocated footage published on May 10 indicates that Russian forces recently advanced in southern Krasnohorivka (west of Donetsk City).[57] Fighting also continued west of Donetsk City near Heorhiivka and south of Donetsk City near Pobieda, Kostyantynivka, Novomykhailivka, Paraskoviivka, Solodke, and Vodyane.[58] Elements of the Russian 1472nd Motorized Rifle Regiment (68th AC, Eastern Military District [EMD]) are reportedly operating near Vodyane; elements of the 5th and 110th motorized rifle brigades (1st DNR AC) are reportedly operating near Krasnohorivka; and elements of the 103rd Motorized Rifle Regiment (150th Motorized Rifle Division, 8th CAA, Southern Military District [SMD]) are reportedly operating in the direction of Kurakhove.[59]

 

The Ukrainian General Staff reported on May 11 that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian ground attacks in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area south of Velyka Novosilka near Staromayorske and Urozhaine.[60] Elements of the Russian 57th Motorized Rifle Brigade (5th CAA, EMD) reportedly continue operating near Vuhledar.[61]

 

Russian Supporting Effort – Southern Axis (Russian objective: Maintain frontline positions and secure rear areas against Ukrainian strikes)

Russian forces recently marginally advanced in western Zaporizhia Oblast amid continued fighting in the area on May 11. Geolocated footage published on May 11 indicates that Russian forces recently marginally advanced southwest of Novopokrovka (northeast of Robotyne).[62] A Russian milblogger claimed that unspecified Russian airborne (VDV) forces also seized two unspecified positions northwest of Verbove (east of Robotyne).[63] Russian forces continued assaults near Robotyne.[64] Elements of the Russian 292nd Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment (19th Motorized Rifle Division, Southern Military District [SMD]) are reportedly operating in the Zaporizhia direction.[65]

 

Russian forces recently marginally advanced in the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast amid continued fighting in the area on May 11. Geolocated footage published on May 9 indicates that Russian forces recently marginally advanced within Krynky.[66] A Russian milblogger claimed that elements of the Russian 61st Naval Infantry Brigade (Leningrad Military District [LMD], formerly Northern Fleet) recaptured Nestryha Island (southwest of Kherson City), although ISW has not observed confirmation of this claim.[67] Ukrainian Southern Operational Command and Navy Spokesperson Captain Third Rank Dmytro Pletenchuk reported on May 10 that Russian forces periodically attempt to land on Nestryha Island but that Ukrainian forces continue to repel Russian forces from the island.[68]

 

Russian Air, Missile, and Drone Campaign (Russian Objective: Target Ukrainian military and civilian infrastructure in the rear and on the frontline)

Russian forces conducted individual missile strikes against targets in Ukraine on May 11. Ukrainian officials reported that Ukrainian air defense shot down a Russian Kh-59/69 cruise missile near Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, and that Russian forces struck civilian infrastructure in Sumy City with an unspecified missile.[69] Russian sources amplified footage on May 11 purporting to show Russian forces striking a Ukrainian airfield near Manvelivka, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast with an Iskander ballistic missile.[70]

Russian Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts (Russian objective: Expand combat power without conducting general mobilization)

The Russian MoD continues to highlight Russian units fighting in Ukraine. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu congratulated the 26th Tank Regiment (47th Tank Division, 1st Guards Tank Army [GTA], Moscow Military District [MMD]) for its role in the seizure of Kuzmenivka, Kyslivka and Krokhmalne in Kharkiv Oblast and the 132nd Motorized Rifle Brigade (1st Donetsk People's Republic [DNR] Army Corps [AC]) for its role in the seizure of Novokalynove in Donetsk Oblast.[71]

The Russian MoD continues to delay issuing veteran certificates to former Wagner Group servicemen and convict recruits who have returned home after serving in Ukraine. Russian opposition outlet Astra amplified an appeal by several Wagner and Storm-Z convict recruits from Oryol Oblast to Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 11.[72] The men claimed that they have been waiting to receive their veteran certificates for over a year, but that Russian military registration and enlistment officials are unwilling to approve their applications because they do not have official military service documents from the Russian MoD. The men claimed that they know over 200 men who are not receiving the benefits that the Russian MoD promised them. Astra noted that the Russian government has so far failed to expunge the criminal records of many Storm-Z veterans.

Russian Technological Adaptations (Russian objective: Introduce technological innovations to optimize systems for use in Ukraine)

Nothing significant to report.

Ukrainian Defense Industrial Efforts (Ukrainian objective: Develop its defense industrial base to become more self-sufficient in cooperation with US, European, and international partners)

ISW is not publishing coverage of Ukrainian defense industrial efforts today.

Activities in Russian-occupied areas (Russian objective: Consolidate administrative control of annexed areas; forcibly integrate Ukrainian citizens into Russian sociocultural, economic, military, and governance systems)

ISW is not publishing coverage of activities in Russian-occupied areas today.

