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Ukraine Updates: After Fall of Mariupol, Russian Forces Push to Encircle Eastern City of Severodonetsk 

Ukraine Updates: After Fall of Mariupol, Russian Forces Push to Encircle Eastern City of Severodonetsk 

UK Defense Ministry: “The Severodonetsk area remains one of Russia’s immediate tactical priorities.”

After wresting control over the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol following 12 weeks of intense fighting, Russian forces have launched a multi-pronged attack on the city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian authorities confirmed the launch of a Russian offensive from four separate directions. “Russia has attempted to break into the city of Severodonetsk from four separate directions,” the BBC reported Saturday, quoting the region’s mayor.

After securing Mariupol, Severodonetsk — part of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk province — may become the next big target for the invading Russian forces, reports suggest. “The Severodonetsk area remains one of Russia’s immediate tactical priorities,” the UK Ministry of Defense said in its latest intelligence assessment.

If the latest reports are to be believed, the Russian forces around Severodonetsk are again trying to encircle Ukrainian defenders in a cauldron similar to the one created in Mariupol. The UK newspaper Guardian noted on Friday:

According to multiple sources, Russian troops were pushing west of the Russian-occupied town of Popasna and also attempting to gain ground to the north of Severodonetsk, advancing more than 10km in at least one region with residents fleeing under shellfire.

The focus of the main Russian advance appeared to be the town of Soledar amid speculation that their initial aim was to cut one of the main supply routes to thousands of Ukrainian defenders, who are outnumbered by Russian forces.

After Fall of Mariupol, Zelensky Rallies the Nation

After the last defenders surrendered to the Russians invaders following a 12 week-long battle for Mariupol, President Volodymyr Zelensky is ralling the nation.

The Ukrainian leader downplayed the latest Russian gains, calling them temporary. “For them, all these victories – the occupation of Crimea or Donbas – is very temporary. And all this will return – since this is our territory,” President Zelensky said over the weekend.

The capture of Mariupol strengthens the Russian position in the east of the country, consolidating its annexation of Crimea eight years ago. “The Russians have secured the land bridge from Crimea to the Donbas, which will prove difficult for Ukraine to take back,” the UK new channel Sky News noted.

Fresh Recruits Swell the Ranks of Ukrainian Military

The Ukrainian government has responded to the ongoing Russian offensive by training hundreds of thousands of new recruits. “Russian soldiers are now focused on the south and eastern regions of Ukraine, but — anticipating a drawn-out conflict — Kyiv has stepped up the training of its new recruits so they are ready to face the enemy if and when needed,” the French news agency AFP reported Saturday.

Most of the newly-enlisted soldiers have joined the ranks of the Ukrainian territorial defense unit, an auxiliary force to the country’s regular army. “Some 700,000 Ukrainian soldiers are now actively participating in defending the country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a televised interview on Saturday,” the French TV channel EuroNews reported.

Russia Cuts Off Gas Supply to Finland

Days after Finland submitted the request to join NATO, Russia has halted gas supply to the arctic country. On Tuesday, the Finnish parliament overwhelmingly approved the bid for NATO membership, ending the country’s policy military non-alignment in place for 73 years.

Russia, which shares an 830-mile border with Finland, threatened “retaliatory steps” if NATO expanded to include Nordic countries. Finland’s neighbor to the West, Sweden, has also applied to join the Western security bloc.

The Associated Press reported the Russian measure:

Russia halted gas exports to neighboring Finland on Saturday, a highly symbolic move that came just days after the Nordic country announced it wanted to join NATO and marked a likely end to Finland’s nearly 50 years of importing natural gas from Russia.

The measure taken by the Russian energy giant Gazprom was in line with an earlier announcement following Helsinki’s refusal to pay for the gas in rubles as Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded European countries do since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The Finnish state-owned gas company Gasum said that “natural gas supplies to Finland under Gasum’s supply contract have been cut off” by Russia on Saturday morning at 7 a.m. local time…

The Russian move can also been seen as a warning for other European countries reluctant of paying for their oil and gas exports in rubles. Moscow wants to boost rubles payments in exchange for Russian energy exports — a bid to stabilize its currency hit by Western sanctions. Several European countries, particularly Germany and the Netherlands, are heavily depended on Russian gas exports for powering industry and heating homes.


