22:49 30.05.2022

The Culmination of the Donbas Battle: Will Heavy Weapons Arrive In Ukraine On Time?

9 min read
The Culmination of the Donbas Battle: Will Heavy Weapons Arrive In Ukraine On Time?

Ihor Zhdanov, Information Defence Project, Open Policy Foundation


The battle in the Donbas culminated in the intensity of hostilities and the brutality of armed confrontations. Next week will be decisive. Will the Armed Forces be able to deter the enemy?

Information Defence experts offer a new format for the analytical product - weekly analytical reviews of the military-political situation in Ukraine and geopolitical analysis. You can get acquainted with the review of May 22nd-29th, which is devoted to the geopolitical situation, here: Ukr Eng.

1. The heroic battle for the Donbas: the military situation in Ukraine as of May 29th, 2022. The Armed Forces of Ukraine continue their strategic defence operation in eastern Ukraine.

The Lysychansk-Severodonetsk operational district

The enemy focused its main efforts on the attacks in the Lyman and Popasna districts, trying to counter-attack the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Lysychansk-Severodonetsk agglomeration with counterattacks from the south and north.

The situation at the front remains difficult and demonstrates signs of further aggravation. The enemy used all forces and means to capture the territory and encirclement of our troops with the fighting reaching its maximum intensity. The enemy fires along the entire frontline and shells the positions of our troops in several directions simultaneously.

In the north, enemy troops, because of heavy fighting, using their advantage in long-range artillery, managed to "break through" the defence of the Armed Forces and actually captured Lyman. Now the russian occupiers are regrouping their units in order to unite them with russian forces to attack Ukrainian positions from the south, and to attack Sloviansk.

In the south, after the capture of Popasna, the armed forces of russia and their renegades are advancing in three directions: Lysychansk, Bakhmut, and in the center, trying to cut the strategic route, the "road of life" Bakhmut-Lysychansk in the districts of Nyrkove, Berestove, and Bilohorivka. The enemies want to unite themselves with the forces that are trying to advance from Lyman.

Fierce battles are taking place near the road, the enemy is keeping it under fire control, the supply of cargo of the Armed Forces of Ukraine by this route to Lysychansk has been stopped, but the road itself is still under the physical control of the Ukrainian military. Communication with Severodonetsk is carried out in other ways. On Saturday, May 28th, as a result of the introduction of reserves and counterattacks, the Armed Forces of Ukraine managed to push the enemy away from the "road of life" by 2-3 km, which reduced its shelling.

In the Bakhmut direction, the russian occupiers did not succeed, they sustained losses.

In Severodonetsk, enemy troops marched on the outskirts of the city last week, where fierce fighting continues, but they failed to advance. The enemy's DRG (SSG, the secret subversive group) seized the Hotel Myr (“Peace”) in the city and is holding it.

Bakhmut and Lysychansk are completely under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The Donetsk direction

The enemy was actively conducting offensive operations in the Avdiivka and in the Zolote areas, but without any success.


The Kharkiv and Izium directions

Last week in the Kharkiv region, as a result of redeployment of reserves, the enemy managed to stop the counter-attacks of Ukrainian units, which were trying to advance in the direction of Vovchansk and cut the communication routes of the Izium enemy group.

In the Izium direction, the enemy tried to organise an attack on Sloviansk, but was unsuccessful.

The Southern operational area

In the Zaporizhzhia direction, the enemy tried to advance in the area of Huliaipole, but was unable to move forward and took tactical action to improve their positions.

By the end of last week, Ukrainian units launched successful attacks in the Kherson region. The enemy sustained losses, retreated and began a defence on unfavourable borders near Andrijivka, Lozove, and Belohirka in the Kherson region.

In other areas, the situation had no significant changes.

The battle in the Donbas culminated in the intensity of hostilities and the brutality of armed confrontations. Taking into account the provision of heavy weapons and offensive long-range artillery, the Armed Forces is still not as powerful as the enemy. The Ukrainian military is under constant almost round-the-clock artillery fire and is sustaining heavy losses.

Enemy units are exhausted as a result of many days of fighting, they have also sustained heavy losses of personnel and need rest, replenishment and transition to an operational pause.

Next week will be decisive - whether the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be able to restrain the enemy, or still under the enemy's onslaught they will have to move to other front lines.

