Eastern Ukraine offensive

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Eastern Ukraine offensive
Part of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and the War in Donbas

Clockwise from top left:
Date24 February 2022 – present
(2 months, 3 weeks and 1 day)
Location
Status Ongoing
Territorial
changes
Russia and pro-Russian separatists control 80%–93% of Luhansk and claim 54% of Donetsk Oblast.[1][2]
Belligerents
 Russia
 Donetsk PR
 Luhansk PR
 Ukraine
Commanders and leaders
Aleksandr Dvornikov (Commander of Russian forces in Ukraine)[3][4]
Mikhail Mizintsev[5]
Andrei Sukhovetsky [6] (place of death disputed)
Adam Delimkhanov
Andrei Kolesnikov  (Ukrainian claim)[7]
Oleg Mityaev  (Ukrainian claim)[8]
Andrei Paliy [9]
Alexei Sharov [ja; pl; uk] [10]
Denis Mezhuev [11]
Ruslan Geremeyev[12]
Zamid Chalaev [ru; zh][13]
Andrei Simonov  (Ukrainian claim)[14]
Donetsk People's Republic Denis Pushilin[15]
Vladimir Zhoga [16]
Donetsk People's Republic Alexander Khodakovsky[17]
Donetsk People's Republic Timur Kurilkin[18]
Donetsk People's Republic Taras Gordienko [19]
Sergey Agranovich [20]
Mikhail Kishchik [21]
Valerii Zaluzhnyi (Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief)[22]
Anatoliy Shevchenko
Serhiy Haidai[23]
Denys Prokopenko[24]
Volodymyr Baranyuk (POW)[25]
Ukraine Valeriy Hudz [26]
Dzhemil Izmailov[27]
Pavlo Sbytov  [28]
Artem Murakhovskyi [29][30]
Serhiy Volyna [uk][31]
Svyatoslav Palamar[32]
Taras Bobanych [33]
Denis Schlega[34]
Dimitri Korbyankov (POW)[25]
"Vito"[35]
Units involved
See order of battle See order of battle
Strength
38,000+ soldiers (late March)[36][37][38]
50,000–62,000 soldiers (early April)[39]
10,000–20,000 mercenaries (per European officials, early April)[40][41][42]
300–500 Syrian and Libyan mercenaries (per ISW, early April)[43]

125,000 soldiers (in the entire eastern Ukraine)[44]

  • 40,000–50,000 (in Donbas, early April)[45]
Casualties and losses
  • Ukrainian claim:
  • 6,441-7,501+ soldiers killed[46]
  • 20–25 mercenaries killed[47]
  • Russian claim:
  • 5,150+ soldiers killed[48]
22,309+ civilians killed (Ukrainian claim)[49]
20,000–30,000 people deported[50] to Russia[51]

The Eastern Ukraine offensive is an ongoing theatre of operation in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine in the three Donbas provinces (oblasts) in Eastern Ukraine: Kharkiv Oblast, Luhansk Oblast and Donetsk Oblast.[52] The invasion is an escalation or intensification of the War in Donbas, which had been waged between Ukraine and Russian proxies since 2014. The Battle of Donbas is one of the major parts of this offensive and is considered the second strategic phase of the Russian invasion.[53]

Overview

Fighting has also taken place in Sievierodonetsk and Avdiivka. At the Siege of Mariupol, Russians forces from their self-styled Republic of Crimea are supported by irregular troops from the self-proclaimed breakaway state of the Donetsk People's Republic.[54][55]

On 18 April, Ukrainian authorities announced the beginning of the Battle of Donbas.[56]

Order of battle

Russia and pro-Russian separatists

 Russian Armed Forces
Emblem of the GRU.svg GRU
National Guard of Russia
Donetsk People's Republic DPR Armed Forces (DPR 1st Army Corps)[59]
Luhansk People's Republic Luhansk People's Militia (LPR 2nd Army Corps)[59]
Wagner Group[43]

Ukraine

 Ukrainian Armed Forces

National Guard of Ukraine

Right Sector[84]

Sheikh Mansur Battalion[a][85][86]
Irregular civilian volunteers (militia)

