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Ukraine War, 7 May 2023
To catch with latest developments…
For the records: after cooling down (there was lots of anger within the High Command PSU over the ‘revelation’ of this fact in Ukrainian media) Ukrainian air force has officially confirmed that its PAC-3 (Patriot Air Defence system) was used to shot down a Kinzhal missile, on 2 May 2023. It’s unclear exactly what variant of the PAC has Ukraine got (the MIM-104F or something more advanced), and some claim the kill was actually scored by Ukrainian S-300Vs, plus photos of the alleged wreckage seem not to really show a Kinzhal, but well…
….then, on 5 May, a Russian missile (type unclear, some say Kh-22) hit the NKMZ machine-building- and steel-production works in Kramatorsk, and two additional videos of strikes by Russian Lancet UCAVs on Ukrainian air defence systems appeared in the Russian social media (one Strela-10/SA-13 and one Osa-AKM/SA-8). Extent of damage caused remains unknown.
A day later, on 6 May, Ukrainians claimed to have shot down eight Shahed-131/136 UAVs, while the Russians claimed the downing of two Ukrainian Grom-2 ballistic missiles over the occupied Crimea.
BTW, Russia and Ukraine exchanged another batch of prisoners of war: in exchange for a group of three VKS pilots captured in March the last year, Ukraine received 45 additional troops captured in Mariupol.
BATTLE OF DONBASS
Bakhmut… the fog is slowly clearing over what was going on in early days of this month: for months already, the ZSU was short on ammo and hardly ever shelling the Russian-controlled parts of the town. …and Prigozhin then claimed that Major-General Tantsyura, CO of the Territorial Defence Forces of Ukraine, was killed by (‘Wagner’s’) artillery while travelling the roads from Chasiv Yar to Bakhmut, on 2 May (which the ZSU meanwhile denied).
I.e., so far, ‘everything was fine’ from the Russian point of view. ‘However’, on 3 May, the ZSU heavily shelled the Russian positions and then counterattacked (for example: along the Osvoboditelu Donbas Street). Except in the north, where the 92nd Mech pushed the Russians away from Hromove, the VDV seems to have managed to hold its other positions, but Wagner found themselves outnumbered and suffered heavy losses. That’s why Prigozhin then complained, and why the Russians then did this in response:
Though 4 May, the Ukrainian counterattack slowed down, and then stopped. Ever since, the Russians are attacking on the Medvedeva- Vojak Internationalistu Streets.
Indeed, ever since the Russians are complaining about excellent Ukrainian positions in the area of the Children Hospital and another one they call the ‘citadel’: that’s a hill south-west of the Yuvileyna Vulytsa, which should be heavily fortified and mined. Both are surrounded by open ground, homes are getting rarer the further they are away from the centre of the town, and this ‘citadel’ is also dominating western Bakhmut, enabling Ukrainians to shoot whatever is coming their way.
BTW, to make things really cool: Kadyrov – while trying to intermediate between the Wagner and the Keystone Cops in Moscow - promised to deploy his forces if Wagner really withdraws. I’m sure half the ZSU would love this to happen.