2. Military-technical assistance to Ukraine: the mechanism functions perfectly, how not to lose pace

On May 23rd, the second meeting of the Ministers of Defence of different countries took place in the format of the Contact Group on Defence of Ukraine (Ramstein-2). In principle, the conference lived up to expectations, and its results were outlined by the Minister of Defence of Ukraine Olexii Reznikov, who posted on his Twitter account the image of the “Death Star” from the saga “Star Wars”.

It will be recalled that this "stunt" destroyed entire planets. According to the Minister, this is probably the result of the weapons that will be handed over to Ukraine.

And so what do we have in the end?

First, 47 countries took part in this meeting, four more than at the first meeting, which indicates the expansion of Ukraine's support in the world. Not all of the countries that have joined the coalition may have great defence capabilities, but the political impact of this enlargement is unquestionable.

Second, the range of countries that provide real direct military-technical assistance has significantly expanded – there were 20 of them in the end of the meeting. Silent sabotage of the countries of old Europe - especially Germany that promised weapons and equipment, but "for some reason" constantly delayed their delivery (e.g., “Marders”, “Cheetah” (“Gepard”), etc.), try to compensate by supplying from other countries.

Denmark and other countries will hand over Harpoon anti-ship missiles and launchers to Ukraine. Such missiles are needed to overcome russia's naval blockade. The Czech Republic handed over combat helicopters, tanks and missile systems to Ukraine to fight the russian invasion. Italy, Greece, Norway, and Poland have announced the transfer of critical artillery systems and ammunition.

Third, Lithuania is proposing to form a naval coalition to lift russia's blockade of the Black Sea on Ukrainian grain exports. The creation of such a coalition was predicted by Information Defence experts in a previous weekly review on May 15th-22nd.

A non-NATO naval escort operation can help protect grain ships as they cross the Black Sea and meet russian warships. Lithuania's plan will require de-mining of parts of the Black Sea to ensure safe passage, as well as an agreement with Turkey, which guards the entrance to the Black Sea.

Finally, the United States remains the main driver of Ukraine's military-technical assistance, but the United Kingdom is considered to be the main coordinator, for which we are infinitely grateful to both countries.

That’s all about the good news. And now about the problems.

Military-technical assistance to Ukraine is undoubtedly becoming quicker; the mechanism has already been established. However, delays in the supply of weapons from some countries, including Germany, and failure to supply certain systems of heavy offensive weapons in sufficient numbers complicate the situation at the front, especially in Luhansk and Donetsk, where the enemy, using superior artillery, provides attacks.

The situation is very critical. The issue of supplying modern long-range systems of multiple rocket launchers - American MLRS is a matter of life and death for hundreds of Ukrainian servicemen. The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi stated, “We really need the weapons that will allow us to hit the enemy at a great distance. And this cannot be delayed, because the price of the delay is measured by the lives of people who have protected the world from the russcism (rashism).”

According to preliminary information, a decision on MLRS supplies will be confirmed soon. However, just before the publication of this material, the US President Joe Biden stated that he would not supply missile systems to Ukraine that reach russia's borders.

According to our experts, the Armed Forces will reach the peak of its combat readiness in June this year, if the commitments of our partners on military-technical assistance is to be realised on time. Then we should expect a decisive counterattack by our defenders.


With the beginning of russia's unprovoked aggression against Ukraine, experts of the project Information Defence of Ukraine prepare daily reviews of the military-political situation in Ukraine in Ukrainian, English and Russian. The first review was released on February 26th. Besides, the experts moderate the Telegram channel Information Defence of Ukraine. All project experts work free of charge from February 24th to May 29th, 2022 exclusively as volunteers. This is a team of professional analysts who need your support. Negotiations with donors are underway. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has provided a letter of support for this important initiative. Today we need your help.

Details of the NGO “Open Policy Foundation”:

UAN card / PayPal : 4576 3999 7063 6884

UAH account: Non-Governmental Organization “Open Policy Foundation”

USREOU code: 36304445

IBAN: UA673004650000000260093011470




USD banking account: Non-Governmental organization “Open Policy Foundation”

Company address: 29B Moskovska Street, ap. 16, 01021 Kyiv, Ukraine

USREOU: 36304445

IBAN Code: UA783004650000026006300952367


Bank address: 12g Hospitalna Street, 01001 Kyiv, Ukraine