Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian forces began an offensive operation along the Russian-Ukrainian border in northern Kharkiv Oblast on the morning of May 10 and made tactically significant gains. Russian forces are likely conducting the initial phase of an offensive operation north of Kharkiv City that has limited operational objectives but is meant to achieve the strategic effect of drawing Ukrainian manpower and materiel from other critical sectors of the front in eastern Ukraine.
  • Russian forces will likely leverage their tactical foothold in northern Kharkiv Oblast in the coming days to intensify offensive operations and pursue the initial phase of an offensive effort likely intended to push back Ukrainian forces from the border with Belgorod Oblast and advance to within tube artillery range of Kharkiv City.
  • The limited efforts that Russian forces are currently conducting do not suggest that Russian forces are immediately pursuing a large-scale sweeping offensive operation to envelop, encircle, and seize Kharkiv City, however.
  • Russian offensive operations along the Kharkiv international border likely have the strategic objective of drawing and fixing Ukrainian forces to this axis to enable Russian advances in other areas of eastern Ukraine.
  • ISW continues to assess that Russian forces will likely struggle to seize Kharkiv City should they aim to do so.
  • Russian forces likely decided to launch offensive operations along the international border area to take the best advantage of the relatively brief time left before Western aid arrives at the Ukrainian frontline at scale.
  • Ukrainian Ground Forces Commander Lieutenant General Oleksandr Pavlyuk stated that the war in Ukraine will enter a critical phase in the next two months and commented on recent Russian advances around Chasiv Yar and Avdiivka.
  • US President Joe Biden approved up to $400 million worth of military assistance for Ukraine as part of the Presidential Drawdown Authority Fund on May 10.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted a drone strike on the night of May 9 to 10 against an oil refinery in Kaluga Oblast that Ukrainian forces previously struck in March 2024.
  • Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin is retaining his position in the Russian government for Russian President Vladimir Putin's new term of office, and there have been speculations but no confirmations of changes to Putin's cabinet.
  • US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy John Plumb stated that US defense officials partnered with SpaceX to stop the Russian military's unauthorized use of Starlink internet terminals in frontline areas of Ukraine.
  • Russian forces recently marginally advanced near Donetsk City and in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area.
  • Russian and Belarusian authorities continue to illegally deport Ukrainian citizens, including children, to Russia and Belarus.

ISW - map.

Authors: Riley Bailey, Angelica Evans, Christina Harward, Grace Mappes, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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