Timeline

February

25 February

On the morning of 25 February, Russian forces advanced from the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) towards Mariupol. They came up against Ukrainian forces in Pavilopil.[89] The Ukrainians were victorious, destroying at least 20 Russian tanks in the process,[90] in the evening the Russian Navy began an amphibious assault 70 kilometers (43 miles) from Mariupol, along the coast of the Sea of Azov.[91][92]

In Starobilsk, the Ukrainian Armed Forces reportedly destroyed a group of Russian soldiers attempting to cross the river Aidar during a battle.[93]

26 February

Starobilsk was reported to have been heavily damaged by Russian artillery barrages,[94] while Russian forces continued to bombard Mariupol with artillery throughout the day[95]

27 February

On the morning of 27 February, it was reported that a Russian tank column was quickly advancing towards Mariupol from the DPR, but the attack was prevented by Ukrainian forces. Six Russian soldiers were captured.[96]

Luhansk Oblast governor Serhiy Haidai stated that Stanytsia Luhanska and Shchastia were captured by Russian forces who had practically destroyed the settlements during their shelling. Donetsk Oblast governor Pavlo Kyrylenko also accused them of destroying Volnovakha.[97]

March

Week 1

1 March

On 1 March, Ukrainian forces began a counteroffensive toward Horlivka, which has been controlled by the DPR since late 2014.[98][99] Russian media claimed that the LPR captured 15 settlements in the Luhansk Oblast.[100]

2 March

A large Russian convoy of more than 60 vehicles entered Starobilsk on 2 March, but was stopped from advancing by protesting locals.[101] The Verkhovna Rada meanwhile stated that Russian shelling on Izyum killed eight people.[102]

Russian forces entered the town of Balakliia during the day.[103]

Separatist-held Donetsk had been under shelling for several days. Some neighborhoods had no electricity supply and there were burnt cars on the streets.[104]

Ukrainian official Oleksiy Arestovych stated that the Ukrainian forces went on the offensive for the first time during the war, advancing towards Horlivka.[105][106][107] Ihor Zhdanov later claimed that "there were reports" that a part of the city had been captured by Ukrainian forces.[108] According to Ukrainian reports, Ukraine's 95th Air Assault Brigade had begun attacking the city the previous day.[109] The Ukrainian Army stationed themselves at the city's outskirts.[110]

3 March
Ukrainian civilians are evacuated from Volnovakha in the Donetsk region

Ukrainian authorities stated on 3 March that 34 civilians were killed in Russian shelling in Mariupol in the past 24 hours.[111]

Russian forces entered Svatove during the day but were stopped by protesting locals.[112] The soldiers were later convinced by locals to withdraw from the town.[113] Forces of the Luhansk People's Republic and Russian troops meanwhile captured Novoaidar during the day.[114]

5 March

A ceasefire was declared in Volnovakha to allow civilians to evacuate, but was later scuttled with Ukrainian officials blaming it on Russian shelling continuing during the evacuation process. They added that about 400 civilians were still able to leave the city. Russian President Vladimir Putin however blamed Ukrainian forces for the breakdown of the ceasefire agreement.[115]

Week 2

6 March
Russian and LPR units convene in Novoaidar, March 2022

A second attempt to evacuate civilians from Mariupol was prevented as well, with both sides blaming each other.[116] Haidai stated that fighting was taking place on the outskirts of Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk and Rubizhne, while Popasna and Hirske were being continuously shelled. He added that Ukrainian forces had lost control of Svatove, Starobilsk and Novopskov, but they did not contain any significant presence of Russian troops.[117]

8 March

Ukrainian officials stated that 10 civilians were killed and eight wounded in shelling on Severodonetsk during the day.[118]

9 March

A building acting as a maternity ward and children's hospital in Mariupol was bombed by the Russian Air Force around 17:00, killing three civilians and wounding 17.[118]

10 March

The Ukrainian Defence Ministry claimed that Ukrainian forces were repelling Russian attacks in the areas of Donetsk, Slobozhanske and part of Tavrij.[119]

11 March

The Russian Defense Ministry stated that the forces of the DPR had captured Volnovakha.[120] It also claimed that they had advanced 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) and had further tightened the siege of Mariupol. Videos later posted on social media showed Russian forces in many neighborhoods of Volnovakha.[121] Haidai meanwhile stated that Russian forces had occupied 70% of Luhansk Oblast.[122]

