The Ukrainian Ministry of Economy stated that the government is changing the structure of its fuel imports to Ukraine. Transportation of fuel by road, rail, and river is increasing. He said that the Ukrainian government is actively reorienting Ukraine to other fuel supply routes. As a result, the volume of road transport in May to March increased 15 times, rail and river – 5 times. Currently, lack of fuel supply is a growing problem in Ukraine. In May, it is expected that Ukraine will need 120 thousand tons of gasoline and 254 thousand tons of diesel.
Due to the war, Ukrainian road companies have lost more than 200 production bases, including 40 asphalt plants. During the clashes, Russian troops damaged and destroyed 500 vehicles of various types and more than 300 units of special equipment: rollers, graders, loaders, manipulators, and tank cars.
In northern Ukraine life is returning to normal in Kyiv. Although missile strikes in the area have decreased lately, there is still a profound risk that major cities will be struck, and the area remains dangerous. Furthermore, there are reports that Russia is deploying additional troops to the border with northern Ukraine to increase the shelling of Chernihiv region.
In eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian forces have successfully launched several counterattacks around Kharkiv, retaking several towns. In turn this has entailed that the Russian troops that remain around Kharkiv have been forced to target the counterattacking troops instead of the city itself. Whether or not Russia will be able to halt the counteroffensive remains unknown, however, the Russian military might have to withdraw from its positions around Kharkiv – effectively losing its capability to shell the city. Furthermore, there are already reports that Russian troops from Kharkiv are being sent to eastern Donbas instead – suggesting that Russia might abandon its positions around Kharkiv.
In the Donbas, Russia has made minor advancements, seizing small towns. There are reports suggesting that Russia will abandon its attempts to encircle Ukrainian troops east of the M-03 (the road that passes through Sloviansk), and instead focus on smaller encirclements around Lyman, and Severodonetsk. It is likely that Russia will launch an offensive on both towns in the coming days. However, there are also reports that Ukrainian troops are successfully slowing down Russian advancements towards Severodonetsk, for instance, several Russian pontoon bridges have been destroyed by the Ukrainians. Furthermore, supporting the hypothesis that Russia is abandoning its attempts to create an axis along the M-03, Russian troops in Popasna are reportedly moving northwards towards Severodonetsk, rather than east (where the M-03 is). Heavy clashes are occurring around Meryinka, south-west of Donetsk, and Russian troops are slowly pushing through Ukraine’s defence line.
In southern Ukraine Russia continues to launch air strikes against Azovstal in Mariupol, while blocking escape tunnels. Furthermore, as Russia continues its occupation of the city, there are reports suggesting that Russia will hold a referendum on 15 May, thus incorporating the city into Russia. There have been no significant developments along Russia’s southern axis west of Kherson, Russia has carried out minor attacks, without any significant results. Although, there are reports suggesting that Russia is preparing a large assault towards Mykolaiv, however, it is unlikely that Russia has enough firepower to conduct such an offensive at this moment. During the week that has passed, there have been several missile strikes against Odesa, however, the risk of a Russian ground or amphibious attack against Odesa is deemed to be low at this moment.
There have been no significant developments in western Ukraine.
Developments in Russia
On 09 May, the anticipated air shows during the Victory Day parade were cancelled across multiple parts of Russia, including in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The show was meant to feature 77 aircrafts flying over the capital in a ”Z” formation, a symbol propagating support for the war in Ukraine. According to the Kremlin, the cancellation was due to weather conditions, though some reports questioned this explanation, noting that the weather conditions were relatively stable. In his Victory Day speech, Vladimir Putin underlined the threat from long-range cruise, ballistic and hypersonic missiles will continue in the coming stages of war.
On 11 May, the Kremlin published a list of sanctioned entities that includes Gazprom Germania, and dozens of other entities that have imposed sanctions against Russia. The German Ministry of Economy is examining the possible implications of Russia’s announcement. Earlier, the German government stated that gas supplies are currently guaranteed and routinely monitored. Nevertheless, the Kremlin’s announcement threatens a shortage of gas supplies to Gazprom Germania’s subsidiaries and short-term disruptions and price spikes.
Furthermore, Siemens has announced the termination of business in Russia. The company announced that it would terminate service contracts with Russian railways; particularly, they will stop servicing the high-speed ‘Sapsan’ trains connecting St. Petersburg, Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod. Also, Fortum, the Finnish energy company, announced that they are leaving the Russian market. Japan has also frozen the assets of Sberbank of Russia and Alfa-Bank.
On 12 May, the President and Prime Minister of Finland announced that Finland has decided to apply for a NATO membership immediately. Sweden is expected to do the same next week.
On 10 May, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that the international community should take immediate steps to end the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports to mitigate a mounting global food shortage. A UN food agency officer estimated last week that almost 25 million tonnes of grain is currently stuck in Ukraine and unable to be exported, with the current backlog likely to mean there will not be enough capacity to store the new harvest later in the summer. The ongoing Russian blockade of Odesa has ground export operations to a complete stand still. The situation is seriously threatening the food supply to countries that have previously been heavily reliant upon Ukrainian agricultural exports, particularly in Africa and the Middle East.
On 08 May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Kyiv and announced that Canada will impose new sanctions against Russia, as well as providing further weapons and equipment to Ukraine. As unexploded ordnance creates a great risk impeding the return of residents and businesses to Kyiv and the surrounding oblast, the delivery of Canadian bomb disposal units is expected to boost Ukrainian de-mining capacity particularly in Kyiv Oblast. Nevertheless, unexploded ordnance remains a severe issue and a key threat to civilian life and resumption of businesses in regions that Russian forces have retreated.
Latest figures show that 6 million Ukrainian people have fled from the hostilities since 24 February. In several Central and Eastern European countries street protests against the influx of Ukrainian refugees has been observed. Notably, Slovakia has seen the emergence of protests in several cities over the past days. While anti-refugee propaganda is widely prevalent in some Central and Eastern European countries, the Ukrainian refugee crisis has been, at large, met with substantial levels of public goodwill.
As of 12 May, the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 7,326 civilian casualties in Ukraine in total 3,541 killed and 3,785 injured. Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, shelling from heavy artillery, missile strikes and multiple launch rocket systems. OHCHR stated in their report that actual figures are considerably higher, as they cannot receive information from some locations where the intense hostilities are currently taking place.
Since 24 February, a total of 1,721 educational institutions have been damaged and 139 of them have been completely destroyed due to massive shelling by Russian forces.
The Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmyla Denisova stated that more than 2,000 orphans and children deprived of parental care had been deported to Russia from the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Russian media, citing the Russian president’s representative on children’s rights, report that these children will receive Russian citizenship. According to Denisova, Russia violates the provisions of Article 49 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. The article specifically prohibits the forced relocation or deportation of residents from the occupied territories.
After Finland’s announcement on NATO membership on 12 May, Sweden is expected to announce the same decision in the coming days.
Russia could move to introduce controls at the Finnish border that could cause disruption and may limit border crossings given the St Petersburg-Helsinki rail and road routes remain a popular means of leaving Russia as flight restrictions continue.
Announcements for more military aid from the Western countries will highly likely continue to drive the threat of long-range strikes across Ukraine, with Russia likely to intensify its efforts to target critical infrastructure in a bid to destroy Ukraine’s supply lines in the coming weeks.
According to the intelligence sources, it is likely that Russia will launch offensives against Lyman and Severdonetsk in the coming days, and continue shelling large parts of eastern Ukraine.