Day 443 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Kyiv forces advance to Soledar according to Russia

Ukraine | May 12, 2023, Friday // 10:52|  views

Day 443 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

  • Ukraine advances to Soledar according to Russia, for the USA the counter-offensive is close
  • The Aidar battalion defeated the Russians near the village of Ivanivske near Bakhmut
  • The EU is planning an internet cable across the Black Sea to reduce its dependence on Russia
  • The Baltic States may accelerate their disconnection from the Russian electricity grid
  • Zelensky signed the judicial reform - a condition for negotiations with the EU
  • Russia has denied reports of Ukrainian breakthroughs on the front lines
  • Zelensky reported excellent results in the destruction of the Russian occupiers
  • Ukraine said its forces had advanced 2 km in the Bakhmut area
  • American Abrams tanks, intended for training Ukrainian forces, have arrived in Germany ahead of schedule
  • EU countries agreed on tougher sanctions against Russia
  • A Russian woman who left a note on the grave of Putin's parents received a suspended sentence

Ukraine advances to Soledar according to Russia, for the USA the counter-offensive is close

The Ukrainian army has already begun preparatory operations for the long-awaited counteroffensive in Russian-controlled territories.

This was reported to CNN by high-ranking sources - a representative of the Pentagon and a Western representative.

Interlocutors on American television talk about "shaping" (preparatory) operations: strikes on targets such as ammunition and weapons depots, command posts, artillery systems and others.

This is a standard tactic before major operations, CNN continues, despite disagreements among experts about whether a large-scale counteroffensive at all or a few localized ones can be expected. It is recalled that there were such battlefield preparation operations before the previous counteroffensive, in the late summer and early autumn of 2022. If indeed they precede the new operations, the preparatory activities may take days.

Kyiv has been talking about a counteroffensive expected this spring for months, but yesterday President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that it was being delayed: a little more time was needed.

Nevertheless, military bloggers on Telegram were circulating yesterday that the counteroffensive may have already begun. There was talk of operations in the area of Soledar, not far from Bakhmut (which is the longest battle since the beginning of the war), and of encircling Russian forces around Bakhmut itself.

Soledar was captured by the forces of the private military company Wagner and the Russian military at the beginning of the year.

This morning, although the Russian authorities denied a breakthrough in the defenses at some places on the front, the Ministry of Defense said that there was still a Ukrainian advance towards Soledar, along the entire line of contact of the sides with a length of more than 95 km. For a day, according to this information in the institution's briefing given by its representative Igor Konashenkov, 26 attacks were launched, involving over 1,000 military personnel, up to 40 tanks and other equipment.

Ukraine denies launching the counteroffensive.

Prigozhin invited Shoigu to Bakhmut

Meanwhile, Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin - who has been giving mixed signals about the situation at the front and the group's intention to withdraw in recent weeks - has invited Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to the Bakhmut front.

According to Prigozhin, who has been in dispute with the ministry for months, the invitation was sent with the idea that Shoigu would assess the situation independently: "in view of the complex operational situation, and also your many years of experience in conducting combat operations".

In a letter published by Prigozhin's press service to Shoigu, his thesis that "Wagner" controls 95% of Bakhmut and continues the offensive, but on the flanks, where there are divisions of the Russian armed forces (and not the private army), Ukraine leads "a number of successful counterattacks". He also previously shared another disputed claim in the Russian online space: that units of the Russian army near Bakhmut were abandoning their positions.

The Aidar battalion defeated the Russians near the village of Ivanivske near Bakhmut

On May 11, in the Donetsk region, Ukrainian fighters from the "Aidar" battalion recaptured the territories near the village of Ivanivske near Bakhmut from the Russian invaders.

This was announced by the 24th separate assault battalion "Aidar" on Telegram.

"During heavy battles on May 11, the soldiers of the 24th separate assault battalion 'Aidar' together with other units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces recaptured from the enemy the territories south of the village of Ivanivske," the announcement reads.

During the fighting, significant losses were inflicted on the enemy. The Russian occupiers lost units of the 4th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade and 374th Separate Rifle Battalion of the Armed Forces of Russia, and also abandoned the positions occupied by these units, the stormtroopers said.

According to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the Russians continue to actively attack both in Bakhmut itself and in its surroundings. The attacks are also being carried out in the direction of the village of Stupochky from a bridgehead that is about to be cut off by the Ukrainian armed forces.

The EU is planning an internet cable across the Black Sea to reduce its dependence on Russia

The European Union is planning an undersea internet cable to improve connectivity with Georgia and reduce reliance on links passing through Russia, amid growing concerns about the vulnerability of infrastructure carrying global data, the Financial Times reports.

