Snake Island, a small piece of land near the Danube estuary, has become a flashpoint in the military confrontation between Ukraine and Russia. The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, affirms that the country will continue to fight for the island, currently occupied by Russia, due to its strategic importance. Although the island itself is small and has no population, it may be key to controlling sea routes to Ukrainian ports. It can also serve as a logistics base for a possible landing in the westernmost part of the Odessa region. It could then allow the Russians to threaten Odessa and push their way into Transnistria, the pro-Russian breakaway territory in Moldova.
Recent attacks by the Ukrainian army have managed to destroy several “Raptor” patrol ships, as well as a “Serna” landing craft near the island. Another logistics ship, “Vsevolod Bobrov”, was damaged in another attack on Thursday, according to the Odessa regional administration. A Russian helicopter and several air defense systems were also destroyed. Ukraine has used its Bayraktar drones, as well as aviation. Its Army has also suffered casualties near the island, with the deaths of several pilots reported in the media.
It is likely that Ukraine may not be able to secure control of the island due to the superiority of Russian aviation and Navy. However, it is likely to continue to disrupt Russia’s attempts to use the island as a base in the region.
Still, crucial battles are likely to continue in Donbas. It seems that Russia has once again returned to a more limited target in the region. having failed in capture the main cities of Ukraine, allegedly planned to encircle the large group of the Ukrainian army in Donbas by pushing from Izium in the north and from Adviivka in the south. Several weeks have passed and Russia has not managed to break through the Ukrainian defense. Therefore, it is pouring most of its resources on the banks of the Siversky Donets, trying to cut off the Ukrainian troops near Severodonetsk and Rubizhne. According to the region’s governor, Sergiy Gaidai, the Ukrainians have recorded the presence of 2,000 Russian military vehicles in the region in recent days.
In a battle that lasted two days, the Ukrainian artillery managed to defeat repeated attempts by the Russians to cross the river at Bilogirivka. The Ukrainians destroyed at least 73 tanks and other Russian military vehicles. A Ukrainian Army engineer claims on his Twitter account that due to poor visibility due to multiple fires in the region, Ukrainians detected Russian troops by the sound of their motorboats. Russian troops have likely crossed the river elsewhere without the outcome of the battle being clear. Analysts say the Russian army’s hasty attempts to cross the river are causing many casualties that could have been avoided. He shows that his Army is acting under political pressure and not on the basis of what is militarily feasible.
What I did to destroy Russian pantonne bridge over Siverskyi Donets – a thread 🧵
Here you go -> -> ->
— Максим (@kms_d4k) May 11, 2022
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Olexiy Reznikov called on Ukrainians to prepare for the very difficult weeks ahead. He warned that the Ukrainian military will have to rely on the limited stock of Ukrainian and Soviet-era weapons to repel relentless Russian attacks in the east and south of the country. It will take “weeks or even more” for the Ukrainian army to integrate the most modern weapons supplied by the West.
According to the minister, about 1,500 Ukrainian soldiers are being trained to use foreign weapons. Some of the supplied weapons are already operating in combat, such as the US-supplied M777 howitzers and the Czech Dana self-propelled artillery. However, most still need to be inducted into the Army. In addition, Ukraine’s partners have not yet responded to its requests to supply modern combat aircraft and multiple rocket launchers. Reznikov reported that the Ukrainian government aims to be able to equate one million Ukrainian soldiers.
The Ukrainian minister also assured that within several months the increase in military aid supplies and sanctions against Russia will skew the odds in favor of Ukraine. His words came on the same day that the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, announced a new 500 million euro package of military aid to Ukraine. Borrell was also optimistic that the EU would agree to a new sanctions package in the coming days, including an embargo on Russian oil exports.
As the EU prepares to formally consider Ukraine’s application for EU candidate status, Russia is changing its stance on the issue. Even before Russia’s most recent attack began in February, some experts saw EU membership as compensation for Ukraine’s possible military neutrality. In March, Russia’s negotiator Vladimir Medynskyi said Russia would not object to Ukraine joining the EU if it ruled out NATO membership. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned on Friday that Ukraine’s integration into the EU could be “dangerous” for Russia. Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN Dmytro Polianskyi earlier said that Russia no longer saw “any difference” between NATO and the EU.
Volodimir Zelensky has reiterated that he is willing to meet with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, but without mediators or ultimatums. The withdrawal of all Russian troops to positions prior to the start of the recent invasion would be a good first step.. According to the Ukrainian president, his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, asked him to consider giving up part of Ukraine’s sovereignty to help Putin “save face.” Zelenski believes that he was not the correct way to act and assures that he is not willing to give up any of the Ukraine’s territories.