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Encircling is pretty traditional in the game of defeating. Those encircled have a logistics problem.

“Some 700,000 Ukrainian soldiers are now actively participating in defending the country,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

I doubt that.

    alaskabob in reply to Peabody. | May 22, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    And dozens if not hundreds of politicians are skimming off a “carrying charge” from Ukraine for all the money dumped into their laps. Between Afghanistan and Ukraine we are well past 130 Billion Biden Bucks squandered while the citizens of the USA are reduced to a near certain Venezuela-like future. Russia has taken hard hits but will not back down and in the long game may prevail yet…. without bring pushed to nukes as some Western and US polis want them to use. First and foremost there is a election to steal in the US.

We have absolutely zero credible information on the ground there. It could be that Putin is on his last breath, or it could be that Zelensky is on his last breath – every bit of information coming out of the region is propaganda on one side or the other, and all the resources pouring in from the west are surely lining the pockets of the connected and powerful, while ultimately, the people on the ground suffer.

The post mortem on this period of time, maybe another few decades from now, is likely going to tell a story much more interesting than we currently imagine.

Mauiobserver | May 22, 2022 at 1:58 pm

The more this unfolds the more I agree with Col. MacGregor’s assessment. which is that Russia is achieving their goal of a land bridge to the Crimea and firm control of the Donbas region. I find it increasingly difficult to believe the western media as it usually sounds like pure propaganda.

The Russians were always going to reclaim the Crimea as Russia has fought many wars over the centuries against the Tartars, Turks, British, etc. for its control and a warm water port vital to its economy. Even another charge of the Light Brigade was never going to alter that.

Virtually none of the EU powers has put much money or military hardware into supporting Ukraine (showing that they have no desire to enter into a worse debacle than the Balkans was) but the US has and continues to poor tens of billions of dollars of cash and equipment into the conflict with no apparent goal other than extending the carnage and horror. I don’t know what the Biden administration hopes to gain. Even if the ongoing human toll on Russian troops and its economy forced Putin out I can’t imagine that the Russians would allow DC to select a woke puppet to replace him. We would probably just get another ex KGB or military leader and unfortunately it would probably be someone more competent and sadly more ruthless than Putin.

If the administration is doing this to somehow bolster its domestic political prospects then it is a worse scandal than LBJ’s Gulf of Tokin ruse for the Vietnam war or GWB’s BS to invade Iraq (which I sadly bought at the time). I don’t think that history is going to be very kind to the US manipulations in the Ukraine over the past decade.

    stevewhitemd in reply to Mauiobserver. | May 22, 2022 at 4:13 pm

    I appreciate your analysis. I think the end result depends on two things that we in America can’t measure: first, the relative morale of the Ukrainian versus Russian troops, and second, the relative amount of pain both sides can handle.

    Right now it’s clear that the Russians have enough of a grip on the southeast to have their land bridge to Crimea, and some buffer around that. Reducing Mariupol to rubble, taking out the productive eastern land (grain, oil), and functionally closing Odesa has hurt the Ukrainians substantially. Plus there are increasing reports of mass executions of Ukrainian civilians and military POWs. Is all that enough pain for the Ukrainians?

    Right now it’s also clear that the Russian accomplishments have come at a significant cost in casualties and broken equipment. There are lots of body bags going home. The wrecked military equipment will take a decade or more for the Russians to replace. The strain on their economy is substantial. Is all that enough pain for the Russians?

    I don’t know; I can’t know, I’m not there. But right now I would not bet on either side.

      Russia is in a really bad spot, and Putin must be furious. And worse, humiliated. They can’t literally afford to keep this up (in economic and human cost), but what options does he have, what way out? Humiliated tyrants are dangerous.

        thad_the_man in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | May 22, 2022 at 5:26 pm

        There you go again.
        The Ruble is one of the best, if not the best, preforming currency at this time. The dollar is falling. The Euro is falling.
        Sure it could be that the Russians are faking it, but if they are I wish we were faking it that well. They have cheap gas. They have cheap food. Sure they can’t get iPhones, but I consider that amajor plus.

