Timeline: Week 11 of Russia’s war in Ukraine | Russian-Ukrainian War News

The eleventh week of the Russian invasion of Ukraine saw the kyiv forces mount a counter-offensive. Ukrainian troops have recaptured towns to the north and east of the country’s second largest city, Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine.

Hundreds of civilians were evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the Russian-occupied port city of Mariupol, and the European Union struggled to agree on a sixth round of sanctions, as Hungary bristled at a possible oil embargo.

Here, Al Jazeera looks at the major events that marked the eleventh week of the war in Ukraine:

May 4

Ukrainian and Russian reports confirm that a Ukrainian counteroffensive north and east of Kharkiv has pushed Russian troops 40 km from the city, in Ukraine’s first major battlefield success since winning the Battle of kyiv. Russian forces launch several unsuccessful attacks in the eastern Donbas region.

In Mariupol, Russian troops tried to storm the tunnels under the Azovstal plant, where some 2,000 Ukrainian fighters are holding out. Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov Regiment inside the plant, says the Ukrainians are fighting “difficult and bloody battles.” A senior Ukrainian parliamentarian confirms that Russian troops are now inside the plant. The United Nations evacuates 344 civilians from Mariupol and surrounding villages to safety in Zaporizhzhia. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeals to the UN to save some 200 civilians still in the city’s Azovstal plant.

Russian forces conduct an unsuccessful ground offensive from Kherson towards Zaporizhzhia in the southwest.

The European Commission unveils a sixth round of sanctions, including “a total import ban on all Russian oil, transported by sea and pipelines, crude and refined” by the end of the year, Commission President Ursula von der said. Leyen, to the European Parliament.

Von der Leyen also calls for banning Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, from the Swift interbank transaction system, along with the Moscow Credit Bank and the Agricultural Bank of Russia. “This will solidify the complete isolation of the Russian financial sector from the global system,” he says. Von der Leyen also calls for a ban on three Russian state broadcasters: Rossiya RTR/RTR Planeta, Rossiya 24 and TV Center International, and a ban on the sale of accounting, consulting and public relations services to Russia.

May 5th

Ukrainian forces repel Russian attempts to recapture lost positions around Kharkiv in the northeast. Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zalyzhnyi claims that Ukrainian forces are shifting to counter-offensive operations around Kharkiv and Izium, the first direct Ukrainian military statement of a shift to offensive operations.

Ukrainian officials and military officers confirm that Russian forces have opened underground tunnels at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.

A Reuters investigation reveals the identities of Russian units believed to have committed war crimes in Bucha. They include the 76th Guards Air Assault Division, an elite paratroop unit under the personal command of defense minister Sergey Shoigu, and the Vityaz security force, commanded by former Putin bodyguard Viktor Zolotov. The investigation also reveals the identities of Ukrainian civilians allegedly tortured and killed by these units.

A US defense official reveals that the US provided intelligence to Ukrainian forces on the whereabouts of the Russian Black Sea flagship Moskva before Ukraine attacked and sunk it with two missiles.

Zelenskyy calls for the rescue of the last remaining civilians from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.

REVISED: INTERACTIVE_Who controls what in Donbas DAY77_May 11

May 6th

Ukrainian forces continue to retake territory northeast of Kharkiv, marking the first large-scale counteroffensive on the eastern front. The Ukrainian general staff and news sources say that the villages of Oleksandrivka, Fedorivka, Ukrainka, Shestakovo, Peremoha, Tsirkuny and parts of Cherkasy Tishki fall to Ukraine.

The Pentagon says most Russian forces have left Mariupol to fight in the Donbas region, leaving behind a garrison of some 2,000 soldiers, the same number of Ukrainians believed to be at the Azovstal plant. The Red Cross and the United Nations evacuate 50 civilians from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia.

Russian offensives around Izium are repulsed, but Russian forces make small gains around Severdonetsk.

Germany says it will send seven self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine, which had requested a dozen. The Netherlands had already committed to sending five.

The European Commission amends its sixth sanctions proposal, giving Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic until the end of 2024 to shelve Russian oil. The Commission also triples a transition period for EU-flagged ships to stop carrying Russian oil for three months. According to some reports, the move could be scrapped entirely.

Zelenskyy for the first time outlines strict conditions under which he would enter peace talks with Russia, including the withdrawal of Russian forces to pre-February 24 borders, the return of five million refugees, membership in the European Union and the responsibility of those Russians who committed war crimes.

May 7

The Ukrainian general staff says Russian forces destroyed three bridges in their retreat from Kharkiv, at Circuna and Rusky Tyshky, 22 km (14 miles) from Kharkiv’s city center. The destruction of the bridges indicates that they are unlikely to try to retake the territory that the Ukrainian counter-offensive is taking around the city. Russia confirms withdrawal.

