Early in the morning, the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia was hit by several rockets – one was shot down earlier. Meanwhile, Russia is planning a new major offensive. The goal: the twin cities in Donbass. All news about the attack on Ukraine can be found here in the ticker.
8:07 a.m .: According to information from Kyiv, Russian troops have gone on the offensive in eastern Ukraine and are fighting heavy battles for the city of Sievjerodonetsk. “With the help of artillery support, the Russian occupiers are launching an attack on the village of Sieverodonetsk, fighting continues,” the Ukrainian General Staff said in its situation report on Wednesday morning.
In addition to Sievjerodonetsk, the nearby town of Lyman is also a target of the Russian attacks. Here, too, the ground offensive is supported by airstrikes and artillery. In addition, the General Staff reported fighting from the Bakhmut area southwest of Sievjerodonetsk. Russian troops attacked the villages of Komyschuvahka, Jakowliwka and Troitzke, but retreated again after losses. In the Avdiivka area there was continuous artillery fire on the defenders’ positions.
According to the situation report, it was quieter on other front sections. North of Kharkiv there were only isolated skirmishes around the town of Ternowo. In the Sloviansk area, which is considered a strategic Russian target, only a few unsuccessful attempts were made to attack. There is no major fighting in southern Ukraine.
6:27 a.m .: According to the authorities, the city of Zaporizhia in eastern Ukraine was hit by several rockets early on Wednesday morning. “Today, May 25, at 05:13, Russian forces fired four ballistic missiles at Zaporizhia,” the oblast administration announced on its Telegram channel. The “Kyiv Independent” also reports that there was an air alert at around 3:20 a.m.
One of the missiles was intercepted by air defenses. The rescue workers are on site to get an idea of the situation, the damage and possible victims of the attack.
Meanwhile, the military experts at the US war research institute Institute for the Study of War (ISW) report in their latest analysis of Ukraine that the Russian military is concentrating forces from different directions in the heavily contested Luhansk region. The reserves needed for an offensive would be withdrawn from the areas around Kharkiv, Izyum, Donetsk and Zaporizhia. In the last week, the Russian troops in the Luhansk region managed to gain more territory than in the whole of May, the analysts said.
In the region, Russian troops and their pro-Russian separatist allies now control 90 percent of the territory. The Ukrainian military holds the agglomeration between the cities of Sieverodonetsk and Lysychansk – both cities were major cities before the war. According to the ISW analysis, Moscow’s intention is to encircle several small Ukrainian units in the area at the same time. However, despite the progress made, the Russians have not yet achieved a “major breakthrough”.
10:07 p.m .: Russia is apparently planning a new large-scale offensive in eastern Ukraine. On Tuesday, the troops again focused on the area around the twin cities of Sievjerodonetsk and Lysychansk in the Donbass. A spokesman for Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said Russian troops were approaching the cities from three directions.
“The most active phase of the comprehensive aggression” that Russia is unfolding against Ukraine can currently be observed. The spokesman described the situation at the front as difficult. The fate of Ukraine could be decided there.
9:52 p.m .: According to military information, Russia wants to set up a safe sea passage from the conquered Ukrainian port of Mariupol towards the Black Sea from Wednesday. The mine-cleared route through the Sea of Azov is 115 nautical miles (213 kilometers) long and 2 nautical miles wide and navigable from 8:00 a.m. local time (7:00 a.m. CEST). This was announced by the Ministry of Defense in Moscow on Tuesday evening.
At the same time, the damaged port infrastructure of Mariupol will be repaired. The last Ukrainian defenders of the city laid down their weapons at the end of last week, and Mariupol itself has been largely destroyed.
According to Russian information, around 70 foreign ships from 16 countries are still stuck in the ports controlled by Ukraine on the Black Sea coast. The Russian Navy will also set up a daily safe corridor there on the coast, it said. However, there remains a residual danger for the countries bordering the Black Sea from drifting Ukrainian mines that have broken loose.
According to Ukrainian sources, the danger comes from the Russian Navy and its mines. Western countries are demanding that Moscow allow safe grain exports from Ukraine through the port of Odessa.
9:44 p.m .: According to the BBC, a general in the Russian Air Force died in combat. Kanamat Botashov was shot down in his Su-25 fighter jet by a Stinger missile over the small town of Popasna in the Donbass. Ukrainian media had already reported on this on Sunday. Now the BBC is also reporting that the major general was believed to have been the pilot of the fighter jet. An official confirmation of death is still pending. With Botashov, Russia would have lost its highest-ranking Air Force officer in combat.
