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Emergency Evacuation of Zaporozhye, Offensive Imminent? - Video Roundup + SITREP


I’m going a little overdrive the last few days, the reason being that events are accelerating, and at least up until the May 9th period, there is a high chance for big things to happen. So I’m going to be covering developments a little more intensely than usual.

Today we have a video reel of the top developments. Firstly, you can see the governor of Zaporozhye announcing a full evacuation of 18 settlements in the Zaporozhye region, with a video showing emergency loudspeaker announcements urging people to head towards Berdiansk, followed by a video depicting a long line of buses for evacuation.

Settlements ordered to evacuate.

Head of Zaporozhye announced evacuation of civilians from: Timoshovka, Smirnovo, Tarasovka, Orlyanskoye, Molochansk, Kuibyshevo, Prishib, Tokmak, Malaya and Bolshaya Belozerka, Vasilevka, Dneprorudnoye, Mikhaylovka, Kamenka-Dneprovskaya, Energodar, Pologi, Rozovka

⚡️Zaporozhye authorities (ex-Ukraine) have info about situation on line of contact and predict that Ukrainian counteroffensive may begin in coming days or even hours.

The offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Zaporozhye region will take place in the coming days or hours, said the acting head of the region Yevhen Balitsky.

“According to information from our people in Zaporozhye, Dnepropetrovsk and other cities (where) they are fighting against the regime, as well as information from the line of contact, the enemy is pulling up forces. We see this, our drones penetrate to a depth of 150 km into enemy territory, ”he said on the air of Soloviev LIVE.

According to Balitsky, all green spaces and plantings in these areas are now "clogged with Ukrainian equipment and personnel":

"The enemy is completely evicting the frontline, gray zone, the whole city of Stepnogorsk."

Earlier today, Balitsky ordered the residents to be taken out of settlements on the frontline territory deep into the region.

The governor, Balitsky reportedly said that he cannot guarantee that Russian troops will not surrender the cities, which does not quite arouse reassurance. However, it must be noted he’s just a governor not a military man and is simply stating precautions for his constituents:

I immediately answer the question of whether the surrender of cities will be without a fight. Today the political situation in Russia is such that no one will make such a political decision. And so there will be a fight. And it will be cruel.

But at the same time, I cannot give a 100% guarantee that ours will stand in this fight (although they are well prepared, including morally). None of the soldiers at the front is thinking about retreat, everyone is determined to pay for Kherson and Izyum.

And from here I advise those who are called to evacuate to follow this advice, and to stop panic in the rear cities. And if someone, just in case, wants and can leave, it is better to leave (but calmly). Everyone will benefit from this, especially the military.

Temporary movement of residents from settlements will be organized: Timoshovka, Smirnovka, Tarasovka, Orlyanskoe, Molochansk, Kuibyshevo, Prishib, Tokmak, Malaya Belozerka, Vasilyevka, Velikaya Belozerka, Dneprorudnoe, Mikhailovka, Kamenka-Dneprovskaya, Energodar, Pologi, Horse Discord, Rozovka.

We cannot risk the safety of people and will provide funds for organized travel, lump sum payments, accommodation and meals. Temporary relocation will be organized within the region.

Children of senior school age will continue their education in educational institutions in order to finish the school year, the kids will undergo rehabilitation and rest in children's camps.

I emphasize that this is a necessary measure to ensure the safety of the residents of the frontline territories. Kyiv criminals are targeting civilian infrastructure, we take into account their methods of war and make appropriate decisions

Furthermore, some reports claim that Kiev announced round the clock curfews from the 5th of May to the 8th in Nikolayev, and the region’s governor Kim urged civilians “not to take photos during this time”, which can only imply that some sort of major military movements will be happening there—if the report is true, that is.

This follows the appearance of photos online showing German Leopard 2A4s on railways in Odessa, which may or may not be related.

One rumor was that they were in fact headed the opposite direction, towards Pridnestrovia for that developing provocation.

Many believe that the offensive is now imminent for May 9-10th period, partly to strike a major psychological blow against Russia on their most symbolic date, the May 9th Great Patriotic War victory celebrations, but also collaterally having to do with the imminent fall of Bakhmut, which Wagner is trying to precipitate by exactly that date.

New photos of Ukrainian-American Bradleys also appeared, which feature not only a newly-painted UA camo scheme but secret new tactical symbols which are blurred out:

Another report claimed:

In Ukraine, all air defense systems have begun to be removed from strategic sites to prepare for a counteroffensive at the front, several systems will remain to cover Kiev and Odessa, the capital will be covered by American Patriots.

