Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 21.05.2024

In the operational zone of the Ukrainian Operational Group of Forces (OG) “Kharkiv” on the Kharkiv direction, the number of combat engagements on the Kharkiv axis has decreased by nearly half compared to the previous day. The enemy made five attempts to break through the defense in the areas of Starytsya, Lyptsi, and Vovchansk. Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces conducted several assault operations in certain areas, and measures to strengthen the resilience of the defense are ongoing.

In the “Khortytsia” Operational-Strategic Group of Forces (OSG) operational zone on the Kupyansk direction, the number of enemy attempts to advance has increased to 13. Battles are ongoing in the areas of Synkivka and Stelmakhivka. On the Siversk direction, three enemy attacks were repelled. Fighting continues in the area of Bilohorivka. On the Kramatorsk direction, there have been 13 combat engagements, with ongoing fighting near Andriivka. The situation remains tense.

In the “Tavriya” OSG operational zone, on the Pokrovsk direction, 25 enemy offensive and assault actions were repelled. The Ukrainian Defense Forces are taking measures to hold designated lines and are regrouping in certain areas.  On the Kurakhove direction, the situation remains tense, with defense forces repelling eight enemy attacks. There is high enemy activity in the area of Netaylove.  On the Vremivka direction, four enemy attempts to advance towards Staromayorske have failed.

In the operational zone of the “Odesa” OSG on the Prydniprovskiy direction, the enemy continues attempts to displace the Ukrainian Defense Forces from bridgeheads on the left bank of the Dnipro River. The enemy conducted 4 attacks in the direction of Oleshkivski Piski – Krynky.

General conclusion: 

  • On the Vovchansk direction, Russian forces are compelled to engage in combat on open terrain, with the logistics of their tactical grouping failing to adequately supply ammunition.
  • In the Chasiv Yar area, units of the 98th Airborne Division are critically lacking counter-UAV systems and qualified personnel.
  • On the Zaporizhzhia direction, Russian forces are using artillery more intensively than the Ukrainian Defense Forces, but the latter offset this with a higher intensity of FPV drone deployment.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):

  • There were 95 combat engagements on various fronts.
  • On the Kharkiv direction, Russian forces advanced 200-400 meters near Lyptsi and captured the dacha area north of the village. The enemy made progress near Zelene, in central Vovchansk north of the Vovcha River, and continued their offensive in the vicinity of Starytsya. Positional battles are ongoing in the area of Starytsya and Buhruvatka.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, Russian forces are attempting to capture Bilohorivka. They advanced northeast of Berestove and west of Dibrova, and continued assaults near Synkivka, Berestove, Ivanivka, Stelmakhivka, and Novoyehorivka.
  • On the Siversk direction, Russian forces advanced north of Vesele, attacking in the areas of Verkhnyokamianske, Rozdolivka, Ivano-Dariivka, and Vyimka.
  • On the Kramatorsk direction, Russian troops advanced in the southern part of the “Kanal” neighborhood, in the southern part of Klishchiivka. Units of the 98th Airborne Division advanced in the “Novyi” neighborhood and near Bohdanivka, Russian forces continued to attack near Kalynivka, Ivanivske, Klishchiivka, and Andriivka.
  • On the Pokrovsk direction, Russian troops advanced in western Netaylove, northeast of Novokalynove, and northwest of Semenivka. Battles continued in the areas of Novooleksandrivka, Lozuvatske, Arkhanhelske, Yevhenivka, Sokil, Novopokrovske, Novoselivka Persha, Sieverne, Umanske, and Yasnobrodivka.
  • On the Kurakhove direction, Russian forces advanced southeast of Krasnohorivka, east and southeast and south of Paraskoviivka, capturing more than half of the village. Fighting continued near Heorhiivka, southwest of Novomykhailivka, and Vodyane.
  • On the Vremivka direction, Russian troops have advanced towards Hulyaipole and continued assaults in the areas of Urozhaine and Staromayorske.
  • On the Orikhiv direction, Russian forces have slightly advanced in the northern part of Robotyne, southeast of Robotyne, and are consolidating their positions along the Robotyne-Verbove road. Positional battles are ongoing near Robotyne and northwest of Verbove.
  • On the Prydniprovskiy direction, Russian forces have made slight advancements towards the southern part of Veliky Potemkin Island. Units of the 76th Air Assault Division, redeployed from the Zaporizhzhia direction, have been engaged in battle in the area of Krynky.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov naval operational area, the enemy naval group on combat duty consists of:
    • Mediterranean Sea: 3 ships, including 2 “Kalibr” sea launched cruise missile carriers. The total salvo is 24 cruise missiles.

Changes in the enemy disposition:

  • Units of the 272nd Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 47th Tank Division, the “West-Akhmat” Battalion, and Rosgvardia units operate near Vovchansk.
  • Reconnaissance units of the 15th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 2nd Motorized Rifle Division of the 1st Tank Army are active on the Kupyansk direction.
  • The 6th Motorized Rifle Division of the 3rd Army Corps is engaged in combat near Klishchiivka.
  • The 15th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 2nd Combined Arms Army is operating near Ocheretyne.
  • The 247th Air Assault Regiment of the 7th Air Assault Division is engaged in combat on the Hulyaipole direction.

