12 votes

Megathread for news/updates/discussion of Russian invasion of Ukraine - May 27-29

This thread is posted Monday/Wednesday/Friday - please try to post relevant content in here, such as news, updates, opinion articles, etc. Especially significant updates may warrant a separate topic, but most should be posted here.

If you'd like to help support Ukraine, please visit the official site at https://help.gov.ua/ - an official portal for those who want to provide humanitarian or financial assistance to people of Ukraine, businesses or the government at the times of resistance against the Russian aggression.


  1. cfabbro
    115 Russian national guard soldiers sacked for refusing to fight in Ukraine (The Guardian)

    115 Russian national guard soldiers sacked for refusing to fight in Ukraine (The Guardian)

    More than 100 Russian national guardsmen have been fired for refusing to fight in Ukraine, court documents show, in what looks to be the clearest indication yet of dissent among some parts of security forces over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

    The cases of the 115 national guardsmen, a force also known as Rosgvardia, came to light on Wednesday, after a local Russian court rejected their collective lawsuit that challenged their earlier sacking.

    According to the court’s decision, published on its website, the lawsuit was dismissed after the judge determined that the soldiers had been rightfully fired for “refusing to perform an official assignment” to fight in Ukraine and instead returned to a duty station.

    The appeal took place in Nalchik, the capital of the Kabardino-Balkarian republic in the Russian Caucasus, where the unit is based.

    Russia created Rosgvardia, a militarised force separate from the army, in 2016 to fight terrorism and maintain public order. Since its inception, members of Rosgvardia, which is often referred to as Vladimir Putin’s “private army”, have mostly been involved in crackdowns on peaceful anti-government protests.

    Military analysts have linked Russia’s heavy use of Rosgvardia soldiers in Ukraine to Moscow’s strategic aims of capturing and holding major Ukrainian cities, including Kharkiv and the capital, Kyiv. These plans failed, while Rosgvardia units suffered heavy casualties after Ukrainian cities remained battlegrounds rather than being captured by Russia, which left Rosgvardia units exposed to Ukrainian attacks.

    The testimonies also give weight to suggestions that the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine was intended initially as a blitzkrieg attack on Kyiv with the aim of capturing the capital.

    In one testimony, a Roskgvardia soldier told the court that his commander instructed his unit three days prior to the invasion that they would be sent to Ukraine to “patrol the streets and intersections of Kyiv”.

    “The commander explained that all employees of the national guard and the Russian armed forces were assigned specific tasks during the special operation in Ukraine. The task of our detachment and for all the other detachments that were stationed with us was to guard the streets and intersections of Kyiv,” said the testimony, seen by the Guardian.

    8 votes
  2. patience_limited
    The Economist has a very good dissection of Russian propaganda about the war in Ukraine.

    The Economist has a very good dissection of Russian propaganda about the war in Ukraine.

    6 votes
  3. cfabbro
    Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Loyal To Russia Since 2019 Schism, Now Cuts Ties Over War (Radio Free Europe)

    Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Loyal To Russia Since 2019 Schism, Now Cuts Ties Over War (Radio Free Europe)

    The leaders of Orthodox churches in Ukraine that have been affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church on May 27 adopted measures to sever ties with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine in a significant move against the Russian Orthodox Church and its spiritual leader.

    The leaders of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church -- Moscow Patriarchate made the announcement in a statement on Facebook after holding a council in Kyiv focused on “issues that arose as a result of the military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine."

    "We disagree with the position of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow...on the war in Ukraine," said the statement.

    The Ukrainian Orthodox Church -- Moscow Patriarchate has until now formally pledged allegiance to Russia's Patriarch Kirill, who has expressed clear support for President Vladimir Putin's offensive in Ukraine.

    Church spokesman Archbishop Kliment said the council stressed its "complete rejection" of Kirill's position regarding the war.

    "Not only did he fail to condemn Russia's military aggression but he also failed to find words for the suffering Ukrainian people," the archbishop told AFP.

    The statement said it condemns war as “a violation of God's commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill!' and expresses condolences to all those who suffer in the war."

    It said relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Moscow leadership had been "complicated or absent" since the war began, and it said the council approved amendments that “testify to the full independence and autonomy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”

    The statement also appealed to both Ukraine and Russia to "continue the negotiation process" and find a way to "stop the bloodshed."

    4 votes
  4. skybrian
    Ukraine says Russian advances could force retreat in part of east

    Ukraine says Russian advances could force retreat in part of east

    Luhansk's governor, Serhiy Gaidai, said Russian troops had entered Sievierodonetsk, the largest Donbas city still held by Ukraine, after trying to trap Ukrainian forces there for days, though adding that Russian forces would not be able to capture the Luhansk region "as analysts have predicted".

    "We will have enough strength and resources to defend ourselves. However, it is possible that in order not to be surrounded we will have to retreat," Gaidai said on Telegram.

    Gaidai said 90% of buildings in Sievierodonetsk were damaged with 14 high-rises destroyed in the latest shelling.

    4 votes
  5. cfabbro
    Ukraine Battle Expands as Kyiv Launches Counteroffensive (NYT)

    Ukraine Battle Expands as Kyiv Launches Counteroffensive (NYT)

    Ukrainian soldiers, seeking to spread Russian forces thin, launched a counteroffensive on Sunday in Kherson, the key southern city that Moscow considered so securely under its thumb that it had introduced the ruble.

    Ukraine’s push in Kherson came as its forces were desperately battling to hold off Russia’s efforts to conquer and cut off a strategic strip of Eastern Ukraine that is central to Moscow’s struggling war effort, and it had the effect of expanding the battlefield.

    The opening of the new front underlined that when it comes to territory in Ukraine, little is for keeps as each side tries to exploit the enemy’s shifting strategic vulnerabilities. That volatility promises to only increase as Ukraine receives more sophisticated long-range artillery, and soon possibly American missiles.

    The announcement of the Ukrainian counteroffensive — “Hold on, Kherson, we’re coming!” the military said Sunday morning on Twitter — signaled what may prove to be a new chapter in a war that has political, economic and humanitarian significance far beyond Ukraine’s borders.

    Kherson, a port city in Ukraine’s agricultural heartland, was the first major city to fall as Russian forces swept north out of Crimea more than three months ago. After seizing it, Moscow used the city as a staging ground for operations across southern Ukraine.

    But in recent weeks, Russian forces — stretched thin and taking heavy losses as they gain ground in the eastern Donbas region — have concentrated their efforts in the south on fortifying defensive positions. Satellite images have shown Russians scrambling to build fortifications in Kherson, where the shoots of an insurgency surfaced this month.

    It was not clear if they were prepared for the Ukrainian counterattack.

    The Ukrainian military headquarters said in a statement that its forces had broken through a Russian line of defense and pushed the Russians into less favorable terrain near the villages of Andriyivka, Lozove and Belihorka. The counteroffensive also sought to threaten Russia’s supply routes on bridges over the Dnipro River.

    Ukraine had been telegraphing the counteroffensive for days, though it had said such a maneuver would require the Western artillery systems promised by the United States and other allies. It was unclear on Sunday what artillery Ukraine was using in its counteroffensive.

    In a war that is increasingly becoming an arms race, powerful American-made howitzers reached Ukrainian forces this month, and Ukrainian troops recently received Harpoon anti-ship cruise missiles from Denmark. Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, said they would be used to try to break Russia’s Black Sea blockade and to protect the port city of Odesa.

    4 votes