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CDS Daily brief (14.05.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • 481 Ukrainian children have died, and over 971 have been injured to date due to Russia’s full-scale armed aggression.
  • During the night, the Russians attacked Ukraine again. Ukrainian air defense forces shot down 25 UAVs and three missiles.
  • Ukrainian energy system will have significantly less reserve capacity in the upcoming heating season.


  • The enemy continue to focus its efforts on offensive operations in the Kupyansk, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Maryinka directions.
  • The situation is becoming more difficult for the Russian grouping in Bakhmut. The Defense Forces are making significant advances into the enemy’s defense and pushing them back to the line they held 2.5 months ago.

Possible operation situation developments:

  • The Russian military will continue its efforts to capture Bakhmut and gradually transition to the defensive on the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Maryinka directions. They are preparing for an offensive operation to capture Kupyansk, which they may launch simultaneously with the start of the Ukrainian Defense Forces’ counteroffensive.


  • President Zelensky received the International Charlemagne Prize on behalf of the Ukrainian people.
  • Olaf Scholz assured Volodymyr Zelensky of continuous and robust support for Ukraine, the military assistance of which has reached €17 billion.
  • In the joint declaration, Germany expressed its support for Ukraine’s Peace Formula, Ukraine’s E.U. and NATO membership, though the latter in a more ambiguous manner.
  • Participants of the Lennart Meri Conference argued for Ukraine’s NATO membership, bringing Russians to justice and defeating Russia as a top priority.

Ukraine, general and humanitarian aspects

As of the morning of May 14, 2023, over 1,452 children in Ukraine have been affected by Russia’s full-scale armed aggression. According to official information from juvenile prosecutors, 481 children have died, and over 971 have been injured to varying degrees of severity. These numbers are not final, as efforts are currently underway to determine the full extent of the impact on children in conflict areas, including temporarily occupied or have recently been liberated.

Russian attacks

On the night of May 14, Russian troops carried out another massive shelling of Ukraine. The command of the Ukrainian Air Force reported that Russian forces attacked Ukraine using UAVs, “Caliber” missiles, X-101/X-555/X-55 cruise missiles, and Tu-95MS strategic bombers. 25 UAVs and three missiles were destroyed by Ukrainian air defense.

  • The Russian aggressor shelled Ternopil (west of Ukraine) twice during the past day. On the evening of May 13, they targeted a warehouse, resulting in two injured civilians who were subsequently hospitalized. The city was once again attacked by the Russians at around 5:00. According to the military administration of the region, as a result of the shelling, two private houses, civilian trade and economic objects, and nine trucks were destroyed, and another 12 houses were damaged.
  • In Kharkiv, a Russian missile strike with S-300 damaged a transport infrastructure facility, dormitories, and a residential building. In Zolochiv, two missiles hit the ground between residential buildings. Windows were broken, and two garages were destroyed. 2 people were killed due to the strike by Russian forces on Starytsia village.
  • Russian reconnaissance drones crossed the airspace of Kyiv on the night of May 14. All of them were shot down.
Occupied territories

Mayor of Melitopol Ivan Fedorov reported on the national telethon that on the occupied territory of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, invaders had seized all enterprises, and only a few are still functioning. The enemy has converted some into repair bases for their military equipment or given the illusion that everything is fine. “90% of enterprises in the occupied territories are not functioning,” he said. There have been cases of looting where the enemy steals equipment and warehouse stocks, such as a machine-building and foundry enterprise in Obilne village near Melitopol, which Fedorov said was now “completely looted.”


Dmytro Sakharuk, the Executive Director of DTEK, has warned that the Ukrainian energy system will have significantly less reserve capacity in the upcoming heating season. Repair work needs to be accelerated to prevent power outages. Repair work is already underway, with four nuclear power units currently being repaired and the fifth unit scheduled for repairs. This may result in an electricity shortage in June and July, which will be covered by imports from EU countries, as in January and February 2023. However, Sakharuk predicts possible problems at the start of the new heating season, with significantly less available capacity than before. Currently, 75% of thermal generation is damaged, and DTEK alone needs to repair nine power units with a total capacity of 1.5 GW. Additionally, almost 12,000 km of power transmission lines and nearly 4,000 distribution substations need to be prepared for winter. Therefore, power outages may occur in the winter, rather than in the coming months.

