May 2, 2023

Sitrep for May 1–2 (as of 08:30 a.m)

On May 1, Russia's Aerospace Forces dropped two glide bombs on the village of Lizunivka, Chernihiv region (about 19 km from the border with Russia). Pro-Russian Telegram channels claim that the bombs were dropped on an idle school (which could potentially be used by the military). However, Ukraine's Operational Command North reported one killed child and two wounded adults.

On May 1, a freight train carrying petroleum products and lumber, formed in Belarus, derailed in the Unechsky district of the Bryansk region. The derailed locomotive caught fire, and fuel leaked from the first few cars. No casualties were reported. We believe the restoration of the interrupted railway communication with Gomel should not take much time.

Besides, on May 1, a power line was blown up in the Susaninskoe settlement of the Gatchinsky district of the Leningrad region. One power pylon fell, explosives were found near another one, and those were later defused. There is still no information about the purpose of the sabotage.

RIA Novosti [Russian state-owned news agency] published a report from Paraskoviivka (a settlement between Bakhmut and Soledar), where an underground ammunition and weapons depot, which has come under the control of the Wagner Group, is located. The mercenaries showed a large number of small arms and ammunition for them, as well as a repair shop, which was used as early as the end of spring 2022. It is noted that the AFU managed to take out most of the modern weapons from there.

Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the US National Security Council John Kirby disclosed estimates of Russian losses in the Bakhmut area over the past five months (a correction was later published that those figure account for all of Russia's losses across Ukraine, not just in Bakhmut since December 2022) at a briefing at the White House. According to US intelligence agencies, the total losses amounted to approximately 100,000 people, including 20,000 KIAs, about half of which were Wagner Group mercenaries. He declined to comment on the losses of the AFU though.

Details have emerged about the explosion in Pavlohrad that we reported on yesterday. It seems that our statement about secondary detonation sounds was hasty (this impression was created due to the echo from the explosion). The video shows burning fragments of composite solid propellant scattering, and the visual image is very similar to that of artillery ammunition detonating when a depot is blown up. Such a detonation of solid propellant is an extremely rare occurrence.

At the moment, the location of the explosion has been geolocated, and it has been established that the strike was carried out on the Pavlohrad Chemical Plant, where unutilized stages of ballistic missiles were stored. These stages were produced in the 1980s and were either taken out of service or not put into service by the AFU.

A video has surfaced showing a Russian T-90M tank that appears to have been destroyed by an anti-tank mine in the village of Dibrova, located on the frontline of the Kreminna direction, Luhansk region.

We noticed that the footage reveals concrete barriers placed within the residential area, indicating the preparation of a defensive line here.

General of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Dmytro Marchenko published a photo of a makeshift drone propelled by a combustion engine. According to him, the Russian side launches such drones at night to trigger an air raid alert and divert Ukrainian air defense to false targets (during flight, they make a sound similar to Shahed drones).

Another video has appeared showcasing why the Ukrainian counteroffensive hasn’t yet started. It shows a Ukrainian BAT-2 armored tracklayer trying to pull out an BTR-4 armored personnel carrier stuck in the mud.

The Ukraine Weapons Tracker highlighted the photographs of a Ukrainian Su-25 attack aircraft and Zuni unguided rockets next to it. The shipments of 4,000 of such rockets were announced in Jan. 2023. Zuni has a longer (about 8 km) target range than the similar Soviet-made S-13 unguided rocket (about 3 km). But the main advantage of Zuni is that it is produced in the USA, which means that the rockets can be manufactured and supplied to Ukraine, while the S-13s are produced almost exclusively in Russia, and their available stocks in other countries are limited.

Last week we reported about Corrado Zunino, Italian correspondent for La Repubblica, who was wounded near the Antonivskyi bridge in Kherson, and a Ukrainian citizen accompanying him who was killed. La Repubblica stated that they did not get under artillery or mortar fire, but were victims of an ambush by Russian snipers. Reportedly, Corrado was hit four times — photographs of a bulletproof vest plate with hit marks were published.

In our opinion, these marks are not very similar to bullet marks (the bullets themselves are not shown). In addition, it turns out that the sniper fired from the other side of the Dnipro River from a distance of more than one and a half kilometers. It's hard to believe four precise hits from such a long distance.

Britain's intelligence reports that Russia has built one of the world's largest systems of defensive fortifications. We believe that a significant part of them are located in the Kursk, Belgorod and Bryansk regions, where a mechanized offensive by Ukrainian troops should not be expected. Also, we do not expect that fortifications in Crimea will be tested this year. In the Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk directions, significant defensive lines have been built, which will complicate the advance of Ukrainian troops.