The EUR 45 million cable will connect EU member states with the Caucasus through international waters in the Black Sea, stretching 1,100 km. The project aims to reduce "the region's dependence on terrestrial fiber optic connectivity passing through Russia," according to a European Commission document.

The EU and Georgia jointly identified the need for a Black Sea Internet cable in 2021 to improve Georgia's digital connectivity. But the war in Ukraine has given the project a boost, given the need to avoid dependence on "connections that are not secure or stable," said a person familiar with the proposal.

Internet cables are closely monitored due to global espionage concerns, as landlines and stations where submarine cables emerge are considered vulnerable to interception by governments, hackers and thieves.

Concerns about deliberate sabotage of undersea cables and other maritime infrastructure also grew after several explosions along the Nord Stream gas pipelines last September, which media reports recently linked to Russian ships. Two cables off the coast of Norway were cut in 2021 and 2022, raising fears of malicious attacks.

Reinhard Bütikofer, an MEP and head of the European Parliament's delegation to China, said Russia had signaled its willingness to target sensitive infrastructure.

"From a Russian perspective, if they want to damage the European Union, targeting infrastructure projects would be an option for a regime that does not respect international law in any way," he said.

About 99 percent of intercontinental Internet traffic — data, messages, e-mails and video calls — is transmitted through more than 400 active undersea cables 1.4 million kilometers long. Underground cables on land also carry data internationally. Russia is one of the many routes through which data packets travel between Asia and Europe, and is an integral part of connectivity in parts of Asia and the Caucasus, which has raised concerns among some politicians about over-reliance.

David McAllister, MEP and chairman of the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee, said the Black Sea cable was a "flagship project" and a regional priority for the bloc, given that "without (internet) cables there would be neither video conferencing nor research cooperation, nor Netflix and the Russians know this too".

Questions remain about the project's feasibility and timeline, especially since Russia continued to use its warships in the Black Sea to fire missiles at Ukraine and blockade ports last year.

Global tensions over physical infrastructure are not limited to concerns about Russia. China has begun blocking projects to lay and maintain undersea internet cables across the South China Sea as Beijing seeks to assert more control over the infrastructure. Industry insiders say several countries have begun to strengthen their territorial waters.

The Black Sea Cable project is part of the European Commission's Global Gateway initiative. It aims to offer developing countries an alternative to Beijing's sweeping strategic funding of physical and digital infrastructure around the world, known respectively as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Digital Silk Road Initiative. The European Investment Bank has offered a €20 million grant for the Black Sea Cable project.

A commission spokesman said improving information links with the EU was a "top priority" for Georgia and the bloc's investment in the cable project was "in line with the objectives of the Global Gateway strategy".

The project is currently at the stage of feasibility assessment and no application procedure is open.

Vodafone is also exploring the possibility of developing a cable route across the Black Sea, according to two people briefed on the plan. The project, called Kardessa, will connect Ukraine with Bulgaria, Turkey and Georgia and then continue overland to Armenia, Kazakhstan and on to Asia.

"You need as many routes as possible at key points of vulnerability," said a person familiar with the project, on which Vodafone is currently consulting potential suppliers. "Russia is like this because of the political situation at the moment." Vodafone declined to comment.

Some important Internet arteries pass through Russia. For example, the so-called Dream cable with a length of 8,700 km passes through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and China and is majority owned by the Russian operator MegaFon. Another, called Europe - Russia - Asia, sends data between Hong Kong and Frankfurt via Russia in about 156 milliseconds.

An underwater communication cable in the Black Sea (Caucasus Cable System) already connects Poti, Georgia, with Balchik, Bulgaria, a distance of 1,182 km.

The Baltic States may accelerate their disconnection from the Russian electricity grid

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are considering accelerating their plan to disconnect the Baltic region's electricity supply from the Russian grid, Reuters reported.

The three countries are part of the Soviet-era BRELL chain along with Russia and Belarus and rely on Russian operators to control frequencies and balance supply and demand.

They agreed in 2018 to separate from BRELL and join the EU electricity grid by the end of 2025 via a connection with Poland. But Russia's invasion of Ukraine is forcing a rethink.

"We all agree that we need to act as quickly as possible on a technical level," Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins told a joint news conference in Tallinn with his Estonian and Lithuanian counterparts.

"There is certainly political will and determination on the part of all of us," he added.

The grid operators of the three Baltic states and Poland's Energy Institute must prepare a report on the matter by June, after which a new date will be considered.

Lithuania no longer buys electricity from Russia and successfully tested its ability to disconnect from the Russian grid in April. It said it would decide by August 6, after looking at studies, whether to leave BRELL unilaterally.

"Unfortunately, we have direct experience of how Russia uses energy as a weapon," Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said. "We cannot ignore even the slightest possibility that Russia could exploit our dependence on its power grids at the most critical moment," Simonyte added.