The next video on the reel, however, shows Shoigu inspecting a massive line of brand new Russian T-90Ms intended for the frontline. This is quite reassuring news and comes on the heels of Kurganmashzavod’s announcement that they are now producing three times as many BMP-3s, and are making large deliveries of them per month to the frontline troops. They’ve produced more BMP-3s so far this year already than in all of 2022. Also, they said that BMDs and other fighting vehicles have similarly gone up in production.

And then came the news that the 2S25М Sprut-SDM1 has passed all state tests and is recommended for adoption, likely to enter full production in near future. This is arguably my personal favorite of all Russian armored vehicles. Unlike anything in any other country’s arsenal, it’s a rare nimble light-tank hybrid built on the BMP-3 chassis but with a massive 125mm maingun.

Next slide: But the Wagner problem persists. Prigozhin released a new video where he threatens to leave Bakhmut by May 9th in another incomprehensible ‘stunt’, which to me does reek more and more of a stunt simply owing to the fact that Wagner continues to advance today, scalding Bakhmut’s final districts with a hellacious hellfire of 9N510 incendiary ammunition, which is the next slide.

Geolocation for the fire and brimstone bombardment: 48.593124, 37.968019

Here’s a great new battle map which you can use to follow along.

Here are documents addressed to the Russian MOD which Prigozhin uploaded with the video:

In the speech and documents, Prigozhin makes some statements which will be taken by many people as extremely offensive, despicable, and outright traitorous. In short, he describes the Russian army as cowardly in ‘shamelessly’ fleeing their positions in various ‘failures’ like that of the UA Kharkov Offensive. This level of rhetoric is pretty startling, as there is no reason to cast such aspersions on the military, biting the hand that feeds him. It’s one thing to keep his calumny to the MOD higher-ups and bigwigs, but it will do him no favors to call into question the bravery of the servicemen of the entire Russian Armed Forces. I can’t imagine that going well for him.

He very directly characterizes Wagner as a superior savior who came and cleaned up the mess of the ‘unprofessional’ Russian army, for which the Russian MOD became immediately envious and thereby proceeded to ‘punish’ him and Wagner. Maybe there’s even some truth to it, apropos the MOD at least, but certainly there is no truth in his implication that Wagner ‘saved’ the Russian army in the Kharkov pullback, as very few if any Wagner troops fought there, and it was the LPR’s 2nd Army Corps, Russia’s new 3rd Army Corps, and Lapin’s 1st Guards Tank Army that did the major lifting.

has a good thread summarizing his thoughts about Prigozhin's antics:

He correctly states that the AFU did in fact launch a counter-offensive attempt on Bakhmut this previous week, which went under the radar because they didn’t ‘announce’ it as an official offensive due to wanting plausible deniability in case it spectacularly failed. It did in fact fail, however as Serge states, it produced a higher-than-usual combat intensity which led to more casualties on both sides (though, of course, far more for the AFU). This is what Serge theorizes has led to Prigozhin’s new meltdown.

I can confirm that there was big talk a week ago about new units coming to Khromovo on the Bakhmut flanks to spearhead a major counter-attack; then suddenly we didn’t hear much in the way of ‘official’ releases, only the odd report here and there of uncommonly bitter fighting, which continues to this day. In fact, today there were several transmissions from prominent AFU channels connected to their armed forces that on the Khromovo axis there is ‘absolutely hell’ and nightmarish conditions, in terms of intense fighting.

Following Prigozhin’s new erratic release, Kadyrov also chimed in, stating that his Chechens will be glad to take over Wagner’s role in Bakhmut and finish the job. Note that Kadyrov ‘reportedly’ too had fallings out with Shoigu and co., and may share Prigozhin’s antipathies. In his balanced piece, he joins in sharply criticizing the Russian MOD, making certain claims of incompetence in regard to Mariupol. But then also reprimands Prigozhin for the unprofessional nature of his conduct:

Ramzan Kadyrov statement: "I am addressing Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and creator of the Wagner PMC. It is unpleasant for me, as for everyone who is not indifferent to the fate of our country, to hear the latest statements of Yevgeny Viktorovich, and it is doubly unpleasant that the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Defense does not comment or does not meet with the leadership of the Wagner PMC to make any decision or clarification.

