Russia wants to distribute Russian passports in the Zaporizhia and Cherson regions. 150 dead were buried in a mass grave in the city of Lysychansk. And Chechen leader Kadyrov is threatening an attack on Poland. All news about the attack on Ukraine can be found here in the ticker.
12:26 p.m .: Ukraine’s problems in Donbass are getting worse. Zelenskyy’s adviser Oleksiy Arestovych expressed concern on TV because the Ukrainian troops are losing speed: “We have now lost to the Russian army in terms of speed. The Russian side managed to accumulate their reserves in front of us.”
But that is not the only thing causing problems for the Ukrainians. In contrast to the first weeks of the war, society is now splitting further and further. He expects an increasing burden on the people and also assumes that there could be power struggles.
8:23 a.m .: Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov warned of an attack on Poland via Telegram. “The issue of Ukraine is already closed. I’m more interested in Poland,” he said, “should there be an order, we’ll show that we’re ready in six seconds.”
Kadyrov, also known as “Putin’s bloodhound”, claims to have supported the Russian army in Ukraine with his units since the beginning of the war. His men are considered particularly brutal. However, it is unclear whether and how Kadyrov is really involved in the Russian attacks.
7.30 a.m .: According to British military intelligence, the Russian Air Force is partly responsible for some tactical errors and failures. For example, the attempt to take Kyiv via the military airport in Hostomel or the recent defeat on the Siverski River.
“The failures demonstrate strategic mismanagement and Russia’s failure to ensure air superiority,” Thursday’s Intelligence Update said.
10:49 p.m .: In the embattled city of Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine, the local police buried at least 150 people in a mass grave. This was announced by the governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Hajday, on his Telegram channel on Wednesday. In an emergency, the police have to take on many tasks, including those of undertakers, he wrote.
Victims of the Russian shelling were buried in the grave, as well as people who died of natural causes. Video showed the bodies being thrown into a pit in white bags, each labeled with their name. After the war, the dead should be properly buried, the governor promised.
Hajdaj said that 95 percent of the eastern Ukrainian administrative region of Luhansk was occupied by Russian troops. The situation is “extremely bad”. The cities of Sievjerodonzek and Lysychansk, which used to have 100,000 inhabitants each, are still in Ukrainian hands, but have been under heavy fire for days. Hajdaj said there were only about 40,000 civilians left in the region, and hardly anyone wanted to leave.
8:42 p.m .: According to the Kiev general staff, the heavy Russian shelling of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievjerodonetsk continued throughout Wednesday. The Ukrainian military leadership said the city and nearby towns would be attacked with artillery and from the air.
Sieverodonetsk and neighboring Lysychansk are the last major cities still held by Ukrainian troops in the Luhansk Oblast. Russia wants to completely conquer the area in order to add it to the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic. Moscow had recognized this as an independent state a few days before the attack on Ukraine – just like the People’s Republic of Donetsk.
The Ukrainian General Staff also reported attacks on the villages of Berestove, Lypove and Nyrkove. These are behind the Ukrainian defenders on the strategically important road to Bakhmut. It was said that the attacks had been repelled. However, the information was initially not verifiable. Foreign observers fear several Ukrainian brigades could be encircled in Sieverodonetsk.
“In some directions, the Russian groups undoubtedly have tactical successes, that’s basically no secret,” Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motusianyk said in Kyiv. But it is not correct to speak of a Ukrainian withdrawal. The Ukrainian army is trying to to improve their position and then attack again.” There are many settlements in the area that go from hand to hand. The situation is very dynamic.”
3:34 p.m .: In a simplified procedure, the residents of the Zaporizhia and Cherson regions in southern Ukraine should be able to apply for Russian passports. Russian head of state Vladimir Putin signed a corresponding decree on Wednesday. The pro-Russian officials newly appointed in the areas have already expressed their wish for the regions to be annexed to Russia.
Applicants do not have to have lived in Russia, prove sufficient financial means or pass a Russian language test.
A similar presidential decree has also applied to residents of the separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine since 2019. Hundreds of thousands of residents of these regions have already received Russian passports.
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 withdrew 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 local 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.
You can read more reports on the Ukraine conflict on the following pages.