12 March

The Associated Press independently confirmed that Volnovakha had been captured by pro-Russian separatists and much of it had been destroyed in the fighting.[123] On the same day, Ukrainian forces confirmed the death of Colonel Valery Hudz, the commander of the Ukrainian 24th Mechanized Brigade whilst fighting on the Luhansk frontline.[26]

Ukrainian officials accused Russia of using white phosphorus munitions on the town of Popasna, located in the Donetsk Oblast, during the night. Further in the south of the oblast, the Sviatohirsk Lavra monastery was bombed around 22:00, wounding 30 people and damaging the monastery.[124][125]

Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of Donetsk Oblast, stated that the settlements of Nikolske, Manhush and Urzuf were occupied by Russian troops. He added that all the cities in the oblast, except for Volnovakha, were under control of Ukrainian forces.[126]

Week 3

13 March

The Russian Defense Ministry stated that Russian forces had captured the settlements of Nikolske, Blahodatne, Volodymyrivka and Pavlovka in the Donetsk Oblast.[127] It also claimed that they had freed around 300 civilians held hostage by the Aidar Battalion at a monastery in Nikolske.[128]

The Ukrainian military stated that Russian forces had captured the settlements of Staromlynivka, Yevhenivka, Pavlovka and Yegorivka during the day.[129]

14 March

Donetsk was hit by a missile attack.[130][131] Denis Pushilin, the head of the Donetsk People's Republic, stated that they had shot down a Ukrainian Tochka-U fired on the city of Donetsk, but parts of it fell at the city centre, killing multiple civilians. The Russian Defense Ministry stated that 23 civilians were killed and 28 more wounded. However, the Ukrainian military denied conducting the attack and stated that it was "unmistakably a Russian rocket or another munition,"[132] and open-source investigators (Conflict Intelligence Team) supported this.[133]

Ukrainian forces later said that Russian troops of the 336th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade and the 11th Guards Air Assault Brigade had tried to advance in the Donetsk Oblast at 17:00, but were repulsed with up to 100 soldiers killed and six of their vehicles being destroyed.[134]

15 March

Haidai stated that four civilians were killed due to the shelling by Russian forces hitting a hospital, a care facility for children with visual impairment, and three schools in Rubizhne.[135]

Week 4

20 March
A building damaged by shelling in Donetsk

Russian officials confirmed that a deputy commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Andrey Paliy was killed in Mariupol.[9]

22 March

The head of the LPR, Leonid Pasechnik, claimed that "almost 80% of the territory" of the Luhansk region is occupied and "Popasnaya, Lisichansk, Rubizhne, Severodonetsk and Kremennaya have not been liberated." He noted that the situation in the battlefields is "stably tense" and units of the People's Militia of the LPR are striving to take Popasnaya and Rubizhne under control.[136]

Russian ministry of defense claimed that forces of the Donetsk People's Republic captured Marinka.[137]

25 March

On 25 March, the Russian defense ministry stated that Russia is prepared to enter the second phase of military operations in seeking to occupy major Ukrainian cities in Eastern Ukraine. This was reported by Yahoo Finance stating: "Russian news agencies quoted the defence ministry as saying that Russian-backed separatists now controlled 93% of Ukraine's Luhansk region and 54% of the Donetsk region – the two areas that jointly make up the Donbass."[1]

Week 5

28 march

The Luhansk People's Republic claimed to have captured the villages of Ivanivka and Novosadove.[138]

29 March

Late on 29 March, local officials reported a series of explosions outside the Russian city of Belgorod, close to the border with Ukraine. According to Russia's TASS agency, a temporary Russian military camp was hit by a shell fired from the Ukrainian side, wounding at least four.[139][140]

Russian push to fully capture Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts

Russian Orlan-10 drone shot down by the National Guard of Ukraine in Luhansk Oblast, April 2022.