After all, Prigozhin deserves respect for the invaluable contribution of the Wagnerites to the liberation of the cities of Donbass. If there is a shortage, then it is necessary to explain, show, on the basis of which the commanders will at least correct the further tactics of the Wagner units, not relying on artillery. I recall the experience of the Chechen units in Mariupol. When it took five tanks from the Ministry of Defense to support the infantry, we were able to provide only one, the combat crew of which left the vehicle in the very first battle. Then the tankers had to be calmed down, set up for battle and put back into the combat vehicle so that they would cover at least one position of the Azov Satanists with volleys.

There were also problems with other equipment. Since the beginning of the SMO, we could not replace 30 artillery guns. I personally called Moscow, talked to the commanders, commanders, superiors. A month later the problem was solved. Yes, it didn't work on the first call. But our units did not record videos, they did not give a pleasant informational occasion to the enemy. ...

By the way, filming the bodies of dead comrades for the sake of public outcry ... is wrong. Let's never do that... In the zone of responsibility, for example, Apta Alaudinov, my dear brother, the commander of the Akhmat special forces, the deputy commander of the 2nd Army Corps of the RF Armed Forces, more than a hundred kilometers of the line of contact with the enemy. Not a day goes by that he doesn't have problems. But not once did Apty Aronovich declare this publicly via the Internet, but only through internal communication with the leadership.

I note that the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff, with rare exceptions, have always met the Chechen units and helped. And misunderstandings are always present in ordinary civilian life, not to mention the war, where there is ALWAYS not enough ammunition! I really hope that Sergei Kuzhugetovich (Shoigu) will listen to my call and an order will be given to the General Staff to go to the place and sort things out. This is the only and soldierly correct way out of the situation.

Chechen units fought side by side with the Wagnerites in the most difficult areas in Popasnaya, Severodonetsk, Lisichansk and other settlements of Donbass. Together they performed a sacred duty to the Motherland without division into nationalities or faith. The interests of the state and the security of the country must come first. And when the SVO ends, I would like all of us to be winners, every fighter, every commander, every Russian patriot. Together.

Yes, if older brother Prigozhin and "Wagner" leave, then the General Staff will lose an experienced combat unit, and his younger brother Kadyrov and "Akhmat" will come to his place in Artyomovsk. If the scenario is still like this, then our fighters are ready to advance and occupy the city. It's a matter of hours. But I would like us to take the remaining two kilometers of the city not at the cost of the lives of soldiers, but as a result of mutual understanding, support, determination of the command and fighters to fulfill the order of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of Russia Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin."

And there is also a noteworthy post to contextualize this topic from prominent Russian milblogger and frontline correspondent Sasha Kots:

I wrote about the shell shortage last time. I will add just one remark.

You travel along the front and you get the feeling that there are not enough shells for everyone now. Either they are being saved up for the onset of the Ukrainian, or for some other reason they are being held back. The economic commander, of course, has his own stash. But that's for emergencies.

At the same time, only the "musicians" have such an active promotion [advancement], the inertia of which must be supported by the necessary amount of work of artillery and aviation. And not to say that this support is not provided. But not in volumes that could reduce losses.

At the same time, Artemovsk is not something separate. The situation along the entire line of contact depends on what is happening there.

Just remember the words of the President:

“It is necessary to remove, I want to emphasize this, any interdepartmental contradictions, formalities, insults, omissions, other nonsense. Everything for the cause, everything for the result - everything should be aimed at this.


And in the same spirit comes a thoughtful and elucidating post from a Russian volunteer soldier, callsign ‘Deputy’:

callsign "deputy" }

"The channel of an ex-deputy and ex-fighter of donbass militia 2014-15. Now a fighter of a motorized rifle company of the RF Armed Forces. I write more for myself, but read! "

For shell hunger.

I read the statements of Prigozhin and his staff about the Wagners' lack of shells. Like give us shells and we do everything.

I would like to say a few words:

1. Shell hunger is a given. Both for the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The reason for this is that no one expected the NWO to last this long. As a result, we actively shot the old stocks of shells in the winter-until the summer of 2022, and the production of new ones (both in our country and in the West) simply does not keep up with the frantic pace of their expenditure;

2. Shell hunger is typical not only for Wagners, but also for units of the RF Armed Forces. Limits were introduced not from a good life (and not only for Wagners) and at the moment this is the only option to ensure the supply of all combat units while waiting for the release of shells to accelerate and additional channels for their supply appear;

3. To succumb to Prigozhin's demands and increase the limits of shells for Wagners means taking them away from other combat units that hold the front (and also advance) on a front that is many times larger than the Wagner front. Therefore, the transfer of additional shells to the Wagners on the eve of a possible counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will lead to the collapse of the front. It is for this reason, and not out of harm and not love for Prigozhin, that the command of the RF Armed Forces does not respond to his complaints, threats, and often even blackmail.