          Heh, yep, you got me, not a fan of genocidal communist tyrants. How will I ever recover from the shame?

          alaskabob in reply to thad_the_man. | May 22, 2022 at 6:26 pm

          “Genocidal communist tyrants”… for a second I thought you might be talking about former mayor De Blasio or former governor Andrew Cuomo. It’s an interesting world where (as stated by The One… BHO… PBUH) Russia was just a regional power. Well.. with the weapons to burn down the whole world in 40 minutes. Putin lives in the world of realpolitik while FJoe Biden and his string holders aren’t. Sure he has buried more than Bill and Hillary Clinton. But he loves his country unlike those that hang around the fake Oval Office away from 1600. Right now… who is damaging their country more? Putin or Biden’s String Masters? Putin knows karate…. is the West being fainted in the long run?

          Putin loves the old Soviet Union, the COMMUNIST Soviet Union, remember them? I have no doubt at all that Putin loves the old Soviet Union, just as I have no doubt that he despises the Russia he is stuck with. He’s not trying to rebuild the old Soviet Union for kicks; he’s a true believer. A Soviet communist to his KGB, Stalinist core. He’s not a hero, he’s a freaking communist tyrant who absolutely despises the West in general and the United States in particular. How do you not know this?

          Barry in reply to thad_the_man. | May 22, 2022 at 10:12 pm

          “The dollar is falling.”

          Against what? The ruble?

          The dollar is the strongest currency on earth. Against the ruble it has fallen but this is just a temporary reaction to it having risen way too high.

          Anyway, no one gives a crap about the ruble.

        Mauiobserver in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | May 22, 2022 at 6:29 pm

        Russia has never had a robust economy, they went from a feudal system to communism to oligarchy domination with only brief interludes where they attempted a democratic market oriented system.

        They now have an energy oriented system with plenty of customers including the two most populous nations on earth India and China so they will not likely face economic collapse.

        If MacGregor is correct then they are close to achieving their goals of a land bridge to the Crimea and cutting off the Donbas region from Western Ukraine.

        If they are smart once they accomplish the above they should declare victory and offer oil to Europe again only with a price increase and payment in Russia’s choice of currency.

        NATO has no meaningful ground forces except for the French and no air power except for UK and France so if a Russian victory is going to be overturned it would have to be by American land and air power. Surely, not even the OBiden regime is eager to send thousands of American troops into a meat grinder war in Eastern Europe. Should the regime even propose it the time is ripe to tell a wealthy Europe to fund its own defense and provide the troops and equipment to do so.

          CommoChief in reply to Mauiobserver. | May 22, 2022 at 8:38 pm

          Whatever we may feel about the propriety of of Russia invading Ukraine the unique and frankly bizarre sanctions, in historical terms, are being observed by the rest of the world.

          Why would a Nation hold Euro or $ as part of their reserves when the same thing could happen to them? Got $? Tough, they are effectively worthless because the western financial system has decided they won’t accept them from you. Even for debt repayment. Then your creditors will claim you are in default even though they refused to accept the payments. This is coming.

          IMO the western govts (read Davos/WEF inspired) and western financial regime is doing damage to itself in the long run with their current strategy. The other Nations see it as Calvin ball and may decide not to play nicely with us someday. The west dominates the current financial system but what if the rest of the world decides they won’t take Euros or Dollars in exchange for their rare earth minerals, oil, Nat gas, wheat, coal, palm oil and so on. The fed reserve can print dollars but they can not ‘magic’ commodities into existence the same way.

          thad_the_man in reply to Mauiobserver. | May 22, 2022 at 9:03 pm

          Calvinball is what I was thinking.

          Barry in reply to Mauiobserver. | May 22, 2022 at 10:53 pm

          “…but what if the rest of the world decides they won’t take Euros or Dollars…”

          Then the’ll starve. The world runs on the $. Period. It is rising against other currency’s as we type. The dollar Vs the ruble is at it’s historic value, so no, the ruble hasn’t made great gains. It simply improved over the last two months from the dumpster fire that was going on.

