At the grand strategic level, the British Ministry of Defense has reportedly seen indications that Russian President Putin is preparing a Statement for May 9th during the Victory Parade in Moscow, in which it is expected that a General Mobilization and a Declaration of War against Ukraine will be declared.
On the ground, Russian and Belarusian forces continue “demonstrative actions” to fix Ukrainian forces around Kyiv in place.
Russia is also continuing to build up troops in the northeast, intended to partially blockade the heavily hit city of Kharkiv.
Russian forces continued to press their offensive in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions and captured several settlements.
Ukrainian counterattacks around Kharkiv may force Russian forces to redeploy units intended for the Izyum axis of attack to hold these positions.
The towns of Rus’ka Lozova and Kutuzivka, Kharkiv Oblast have been recaptured by Ukraine.
Fighting has been particularly heavy around Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, with an attempted advance south from Izium towards Slovyansk.
Russian forces made only limited advances west of Severodonetsk but remain stalled south of Izyum.
Five towns in Ukraine’s southeastern Luhansk region were shelled overnight.
Ukrainian troops blew up the Siversky Donets River railway bridge along with Russian rail cars, making it impossible for Russian troops to go by rail to the city of Lyman in the Donbas.
Russia also said it used a diesel submarine in the Black Sea to strike Ukrainian military targets with Kalibr cruise missiles.
Russian forces likely intend to leave enough force in Mariupol necessary to block Ukrainian positions in Azovstal and prevent partisan actions and are deploying as much combat power as possible to the North and West.
In Kiselivka, in Kherson region, there was a shoot-out within the Russian military between Buryat and Chechen soldiers.
Russian forces continue to try to advance toward the city of Mykolaiv with increased shelling and artillery attacks as a stepping stone to Odesa.
Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned Moldova is being dragged into NATO and said that this won’t help its security. Moldova is lightly defended and may be targeted for invasion or hybrid warfare, ending with merger of Transnistria and ultimately Russia.
Russian Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, Head of the National Defense Control Center, said “Since the start of the ‘special military operation’ a total of 1,002,429 Ukrainians have been deported to Russia, including 183,168 children.
In related news, Poland has reportedly provided Ukraine with over 200 T- 72 tanks, and dozens of infantry fighting vehicles worth $1.5 billion euros.
The US is sending equipment to Ukraine to assist with cyber defense.
The US will train Ukrainians in Germany on artillery, radars and armored systems with Florida National Guard troops that were previously stationed in Ukraine.