On 20 May, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Putin on the completion of the operation and the total liberation of Azovstal and the city of Mariupol from Ukrainian militants, the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement. The underground facilities of the facility have already come under the full control of the Russian armed forces, the statement said. A total of 2349 regular army soldiers and militiamen of the Azov Battalion have reportedly surrendered.
On 22 May, it was also reported that in the Kamyshevakhi region of the LPR, a famous officer of the 24th Ukrainian brigade, of the ‘Donbass’ national battalion, Yuri Zakopets, known by the battle name ‘Kalina’, voluntarily surrendered. Zakopets states in a video that: “Most of the regular officers are dead, practically there are not even experienced soldiers on the front line, 70-75% of the personnel are holding a machine gun for the first time in their lives. At the same time, the command is in the rear and headquarters’ .
On 23 May, it is reported that the 1st Slavic brigade of the DPR army entered Avdiivka. And there are clashes in the urban area.
And now we see the situation on the whole front line between 22 and 23 May: the NM DPR units are trying to reach the settlement on the Novobakhmutovka and Novoselovka-2 side: the advanced detachments of the Donbass were sighted near the highway on the Kamenka-Veseloye line. The offensive passes through a fortified area with minefields and blockhouses, so the pace of advance is relatively slow.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces are shelling settlements near the contact line: attacks have been carried out against the residential areas of Donetsk, Yasinovataya and Volnovakha. Fighting continues around the Lisichansko-Severdonetsk agglomeration. On 23 May, the Ukrainian military in Severodonetsk encircled.
Russian forces took the small district of Shchedrishchevo north of Severodonetsk. The position of the Ukrainian troop grouping in the city was complicated by the explosion of the bridge to Lysichansk on 21 May, which greatly complicates resupply and withdrawal in the event of a breakthrough of the defence by the Russians.
There are no major changes at the front near Popasna: the Russian Armed Forces expanded the security zone west of Kamyshevakhi: the settlement was taken. In the direction of Liman on 22 May, fighting was reported in Vrubovka and Kamyshevakh. On 23 May, the MLRS of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation hit the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces near the town of Liman. In the centre of Kamyshevakhi, Ukrainian artillery hit a logistical support convoy of the Russian Armed Forces, heading towards the railway station area. The NM DPR officially confirmed the capture of Drobyshevo and the settlements to the north. The APU grouping in the Gorskoe-Zolotoe-Kamyshevakha triangle continues to resist and try to break through the encirclement. West of Vladimirovka, units of the Russian Airborne Forces, together with the Wagner PMC assault groups, occupied the dominant heights north of the Stryapovka settlement. South-west of Popasnaya, Vyskriva is in Ukrainian hands. On the day of 23 May, the Ukrainian Armed Forces recognised the loss of Vladimirovka (the marines entered two days ago).
On the day of 23 May, there was a missile attack by the Russian Armed Forces on the concentration of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the centre of Bakhmut.
It is reported from the morning briefing of the Russian Defence Ministry that the Moscow Armed Forces destroyed the weapons and military equipment of the 10th Mountain Assault Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces transferred to the Donbass in the Zhytomyr region; hit four command posts and a communications centre of the Sever Tactical-Operations Group in the DPR with high-precision air-launched missiles; hit 48 areas of concentration of men and military equipment and six ammunition depots in the LPR with high-precision missiles; hit 39 training areas and ammunition magazines.
Meanwhile, it is reported in the Ukrainian media that the court sentenced 21-year-old Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin to life imprisonment on charges of killing a civilian.
DPR chief Denis Pushilin said that all prisoners in Azovstal are being held in the DPR, and will be tried by a court on the territory of the separatist republic.