The situation on the frontline over the past day has not changed much. After the statement of Yevgeny Prigozhin [Russian oligarch, the confidant of Vladimir Putin and owner of the Wagner Group] that Wagner Group fighters captured Klishchiivka, there was no visual confirmation, however, the same information has been also reported by the Territorial Defense HQ of the “DPR”.
Over the past day, Russian forces carried out a record number of 224 strikes on the Zaporizhzhia region; 21 settlements were hit, and dozens of civilian objects were destroyed.
Reportedly, a Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery system was also placed 10 km from Novo-Ogaryovo (not far from the residence of Russian President Vladimir Putin) in addition to those installed on the roof of the Russian Ministry of Defense building on Frunzenskaya Embankment and an administrative building in Teterinsky Lane near the Kremlin.
As we approach another Ukrainian Defense Contact Group meeting at the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany, let us state again that it is the volume and stability of supplies that have the greatest influence on the situation, not the latest high-tech weapons sent in small quantities.
Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal reported on his social networks that a conference on the restoration of Ukraine would be held in London in June.
11 countries — Estonia, the UK, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Denmark, Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Spain — have joined the so-called Tallinn Pledge. In this commitment, the allied countries of Ukraine issued a public statement that the level of combat power required by Ukraine can only be achieved “by combinations of main battle tank squadrons, beneath air and missile defense, operating alongside divisional artillery groups, and further deep precision fires enabling targeting of Russian logistics and command nodes in occupied territory”. Therefore, the participating countries “commit to collectively pursuing the delivery of an unprecedented set of donations including main battle tanks, heavy artillery, air defense, ammunition, and infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine’s defense”.
- Denmark will continue to train Ukrainian soldiers. It has already supplied or financed 600 million euros worth of military aid to Ukraine and plans to give Ukraine 19 French-made Caesar self-propelled howitzers.
- The Czech Republic will expand its production capacity to cover Ukraine's needs more quickly, especially concerning large-caliber ammunition, howitzers, and armored vehicles. It is also pledging to continue servicing vehicles already supplied to Ukraine.
- Estonia will transfer dozens of FH-70 155mm, and D-30 122mm howitzers, 1,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition, hundreds of Carl Gustav M2 anti-tank grenade launchers, and will train hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers.
- Latvia will provide additional Stinger man-portable air defense systems (and/or missiles for them, sources differ — CIT), two Mil Mi-17 helicopters, dozens of machine guns with ammunition, several dozen drones, spare parts for M109 howitzers, and training for about two thousand Ukrainian soldiers.
- Lithuania will supply dozens of Bofors L70 automatic guns with tens of thousands of ammunition, two Mil Mi-8 helicopters and will also allocate 40 million euros for procurement in support of the AFU (including anti-drone systems, optical devices, thermo-visual devices, and drones). In addition, another 2 million euros will be donated to the UK International Fund to finance projects for the purchase of artillery systems, ammunition, and armored combat vehicles.
- Poland will provide Ukraine with Soviet-built AZP S-60 anti-aircraft guns with 70,000 pieces of ammunition. Poland has already donated 42 IFVs and provided training for two mechanized battalions. In addition, Poland will continue to provide KRAB self-propelled howitzers and various types of ammunition as well as medical and engineering training to Ukrainian soldiers. Poland is also willing to donate Leopard 2 tanks with 1,000 pieces of ammunition, after which it will form a coalition of Leopard 2 tanks donors.
- Slovakia will continue to expand the production of howitzers, ammunition and various equipment, as well as train Ukrainian soldiers.
- The UK will donate Challenger 2 tanks, armored recovery and repair vehicles, AS90 self-propelled guns, hundreds of other armored vehicles, dozens of UAVs to support artillery, 100,000 artillery rounds, hundreds of high-precision missiles including GMLRS rockets, Starstreak air defense missiles, medium-range air defense missiles, 600 Brimstone anti-tank munitions, spare parts for the repair and modernization of Ukrainian tanks and IFVs. In 2023, the UK will provide training for 20,000 Ukrainian servicemen. In addition, the UK is coordinating the International Fund for Ukraine which has already raised about £600 million.
Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh stated that the United States does not see the point in providing M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine due to difficulties with their maintenance.
