Monday, May 22, 2023

What’s next for UKRaine? Kyiv readies counteroffensive to push out Putin’s forces; Wagner mercenary group leader accuses RUssian troops of fleeing Bakhmut; RU fires 30 cruise missiles at UKR targets; UKR says 29 were shot down; Biden OKs training UKR pilots on F-16s, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

NY POST: What’s next for Ukraine? Kyiv readies counteroffensive to push out Putin’s forces:
Anticipation is mounting for Kyiv to finally launch its long-awaited counteroffensive and deliver a decisive blow that would rid the country of the Russian menace — but the consensus is that the road to liberation will be a long and bloody grind.
Ukrainian military brass have been understandably tight-lipped about their plans, not wanting to tip their hand and spoil what President Volodymyr Zelensky ironically called “the surprise,” but recent events in Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine suggest that the counteroffensive may be imminent.
Ukraine has an “imperative” to go on the offensive in order to demonstrate to its Western partners — as well as to its own people — that it is making progress after the winter stalemate, US Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said on CNN.
Military experts have identified five key areas where Kyiv could unleash its counterpunch, which may get underway in the coming weeks as the warm weather dries out the muddy roads.
Zaporizhzhia in southeastern Ukraine has been touted as a promising launch point for the attack. If successful, Kyiv’s troops could make their way to the Russian-controlled city of Melitopol on the Azov Sea and cut off Moscow’s supply lines linking the Donbas to Crimea, reported the Spanish newspaper El Pais, citing analysts.
Ukrainian armored battalions have reportedly been preparing for battle in Zaporizhzhia, while Russia, which controls half of the province — including the city of Enerhodar that is home to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant — has announced evacuations of civilians in towns adjacent to the front.
Russians have been busy digging trenches near a reservoir around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility in preparation for a possible assault. --->LOTS MORE HERE
NY POST: Wagner mercenary group leader accuses Russian troops of fleeing Bakhmut:
The head of the brutal Wagner mercenary group again took aim at the Russian army on Thursday, accusing it of putting its soldiers at risk by fleeing the site of some of the bloodiest fighting in the war.
Yevgeny Prigozhin — who has repeatedly accused Russian military officials of not doing enough to support his paramilitary force — said regular Russian troops are abandoning ground north and south of Bakhmut, the war-torn city where fighting has become so intense, it’s been dubbed “the meat grinder.”
“Unfortunately, units of the Russian defense ministry have withdrawn up to 570 meters [a third of a mile] to the north of Bakhmut, exposing our flanks,” Prigozhin said in a voice message Thursday, according to Reuters.
“I am appealing to the top leadership of the Ministry of Defense — publicly — because my letters are not being read.”
Prigozhin then begged Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov not to abandon his mercenary group’s flanks.
“Please do not give up the flanks,” Prigozhin pleaded.
The Russian defense ministry has acknowledged some withdrawals from positions near Bakhmut over the past week but denies Prigozhin’s assertions that the flanks are crumbling.
Wagner troops have long led the assault on the eastern Ukrainian city. The mercenary group claims it has taken most of the city — which would lend Russia a powerful advantage in capturing the rest of the eastern Donbas region bordering Russia. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++Russia fires 30 cruise missiles at Ukrainian targets; Ukraine says 29 were shot down+++++

+++++Biden OKs training Ukrainian pilots on F-16s+++++

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