Possible operation situation developments:

  • On the Sumy direction, the enemy grouping is in concentration areas and conducting routine activities. Meanwhile, Sudzha – Sumy and Graivoron – Velyka Pysarivka could be the likely directions of their actions. The enemy is increasing the size of their grouping. The 128th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 44th Army Corps is concentrating in the Graivoron area (information is being verified).
  • he enemy will continue their attempts to penetrate the urban area of Vovchansk and advance west of the city along both banks of the Siversky Donets River, particularly in the Buhruvatka area.
  • If the enemy manages to cross the Siversky Donets River towards Prylipka and further to Synelnykove and Tsehelne, the situation for the “Kharkiv” OG tactical group defending Vovchansk will sharply deteriorate. The transfer of enemy troops from the Nova Tavilzhanka and Arkhangelskoye (Russian territory) areas to Ohirtseve and Buhruvatka will indicate the commencement of this scenario by the command of the “Sever” Operational Grouping.
  • The implementation of the plan by the “Sever” and “Zapad” Operational Groupings to break through the rear of “Khortytsia” OSG on the Kupyansk direction via Bilyi Kolodiaz and Velykyi Burluk will require significant reinforcement of the grouping with reserves amounting to a division. To this end, the 70th or 71st Motorized Rifle Regiments of the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division of the 58th Army could be redeployed from the Zaporizhzhia direction, a regiment from the 7th or 76th Airborne Assault Divisions, and the 54th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 6th Motorized Rifle Division of the 3rd Army Corps or the 299th Airborne Regiment of the 98th Airborne Division could be redeployed from the Kramatorsk direction.
  • The adversary will attempt to bypass Chasiv Yar without directly assaulting the city, by operating from the south and southeast, while simultaneously forming a northern flank for the Toretsk operation.
  • The “Center” Operational Grouping command is focused on executing the following operational plan: to establish conditions for the blockade and encirclement of the Kurakhove area or to create advantageous circumstances for launching an offensive operation to encircle “Tavriya” OSG’s defense in Toretsk area from the south.
  • The enemy’s “Vostok” Operational Grouping is gearing up for active operations on the southern flank of the Kurakhove-Vuhledar bulge of the Ukrainian Defense Forces in coordination with the left flank of the “Yug” Operational Grouping, which is currently attempting to break through towards Kurakhove through Hryhorivka and Paraskoviivka-Kostyantynivka along the Vovcha and Sukhi Yaly Rivers.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 21.05.24  

Personnel – almost 495,070 (+1380); 

Tanks 7,605 (+15); 

Armored combat vehicles – 14,699 (+34); 

Artillery systems – 12,779 (+42);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 1,077 (+1);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 811 (+4);

Vehicles and fuel tanks – 17,383 (+72);

Aircraft – 354 (0);

Helicopters – 326 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 10,290 (+54);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 2,207 (+2);

Boats/ships – 28 (0).


  • According to information provided by the Situation Center of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Russian forces shelled 13 regions of Ukraine over the past day. A total of 115 towns and villages and 150 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. The number of casualties is being updated/clarified.
  • On the night of May 21, Russian forces attacked Ukraine with 29 attack UAVs of the “Shahed-131/136” type, 28 of them were shot down.
  • During the night of May 20-21 in Kharkiv, the occupiers attacked one of the favorite leisure spots of local residents. Four people were injured.
  • The enemy struck Kharkiv throughout the night. Debris from enemy “Shahed” drones was found at four locations. According to the State Emergency Service, 5 people were injured as a result of the Russian “Shahed” attack. At 7:05 AM, the Russians launched a missile strike on a transport infrastructure facility, injuring a 53-year-old civilian man. As a result of the shelling, 25 trucks and buses and 3 cars were damaged.
  • On May 21, Russian forces launched drone strikes on a police vehicle evacuating people from the Vovchansk community. The law enforcement officer suffered a concussion.
  • On Tuesday, May 21 Russian forces dropped explosives from a drone on the village of Antonivka in Kherson Oblast, resulting in injuries to three women.
  • On May 21, Russian forces targeted the Shumenskyi neighborhood in Kherson. An apartment building was hit, injuring three people, including a 15-year-old boy.
  • Russian forces launched a missile strike on Konotop in Sumy Oblast, damaging industrial infrastructure. The consequences of the Russian attack are being clarified.
  • The Russian occupation authorities have declared thousands of apartments and houses in the occupied territories of Ukraine as “ownerless property” and intend to confiscate them for the benefit of the state. According to calculations by “Novaia Gazeta Europa,” over three years, the occupation administrations have identified 13.3 thousand “ownerless” real estate objects, half of which were identified in less than the full year of 2024.
  • According to Petro Andryushchenko, an advisor to the Mayor of Mariupol, up to 80,000 Russians have arrived and are currently residing in Mariupol, which is temporarily occupied by the Russian army. Russia’s aggression has led to one of the largest humanitarian catastrophes in Mariupol. The city is nearly 90% destroyed due to shelling. The occupiers are also demolishing damaged buildings to conceal the evidence of their crimes. During the blockade and occupation, Russian forces destroyed 50% of the city’s high-rise buildings—934 buildings in total, of which 465 have already been demolished. Over 52,000 apartments of Mariupol residents have been destroyed.

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