Центр оборонних стратегій

CDS Daily brief (10.05.23) | CDS comments on key events

Download in PDF

Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • Over the past day, the Russian forces shelled 126 towns and villages in nine regions of Ukraine. Two civilians were killed, and five were injured.
  • During the night, Russian forces attacked Dnipropetrovsk Oblast with drones (3 drones were shot down) and shelled Kherson.
  • There are 30 families with 46 children yet to be evacuated from the front-line towns of Zaporizhzhia Oblast.


  • The enemy’s loss of positions along the “Siversky Donets-Donbas” canal complicates their units in southwestern Bakhmut, specifically in Klishchiivka, leading to reduced hostilities in that direction.
  • The enemy’s successive missile and air strikes simplify the task of the Ukrainian Defense Forces’ air defense, indicating that the Russian forces prioritize the frequency of strikes over their effectiveness.
  • The enemy is regrouping the remnants of their forces in Bakhmut.


  • Kyiv has recently started to manage expectations on the eve of the counter-offensive.
  • France’s legislature has recognized the Wagner PMC as a terrorist organization and called on the E.U. to do the same. The U.K. is reportedly considering following suit.
  • Cyprus is set to fight the Russian sanctions’ circumvention; the U.S. helps with it.
  • Ukraine has shown debris from Russia’s “hypersonic” missile, which it has shot down using a Patriot defense system. Meanwhile, Poland has reportedly identified debris of a missile found in its forest as belonging to Russia.
  • The Russians are furious about the Polish decision to rename Kaliningrad back to its autochthonous name, Królewiec. Meanwhile, Russians continue to call Ukrainian cities by Soviet-style names, rename streets in illegally occupied territories, and erect statues of Vladimir Lenin.
  • Chinese Foreign Minister is in Berlin for talks to secure unrestricted trade and exploit the difference between the U.S. and old European countries. He voiced Beijing’s willingness to “achieve an early ceasefire,” which is rather in Russia and China’s interest, not that of Ukraine and its partners.
  • Japan is interested in establishing a NATO liaison office in the country.
Russian attacks

Over the past day, the Russian forces shelled 126 towns and villages in nine regions of Ukraine. As a result of the shelling, two civilians were killed, and five were injured, according to the Military Media Center.

  • During the day, the enemy carried out three attacks at Chernihiv Oblast with artillery and mortars.
  • There were 14 attacks, with 88 explosions recorded in Sumy Oblast on May 9. Overnight, the Russians shelled the Bilopillia community with artillery.
  • During the last 24 hours, the Russian armed forces launched 107 attacks in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, including 93 artillery strikes, 10 from MLRS, three drone attacks, and an air strike. Nineteen towns and villages located along the front line near Kamianske, Orikhove, and Hulyaipole were targeted. As a result of the shelling in Mykilske during the night, a 34- year-old woman sustained severe injuries.
  • During the night, the “East” air command units destroyed three enemy drones in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Yesterday, the Russians attacked the Nikopol district. The Myrivska community was shelled with artillery, and the Marhanets community was attacked with drones. Five private houses, eight outbuildings, a power line, and a gas pipeline were damaged.
  • Yesterday, the Russian forces shelled at least 22 towns and villages in Kharkiv Oblast. As a result of a missile strike on Kupyansk (according to preliminary data, with Iskander missiles), five private residential buildings and the building of a private enterprise were damaged. Three people were injured.
  • In the past day, the Russian military shelled 26 towns and villages in Donetsk Oblast, resulting in one person killed and another injured. The shelling damaged 44 residential buildings, including 11 multi-storey buildings, a police department in Kurakhove, a building of the Pension Fund, a bank branch building, several industrial buildings, a school, a power line, seven cars, two gas pipelines, and two other buildings.
  • Russian forces carried out 63 shelling attacks at Kherson Oblast, firing a total of 354 shells within a day, including seven attacks with 44 shells targeting Kherson itself. The Kherson police reported that the Russian military deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure in the regional center, using multiple rocket launchers and artillery, resulting in damage to a shopping center, residential areas and houses in the city center, as well as in neighborhoods and suburban settlements. One person was injured in Odradokamianka village due to the artillery strike. The Russian artillery also continued to attack Kizomys, where a field medical station was destroyed. In addition, 49 more people were evacuated from the territory that had been liberated from the Russians in Kherson Oblast.

