War in Ukraine | Seeming stagnation in Donbass

Heavy fighting continues in southern and eastern Ukraine, where Russian troops are advancing with difficulty. The Kremlin claims that military aid offered by Western countries has slowed its “special operation” but will not prevent it from achieving its goals.

Posted yesterday at 9:30pm

Marc Thibodeau

Marc Thibodeau
The press

Ukrainian troops resist

Russia and Ukraine continue to wage intense fighting in the east and south of the country, which Moscow says has claimed the lives of hundreds of soldiers over the past few days without fundamentally changing the situation on the ground. Russian troops are advancing very slowly, particularly in Donbass, which remains the regime’s priority. “You seem to be stagnant. Progress is almost meter by meter, from one village to another,” stresses Pierre Jolicœur, vice-rector for research at the Royal Military College Saint-Jean.

Many analysts were of the opinion that the geographic structure of the region would likely favor the advance of Russian forces, but that was without considering, notes Mr. Jolicoeur, over the increased military capabilities of the Ukrainian army, which is being supplied by several Westerners with increasingly sophisticated weaponry Countries.

Eugene Rumer, a Russia expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, believes that after suffering heavy casualties in the Kyiv region, the Russian army is still struggling to implement a “coherent strategy” that is expected to secure significant gains on the ground. The frustration felt by Moscow is reflected in an intensification of the bombing, stresses the analyst, who invokes a “war of attrition” likely to last for months.

Contradictory information on Mariupol


PHOTO ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO, REUTERS

Smoke rose above the Azovstal steel complex in Mariupol on Thursday

Conflicting information circulated on Thursday about the situation in Mariupol in the south of the country, where hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians were holed up in a huge steel complex still outside of Moscow’s control.

According to Reuters, one of the Ukrainian commanders there posted a video saying that “bloody” fighting had been going on for three days. The soldier accused the Russian “enemy” of not keeping his promise to allow the evacuation of civilians.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov assured his side that no attack was underway and that Russia stood by its intention to open a humanitarian corridor to allow further evacuations. According to Pierre Jolicoeur, the complete capture of the city would be an “important symbolic victory” that President Vladimir Putin hopes to brandish on Victory Day on May 9, which commemorates the surrender of Nazi Germany.

A new UN convoy is also expected this Friday to evacuate the last civilians holed up in the Azovstal steel complex, but without pledging a ceasefire in the fighting. Despite this uncertainty, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths announced on Thursday that this new convoy was on its way to the martyr city.

weapon supply


PHOTO RICARDO MORAES, REUTERS

Ukrainian soldier near a destroyed Russian tank near Kharkiv on Thursday

According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russia has stepped up strikes in western Ukraine against transport infrastructure in hopes of stemming the flow of arms from several western countries.

Most notably, the United States recently announced its intention to increase its armed support to the regime of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who continues to urge his allies to do more in this area. Washington says the current campaign aims to stop the Russian army, but also to weaken it enough to prevent any repeat of the military operation launched in Ukraine.

American assistance is also provided by providing strategic intelligence on the progress of Russian forces. that New York Times said Thursday that this information allowed Ukrainian militants in particular to kill several senior ground-based officers, something the US Department of Defense denied. It is true that the United States is providing intelligence to Kyiv “to help the Ukrainians defend their country,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said. However, he added: “We do not release information about the whereabouts of high-ranking military commanders on the battlefield, nor do we participate in targeting decisions by the Ukrainian military.”

According to the American broadcaster NBC, information provided by the United States helped Ukraine sink the Russian cruiser Moscow, flagship of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea, on April 14. According to anonymous officials quoted by the chain, Ukrainian forces have asked the Americans for information about a ship cruising in the Black Sea. The Americans would then have identified the building as that Moscow and would have clarified his position.

Dmitry Peskov says the actions of the US, UK and other NATO countries prevented the “quick conclusion” of the Russian operation, but would not prevent Moscow from achieving the goals set.

Security guarantees for Sweden


PHOTO JOHANNA GERON, REUTERS ARCHIVE

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General

While the situation on the ground stagnated, the diplomatic maneuvers surrounding the war continued unabated. NATO said Thursday it would increase its presence in the Baltic Sea and near the Swedish border to protect the country should it apply to join the organization.

Its secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, said he was confident that “solutions would be found” to prevent any Russian attack during the transition period. Both Sweden and Finland will soon have to decide whether to continue the process as Moscow raises the possibility of retaliation.

Vladimir Putin also apologized to Israel to calm a diplomatic crisis sparked by a recent appearance by his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. He claimed on Italian television on Sunday that Adolf Hitler had “Jewish blood” to justify the fact that Moscow claims it wants to “denazify” Ukraine while Volodymyr Zelenskyy is a Jew. The diplomat’s intervention had provoked the outrage of Israeli leaders, who, unlike most Western countries, have been wary of sanctioning Russia for its intervention in Ukraine.

With Agence France-Presse and Associated Press

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