After Russia began abandoning its offensive to capture Kyiv, it shifted its attention to eastern and southern Ukraine. The Russian military began redeploying units from northern Ukraine to the east, but many of these troops appeared to be nearly combat-ineffective due to heavy losses. However, Russia still amassed tens of thousands of troops, declaring its aim to fully capture the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.[4][141] It managed to secure Izium on 1 April, although heavy fighting continued around the settlement over the next few days.[142] Russia and the pro-Russian separatists continued to besiege Mariupol, where they made little progress. However, Russian troops managed to divide the Ukrainian holdouts in Mariupol into two or three pockets on 10 April.[143] At the same time, Russia made concentrated efforts to conquer the strategically important cities of Sievierodonetsk, Popasna, and Rubizhne. It launched repeated attacks on these locations from 10 April.[4][143][141] Russia made little progress in these attacks,[141] and Ukraine claimed that it had inflicted a heavy defeat on the Russian 60th Independent Motorized Infantry Brigade [ru; uk] on 11 April.[4]

To support the operations aimed at Sievierodonetsk, Popasna, and Rubizhne, Russia made a push south of Izium toward Barvinkove and Sloviansk. Ukraine responded by shifting more units to hold off the Russians at Izium. At the same time, Russia attacked around Kharkiv to pin down local Ukrainian forces.[143][4][141] Russia had made only limited gains at Izium by 12 April, but more Russian forces continued to arrive, to reinforce the offensive.[141] On 13 April, it was reported that Russia was attempting to assemble a force large enough to outnumber the Ukrainian soldiers in eastern Ukraine by five times, in an attempt to finally win a decisive victory in the Donbas.[144] On 16 April, Russia warned the remaining defenders of Mariupol to surrender; the Ukrainians ignored the demand.[145][146] In Kharkiv increased shelling hit the city, killing five and injuring 13. The BBC reported that multiple air strikes had hit villages and cities in Eastern Ukraine.[147] Russian forces continued to launch localized attacks, probing Ukrainian defenses.[148] Meanwhile, Ukraine launched counter-attacks, and retook several small towns and villages near Kharkiv and Izium.[149]

On 18 April 2022, according to Ukrainian officials, Russia launched a new offensive in the Donbas along a 300-mile front, with 1,260 military targets being hit by rockets and artillery according to Russian officials.[150][151][152][153] Russian commander Rustam Minnekayev later claimed that this renewed offensive aimed at not only seizing Donbas, but also securing southern Ukraine so that Russia could establish a land connection to Transnistria.[154][155] The initial Russian bombardement focused on Rubizhne, Popasna, and Marinka.[149] On the same day, it was reported that Russian and LNR troops had entered the city of Kreminna, capturing it after a few hours of clashes with the Ukrainian Army.[156][157] LNR commander Mikhail Kishchik was killed in this battle.[21] Over the next days, Russia gained little territory despite attacks all across the frontline. Facing heavy Ukrainian resistance, the Russian and separatist forces were able to advance into parts of Rubizhne, Popasna, and Sievierodonetsk. Some reports also suggested that fighting in Kreminna was still ongoing.[43][158][159] By 23 April, Ukrainian counter-attacks had reportedly further stalled the Russian advance.[160]

Buildings in Sievierodonetsk destroyed by Russian artillery fire, May 2022.

In the following days, Russia continued its attempts to break through the Ukrainian defenses, possibly to encircle the Izium-Donetsk City salient. Fighting was concentrated at Sievierodonetsk, Rubizhne, Popasna, Marinka, Kharkiv, and Izium.[63][88][57][65] Russia, the LPR, and DPR made limited gains, capturing a number of villages and the towns of Popivka, Pischane, Zhytlivka, and Kreminna.[88][57] However, their overall advance was slow, and stalled in most areas of the frontline. Ukraine also mounted a growing number of counter-attacks at Izium and Kharkiv, gradually expelling Russian forces from a number of settlements.[58][65][14] On 30 April, Ukraine launched a large-scale counter-offensive at Kharkiv, retaking the city's suburbs and several more towns over the following days.[14][35][59][64][161] By 4 May, Russian forces had been pushed back to such a distance that most of their artillery could no longer strike Kharkiv.[35] Meanwhile, Russian and DPR/LPR forces continued their unsuccessful attempts to break through Ukrainian defenses at Izium and the Donetsk-Luhansk frontline.[161][59][162] At this point, the Institute for the Study of Warfare research organization described the continuing Russian offensive operations as "ineffectual".[64] On 7 May, Russian forces destroyed several bridges in an attempt to slow down the Ukrainian counter-offensive at Kharkiv. On the same day, Russia and separatist troops also captured Popasna, though other attacks continued to fail.[60] Following the capture of Popasna, Russia attempted to encircle Sievierodonetsk.[163][164] On 10 May, Ukraine made further major gains at Kharkiv, forcing Russia to redeploy forces from the Izium frontline to the north.[61]

