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Ukraine reached state border with Russia in Kharkiv Oblast, Russia changes offensive priorities: last night's highlights
16 May, 2022
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Ukrainian servicemen patrol a newly liberated village north of Kharkiv, May 15, 2022 AP Photo / Mstyslav Chernov

Ukrainian military pushed back the Russian troops reaching the state border with Russia in Kharkiv Oblast. Russian troops have likely abandoned the idea of a large-scale encirclement of Ukrainian units from Donetsk to Izium. Here is what you may have missed from the night of May 16.

Ukrainian military pushed back the Russian troops reaching the state border with Russia in Kharkiv Oblastreports the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

"Report: today, April 15 (refers to May 15, ed.), the 227th Battalion of the 127th Brigade of the Territorial Defense Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has reached the border with Russia, the occupying country. We have arrived, Mr. President, we are here," says one of the service members, reporting to Volodymyr Zelensky.

In the evening report for May 15, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that Russian troops focused their efforts on maintaining their positions and preventing the advance of Ukrainian troops to the state border with Russia in the Kharkiv direction.

Vadym Denysenko, Adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs, confirmed on the official television channel of the Ukrainian parliament that Ukrainian troops had launched a counteroffensive in the northeast of Kharkiv Oblast. 

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said he expected the Senate to vote on May 18 to approve about $40 billion in aid to help Ukraine resist Russia's invasion after holding a related procedural vote today on May 16, says Reuters.

"We expect to invoke cloture (a procedure that reduces the time of the debate on a particular issue to 30 hours, ed.) on the motion to proceed on Monday, which would set us up to approve the supplemental on Wednesday," said McConnell.

Losses of Russian troops who tried to cross Siverskyi Donets River in Luhansk Oblast are the deadliest since the beginning of the war. Over 400 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded, says The New York Times.

On May 11, the Russian command sent about 550 troops of the 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 41st Combined Arms Army to cross the Donets River at Bilohorivka, in the eastern Luhansk Oblast to encircle Ukrainian forces near Rubizhne.

Satellite images show that Ukrainian artillery destroyed several Russian pontoon bridges and a dense concentration of occupiers and their equipment around the river, killing or wounding 485 Russian soldiers and destroying more than 80 pieces of equipment.

Russian troops have likely abandoned the idea of a large-scale encirclement of Ukrainian units from Donetsk to Izium, now focusing on Luhansk Oblast's seizuresays Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in the Russian offensive campaign assessment of May 15.

"The Russian military command will likely prioritize the Battle of Severodonetsk going forward, with some efforts dedicated to disrupting Ukrainian ground lines of communication in eastern Donetsk Oblast," adds ISW.