Operational situation General conclusion:
  • The enemy concentrates its main efforts on conducting offensive operations on the Kupyansk, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Maryinka directions;
  • The situation worsens on the flanks of the Russian grouping in Bakhmut, and the Defense Forces are advancing deep into the enemy’s defense, having pushed it back to the line it held 2.5 months ago.
Change in the line of contact (LoC):
  • Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled more than 57 enemy attacks in various directions. Bakhmut and Maryinka remain at the epicenter of hostilities.
  • The enemy conducted unsuccessful offensive actions in the area of Masyutivka, Novoselivske and the eastern outskirts of Stelmakhivka, in the direction of Hryhorivka, Bohdanivka, Khromove, Bakhmut, Bila Gora. Units of the Defense Forces repelled numerous enemy attacks in the area of Maryinka.
  • Russian forces continued local attacks in the northeast of Kupyansk and northwest of Svatove; advanced in the area of Kreminna; attempted an assault near Hryhorivka; they did not succeed on any of the fronts.
  • Russian forces moved forward by 400 meters in the northwest of Bakhmut. There were also clashes near Khromove.
  • Ukrainian Defense Forces have taken new positions on the outskirts of Kurdyumivka and pushed back Russian forces from the “Siversky Donets-Donbas” canal in the area.
  • Russian forces unsuccessfully conducted assaults near Novomykhailivka and towards Avdiivka from the direction of Opytne.
  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces have successfully seized new positions on the outskirts of Kurdyumivka, and have pushed back Russian forces from the area surrounding the “Siversky Donets-Donbas” canal.
  • Russian forces have significantly increased their use of UAVs for reconnaissance in the Zaporizhzhia direction, launching approximately 24 drones along the front line. They have also fired at Ukrainian positions west of Hulyaipole 88 times.

Change in enemy disposition: not detected.

Escalation indicators: not identified.

Possible operation situation developments:
  • The enemy will not cease their efforts to capture Bakhmut and gradually transition to a defensive posture on the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Maryinka fronts. They may prepare an offensive operation to capture Kupyansk, which they could potentially launch simultaneously with the start of the Defense Forces’ counteroffensive.
  • Ukrainian Defense Forces will continue to shape an operational space, preparing favorable conditions for counteroffensive operations.
Azov-Black Sea Maritime Operational Area:
  • On May 14, 10 enemy ships were observed patrolling areas near the coast of Crimea and Krasnodar Krai. One ship was stationed near the Kerch Bridge. Among them were three ships and a submarine carrying “Kalibr” missiles capable of carrying up to 25 missiles. On the morning of May 14, they launched a missile strike on Ukraine using three “Kalibr” missiles.
  • The enemy aviation continues to fly over the sea from the Crimean airfields of Belbek, Saky, Dzhankoy, and Hvardiyske. Eight fighter jets from the airfields of Saky and Belbek were deployed to monitor the surface and air situation in the northwestern area of the Black Sea. Control of the air situation and operational-tactical aviation management over the Azov Sea were carried out by the A-50U and Il-22 AWACS aircraft.
  • On the territory of Kirovske airfield in Crimea, a total of 14 aircraft were detected (including 4 MiG-29, 5 Su-30SM, 1 L-39, 1 An-26, and 3 An-72), along with 16 helicopters (including 1 Ka-27, 6 Mi-24, and 9 Mi-8), and 1 Orion UAV. Over the past week, there has been an observed increase in aviation, with the addition of 7 aircraft.
  • The level of military equipment transportation by both road and rail from Crimea to Kherson Oblast remains consistent. There are incoming freight trains from Crimea to Kherson Oblast that are unloading military equipment and ammunition at the “Kalanchak”, “Brylivka”, and “Novooleksiyivka” stations.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 14.05.23