And for some reason I doubt that Mr. Prigozhin does not know all this. Rather, he knows, but he solves some of his { political ? } goals. Something like this!

In short, he brings up a good point. Which is that, these problems are all very rudimentary, and it’s unconscionable that Prigozhin would not know these things; so, what could possibly be responsible for his bizarre outbursts? Surely he knows—by way of common sense, and also intelligence fed to him—that there are shell shortages everywhere, yet even in his explosive screed he seemed to imply that there were ‘warehouses full of shells’ that Shoigu/Gerasimov are just ‘sitting on’. Who knows, maybe, after all, it’s Prigozhin that knows more than a few mere low ranking soldiers. How are we to tell? We can only do our best to infer and try to trace the lines.

Also, Dugin has offered a few words of camaraderie on the situation:


"The Russian philosopher stressed that on the eve of the enemy's counteroffensive, it is important to help ours. "Ours" Dugin calls the PMC fighters - "after all, this is a whole army, well-coordinated, heroic, resolute." We need to help them "finish off" Bakhmut and gain a foothold there.

“Yes, and everyone else should be given cartridges - and as much as possible. Anyone who needs ammo to live, to fight, to win. I see that the gap between the peaceful life of the capitals and the bloody horror of the front is growing every minute. And it becomes truly dangerous for everyone - for the rear, and for the front, and for the authorities, and for the guys on the front line.

Dugin recalled that now, on the eve of the long-awaited counter-offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, everyone's nerves are strained to the limit. Therefore, the supply must work flawlessly."

The next thing, not in the video, but in this Tweet link, is the large water level increase in the Khakovka reservoir, which I mentioned previously.

Water level in Kakhovka reservoir in Zaporozhye region risen by 17 m and almost reached critical level. Under threat of destruction of dam in Kamenka Dneprovskaya, dozens of villages may be flooded. Kyiv opened the floodgates in Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhye.

If the reservoir is filling up, that means the dam has been stoppered and is not letting through much water, which means the water level in Dnieper River south of this area will be much lower, providing conditions for UA’s armed groups to storm across the river in the coming offensive.

Next slide shows today’s news that Gonzalo Lira has been detained on serious charges by the SBU again, and this time maybe permanently. The reason this is critical to the situation is because it shows that the SBU is tightening its ship, cleaning up all loose ends to fully control information outflows on the eve of their potential offensive. The fact that this happens now is very telling for that reason.

Here is their full release:

Another bit of troubling news today supports this. It was reported that a drone attempted to strike an actively landing A320 Aeroflot Airbus passenger jetliner in Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow.

I haven’t seen any new updates whether this was in fact confirmed as a hostile act, but if so it would support my theory that—along with the Kremlin strike and other strikes on Russian oil and rail infrastructure in recent days—we will begin to see a mass psychological / terror campaign from the AFU to try to off-balance Russia on the eve of their supposed offensive. It’s just strange that Prigozhin has decided to join in on that psychological campaign in maximizing the distortion on Russia’s side at this key time.

I couldn’t fit it in the video above, but the final one was meant to be this video of Josep Borrell admitting that if Ukraine’s funding were to be abruptly cut off by the West, it would fall in only ‘a matter of days’. It’s a revelation which should give us some perspective on how fragile and tenuous Ukraine’s grasp on the war really is. Without a constant supply of critical funds and munitions, they would have already been long eliminated.

Now that we’re through with the video roundup, let’s turn back to Bakhmut and Wagner one more time for a few last points. Here’s an update of the current street by street advances of Wagner from today:

BAKHMUT NEWS UPDATE EVENING MAY 5 Despite the alleged artillery shortage Wagner forces continue their advance. Today up to 170 meters and taking 59 000m2, around 2 percent of ukrainian territory. Much of this by clearing remaining area (red shaded 1) north of Vuzvolyteliv Donbasu Street (red circle). Offensive operations continue southwest towards Larysy Shepitho Street (purple circle) and towards Olympic school and Post office (blue circle). The frontline is dynamic and changes often but slowly the secured russian territory moves forward and Wagner forces are closing in to the last ukrainian defenceline in the west (blue line). Areas around Peremogi Street (red shaded 2) are still the tip of russian advance.