According to Yuriy Malashko, the head of the Zaporizhzhia regional administration, there are still 46 children living in communities located on the front line in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Daily evacuations are being carried out from the front-line areas, and so far, 51 families raising 89 children have been successfully evacuated. Malashko stated that while no families with children are left in Orikhiv, 30 families with 46 children have not yet been evacuated across the entire front line.

Occupied territories

According to “Energoatom,” the Russians plan to evacuate more than 3000 people from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, primarily those who have signed contracts with “Rosatom.”

Currently, only about half of the necessary staff remain at the plant. “In this way, the Russian occupiers demonstrate their inability to ensure the operation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, as there is now a catastrophic shortage of qualified personnel there,” Energoatom’s message says. Around 2700 employees have signed contracts with the Russian occupiers, and some of their families have already been evacuated to the Rostov region of Russia. The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has been under occupation since March 4, 2022, and during this time, the Russians have terrorized the plant’s employees, preventing them from leaving the city, blackmailing and threatening them. The Russians have also placed weapons and explosives around the power units and in some areas inside the plant.

Operational situation General conclusion:
  • The enemy continues focusing their main efforts on launching offensives in the directions of Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Maryinka.
  • The enemy’s loss of positions along the “Siversky Donets-Donbas” canal is causing complications for their units in the southwestern part of Bakhmut, particularly in the area of Klishchiivka. This will likely result in a decrease in the intensity of hostilities in that direction.
  • The enemy is launching successive missile and air strikes, which makes it easier for the Ukrainian Defense Forces’ air defense to repel them. This suggests that the Russian forces are more focused on ensuring the frequency of missile strikes rather than their actual effectiveness.
  • The air defense in Zaporizhzhia, Odesa, Dnipro, and Kherson needs reinforcement due to vulnerabilities.
Change in the line of contact (LoC):
  • Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled over 42 enemy attacks on different fronts. Heavy fighting is ongoing for Bakhmut and Maryinka.
  • Russian forces carried out unsuccessful attacks near Masyutivka, Stelmakhivka, and Bilohorivka.
  • The enemy has advanced to a distance of 130 meters within the western part of Bakhmut. They unsuccessfully attempted to break through to Khromove, and to attack near Ivanivske, Chasiv Yar, Stupochky, Avdiivka, Pervomaiske, and Maryinka. Pressure is increasing on the supply routes of the Defense Forces in Bakhmut. Positional battles continue in the area of the H20 highway Kostiantynivka-Donetsk and Novobakhmutivka.
  • The 3rd separate assault brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine attacked and destroyed an enemy battalion from the 72nd motorized rifle brigade (part of the 3rd Army Corps of the Western Military District) in the area west of the “Siversky Donets-Donbas” canal. They also caused fire damage to the 2nd battalion of the same brigade, which was attempting to replace the first battalion that had started to retreat. Following the attack, the Ukrainian forces breached the Russian front over a width of up to 2 km, with the 3rd separate assault brigade advancing 500 meters into the enemy’s defense. This prompted the enemy command to deploy units from the Wagner PMC and airborne troops to contain the breach. From their captured positions, the 3rd separate assault brigade inflicted significant losses on the enemy, who were preparing for a counterattack. The enemy’s losses are estimated at 500 killed, wounded, and captured, and the forward ammunition depot of the 72nd motorized rifle brigade was captured. The Ukrainian 3rd separate assault brigade secured positions along the canal.
  • Ukrainian Defense Forces advanced to the southwest of Avdiyivka and north of Vodyane; they successfully counterattacked near Novodonetsk and improved their tactical position.
  • The enemy fired at the positions of the Defense Forces to the west of Hulyaipole; units of the 126th separate coastal defense brigade of the 22nd Army Corps of the Russian Black Sea Fleet fired at Ukrainian positions on Velykyi Potemkin Island.
Change in enemy disposition:

The operational area in the Bakhmut district is (conventionally) divided into three sections:

