The Russian offensive has all but halted, as Ukrainian counter offensives threaten sporadic advances. U.S. intelligence has described a recurring pattern of Russian forces advancing into contested territory, declaring victory, and promptly withdrawing before the situation became untenable. Russia has seen ongoing losses in assets it needs to maintain battlefield awareness, with many Orlan-10 UAVs being downed over the course of the war. Combined with ineffective, all but public communications, Russian forces are largely disorganized and overwhelmed.
In Mariupol, attacks have renewed on the Azovstal plant despite ongoing U.N.-backed evacuations, with Russian forces bombing the plant after being forced out by Ukrainian defenses. The capture of Azovstal is crucial to any Russian declarations on May 9th, and taking Mariupol could give Putin the victory needed for the option of ‘freezing’ the conflict.
High-level conversations between Germany and Ukraine have focused on moving away from the past, uniting Europe’s leadership against Putin as Germany makes greater commitments to Ukraine’s sovereignty. During a recent conversation with President Biden, Chancellor Scholz agreed that no territorial concessions would be made. Despite dragging his feet on many issues in regards to Ukraine, with Allies and even his own country’s military companies pressuring him to support Ukraine, Scholz’ recent stance is a strong step in the right direction for Germany. Additionally, President Zelenskyy spoke on a potential visit from President Steienmeier, despite previous controversy on whether he would be allowed to do so.
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