Another interesting thing is that Prigozhin released a different video today where he confirmed a fact I had brought up days ago, which actually made it as far as Alexander Mercouris’s show, that the recently fired General Mizintsev was possibly the only one who was helping to alleviate the Wagner supply situation. As you likely know, Mizintsev has now been outright hired by Wagner as a ‘deputy commander’, which I reported last time.

Prigozhin has released a new video in which he alleges that Colonel-General Mizintsev, who was recently removed from the position of Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, was the only person fighting against ammunition shortages. According to Prigozhin, Mizintsev carefully collected 4th category ammunition, which is usually unusable, from the Far Eastern arsenals and passed it on to Wagner and other units. Prigozhin claims that this was done to prevent loss of life, and that when the ammunition shortage began, they were only given about 30% of their requested amount, which was already much lower than what was needed according to General Staff calculations. He adds that Wagner and other units are still grateful to Mizintsev for his actions.

This appears to imply that perhaps Mizintsev was not ‘fired’ after all, but rather offered up to Wagner as a sort of olive branch, maybe as per one of Prigozhin’s demands.

Also, note that several Ukrainian frontline soldiers in Bakhmut had already previously stated that the ‘shell hunger’ thing is a Wagner psyop, and that they’re being hammered daily by massive amounts of shells. Tonight, there are particularly withering reports of mass Wagner/Russian assaults, and I think we’ll likely see a high intensity period for the next few days as Wagner is allegedly trying to capture the city by May 9th.

Also, note that Russia has been picking up their major long range strikes on UA’s strategic centers. For instance, a new Iskander attack was reported today on a UA troop concentration. And new satellite photos were released of the big Pavlograd strike from a few days ago, which produced the massive sky-blotting explosion:

Before (left) and after (right).

Check out the size of that crater, seen from space, and imagine the power of the blast:

Satellite images of the Pavlograd strike. Crater depth is said to be 30 meters and width 80 meters.

The crater is said to be 30 meters (100 feet) deep.

Also, not to mention this strike which obliterated a Polish mercenary base.

Furthermore, in the past week or two there have been various reports of Russian troop movements, including a video timelapse showing how one of the main Crimean depots has emptied over the past month or two, with massive amounts of Russian armor that was there being sent up the line to Zaporozhye, Kherson, and elsewhere.

According to Maxar satellite images, the Russian Armed Forces removed their military equipment from the military base in the north of Crimea during February 11 - April 25, 2023.

The following reports jibes with this:

❗️The Ukrainian insider channel Rezident reports that the British intelligence service MI-6 has informed the Ukrainian Kiev regime (president and general staff) that the Russian army has now amassed more than 500,000 soldiers near the front. According to this, 300,000 Russian soldiers are already close / to the front line and 200,000 are close by as an operational reserve. A possible attempt by Ukrainian troops to go on the offensive / counter-offensive near Artemovsk (Bakhmut) could have serious consequences.

Also this interesting report from one Telegram channel:

The Ukrainian army will leave Kherson after the failure of the offensive — in case of unsuccessful assault operations, the APU will leave the city at the end of June.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces will withdraw from Kherson in June, as the defense of the Ukrainian army continues to weaken rapidly in the southern direction, the Main Thing in Kherson and the region reports.

The huge losses of the Kiev regime in the Donetsk direction, the active transfer of reserves near Artemivsk (Bakhmut), and even the stationed soldiers indicate that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are unlikely to hold the city until the end of June.

The Russian army is also preparing its own offensive in this direction. Our troops plan to return the right bank of the Kherson region, as well as completely liberate the Zaporozhye region — recently it became known that there are already talks about possible candidates for the posts of heads of territories that are still in the hands of the Ukrainian authorities.

So what we have is an old fashioned Western standoff, Good, Bad, and the Ugly-style:

We’ve heard so much about the coming Ukrainian offensive that it’s drowned out any concentration on the fact that Russia itself has been massively gathering on the frontline. Could there be a surprise in store?

Sometimes I feel like I’m the last analyst left that still believes in a large coming Russian offensive, partly because for anyone who’s read my earliest articles, I was one of the few who crunched all the numbers to ascertain that Russia must be building up huge amounts of men and arms. It’s only a matter of time before they unleash them, though for now I think it’s wisest to do so right after Ukraine’s own “offensive” is crushed.

I’ll leave with this quote which captures some of the current sentiment:

Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT: “We must stop saying that we will answer everything. People can no longer hear it. The words 'provocation', 'cynical act', 'preparing a response' should be excluded from the lexicon. You have no idea how debilitating it is. We need to stop talking altogether. The more statements - the less faith in them. People believe in what they see".

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