Russian Information Operations and Narratives

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is conducting a highly coordinated effort to promote information operations targeting the Baltic States that aim to justify future Russian aggression abroad. Director of the Russian MFA Second European Department Sergei Belyaev gave an interview with Kremlin newswire TASS published on May 11 in which he repeated Russian MFA Spokesperson Maria Zakharova's May 5 statements about the Baltic states almost identically.[73] Belyaev and Zakharova both claimed that Russia must not forget its "compatriots" in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania who are allegedly facing persecution and are subject to police brutality, and that Russian diplomatic missions in the Baltic states are operating under "siege conditions."

Significant activity in Belarus (Russian efforts to increase its military presence in Belarus and further integrate Belarus into Russian-favorable frameworks and Wagner Group activity in Belarus)

Nothing significant to report.

Note: ISW does not receive any classified material from any source, uses only publicly available information, and draws extensively on Russian, Ukrainian, and Western reporting and social media as well as commercially available satellite imagery and other geospatial data as the basis for these reports. References to all sources used are provided in the endnotes of each update.

 


[1] https://t.me/rybar/59972 ; https://t.me/dva_majors/42218 ; https://t... https://www.pravda.com dot ua/rus/news/2024/05/11/7455297/ ;

[2] https://firms.modaps.eosdis.nasa.gov/map/#t:tsd;d:2024-05-10;@36.45,50.23,12.17z

[3] https://twitter.com/blinzka/status/1789402870351081667 ; https://t.me/... https://t.me/warriorofnorth/308https://t.me/dva_majors/42257

[4] https://t.me/mod_russia/38680 ; https://www.understandingwar.org/backg...

[5] https://t.me/mod_russia/38680

[6] https://t.me/rybar/59945 ; https://t.me/RVvoenkor/67926 ; https://t.me/warriorofnorth/308https://t.me/dva_majors/42257 ; https://t.me/DnevnikDesantnika/10528 ;

[7] https://t.me/rybar/59972 ; https://t.me/warriorofnorth/308 ; https://t.me/dva_majors/42257

[8] https://t.me/rybar/59972 ; https://t.me/motopatriot/22728 ; https://...

[9] https://t.me/rybar/59972 ; https://t.me/dva_majors/42265

[10] https://armyinform.com dot ua/2024/05/11/sira-zona-ne-rozshyryuyetsya-u-sylah-oborony-rozpovily-pro-sytuacziyu-na-slobozhanskomu-napryamku/

[11] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign...

[12] https://t.me/zvizdecmanhustu/1853 ; https://www.facebook.com/pashtetof/posts/pfbid029JCw9iMDUPK1Xh238DzfhWBT...

[13] https://t.me/zloyodessit/21676

[14] https://suspilne dot media/kharkiv/743333-golovni-novini-harkova-ta-oblasti-11-travna-situacia-na-harkivsini-sogodni/

[15] https://suspilne dot media/kharkiv/743333-golovni-novini-harkova-ta-oblasti-11-travna-situacia-na-harkivsini-sogodni/

[16] https://t.me/zloyodessit/21676 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar051024 ; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign...

[17] https://t.me/zloyodessit/21676 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar051024 ; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign...

[18] https://t.me/negumanitarnaya_pomosch_Z/17598 ; https://t.me/ButusovPlus/10187https://www.facebook.com/butusov.yuriy/posts/pfbid0iReeFSR4oNMfmvGszC2JT... https://t.me/Sladkov_plus/10433 ; https://t.me/Sladkov_plus/10434https://t.me/Sladkov_plus/10435 ; https://www.facebook.com/mvs.gov.ua/...

[19] https://isw.pub/UkrWar051024

[20] https://isw.pub/UkrWar051024

[21] https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-bolstering-ukraine-russia-sets-sight... ;

[22] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign...

[23] https://isw.pub/UkrWar021524 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar021624 ; https:...

[24] https://isw.pub/UkrWar042024

[25] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign...

[26] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign...

[27] https://isw.pub/UkrWar013124 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar042224 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar031824

[28] https://isw.pub/UkrWar013124 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar042224 ; https://isw.pub/UkrWar031824

[29] https://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-ass...

[30] https://x.com/AMK_Mapping_/status/1789190225945821455https://t.me/RVvoenkor/67888 ; https://t.me/frontbird/9133

[31] https://t.me/warriorofnorth/310 ; https://t.me/dva_majors/42265 ; ht...

[32] https://suspilne dot media/kharkiv/743333-golovni-novini-harkova-ta-oblasti-11-travna-situacia-na-harkivsini-sogodni/

[33] https://isw.pub/UkrWar122623 ; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign...

