Центр оборонних стратегій

CDS Daily brief (01.05.23) | CDS comments on key events

Download in PDF

Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • Over the past day, Russian forces have attacked 11 regions of Ukraine, including Khmelnytskyi Oblast in the west of the country.
  • The recent night attack did not affect any electricity generating facilities, but it caused serious damage to the electric grid in Dnipropetrovsk and Kherson Oblasts.
  • President Zelensky appealed to the Rada to extend the martial law and the general mobilization for 90 days starting May 20;
  • The poverty rate in Ukraine increased from 5.5% to 24.2% in 2022, leaving 7.1 million people below the poverty line.


  • The Russian military’s continue to focus on offensive operations in the Luhansk, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Maryinka directions.
  • The Russian command is exerting efforts to capture at least one of the three towns, namely Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Maryinka, by May 9.
  • The Russian military is increasing pressure on Avdiivka from Novobakhmutivka and Kruta Balka.
  • Russian units have taken control of almost the entire center of Maryinka.
  • Possible operation situation developments: The Russian military command, anticipating a potential Ukrainian counteroffensive, is trying to capture and establish strong defensive positions. The composition and quantity of the enemy’s “Dnepr” air defense system suggest that the Russian command intends to rely on defensive tactics by infantry units with significant artillery support.
  • Sea: Russia threatens to withdraw from the grain deal in case G-7 imposes additional sanctions.


  • Dmitriy Medvedev criticized Twitter for deleting his insulting tweets. Russian and Chinese officials actively promote their anti-Western propaganda on Western social media platforms, while domestically, those are banned and censored.
  • Volodymyr Zelensky and Emmanuel Macron discussed Ukraine’s peace formula and the situation on the frontline. Zelensky expressed his hope for the launch of the NATO accession process at the forthcoming Vilnius summit.
  • The U.S. House Speaker reiterated his support for Ukraine and rejected the possibility of changing the U.S. policy in the near future.
  • A Ukrainian court issued arrest warrants for five bulkers under the Russian flags involved in transporting looted Ukrainian grain from the illegally occupied Crimea.
  • Several dozens of Russian opposition figures signed a Declaration of Russian Democratic Forces. They called to “refrain from public conflicts in the democratic and anti-war movements.” Neither Navalny nor his supporters joined it.
Humanitarian aspect:

The poverty rate in Ukraine increased significantly in 2022, from 5.5% to 24.2%, according to a report from the World Bank. This has resulted in 7.1 million people living below the poverty line. The impact of poverty is particularly acute in rural areas, where the gap between urban and rural poverty is most pronounced.

According to a report by the press service of the State Emergency Service, since the beginning of the full-scale war, pyrotechnicians have neutralized 352,700 explosive objects, including 2,217 aerial bombs.

In the Dnipropetrovsk and Kherson Oblasts, the Ministry of Energy has reported significant damage to the electricity network infrastructure due to the massive Russian strike on the night of May 1. However, there have been no reported hits to any generating facilities.

Russian attacks

The Russian forces continued indiscriminate shelling of residential areas. In total, they attacked 11 Ukrainian regions. Some of the attacks’ consequences include:

  • The Russian forces launched missile attacks on Dnipropetrovsk Oblast during the night. While seven missiles were shot down by the air command “East,” some managed to hit their targets, including the Pavlograd district. According to preliminary reports, 34 people were injured, including 5 children. The attack caused significant damage, with 19 high- rise buildings, 25 single-family homes, 6 schools and pre-schools, and 5 shops being impacted in the residential area.
  • An industrial object was hit in Zhytomyr Oblast to the west of Kyiv.
  • During the day, the Russian army attacked populated areas of Zaporizhzhia Oblast 47 times with artillery, drones, and aircraft. Hulyaipole, Orihiv, Kamianske, and several other villages were hit, resulting in new damage to residential buildings and utility networks. No injuries were reported among the civilian population.
  • In Kupyansk, Kharkiv Oblast, a Russian shelling using the Grad MRLS damaged a medical institution’s buildings and destroyed the car of the medics. In the past day, Russian forces continued to shell the border and front-line towns and villages in Kharkiv, Chuhuyiv, Izyum, and Kupyansk districts of Kharkiv Oblast.
  • On April 30, Russian forces injured 3 residents of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast. At least 3 residential areas in different communities were hit by Russian fire.
  • Over the past day, April 30, the Russian military shelled Kherson Oblast 39 times, firing 163 shells. One person died, and three, including one child, were injured. 62 more people were evacuated from the territory of Kherson Oblast, liberated from the Russians.
  • Around 2 am, the Russian military carried out artillery strikes on the water area near the Ochakiv community in Mykolayiv Oblast. There were no reported casualties.
Occupied territories