Last June, Reuters reported that European network operators were ready to implement a long-term plan to include the Baltic states in the European Union system at short notice in case Moscow excluded them.

Zelensky signed the judicial reform - a condition for negotiations with the EU

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that he has approved a plan to reform the criminal and law enforcement system, a key element in plans to secure rapid membership in the European Union.

Kyiv applied to join the EU just weeks after Russia's war began and was granted candidate status last June. The Ukrainian government hopes to receive a date from the EU for the start of membership negotiations at the end of the year.

The EU sees the end of endemic corruption, the improvement of legislation and the work of the judicial system as key elements for anchoring Ukraine in Western institutions, writes "Reuters".

"We need to ensure a system that guarantees justice and the rule of law in our country, compatible with our goal of rapid accession to the EU," Zelensky said in his late night video address on Thursday.

The changes, he said, will be part of a new social contract that ensures people feel safe and secure.

"Trust in the state is based on trust in those who act in the name of the state. The key to this is the law enforcement authority and the prosecutor's office, as well as everyone who works in the state apparatus," the president said.

Zelensky wants Ukraine's European integration process to be accelerated, with membership negotiations starting this year. He said that work on the new document will continue until 2027.

The Zelensky administration has already changed legislation and introduced measures to support key institutions, including its anti-corruption bureau and the judiciary, as part of efforts to secure funding from institutions such as the International Monetary Fund.

Russia has denied reports of Ukrainian breakthroughs on the front lines

Russia's Defense Ministry denied reports that Ukrainian forces had breached various front-line locations and stressed that the military situation was under control.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that a plan to reform Ukraine's criminal and law enforcement system had been approved.

Moscow reacted after Russian military bloggers reported on Telegram a Ukrainian advance north and south of Bakhmut, with some suggesting a long-awaited counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces had begun.

According to the department, the situation in the area of the so-called a “special military operation”, as Russia defines the war, is under control.

Yesterday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country needed more time to launch a counteroffensive in Russian-occupied territories as the army awaited the delivery of promised military aid.

Last night, Russian troops continued their attacks in and around the city of Bakhmut with the support of fighter jets, the Ukrainian command announced.

New Russian attacks were also reported in Marinka.

In total, about 30 attacks by Russian troops were registered in the eastern section of the front near Bakhmut, Marinka, Avdiivka and Lyman, the general staff report said.

Over the past 24 hours, Russian forces have launched six missile strikes on Sloviansk, Konstatinovka and Zaporizhzhia.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced a strategic plan to reform the country's law enforcement system. It includes fundamental changes to all law enforcement agencies until 2027:

"Put in plain language, we need to ensure a system of ensuring law and order that corresponds to our objectives of rapid accession to the EU. Trust within the state and trust in the state is built on trust in those who act on behalf of the state. The prosecutor's office and law enforcement bodies are key in this task," Zelensky said.

Zelensky reported excellent results in the destruction of the Russian occupiers

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) are pushing Russia's former "second army in the world" further down the ranking of military forces.

The head of state stated this during an evening address to Ukrainians. The President thanked the Ukrainian servicemen and units who, since the beginning of this week, have distinguished themselves with special merits in the defense of the state.

"Joint Strategic Group of Forces (JSGF) Khortytsa - 3rd and 5th Separate Assault Brigades and 28th Separate Mechanized Brigade, bearing the name Knights of the Winter March... Thank you all - to every soldier, sergeant and officer - for the extremely successful actions to destroy the occupiers. A very good result!", said the head of state.

"JSGF Tavria - the soldiers of the 44th separate artillery brigade named after Hetman Danylo Apostol, the 55th separate artillery brigade ‘Zaporozhska Sech’, our famous ‘fifty-ninth’ - the 59th separate motorized infantry brigade named after Yakov Gandzyuk and the 79th separate brigade... I thank all of you for the strength of the positions and the strength in the battles, for the inspiration for victory that you give to all of Ukraine with your shooting and bravery," added Zelensky.

"JSGF Odesa - I thank the fighters of the 406th separate artillery brigade named after General Alexey Almazov for the excellent results in the destruction of the enemy concentration facilities," the president stressed.

Zelensky also noted the artillery crews of the 63rd Separate Mechanized Brigade.

"The guys know how to destroy the enemy's equipment on the battlefield. Each of your accurate hits, our heroes, is a saved Ukrainian life. Thank you!" - said Zelensky.

In addition, the head of state said that the units of the National Guard of Ukraine have something to celebrate this week.

"In particular, the soldiers of the 1st and 14th operational brigades of the National Guard, who, together with all the defense and security forces of Ukraine, protect our country in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Thank you, guardsmen, of the National Guard, both for your steadfastness and the fact that thanks to your intelligence and artillery, the former ‘second world army’ is moving further down the list of military forces," Zelensky said.

