Politics

Russia advances, slowly, and if the French instructors arrive…

First Stoltenberg's sentences, then those of Macron to further set the geopolitical scene around Ukraine on fire. And obviously the words triggered the reaction to Tax by Vladimir Putin regarding the possible sending of Western troops on the ground in Ukraine: «This would lead to further escalation and another step towards a serious conflict in Europe and a global conflict and the troops would find themselves in the firing zone of our forces armies. Do they want to do it like this? They can go and we wish them good luck. We will do what we deem appropriate, regardless of who is on the territory of Ukraine.” Regarding this, there is talk of the French instructors in Ukraine but the terms of their engagement are not clear.

We spoke about this and how things are going on the battlefield with Army Corps General Giorgio Battisti: «It's still early to have certainties. For weeks, Paris has been discussing the sending of around 200 Foreign Legion soldiers with 'combat support' functions. This is a rather broad definition, which can include a wide range of activities that these militaries can carry out without necessarily coming into direct contact with Russian forces on the front lines. Probably, the French will take care of training the Ukrainians on the use of the supplied weapons, especially those of French manufacture. Paris has already supplied SAMP/T anti-aircraft systems, Caesar self-propelled artillery and other equipment. The Ukrainian counteroffensive, which failed last summer, highlighted the difficulties of Ukrainian soldiers in using NATO weapons, as they were accustomed to using material of Russian or Soviet origin. Some rumors suggest that the French could also be used for demining operations – and potentially mining, although this will never be officially admitted. Finally, the French will assist the Ukrainians in planning military operations, following NATO procedures. In this regard, there are already British soldiers in Ukraine carrying out these tasks: they are located in Kiev and support the Ukrainian armed forces both in the general staff and in logistics and combat support.”

What is the situation on the battlefield awaiting the new Western weapons destined for Kiev? According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) Ukrainian forces recently recaptured limited positions north of the city of Kharkiv during ongoing Russian offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast on May 28. Geotagged footage released on May 28 shows that Ukrainian forces have retaken positions along a windbreak southeast of Lukyantsi (northeast of Lyptsi and north of the city of Kharkiv). Russian and Ukrainian forces also reported continued Russian offensive operations in the Lyptsi and Vovchansk directions (northeast of the city of Kharkiv) throughout May 28, and a Russian miblogger claimed that Russian forces advanced up to 200 meters in the direction of Lyptsi. Another Russian blogger claimed that Russian forces are pushing Ukrainian forces out of positions in skyscrapers near the Vovchansk Stadium and Aggregate Plant in northern Vovchansk, although ISW has not yet observed visual confirmation of Russian forces operating in these two areas. Another Russian blogger said Russian forces had advanced up to 600 meters into unspecified areas near Vovchansk. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that fighting continued southwest of Vovchansk near Starystya and northeast of Vovchansk near Tykhe. Spokesman of the Group of Ukrainian Forces Khortytsia, Lieutenant Colonel Nazar Voloshyn, noted: «Russian forces are heavily hitting Vovchansk with TOS-2 thermobaric artillery systems, and Russian and Ukrainian sources also noted that Russian forces are conducting constant glide bomb attacks on Vovchansk infrastructure.” Elements of the Russian 44th Army Corps (Leningrad Military District) and the 6th Combined Arms Army (Moscow Military District) reportedly continue to operate in the direction of Kharkiv. Finally, still on the subject of weapons, Sweden has announced military aid of 1.16 billion euros to Ukraine. The new military aid package, which is worth SEK 13.3 billion, includes two ASC 890 reconnaissance aircraft.

«It will be possible to identify incoming cruise missiles, drones and targets on land and at sea and will provide a completely new radar reconnaissance and combat management capability against targets both in the air and at sea», specified the Minister of Defense Swedish, Pal Jonsson, as reported by the news agency Tt. This is the sixteenth support package for Ukraine since the start of Russia's invasion, bringing Stockholm's total aid to Kiev to 4.35 billion euros. Finally, the Polish government places no limits on the use of weapons supplied to Ukraine that can be used to attack facilities on Russian territory. Deputy Defense Minister Cezary Tomczyk declared this on the Radio Zet broadcast, as reported by Tass: “There are no restrictions on Polish weapons supplied to Ukraine.”