[34] https://tass dot ru/armiya-i-opk/20766621

[35] https://tass dot ru/armiya-i-opk/20766829 ; https://t.me/tass_agency/248090

[36] https://tass dot ru/armiya-i-opk/20766667 ; https://tass dot ru/politika/20767147

[37] https://suspilne dot media/743625-droni-gur-urazili-naftopererobnij-zavod-lukojla-u-volgogradskij-oblasti-rf-dzerela/

[38] https://tass dot ru/proisshestviya/20766251

[39] https://isw.pub/UkrWar020324

[40] http://government dot ru/news/51571/

[41] http://government dot ru/news/51571/

[42] https://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-ass...

[43] https://x.com/EjShahid/status/1789232961667113004; https://t.me/oaembr7...

[44] https://t.me/notes_veterans/17045

[45] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02pFDZ2fQGxXJZJmRNmR... https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0w99RmHnDvBAtLrjJnqd... ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid031GeDMHNiZWJRYNDrrZ... https://t.me/luhanskaVTSA/18773

[46] https://x.com/Dmojavensis/status/1789018069337256318; https://x.com/NOE... https://t.me/obstanovkalnr/56894

[47] https://t.me/glava_lnr_info/2404 ; https://t.me/andriyshTime/21722

[48] https://t.me/andriyshTime/21722

[49] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02pFDZ2fQGxXJZJmRNmR... https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0w99RmHnDvBAtLrjJnqd... ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid031GeDMHNiZWJRYNDrrZ...

[50] https://t.me/creamy_caprice/5475; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeReF... https://t.me/creamy_caprice/5470; https://t.me/shofront_ua/2083

[51] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02pFDZ2fQGxXJZJmRNmR... ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0w99RmHnDvBAtLrjJnqd... ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid031GeDMHNiZWJRYNDrrZ...https://t.me/wargonzo/19862 ; https://t.me/z_arhiv/26768 ; https://t...

[52] https://t.me/RVvoenkor/67893 ; https://t.me/boris_rozhin/123233 ; ht...

[53] https://t.me/RKadyrov_95/4762 ; https://t.me/boris_rozhin/123329

[54] https://t.me/rubpak28/159; https://x.com/giK1893/status/1789054451489136729; https://t.me/ssternenko/28408; https://t.me/creamy_caprice/5469

[55] https://t.me/z_arhiv/2674 ; https://t.me/RVvoenkor/67883

[56] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0w99RmHnDvBAtLrjJnqd... ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid031GeDMHNiZWJRYNDrrZ... ; https://t.me/mod_russia/38680 ; https://t.me/DnevnikDesantnika/10532 ; https://t.me/DnevnikDesantnika/10544https://t.me/wargonzo/19862 ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua... https://t.me/voenkorKotenok/56161

[57] https://t.me/creamy_caprice/5467; https://t.me/boris_rozhin/123256

[58] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02pFDZ2fQGxXJZJmRNmR... ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0w99RmHnDvBAtLrjJnqd... ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid031GeDMHNiZWJRYNDrrZ...https://t.me/wargonzo/19862 ; https://t.me/negumanitarnaya_pomosch_Z/1... https://t.me/dva_majors/42267

[59] https://t.me/nm_dnr/12194 ; https://t.me/RVvoenkor/67918 ; https://t...

[60] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02pFDZ2fQGxXJZJmRNmR... https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0w99RmHnDvBAtLrjJnqd...https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid031GeDMHNiZWJRYNDrrZ...

[61] https://t.me/voin_dv/8480 ; https://t.me/voin_dv/8489

[62] https://t.me/creamy_caprice/5471; https://t.me/russian_airborne/5608

[63] https://t.me/RVvoenkor/67889

[64] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02pFDZ2fQGxXJZJmRNmR... https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0w99RmHnDvBAtLrjJnqd... ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid031GeDMHNiZWJRYNDrrZ...https://t.me/mod_russia/38681 ; https://t.me/DnevnikDesantnika/10538 ...

[65] https://t.me/boris_rozhin/123283

[66] https://t.me/WarArchive_ua/14727; https://t.me/ze_bg1920/4372

[67] https://t.me/boris_rozhin/123349

[68] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign...

[69] https://www.facebook.com/pvkshid/posts/pfbid02kJCniuMz1JaB6TPA2pGrn2hKgc... https://t.me/Sumy_news_ODA/26251

[70] https://t.me/rybar/59976 ; https://t.me/RVvoenkor/67920https://t.me/nm_dnr/12195 ; https://t.me/z_arhiv/26769 ; https://t.me/The_Wrong_Side/15957

[71] https://t.me/mod_russia/38669

[72] https://t.me/astrapress/55165

[73] https://mid dot ru/ru/foreign_policy/news/1948065/ ; https://mid dot ru/ru/foreign_policy/news/1949465/

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