Conscription commissions have been formed in the temporarily occupied city of Mariupol by order of the so-called “DNR” puppet leader Denis Pushylin. This is the second wave of mobilization in the city after its occupation by the Russian army. The order was announced through “official” channels.

Another    rotation    of    the    IAEA’s    permanent     monitoring     group     took     place     at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is currently occupied by Russian troops, according to a report from the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspection. This is the eighth group of experts to be deployed since the agency began its monitoring efforts in September 2022.

Operational situation General conclusion:
  • The Russian military concentrates its main efforts on offensive actions in the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Maryinka directions;
  • The Russian command is trying to capture at least one of the three towns – Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Maryinka – before May 9th.
Change in the line of contact (LoC):
  • Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled more than 36 Russian attacks in various directions, with Bakhmut and Maryinka remaining at the epicenter of hostilities.
  • The Russian military launched multiple attacks in the direction of Bohdanivka, Ivanivske, Oleksandro-Shultyne, Avdiivka, and Pervomaiske, but were ultimately unsuccessful in gaining any ground.
  • Local fighting continues along the contact line in the Lyman direction with artillery shelling from both sides. The situation in Serebryansk Forestry is particularly difficult.
  • In the direction of Bakhmut, the Russian forces do not cease trying to attack Khromove.
  • The Russian military is increasing pressure on Avdiivka from Novobakhmutivka and Kruta Balka. They also attempted to attack Pervomaiske from the south, but were unsuccessful. Russian units have taken control of almost the entire center of Maryinka.
Change in enemy disposition:
  • The “Dnepr” Russian troop grouping reportedly consists of the 49th Army, part of the troops of the 5th Army, and the 22nd Army Corps. It is estimated to include up to eight brigades, seventeen regiments, thirteen separate battalions, and seven BARS-type detachments. The reserve of the grouping consists of the motorized rifle regiment of territorial troops. The total number of personnel in the grouping is estimated to be around 63,000, with 180 tanks, 600 self-propelled guns, 380 guns, mortars, and MRLS. Most of the troops are territorial troops formations, and only one-third of the battalions are expected to be equipped with the main samples of weapons and military equipment based on approved norms. The aviation grouping that can be used in this direction reportedly comprises up to 97 planes and 57 helicopters stationed at airfields in Crimea.
  • The “Vostok” grouping of Russian troops includes the troops of the 58th Army, part of the troops of the 35th and 36th Armies. The “Vostok” grouping can count up to four brigades, fifteen regiments, seven separate battalions, and twelve BARS-type detachments. The reserve of the grouping consists of the motorized rifle regiment of territorial troops. In general, 90,000 personnel, 380 tanks, 1,300 self-propelled guns, 990 guns, mortars and MRLS should be expected as part of the troop grouping. Most of the troops are paramilitary formations of the “battalion” level.