Yesterday, the Ukrainian defenders liquidated another 750 Russian occupiers, announced the General Staff of the AFU. Thus, from the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine to the present, 197,670 Russian soldiers have filled the audience of Joseph Kobzon's heavenly concert.

Ukraine said its forces had advanced 2 km in the Bakhmut area

The Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) advanced 2 km in the Bakhmut region, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said, as quoted by the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN.

The enemy is spreading false information to justify its failure in the battle for Bakhmut”, the Ukrainian representative said.

"For a whole week, Bakhmut and the events related to it remained the leading topic on the Russian Telegram channels and in the media. The analysis of the information shows that for the enemy this city has a great importance of an almost sacral nature," Maliar pointed out.

According to the Ukrainian deputy minister, Russia is deliberately spreading false information about a shortage of weapons to justify its failures on the front.

Maliar noted that the week for Russia in the Bakhmut area was marked by four fundamental problems: the failure of its own offensive plans, the heavy loss of manpower, the advance of the AFU by 2 km near Bakhmut, and the fact that for the week the AFU did not retreat from a position of its own in Bakhmut.

According to the Ukrainian General Staff, Russian forces continue to actively attack both in Bakhmut itself and in its surroundings, notes UNIAN.

American Abrams tanks, intended for training Ukrainian forces, have arrived in Germany ahead of schedule

American Abrams tanks needed for the training of Ukrainian forces have arrived in Germany a little earlier than planned and are on their way to the Grafenwoehr military base, where the training will begin in two to three weeks, the Associated Press reported. , citing US officials.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations that the US had transferred "several tanks to the theater" so that the Ukrainians could begin training with them. He said when they complete the training, which is expected to last about 10 weeks, the Abrams tanks currently being manufactured for Ukrainian forces will be ready.

The US official said 31 M1A1 Abrams tanks needed for the training arrived at the port in Bremerhaven, Germany last weekend and will arrive at the base by early next week. They will arrive in Grafenwoehr several weeks ahead of schedule, which was outlined when military leaders from across Europe and elsewhere met in Germany last month to discuss Ukraine's needs for the war against Russia.

The tanks that the US is providing to Ukraine are being manufactured to the specifications of its military and will be delivered to Ukraine by early fall, just as the service members complete their training, the AP said.

EU countries agreed on tougher sanctions against Russia

All EU countries have agreed to tougher energy sanctions against Russia, “Politico” reported, citing sources. Even those countries that "benefited from undeclared imports of Russian oil" did not speak out against this decision, the media says.

An EU diplomat told the publication that the 11th package of sanctions differs from previous ones in that it "focuses on circumvention and will have a different impact", so the countries are taking their time and considering all the proposals. Earlier, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said his country would veto any EU sanctions against Russia's nuclear power sector on the grounds that it would change domestic energy prices and boost inflation.

On May 9, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, named the purpose of the 11th package of sanctions against the Russian Federation to counteract the circumvention of existing restrictive measures.

A Russian woman who left a note on the grave of Putin's parents received a suspended sentence

A Russian court last night handed down a two-year suspended sentence to a woman from St. Petersburg who left a note on the grave of Vladimir Putin's parents, on which it was written that they "raised a freak and a murderer", the Associated Press reported, quoted by BTA.

The court found 60-year-old Irina Tsybaneva guilty of desecrating burial grounds motivated by political hatred. Her lawyer said she pleaded not guilty because she did not physically desecrate the grave and did not seek publicity for her action.

The note Tsybaneva left at the guarded grave on the eve of Putin's birthday in October read: "Parents of a maniac, take him with you. He causes so much pain and trouble. The whole world is praying for his death. Death to Putin.You raised a freak and a murderer.

Since Putin sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022, the government has begun cracking down on dissent in a way not seen since the Soviet Union.

In another case, a Russian government agency added actor Artur Smolyaninov and former adviser to the Ukrainian president Oleksii Arestovych to the list of "extremists and terrorists".

In an interview with the European edition of the independent Russian newspaper “Novaya Gazeta” published in January, Smolyaninov said that he would hypothetically participate in military action only on the side of Ukraine.

Oleksii Arestovych resigned after claiming on the Internet that the Russian missile that killed 45 people in the city of Dnipro had hit a residential building as a result of actions by Ukrainian air defenses.

Novinite is still the only Bulgarian media that publishes a summary of events and highlights related to the conflict, every single day. Our coverage began on day one - 24.02.2022 and will not stop until the war has concluded. Despite the pressure, our independent media will continue to provide its readers with accurate and up-to-date information. Thank you for your support! #stayinformed

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Tags: Russia, Zelensky, Ukraine, Bakhmut


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