The Russians are also bogged down near Izium, and are prevented by Ukrainian forces from branching out to take surrounding villages to the west and southwest. There is also no Russian attempt to push southeast towards Sloviansk, a suspected Russian target that would help encircle Ukrainian forces.

Ukrainian officials confirm that Russian forces have occupied Popasna, a forward position in Luhansk province and a suspected starting point for the march on Sloviansk.

Mariupol Municipal Assessor Petro Andryuschenko says the Russians are preparing to hold a May 9 parade in the city and are offering food to residents in exchange for cleaning up debris and dead bodies. Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk says all civilians have been evacuated from the Azovstal plant in the city.

Russian forces continue to target Odessa with missiles.

A girl looks out the bus window as civilians evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol arrive at a temporary accommodation center in the village of Bezimenne, during the Ukrainian-Russian conflict in Donetsk region, Ukraine, on May 6, 2022.
A girl looks out the bus window as civilians evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol arrive at a temporary accommodation center in the town of Bezimenne. [Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters]

May 8

Russian forces build up in Belgorod, southern Russia, presumably to move against the Ukrainian counteroffensive around Kharkiv. On the eastern line of contact, the Russians continue their offensives in an effort to take all of the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces. Sixty civilians are believed to have been killed in a Russian airstrike on a school, where 90 were sheltering. In Izium, Russian forces have stopped to regroup. Russian forces continue to attack the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.

May 9

Russian forces make marginal gains around Severdonetsk.

In Mariupol, Russian forces continue to carry out artillery raids and assaults on the Azovstal plant and are reportedly advancing towards its northern side.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says in his Victory Day speech that his “special military operation” in Ukraine was necessary as a preventive defense of Russia, because NATO and Ukraine were conspiring to take aggressive action against his country.

“We saw the military infrastructure being strengthened, hundreds of military advisers working and regular deliveries of modern weapons from NATO. [The level of] the danger increased every day. Russia preemptively repulsed the aggressor. It was necessary, timely and… right. The decision of a sovereign, strong and independent country”.

Putin is not using the speech to order a general mobilization or to escalate his war aims.

French President Emmanuel Macron is pouring cold water on any idea of ​​Ukraine’s quick EU membership, saying it will likely take “many decades”, in a speech to the European Parliament. Instead, Macron says he supports creating a strengthened form of association with the EU that would allow Ukraine and other EU hopefuls like Moldova and Georgia to quickly enjoy many aspects of membership.

“It is our historic obligation… to create what I would describe before you today as a European political community,” he says. “This new European organization would allow democratic European nations… to find a new space for political cooperation, security, cooperation on energy, transportation, investment, infrastructure, the movement of people.”

Destroyed houses are shown in Vilhivka village amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 11, 2022.
Destroyed houses are shown in the village of Vilhivka amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, near Kharkiv. [Ricardo Moraes/Reuters]

May 10

The Ukrainian counter-offensive continues to push Russian forces east of the city of Kharkiv, liberating Bairak, Zamulivka, Verkhnii Saltiv and Rubizhne (as distinct from the Rubizhne in Donbas) and reportedly approaching within 10 km (six miles) of the Russian border. Ukrainian authorities report that Russian forces are withdrawing to regroup defensively near the border.

“Ukrainians are getting closer to the Russian border. So all the gains the Russians made in the early days in northeast Ukraine are fading more and more,” says Neil Melvin of the RUSI think tank in London.

Russian forces continue assaults in Donbas but make no confirmed gains. pro-russian reporter Alexander Sladkov he writes that the Russian forces have good morale and are pressing the offensive, but cannot advance because they are fighting in a 1:1 ratio with the Ukrainian defenders, who are replenishing.

Russian forces continue aerial and artillery bombardment of the Azovstal plant. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vershchuk says there are 1,000 fighters left at the plant, half the estimate from earlier days, without explanation. It is also estimated that a hundred civilians are trapped inside. Ukrainian defense intelligence says that Russian authorities are trying to round up kindergarten teachers in the Donetsk region to send them to work in Mariupol. Mariupol municipal adviser Petro Andrushchenko says the Russian occupiers are asking steelworkers to return to the Ilyich plant to resume production that will help the Russian military.

At least one person is reported to have been killed when Russian missiles hit a shopping mall in Odessa.

The US House of Representatives is preparing to approve $39.8 billion in additional funding for Ukraine, even more than the $33 billion that President Joe Biden had requested on April 28. The Secretaries of State and Defense say they will run out of existing funding authority for Ukraine by May 19.

Ukraine’s defense intelligence says it has identified convoys of Russian trucks carrying Ukrainian grain, sunflower seeds and vegetables towards Crimea and the Russian border. Some shipments have reportedly been sent to Syria.

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