          Of course the real answer is: The rest of the world will do no such thing. Where you come up with such horseshit is beyond me. The russians have oil and gas, a valuable commodity as long as their best friends, the biden regime, keep the USA from producing. As soon as that corrupt clownshow is run out of town the energy will flow again and the russian bear will be whimpering yet again.

          thad_the_man in reply to Mauiobserver. | May 23, 2022 at 12:58 am

          @Barry The ruble is at a two year high against the dollar. Not two months.

          As for Russia depending on only oil and gas, there is also steal, wheat, fertilizer, neon, gold, siver, diamonds etc.

          As for reserve currency, China has been tying to move away from the dollar as reserve currency for at least ten years. India would love it too. That’s a big part of the world economy right there. I’m sure there are other third world countries which would buy in. You say countries will starve if they don’t take Euro or dollars, but they aremore likely to risk starving if the US or the EU refuse to redeem their currncy. THe US just proved that if the country pisses them off.

          Better to have it in some other currency, or even in commodities.

          AnAdultInDiapers in reply to Mauiobserver. | May 23, 2022 at 3:30 am

          Russia can declare all the victories they want. It counts for nothing if Ukraine keeps fighting.

          CommoChief in reply to Mauiobserver. | May 23, 2022 at 8:42 am


          ‘then they’ll starve’….not at all. The non NATO nations have plenty of natural resources and commodities to trade among themselves. They can shift from selling to the west.

          For example look at fertilizer. Vast shortage. Why? Belarus and Russia make and export the lions share of fertilizer. Currently they are withholding it from export to NATO aligned Nations. As a result North American grain crop yield will be significantly reduced this fall.

          Do I think it would be easy to establish an alternative trading system? No. Would it be a smooth transition? No. Can it be done in parallel to the western dominated financial regime? Absolutely, it’s been building in fits and start a for decades. The current crisis is accelerating the trend.

          The days of USA, world police, able to impose our world hegemony are done. The sooner we all realize the limits of our power and stop trying to bully the rest of the world by running a blur based on thirty year old perceptions of our former strength the better off we will be.

          The fact is the US is not in a true position of unlimited strength. We have a massive, unprecedented level of debt. We squandered our wealth and have mortgaged the future productivity of our kids and grandkids.

    thad_the_man in reply to Mauiobserver. | May 23, 2022 at 1:34 am

    Truth is often hard to find, but there are ways.

    Start with Putin being a rabid warmonger person out to conquer the world , and the way to stop all this is get him out of power. Well before teh operation began, the duma voted for it. You think getting him out would stop it?

    Consider also the rumors that Putin is holding back hardliners. Rumor yes, but is there any truth to that rumor? Well if I were put in charge of a military operation to subdue a country, withe instructions that I must do so at minimum cost to our side, what would I do? Well I would bomb the railroads, the major roads briges and C&C. That’s not a sophisticated choice. It’s military 101. It’s what we did in the first Iraq war, well except for the rtialways. Are there some people on the Russian side who want to do that? You betcha. Was Putin one of them? If he was he would haver done that.

    As for the begining of the war. There is audio of Victoria Neuland planning who fill cabinet spots in Uklraine after the coup. Easy enough to find.

    The economy just search “US Ruble exchange” and “Russian exports”.

    One way to find the truth, trusted sources. For example, remember the one guy that said there were no WMD in Iraq? Scotter Ritter. Look at what he is saying about Ukraine. It’s not hard to find his opinion. He’s not shy about sharing it, and you can find many interviews on YT.

Eight years is too long to wait for the Summer that follows the [Slavic] Spring.

I would keep in mind that the sources LI seems to be using uncritically (in addition to being sources we have been critical of whenever they cover either Trump, Republicans, or Israel) have been actively doing propaganda (i.e. calling the surrender of the defenders of the steel factory an “evacuation” even though it is an evacuation to a Russian POW camp).

If you want someone putting honest effort and hard work to give a clear non-propagandistic picture of the situation HistoryLegends would be a great place to start.

http://www.thedrive/thewarzone has decent daily updates.