6:32 p.m .: In eastern Ukraine, according to both sides, Russian troops have conquered the small town of Svitlodarsk in the Donetsk region. According to reports in the Ukrainian media, the head of the municipal military administration, Serhiy Hoshko, confirmed statements by the pro-Russian separatists on Tuesday. Ukraine’s largest coal-fired power plant is located near Svitlodarsk. Earlier, the separatists reported about the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the area who were threatened with encirclement.
At the same time, the storming of the city of Lyman began in the northern Donetsk region, the separatists said. The Ukrainian General Staff confirmed that Russian troops, supported by artillery and air force, attacked the city. The General Staff made no comment on the situation in Svitlodarsk.
9:09 a.m .: According to Ukrainian information, Russian troops in the Donbass are still striving for the complete conquest of the Luhansk region. “The enemy does not stop attacking,” said the Ukrainian general staff on Tuesday morning. In particular, attempts are being made to encircle the strategically important cities of Sieverodonetsk and Lysychansk.
At the same time, Russia’s armed forces at Sievjerodonetsk also suffered particularly high losses, it said. This information could not initially be verified. Fierce fighting also continued around the town of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.
8:53 a.m .: According to British intelligence services, Russia has made some local progress in its offensive in eastern Ukraine. Moscow has significantly increased the intensity of its activities in the Donbass and is trying to encircle several cities there, the British Ministry of Defense said in an update on Tuesday morning. However, this is only part of Russia’s mission to bring the entire Donbass region under its control. The Ukrainian resistance is strong. If the front line in the Donbass shifts further west, it is likely to pose further logistical difficulties for the Russians, according to British intelligence.
For months now, the British government has been releasing intelligence information on the course of the war of aggression in an unusually open manner. Moscow accuses London of a targeted disinformation campaign.
Tuesday, May 24, 7:25 a.m.: According to the Ukrainian government, the Russian armed forces are trying to seize key positions in eastern Ukraine with heavy bombardments. The situation in the Donbass is even “extremely difficult” because the Russians are trying to “eliminate everything alive,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday night. Russia is trying to encircle the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. The Ministry of Defense reported fierce fighting around Bakhmut.
The fall of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region would give Russian troops control of a crucial hub that currently serves as the command center for much of Ukraine’s war effort in the east. “We have reached a point where we are in the process of making evacuations mandatory,” said the head of Bakhmut’s military administration, Serhiy Kalian.
The governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Gajday, on the other hand, reported that the shelling in Severodonetsk was so heavy that evacuations were impossible. “Such a density of shelling will not allow us to calmly gather people and take them,” he explained on Telegram.
In the south, on the other hand, the front seemed stable, although the Ukrainians are claiming gains. The Ukrainian Southern Command reported on Tuesday night that its divisions were “advancing” through the Mykolaiv region in the direction of the Cherson region. The Ukrainians also accused the Russian “occupiers” of killing fleeing civilians with mines, bombs and gunfire.
11:41 p.m .: According to Ukrainian information, Russian rocket attacks in eastern Ukraine destroyed the railway infrastructure on Monday. Governor Valentyn Resnichenko said on his Telegram channel that four rocket hits in the Dnipropetrovsk region severely damaged tracks and overhead lines. So nobody was injured. It is not yet known when train services can be resumed. The Russian war of aggression on the neighboring country has now lasted three months.
11:20 p.m .: According to Ukrainian information, three civilians were killed in Russian attacks in eastern Ukraine on Monday. Six other people were injured, the governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, wrote on Telegram. The Ukrainian army said it had destroyed eight tanks, one drone, six aircraft and other military equipment on the Russian side. A Russian missile is said to have been shot down in the Novoukrainka region. The information could not be independently verified.
According to Ukrainian information, Russia is expanding the command structures of the military police in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian general staff wrote on Monday evening that 19 so-called commander’s offices had been set up in the occupied regions of Cherson and Zaporizhia.
7.30 p.m .: The fighting in eastern Ukraine continues to be sluggish for Russia and not according to plan. To change this, the Russian army apparently used the largest mortar in the world: the 2S4 “Tulip” Tjulpan. The tank was supposed to fire its 24-centimeter shells at Ukrainian positions up to 20 kilometers away.
But now the Ukrainian troops are said to have already destroyed the mortar again. Ironically, recordings of the Russian state television are said to have revealed the whereabouts of the vehicle. A little later, pictures of the destroyed tank appeared on social media. Shortly thereafter, the Ukrainian National Guard also released further footage intended to document the attack. You can see the vehicle on fire. “Thanks to the Russian propagandists for the tip,” it said on Twitter.
You can read more reports on the Ukraine conflict on the following pages.