Escalation indicators: not identified

Possible operation situation developments:
  • Ukrainian Defense Forces, in the short term, will adhere to their chosen strategy of inflicting maximum losses on the enemy in close combat on the main thrust directions;
  • The Russian military command is focused on securing and holding defensive positions in anticipation of a potential Ukrainian counteroffensive. They are attempting to seize and establish footholds on advantageous defensive lines.
  • The composition and number of the enemy’s “Dnepr” air defense system indicate that the Russian command plans to rely on rifle units with extensive artillery support as the primary method of defensive operation on the left bank of the Dnipro River and, in the future, in Crimea. Mechanized units will be kept in the depth of the defense, serving as mobile reserves. The most combat-ready troops are deployed in the first echelon, indicating that the Russian military expects to hold the tactical defense zone.
  • The Russian military lacks sufficient forces and resources to establish a defense in all areas accessible for landing simultaneously.
  • The Russian command will encounter significant difficulties in organizing the management of the various forces and resources gathered in the Dnepr and Vostok groupings.
  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces’ offensive towards Orikhiv-Tokmak-Melitopol, the simultaneous Dnipro River crossing in Kherson Oblast, and sea and air landings will put the Russian command in a challenging operational position to maintain its left flank.
  • If the Ukrainian Defense Forces successfully advance in the direction of Zaporizhzhia, the Russian troops’ command will be compelled to deploy their forces not only in the Melitopol direction but also in the Mariupol and Berdyansk directions to halt the Ukrainian troops’ advance towards Crimea.
  • A successful counteroffensive by the Ukrainian Defense Forces would result in the withdrawal of both the enemy’s Dnepr and Vostok troop groupings defending the Melitopol and Berdyansk areas to the territory of Crimea.
Azov-Black Sea Maritime Operational Area:
  • As of May 1, there were 7 enemy ships at sea, two of which are submarines of project 636.3 that are carriers of Kalibr missiles. These submarines may carry up to 8 missiles in total. All ships patrol the areas near the coast of Novorossiysk and Crimea. Additionally, the reconnaissance ship pr. 864 “Priazovye” continues surveillance in its position 90 miles northwest of Zonguldak (Turkey).
  • A patrol ship is located near the Kerch Bridge in the Sea of Azov.
  • Russian aviation continues to conduct flights over the sea from the Crimean airfields of Belbek, Saky, Dzhankoy, and Hvardiyske. 10 fighter aircraft from Belbek and Saki airfields were involved in monitoring the surface and air conditions in the northwestern part of the Black Sea. The A-50U and Il-22 AWACS aircraft were responsible for controlling the air situation and managing operational-tactical aviation over the waters of the Sea of Azov.
“The Grain Initiative”
  • Russia has threatened to cancel the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allows the safe export of grain from Ukrainian ports to the global market. This threat comes as the Group of Seven Nations consider imposing further sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. The G-7 countries are discussing a near-total ban on all exports to Russia, including used cars, tires, cosmetics, and clothing. The ban would be an extension of the current trade embargo, which already includes products that can be used for military purposes and luxury goods. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stated on the Telegram social network that if the G-7 imposes such a ban, Moscow will terminate the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
  • Ukraine is one of the largest grain producers in the world, ranking fifth, and as of July 2022, about 28 million tons of grain were exported under the Black Sea Grain Initiative. If the agreement were to be canceled, it could have a devastating impact amid the ongoing global food crisis, warns Ian Mitchell, a senior fellow at the London-based Center for Global Development.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 01.05.23

Personnel – almost 190,960 people (+450);

Tanks – 3,700 (+1);

Armored combat vehicles – 7,192 (+3);

Artillery systems – 2,921 (+7)

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 544 (0); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 295 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 5,845 (+3); Aircraft – 308 (0);

Helicopters – 294 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 2,476 (+1); Intercepted cruise missiles – 932 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

Ukraine, general news

The Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers has approved the Energy Strategy-2050, which the Ministry of Energy drafted. The strategy aims to achieve carbon neutrality in the country’s energy sector by 2050

According to Ukrinform, Ukraine decreased its electricity imports by 44% in April, importing a total of 3,943 MWh compared to March. Of this amount, 3,805 MWh were imported from Slovakia and 138 MWh from Moldova. From April 7, Ukraine imported electricity only from Slovakia.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has registered in the Verkhovna Rada two draft laws on the approval of his decrees regarding the extension of martial law and general mobilization. Zelensky proposes to extend the martial law and general mobilization for 90 days from May 21.

International diplomatic aspect

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev wrote on Telegram that “Twitter” gave in to pressure from the State Department and Ukrainians, using a derogatory Russian term [Khokhols] for them. He compared it to the way the platform treated former US President Donald Trump. Medvedev’s insulting tweets were deleted, and he dismissed Twitter as a foreign social network operating in the interests of the American establishment. Medvedev’s genocidal rhetoric on social media is aimed at pleasing his boss. He is not the shy and intelligent figure portrayed in the West as a hope for a civilized Russia. Russian and Chinese officials continue to promote their anti-Western propaganda on Western social media platforms, even though those platforms are banned and censored in their own countries.