Personnel – almost 198,880 people (+620);

Tanks – 3,756 (+5);

Armored combat vehicles – 7,325 (+18);

Artillery systems – 3,116 (+21)

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 562 (+1); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 314 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 6,018 (+7); Aircraft – 308 (0);

Helicopters – 294 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 2,696 (+31); Intercepted cruise missiles – 970 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

International diplomatic aspect

Volodymyr Zelensky accepted the International Charlemagne Prize for European unity on behalf of the Ukrainian people who fight daily for their freedom and for the values of Europe. “We stand together! We belong together! And our story will continue together,” the German Chancellor said during the ceremony. “They are [Ukrainians] literally fighting for freedom, humanity, and peace. They are bleeding, and they are laying down their lives to safeguard the future of their children and of ours,” the President of the European Commission said.

Olaf Scholz tweeted a message welcoming Volodymyr Zelensky to Berlin: “Your visit to Berlin is a powerful signal, dear President Zelensky. Russia’s brutal war of aggression against your country has been going on for 444 days. We provide you with humanitarian, political, financial and arms support as long as it is necessary.” So far, Germany provided Ukraine with €17 billion in security assistance. “I believe that your leadership – yours, Olaf, and all of Germany – leadership in the defense of peace can make the world safer. The more cooperation between us for the sake of peace, the more Germany will be a leader in protecting peace, and the more stability there will be in international relations,” Zelensky replied.

In a joint declaration, the President of Ukraine and the Chancellor of Germany condemned the Russian invasion and demanded that Russia stop its aggression and immediately withdraw troops from Ukrainian territory. Germany expressed its support for a just and sustainable resolution, as outlined in Ukraine’s Peace Proposal, and considered it a basis for further discussions. Both sides agreed on the importance of establishing a proper justice mechanism to bring criminals to justice. They also agreed on the necessity of enforcing sanctions and preventing their circumvention, as well as finding a compensation mechanism for rebuilding Ukraine with the frozen Russian assets. While Germany expressed support for Ukraine’s European integration, it used cautious language regarding Ukraine’s NATO membership prospects. “Germany supports the Ukraine-NATO Commission as a platform for further strengthening and expanding the partnership between NATO and Ukraine on its path defined by the Bucharest Declaration, thereby contributing to our common interests in ensuring Euro-Atlantic peace, stability, and security.”

During the Lennart Meri Conference in Tallinn, Pierre Vimont, a Senior Fellow at Carnegie Europe, emphasized that not including Ukraine in NATO would signal weakness to Putin and invite another invasion. “It would be an invitation to invade again. The question is, “What are we after?”. Integrating Ukraine into our family, and allowing NATO enlargement is a means to an end. That end is a Europe, whole and free.”

“I was at the Bucharest summit, and it was a # mess,” former U.S. Ambassador Daniel Fried confessed, though highlighting that “it established Ukraine’s future is in Europe.” Ambassador pointed out that all the arguments against Ukraine’s membership now mirror those regarding the Baltic states and Poland joining NATO then. “Whatever our current positions might be on the war, the victory of Ukraine and the defeat of Russia is important. Sovereignty and territorial integrity should be the top priority,” a Senior Fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute said. “President Zelensky gave us a chance to do over, to correct past mistakes. Good things happen when good guys win wars… Win the war. There is no reason for the aggression against sovereignty and crimes against humanity not to be defeated in the 21st century. Russia must be defeated,” Peter Van Praagh, Founding President of Halifax International Security Forum, stated. “My country is now on a path to correct what in hindsight I would say was its biggest mistake…reinvesting in defense,” Thomas Bagger, Germany’s ambassador to Poland, said. “There is no stable peace without accountability. We must break the cycle of aggression. Russian leaders have seen that no Russian leader has been held accountable for attacking other countries. We cannot let this happen again,” Kaja Kallas, Estonian PM, stated.

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.

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