  • The northern section along Road O0506, where three BTGs of the 92nd separate mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian Defense Forces face off against three regiments of the Russian Airborne Forces (presumably the 106th airborne division).
  • The western outskirts of Bakhmut, where two battalions from the 125th and 241st separate brigades of Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces and a battalion from a separate presidential brigade are defending. Their positions are under attack by units of the “Wagner” PMC.
  • The southwestern outskirts of Bakhmut, including the section of the T0504 highway, the hill above Klishchiivka, and the “Siversky Donets-Donbas” canal, where units of the 3rd and 5th separate assault brigades and 80th separate airborne assault brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces are defending. Their positions are being attacked by the 98th airborne division of the Russian Airborne Forces and remnants of two separate motorized rifle brigades.
  • Units of the 30th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 2nd Army of the Central Military District are operating near Makiivka, and the 88th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 2nd Army Corps of the 8th Army is operating near Kreminna.
Escalation indicators:
  • The enemy is regrouping the remnants of their forces in Bakhmut.
Possible operation situation developments:
  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces will continue to destroy the Russian artillery, and destroy objects in its operational rear in the entire operational zone, preparing favorable conditions for the launch of the counteroffensive;
  • Russian troops go on the defensive in the entire theater of military operations;
  • Russian troops will continue to transfer military equipment, ammunition, and materiel to Ukraine in preparation for a defense operation.
Azov-Black Sea Maritime Operational Area:
  • On May 10, there were 17 enemy ships at sea. They patroled areas near the coast of Krasnodar Krai and near the Kerch Bridge. Among them were three ships carrying Kalibr missiles: the Admiral Makarov frigate and two Buyan-M corvettes. They can carry up to 24 Kalibr missiles on board. Project 636.3 submarines are located at their bases, two in Novorossiysk and one in Sevastopol.
  • The enemy’s aircraft continues to fly over the sea from the Crimean airfields of Belbek, Saki, Dzhankoy, and Hvardiyske. Eight fighter jets from the Saki and Belbek airfields were involved in controlling the surface and air situation in the northwestern part of the Black Sea: three Su-27/30, one Su-30SM, two Su-24M, and two MiG-29K. The air situation control and operational-tactical aviation management over the Azov Sea were carried out by the A-50U and Il-22 AEW&C planes.
  • The Russian Federation’s military transport aviation has conducted two flights to transfer personnel to the Belbek airfield.
  • Enemy tactical aviation from the Azov and Black Seas, as well as from the temporarily occupied territories, have been carrying out strikes on the territories of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Oblast using guided FAB-500M-62 bombs.
  • NATO countries’ electronic reconnaissance aircraft have been operating along the coast of Romania and the western part of the Black Sea. The E-3B from the US Air Force, G- 550AEW from the Italian Air Force, and RC-135 from the British Air Force have been taking turns monitoring the airspace. Additionally, a reconnaissance UAV RQ-4B from the US Air Force has been operating in the southern part of the Black Sea.
“The Grain initiative”.
  • On May 10, a meeting of deputy defense ministers from Turkey, Russia, and Ukraine, as well as representatives of the United Nations, began in Istanbul to discuss the restoration of the “Grain Corridor.”
  • On the eve, the Ministry of Defense of Turkey announced that bilateral and multilateral meetings are planned on May 10 and 11 between representatives of countries and the UN. They planned to discuss the following:
  • The continuation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative agreement for exporting agricultural products from Ukraine is vital for global food security.
  • The safe evacuation of Turkish vessels and crews, which are blocked in Ukrainian ports due to the full-scale war.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 10.05.23

Personnel – almost 196,310 people (+690);

Tanks – 3,736 (+2);

Armored combat vehicles – 7,275 (+18);

Artillery systems – 3,039 (+8)

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 555 (+1); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 308 (+1); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 5,974 (+5); Aircraft – 308 (0);

Helicopters – 294 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 2,624 (+6); Intercepted cruise missiles – 970 (+15);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

Ukraine, general news

“Don’t think of this counteroffensive as the last one because we don’t know what will come of it. And if this counteroffensive is successful in liberating our territories, then, in the end, you will say: yes, it was the last, and if not, then it means that we need to prepare for the next counteroffensive,” Ukraine’s MFA Dmytro Kuleba told the Bild. Earlier, Ukraine’s Defense Minister told the Washington Post that “the expectation from our counteroffensive campaign is overestimated in the world. Most people are… waiting for something huge,” which, Oleksii Reznikov believes, could lead to “emotional disappointment.” Kyiv has recently started to manage expectations on the eve of the counter-offensive. Ukrainians fear that inflated expectations with just enough weapons for moderate advances (given the immense task) might undermine further international support for Ukraine and turn the critical partner’s mood into a “diplomatic” solution.