Meanwhile, Russia and the DPR attempted to cement their occupation in eastern Ukraine through political and economic means, likely in an attempt to integrate these areas into the existing separatist republics or establish new ones.[165] On the other side, Ukrainian civilians began organizing resistance movements.[88] As Ukrainian forces retook territory around Kharkiv, local civilian collaborators fled to Russia.[35]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Initially participated in the Battle of Mariupol but eventually left to fight in the Battle of Kyiv.[85][86]

References

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  30. ^ Sweeney, Steve (28 March 2022). "Leader of neo-nazi Azov Battalion reportedly killed in Ukraine".
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  34. ^ Shelling resumes at Azovstal steel plant, Ukrainian officer says
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  46. ^ 485-1,500+ killed during May crossing of Donets River [1][2] 150 killed (6 March) [3] 100 killed (14 March) [4] 15-60 killed (18 March) [5] 170 killed (19 March) [6] 100 killed (20 March) [7] 59 killed (21 March) [8] 54 killed (22 March) [9] 100 killed (23 March) [10] 130 killed (24 March) [11] 100 killed (25 March) [12] 60 killed (26 March) [13] 15 killed (27 March) [14] 70 killed (28 March) [15] 70 killed (29 March) [16] 200 killed (30 March) [17] 50 killed (31 March) [18] 280 killed (1 April) [19] 80 killed (2 April) [20] 40 killed (3 April) [21] 30 killed (4 April) [22] 80 killed (5 April) [23] 60 killed (6 April) [24] 90 killed (7 April) [25] 50 killed (8 April) [26] 80 killed (9 April) [27] 26 killed (10 April) [28] 92 killed (11 April) [29] 6 killed (12 April) [30] 10 killed (13 April) [31] 30 killed (14 April) [32] 22 killed (15 April) [33] 16 killed (16 April) [34] 60 killed (17 April) [35] 20 killed (18 April),[36] 30 killed (19 April),[37] 36 killed (20 April),[38] 200 killed (21 April),[39] 130 killed (22 April),[40] 150 killed (23 April),[41] 100 killed (24 April),[42] 160 killed (25 April),[43] 100 killed (26 April),[44] 75 killed (27 April),[45] 42 killed (28 April), [46] 173 killed (29 April), [47] 81 killed (30 April), [48] 57 killed (1 May), [49] 275 killed (2 May), [50] [51] 40 killed (3 May), [52] 36 killed (4 May), [53] 32 killed (5 May), [54] 15 killed (6 May), [55] 107 killed (7 May) [56] 190 killed (8 May) [57] 250 killed (9 May) [58] 260 killed (10 May) [59] 250 killed (11 May) [60] 180 killed (12 May) [61] 130 killed (13 May) [62] 80 killed (14 May) [63] 84 killed (15 May) [64] 178 killed (16 May) [65] total of 6,441-7,501+ killed claimed by Ukraine
  47. ^ Cite error: The named reference ISW1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  48. ^ 120 killed (21 April) [66] 200 killed (23 April),[67] 560 killed (26 April),[68] 330 killed (27 April),[69] [70] 620 killed (28 April),[71] [72] 280 killed (29 April),[73] 320 killed (30 April),[74] [75] 440 killed (1 May) [76] 540 killed (3 May) [77] [78] 600 killed (4 May) [79] 420 killed (8 May) [80] 620 killed (13 May) [81] [82] 100 killed (14 May) [83] total of 5,150+ killed claimed by Russia
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  50. ^ "Mariupol Mayor Cites 'Thousands' Dead, Says 'Complete Evacuation' Needed". Radio Free Europe. Radio Liberty. 27 March 2022. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
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