According to a Levada Center poll, television (totally controlled by the Kremlin) remains the primary news source for two-thirds of Russians, with social networks (41%) and internet outlets (33%) gaining ground. Russia ranks 155th out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders Media Freedom Report of 2022. Telegram is the most popular social media platform in Russia, with almost a fifth of Russians getting their news from its channels, many of which are related to Kremlin projects. Medvedev’s Telegram channel is the second most popular in terms of average views per post, after the channel of Viacheslav Volodin, chief of the Russian parliament. The Ukrainian Security Service has published a list of hundreds of Russian or masked Ukrainian Telegram channels run by Russian intelligence services. The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab has also published a report on three networks comprising fifty-six channels targeted at Telegram users in twenty countries and ten languages.

During a phone call, President Volodymyr Zelensky and President Emmanuel Macron discussed Ukraine’s peace formula and the situation on the frontline. Zelensky stressed the urgency of Ukraine’s partners’ actions to significantly enhance its defense capabilities. The two leaders also discussed preparations for the NATO Summit in Vilnius, with Zelensky expressing hope for progress on the issue of security guarantees for Ukraine and the launch of the procedure for inviting Ukraine to NATO. Ukraine’s press release on the call did not mention China’s mediation role, despite France claiming that it influenced Chinese President Xi Jinping’s decision to call Zelensky and discuss his “peace’ plan.

“No, I vote for aid for Ukraine. I support aid for Ukraine. I do not support what your country has done to Ukraine. I do not support your killing of the children either,” replied Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, to a question from a Russian journalist about whether U.S. policy on aid to Ukraine might change in the near future. Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, stated, “I think, for one standpoint, you should pull out. And I don’t think it’s right. And we will continue to support it because the rest of the world sees it just as it is.”

A Ukrainian court has issued arrest warrants for five bulkers flying the Russian flag, who were involved in transporting looted Ukrainian grain from illegally occupied Crimea. In 2014, the Ukrainian government banned all operations with ports on the illegally occupied peninsula, and Western countries imposed sanctions on Crimean entities and prohibited calls to those ports. Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Russia has been using the Ukrainian ports of Crimea and the Sea of Azov as logistical hubs for transferring looted commodities such as grain, seeds, and metal works to foreign markets.

Dozens of Russian opposition figures signed a Declaration of Russian Democratic Forces denouncing the Russian war against Ukraine as criminal and calling for restoring internationally recognized borders of Russia (an innovative way to reverse the illegal occupation and annexation of, at least, Ukrainian territories). “Putin’s regime is illegitimate and criminal. Therefore, it must be eliminated,” the declaration reads. The undersigned stated that “the implementation of imperial policy within the country and abroad is unacceptable,” and all political prisoners must be freed. The signatories “refrain from public conflicts in the democratic and anti-war movements.” Notable figures such as Navalny and his supporters did not sign the document or express support for its main ideas.

Russia, relevant news

According to the White House, Russian losses in the Bakhmut area over the last five months are estimated to be 100,000 military personnel and mercenaries combined. The total losses include more than 20,000 deaths, with approximately half of them being mercenaries of the “Wagner” PMC, most of whom were recruited from prisons.

Centre for Defence Strategies (CDS) is a Ukrainian security think tank. We operate since 2020 and are involved in security studies, defence policy research and advocacy. Currently all our activity is focused on stopping the ongoing war.

We publish this brief daily. If you would like to subscribe, please send us an email to cds.dailybrief@gmail.com

Please note, that we subscribe only verified persons and can decline or cancel the subscription at our own discretion

We are independent, non-government, non-partisan and non-profit organization. More at www.defence.org.ua

Our Twitter (in English) – https://twitter.com/defence_centre

Our Facebook (in Ukrainian) – https://www.facebook.com/cds.UA

Our brief is for information only and we verify our information to the best possible extent