May 30, 2023

Sitrep for May 29–30 (as of 8:30 a.m.)

Strikes on Ukrainian and Russian Territory

Ukraine was attacked by Shahed-136/131 loitering munitions on the night of May 30. According to reports, the two top floors of a residential building in Kyiv’s Holosiivskyi district were destroyed with one person killed and three others injured, by falling debris from either a drone or a surface-to-air missile. Civilian vehicles parked near the building were also damaged. Falling debris also started a house fire in Kyiv’s Darnytskyi district.

Based on the information available to us, we can report that this attack only involved unmanned aerial vehicles. It was a massive attack, carried out in several waves coming from different directions, the raid sirens were on for almost three hours. Reports indicate that 20 drones were shot down near Kyiv.

In the early hours of May 30, Moscow and its surroundings were attacked by UAVs. A drone hit the upper (presumably service) floor of a multi-story building in New Moscow, probably because it was flying at an extremely low altitude. The debris from the drone was discovered by local residents near the building.

Drones also struck buildings on Leninsky Prospekt and Profsoyunznaya Street in Moscow (in both cases, the drones flew into apartments without exploding). They were equipped with Soviet-made KZ-6 shaped charge warheads (similar to those carried by Russian Lancet-3 drones).

Some of the drones fell in the areas of Barvikha, Novaya Riga, Rublyovka, Krasnogorsk, Istra and Odintsovo. The drones involved in this attack featured a “canard” aerodynamic design, which had already been observed during the May 26 attack on Krasnodar. Preliminary information suggests that a total of 25 drones were launched (20 of which were successfully shot down). Several buildings were damaged in the attack (shattered windows and damaged balconies).

According to many experts, such UAVs are capable of covering a considerable distance (hundreds of kilometers), and flying at ultra-low altitude they can bypass the entire air defense system near the Russian border.

We did not expect a massive air raid on Moscow, because in our opinion it hardly makes any sense from a military perspective. Such small drones cannot cause any significant damage, so such attacks can only demonstrate the seriousness of Ukraine's intentions (in addition to intimidating civilians). We doubt this attack will result in transferring additional air defense systems to Moscow, since key points had already been protected even after the first attacks, and Moscow cannot be completely defended against drone attacks (the attitude of the Russian authorities towards protecting civilians can be seen in their reaction to strikes on border regions of Russia).

It seems to us, a much greater effect from a military standpoint could have been achieved by a massive drone attack on military facilities in the border regions of Russia. Let us note that the Ukrainian side may also be trying to deplete Russian stocks of anti-aircraft missiles with drone raids.

On May 29, the territory of Ukraine was attacked by both loitering munitions and cruise missiles. The Ukrainian Air Force reported intercepting 37 Kh-101/555 cruise missiles, 29 Shahed-136/131 loitering munitions and one reconnaissance drone, as well as 11 9K720 Iskander ballistic missiles. As a result of the work of a Patriot air defense system in Kyiv, the tail of one of its missiles fell on the road, almost hitting a minibus (fortunately, there were no casualties). The photograph shows a part of a Patriot PAC-3 missile capable of intercepting Russian 9K720 Iskander and Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missiles.

New claims have surfaced in pro-Russian Telegram channels that a Patriot system was hit during the attack on May 29, albeit without any evidence at this point.

On May 29, Russian forces dropped a bomb on a gas station in Toretsk, Bakhmut district of the Donetsk region, resulting in two persons killed and eight others wounded (according to updated information, two people were killed and nine wounded as a result of the impact of two air-dropped bombs). Toretsk may have been targeted due to its location between Avdiivka and Bakhmut and its potential to serve as a staging area for Ukrainian forces prior to the counteroffensive.

Additionally, on May 29, the Kharkiv region came under attack. As a result of missile strikes on residential buildings, seven people were wounded.

Furthermore, on May 29, the Dnipropetrovsk region was attacked by Russian forces: one person was killed, and nine others were injured.