The German Bundestag failed to hold a vote on tank supplies to Ukraine. The CDU/CSU bloc, which is in opposition, proposed to allow the supply of Leopard 1 tanks and prepare for the supply of Leopard 2 tanks. Nonetheless, the ruling coalition insisted on the issue being discussed in relevant committees.
The Minister of Defense of the Netherlands says that the country is open to paying for Leopard tanks to be sent to Ukraine.
Finland announced an additional military aid package to Ukraine worth more than 400 million euros. The Ministry of Defense reports that it will include heavy artillery and munitions, but will not include Leopard tanks. The position of Finland regarding the supply of these tanks depends on Germany’s decision.
France's decision regarding the supply of Leclerc tanks has not yet been announced. By the combination of features, the Leclerc is recognized as being the best NATO tank by numerous experts, not least because it is the most modern one (the initial production of the Leclerc started in 1991).
Sweden promised to transfer 12 Archer self-propelled guns and at least 50 CV90 infantry fighting vehicles armed with a Bofors 40mm L70 automatic gun to Ukraine.
The US has announced a new military aid package. Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDBs), unfortunately, were not included in it. The package consists of:
- Additional munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS);
- Eight Avenger air defense systems;
- 59 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles with 590 TOW anti-tank missiles and 295,000 rounds of 25mm ammunition;
- 90 Stryker armored personnel carriers with 20 mine rollers;
- 53 MRAP vehicles;
- 350 HMMWVs;
- 20,000 155mm artillery rounds;
- Approximately 600 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds (most likely Excaliburs);
- 95,000 105mm artillery rounds;
- Approximately 12,000 120mm mortar rounds;
- Additional ammunition for HIMARS MLRS;
- 12 ammunition support vehicles;
- 6 command post vehicles;
- 22 tactical vehicles to tow weapons;
- HARM anti-radiation missiles;
- Approximately 2,000 anti-armor missiles (ATGMs for anti-tank systems — CIT);
- Over 3,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition;
- Demolition equipment for obstacle clearing;
- Claymore anti-personnel munitions;
- Night-vision devices;
- Various spare parts.
The New York Times reported that US military officials will conduct command-and-staff exercises with their Ukrainian colleagues this week to work on a potential Ukrainian counteroffensive on the Zaporizhzhia axis and the possible strikes against Russian targets in Crimea. The US brass still believes there is no military solution to liberating Crimea at this point, but Russia should see that its military bases and logistics in Crimea are now under threat. This will strengthen Ukraine's position in potential negotiations with Russia.
According to the head of the US Department of Justice KleptoCapture task force [on the identification and seizure of Russian assets subject to US sanctions], Andrew Adams, the United States plans to begin transferring a part of the frozen Russian assets to Ukraine in the near future.
We believe that the announced deliveries of military vehicles are not enough. Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi had said that in order to launch a large-scale counteroffensive, Ukraine needed, among other things, 300 tanks and 600 infantry fighting vehicles. At the moment, the shipment of only 14 Challenger 2 tanks, as well as a number of T-72 tanks being modernized in the Czech Republic, have been announced. In general, there is a feeling that the current shipments are more likely to make up for losses and maintain current operational capacity. In addition, much of what has been announced will not be supplied immediately but only in a few months. Likely tomorrow, after the end of the Ramstein conference, we will be able to sum up the results and understand the significance of the announced aid and the impact it may have on the course of the war.
A video from a military unit located near Samara has been published. It shows a dispute between mobilized soldiers and the head of the medical service Lieutenant Colonel Pavel Kuliyev. The mobilized complain that the wounded soldiers are not examined by a military medical commission after the treatment but are immediately sent back to the “special military operation” zone, regardless of their state of health.
The Fighterbomber Telegram channel, which is close to the Russian military aviation, writes about a strange situation in which former convicts return home after 6 months with a pardon, money and medals, while mobilized and contract soldiers are not discharged or rotated.
Tehran, despite excellent relations with Moscow, does not recognize the accession of new regions to Russia.
Georgian Dream, the ruling party of Georgia, announced its intention to make it illegal for Georgian citizens to participate in the conflict in Ukraine (regardless of which side they are fighting on). Some observers link this initiative with a recent statement by Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov, who expressed a desire to restore direct flights between Russia and Georgia (it was suspended at the initiative of the Russian side and is associated with journalist Giorgi Gabunia, who insulted Putin on the air). As far as we know, among the foreign formations fighting on the side of Ukraine, the Georgian Legion suffered the biggest losses.