International diplomatic aspect

The lower house of the French Parliament has recognized the Wagner PMC as a terrorist organization and called on the E.U. to do the same at a European level. “We are sure that the next step will be the recognition of Russia as a terrorist state. We are working on this with our French partners,” the Ukrainian Embassy in France said in a statement. There have been reports that the U.K. is considering a designation of the group as a “terror organization” as well.

The United States recently provided Cyprus with an 800-page dossier outlining detailed accounts of sanctions violations by various individuals and entities in the country, which helped Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov to conceal his vast fortune. Cyprus has long been considered a safe haven for suspicious Russian money, with over €100 billion – nearly a quarter of all foreign investments in the country in 2020 – originating from Russia. In early spring, the U.S. and U.K. sanctioned a dozen Cypriot citizens and legal entities for being “financial intermediaries” of Alisher Usmanov and Roman Abramovich, both considered to be “personal pockets” of Vladimir Putin. “It’s imperative we approach this issue with the appropriate seriousness and do what we can so as not to allow anyone to blacken the country’s name,” said Nikos Christodoulides, who has been the President of Cyprus since February 2022, indicating his willingness to tackle the issue.

“Today, we were able to see the remains of the Kinzhal missile in Kyiv, which was shot down by Patriot defense on May 5. This was a sensation because the hypersonic missile was considered Putin’s wonder weapon. The parts are now being examined here,” Paul Ronzheimer of the Bild twitted. Meanwhile, according to preliminary findings by the Air Force Institute of Technology, reported by the Polish RMF FM, a military object found in a Polish forest in April was a Russian KH-55 missile. The crash site is over four hundred kilometers away from the Ukrainian border. It is the first such a case in Poland, while debris from at least four Russian missiles fell on Moldova’s territory since the all-out invasion.

The decision by the Commission for the Standardization of Geographical Names Outside Poland to rename the city of Kaliningrad and Kaliningrad oblast (region) to Królewiec, the autochthonous name, has angered the Russian government. In response, Putin’s spokesperson criticized the decision, stating that “this is not even Russophobia anymore; these are some processes on the border with insanity taking place in Poland.” However, the Russian government has not acknowledged its own habit of calling the occupied territories in Ukraine by names such as “Donets Peoples Republic” instead of Donetsk oblast, “Artemovsk” instead of Bakhmut, and renaming Ukrainian streets with Soviet names or erecting monuments to Vladimir Lenin.

During his visit to Berlin to secure unrestricted trade and exploit differences between the U.S. and old European countries on restraining China, Foreign Minister Qin Gang spoke about the importance of maintaining lines of communication with all parties to the war in Ukraine. “As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and major responsible country, China will neither watch the fire from the other bank nor add fuel to the fire,” a Chinese diplomat said. Meanwhile, the “major responsible country” has increased its exports to Russia by more than two-thirds ($ 33 billion) in four months of this year and its imports by almost a quarter ($39 billion). “China is willing to maintain communication with relevant parties, including Germany, to achieve an early ceasefire,” Qin Gang said. However, the proposal for an “early ceasefire” without putting pressure on Russia to withdraw its occupation forces from Ukrainian territory serves Moscow’s interests instead of Ukraine and the rest of the Free world, especially as the Russians are unable to change the current situation on the ground and Ukraine is preparing to launch a counteroffensive.

“Beijing is watching closely what happens in Ukraine, the price President Putin is paying but also the potential rewards. So, what happens in Ukraine actually matters for the calculations Beijing, China’s making regarding, for instance, Taiwan,” NATO Secretary-General rightly pointed out.

Japan’s foreign minister revealed the country’s interest in establishing a NATO liaison office. “Something happening in East Europe is not only confined to the issue in East Europe, and that affects directly the situation here in the Pacific. That’s why cooperation between us in East Asia and NATO (is) becoming … increasingly important,” Yoshimasa Hayashi told CNN.

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