During the night of May 29, a military airfield in the Khmelnytskyi region was hit, reportedly resulting in five aircraft being put out of commission. Previously, the 7th Tactical Aviation Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, equipped with Sukhoi Su-24 bombers, was based in the Khmelnytskyi region. It is known that these aircraft have recently been actively using Storm Shadow cruise missiles. We assume that the 7th Brigade has likely been relocated to another location, while the affected aircraft, reportedly either disabled (or destroyed, according to other sources), were likely already in a non-operational state. Additionally, the strike caused a fire in fuel and lubricant supplies, and the runway was damaged. Yuriy Ihnat, spokesman of the Air Force Command of the AFU, stated that the damage was not very serious, and repair work was underway.

We have previously addressed the issue of relocating residents from the border regions of Russia multiple times. However, Vyacheslav Gladkov, Governor of the Belgorod region, suggested in response to a journalist's question about how to protect people from attacks, that the Kharkiv region should be annexed to the Belgorod region.

The Situation on the Frontline

Ukraine's Operational Command East spokesman Serhiy Cherevaty confirms that a rotation of Russian forces has begun in Bakhmut: units of paratroopers and motorized riflemen are gradually replacing Wagner Group mercenaries. This is also confirmed by photos from RIA Novosti [Russian state-owned news agency].

Despite the great number of attacks, there is a standstill on the frontline: no significant combat actions are taking place in Bakhmut or Avdiivka. The only area showing any activity is in the vicinity of Velyka Novosilka, west of Vuhledear. On May 29, Russian forces struck a bridge near the village of Zolota Niva. This bridge is important as it connects Zolota Niva with the village of Shakhtarske to the north, thus cutting off one of the supply routes for Ukrainian forces in the Vuhledar direction.

Some pro-Russian Telegram channels decided to cover the video of a strike by Kornet ATGM on an armored multi-purpose tractor carrying a big number of Ukrainian troops sitting inside and mounted outside. Apparently, the video was shot some time ago, as there is too little greenery seen for late May. However, the video is important, since it demonstrates the Ukrainian side’s lack of tracked armored vehicles and infantry fighting vehicles. Infantry transport vehicles are at least as essential as F-16 jets, which everybody talks about these days. Notably, Ukraine needs tracked vehicles specifically, as wheeled vehicles, not being that scarce, are poorly suited to driving on soft soil.

Mobilization Update

In yesterday's sitrep, we discussed a video with killed mobilized soldiers from the Orenburg region. One of our viewers has pointed out that the video was shot not in a building or barracks but under a bridge somewhere in the combat zone.

Also, there have been new developments in the story of mobilized soldiers from Khakassia [Russia’s constituent Republic], the Altai and Kemerovo regions. As a reminder, their families recorded a video address, in which they told that their relatives had been transferred under the command of the Veterany [Veterans] volunteer unit (it is called a brigade in the video, but in the website, it is described as the 60th Separate Motorized Rifle Battalion), they were not allowed to contact their families, and were used as assault infantry in the Bakhmut direction, where they were getting killed en masse. A video response from the Veterany unit has appeared, where they, first, emphasize they are not a PMC but a “brigade of the Russian Ministry of Defense” and, second, confirm their receipt of mobilized soldiers, who are now at the frontline with no means of communication (for security reasons) and are getting killed in action.

Volunteers from Irkutsk complain that they receive many orders from the Ministry of Defense for camouflage nets. However, there are not enough weavers for the job, since the summer cottage season began and all volunteers left.

During the strike on Dnipro city on May 22, one of the missiles hit the fire station and destroyed about two dozen fire trucks. A Norwegian aid fund for Ukraine, which supplies rescue vehicles, announced that the next batch of aid arriving to Ukraine in June will include vehicles specifically for Dnipro.

The Oryx project has visually confirmed the loss of more than 2000 tanks since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. This is a very impressive number.