According to Forbes, 20.7% of Ukraine’s territory is occupied by Russian and allied forces in the Donbass, or approximately 125 thousand square kilometres. On 23 February 2022, there were about 43 thousand square kilometres in the hands of LDNR separatists, or 7% of Ukrainian territory. Now this area is 2.9 times larger.
On 24 May, three months after the start of what the Russians call the special operation, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russia will continue the special military operation in Ukraine until all tasks are completed. In the same video conference at the meeting of CSTO countries, he reported that:’ ‘There is a real threat to Ukraine’s creation of nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles, and again that the Russian Armed Forces’ offensive in Ukraine is being deliberately slowed down to allow for the evacuation of civilians’. The Defence Minister then reported on the progress of the special military operation in Ukraine.
The situation at the front as seen from the Ukrainian and Russian social spheres on the 24th looked like this: Kharkiv and Belgorod, the Ukrainian armed forces have been attempting a counter-offensive for 2 weeks. At the settlement of Ternovaya (a village in the Kharkiv region), on the capture of which Kiev reported several times, yet another Ukrainian attack with forces of up to a company of motorised rifles. The attack bogged down, the Ukrainian armed forces retreated after military losses.
From the Kherson region through the voice of the deputy head of the administration of the Stremousov region we learn that it does not plan to be a separate independent republic. The aim is to become a subject of the Russian Federation. In addition, the authorities of the Kherson region will ask to place a Russian military base in the region, this will become a guarantee for the security of the region. On the afternoon of the 24th, Russian ground attack aviation operates in the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions.
Heavy shelling is registered on the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the Izyum front. An air raid alert sounded in almost all of Ukraine on the afternoon of the 24th.
The Russians claim to be advancing on the Avdiivka line. There are massive artillery attacks on the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, news also confirmed by the Ukrainian social sphere. According to the DPR Armed Forces: In the past few days, 50 paratroopers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces voluntarily laid down their weapons and surrendered. Two platoons of the 115th Terodefense Brigade left their positions in the Avdiivka area.
Now the Russian-Ukrainian forces are fighting against the Ukrainians in the area of Avdiivka, Gorlovka, Maryinka and Novomaryinka.
Russian and allied forces launched a large-scale assault on Liman on 23 May: the Ukrainian armed forces retreated to the southern periphery. Krasny Liman has not yet completely come under the control of Russian and allied forces. But according to social sources, the Ukrainians are retreating. National Guard units have already arrived at the liberated neighbourhoods and are carrying out a search. During the assault, 500 prisoners were taken. On the afternoon of the 24th, via social media, it was learned that the fighting had moved to the green zone behind the blue lakes and the Shchurovo area. According to local residents, the National Guard has entered the city and is combing the streets, checking documents. Armed RF forces were spotted in the streets Oborony and Kurortnaya
House-to-house combing of Russians in Kamyshevakh and battles for Vrubovka continue. North-west of Popasnaya, Allied forces attacked Vasilevka, the Bakhmut-Lysichansk highway was cut. Mironovsky has been occupied since the afternoon of the 24th, Russian forces have reached the outskirts of Lugansk.
But the news that literally flooded the social sphere was the taking of Svetlodarsk. The announcement of the news came along with a photo of the Ukrainian flag replaced on the municipal administration building in Svetlodarsk with the Russian one. Another post stated that joint units of the Russian Armed Forces and the NM DPR/LPR established control over the city after the APU left the entire ‘Svetlodarskaya Bulge’ area to avoid being surrounded. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine officially confirmed the loss of Svetlodarsk: ‘The Svetlodar Bulge is lost. Our military went out to avoid being surrounded’.
It was reported that the allied troops started to pursue units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces leaving Svetlodarsk, blocking the Bakhmut-Lysichansk road again. Russian artillery has already started hitting targets in the northern suburbs of Bakhmut.
In a sarcastic comment, a military analyst via social media said: ‘The Ukrainian armed forces forced our troops (the Russians and Donbass separatists ed.) to take Svetlodarsk, performing an extraction procedure to show Zelensky how to perform the extraction, before the encirclement and not after’.
The Ukrainian armed forces from the area of the thermal power plant are covering the withdrawal of troops from positions near Novoluganskoye. The Ukrainian defence on the Popasna line literally changed its defence after the loss of control of the city, when a direct threat of encirclement by the Svetlodar group arose, especially after the fall of Novozvanovka and Troitskoye. The Ukrainians then decided to retreat, abandoning positions that they had been preparing to defend for more than seven years. Initially, the Ukrainians attempted to resist and sent additional forces and resources to Severodonetsk. Two battalions of the territorial defence formations and armoured vehicles were deployed. The Kiev regime’s artillery operated from the western bank of the Seversky Donets. Then came the news that the Ukrainian armed forces had abandoned the city of Svetlodarsk and this, according to military analysts in the social sphere, indicates that the entire defensive line in the Donbass is beginning to falter.
Apparently, the tactic of taking ‘manpower away from the enemy’ with the encirclement technique has proved effective, even if very slow.
The Ukrainians will probably now try to gain a foothold in the Slavic-Kramatorsk fortified area to give the Kharkov-Sumy group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces time to carry out an offensive that began in recent weeks.
Also on 24 May, Canadian journalist Neil Hauer, a journalist embedded with the Ukrainian Armed Forces, reported on the capture of the village of Vasilyevka by Russian troops. According to Hauer, Russian troops managed to cut the Artyomovsk (Bakhmut)-Lysichansk highway. The blows you read in one of his posts: ‘are being fired at the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Bakhmut itself’. On the afternoon of the 24th it was reported that the village of Vozrozhdenie was occupied by Russian troops. If the news is confirmed, it means that the advanced units are located 15 km from Artemovsk (Bakhmut).
The Ukrainian grouping in Lisichansk-Severdonetsk could therefore be surrounded, despite the retreat, as the only supply route for the grouping was cut off by the Ukrainians themselves, who undermined the bridges to prevent the Russian advance.
The Kiev junta sent enlistment citations to Odessa and Kharkov. A citizen of Odessa stated: ‘I just went to the tax office and received a citation. The issuing of citations in Odessa literally happens in the streets. Soldiers with policemen on the street spot possible conscripts and hand them citations.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said that the country does not have enough weapons being transferred to it and urged partners to speed up the deliveries.