While Ukrainians and Russians went to Easter mass on Sunday, Russia escalated its attacks. But the Russians struggle with torrential rains, deep valleys, and the giant Soviet canal facility.
Holy day for Ukrainians and Russians. A few miles from the front, a Ukrainian goes to Easter mass.
In Moscow, Putin and Patriarch Kirill are doing the same. Kirill believes that Russia has a sacred mission.
After mass on Sunday, Irina (50) goes to her son’s grave in Potsja. His son Bohdan fell in the Kyiv battles.
In Mariupol, flattened by Russia, the few civilians left standing in line for food.
At Izium, Ukrainian reinforcements are moving forward. A few miles away, 25,000 Russian soldiers are preparing to attack.
A few hours after the Orthodox Easter mass ended on Sunday, sirens sounded in more than 20 cities and regions in Ukraine.
In at least six cities, civilians were killed and wounded.
Ukraine says: “disgusting terrorist bombing”. Russia pretends to bomb only military targets. Specifically, 426 targets in the past 24 hours, according to Putin’s generals.
Pictures and videos show something completely different. No later than Sunday, new satellite images emerged of what could be a new mass grave in Mariupol.
Two months after the start of the war, Russia intensified its bombing.
But the latest highly publicized Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine has so far been going badly for Putin.
What is happening on earth now?
About a week ago, both Russian and Ukrainian sources announced that a new and decisive phase of the war was underway.
Battle of Donbass.
In short, this is what happens:
- The intensity of the Russian bombardment escalated sharply. Ukrainian artillery, for its part, is trying to hit 70-80 Russian battalions that have taken up positions to capture Donetsk and Luhansk.
- Ukrainian sources reported that between 40 and 50 Russian attacks took place in separate locations along the front. They are often beaten.
- But the question is whether the real Russian offensive ever began — and whether the attacks have so far tested Ukraine’s defense lines.
- The Russians have so far only fully or partially controlled a few small areas north of Luhansk and south of Donetsk.
- Ukrainian sources indicated the loss of about 40 villages. At the same time, the Ukrainians launched a counterattack in several places – recapturing at least 8-10 villages both in the south and in the north.
A British intelligence report on Sunday said Russian losses were “significant”.
What the Ukrainians lost, we do not know.
A swamp hanging in the east?
The fighting in recent days was very difficult north of Luhansk.
At Izyum, the Russians mobilized a large offensive force of about 25 thousand Russian soldiers.
To seize the rest of Luhansk, the Russians must advance into an area with several rivers and deep valleys – and roads completely devastated.
Russian forces must also cross several artificial channels. It is part of the Oskil Reservoir and 140 kilometers of canals, which were built in Soviet times to secure water. Now they serve as effective obstacles for Russian tanks.
The Ukrainians had eight years to prepare for the ongoing fighting.
In addition, the weather gods were on the side of the Ukrainians. It has been raining for two weeks.
In addition, both Ukrainian and Western sources believe that Russia did not succeed in mustering enough forces to achieve a decisive victory.
Ukrainian version: – A hopeless situation for the Russians.
The situation is hopeless for the Russian forces. It’s crazy trying to launch an attack here.
Alexei Aristovich told the independent Russian newspaper medusa Sunday. He is one of the main advisors to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Aristovich is sure that the battle for Donbass will end in just two or three weeks.
– This does not mean that the war is over. But the Russian offensive at this point will stop.
He believes that the Russians will then need at least a month or two to obtain reinforcements and ammunition.
Ukraine hopes that sanctions will start in the meantime.
And that more Western arms aid will be in place.
Aristovich believes that the Kremlin will in any case declare some kind of victory, no matter what happens. He promised more Ukrainian counterattacks.
The Russians maintain a 1,200 km line from Kherson to Kharkiv. They have 90 thousand soldiers. Aristovich believes that it is impossible to maintain such a long streak.
– Then we can go to Crimea, says the confident adviser to the President of Ukraine.
Kremlin version: – We are moving forward
On Orthodox Easter Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry boasted of attacking 426 targets in Ukraine in the past 24 hours.
The heavy civilian casualties in Ukraine were not mentioned in a word.
Putin’s favorite newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda He interviewed an officer of the Izium Force on Sunday.
The Russians seem as confident of victory as the Ukrainians.
– We caught them. Between the hammer and the anvil, the officer claimed.
At the same time I went up Russian Ministry of Defense Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova increased the rhetoric of war this weekend. It claimed that the United States and the West would use biological weapons of mass destruction against Russia.
Such media plays from the Kremlin in the West are often interpreted as a warning that this is exactly what Russia is planning.
First came the Z and V forces. Now comes the O.
The Russian offensive forces in Izyum are marked with the letter O.
“They will advance and block the Ukrainian forces in the Donbass from the northwest,” the newspaper wrote.
At this point in the war, it is very difficult to assess whether the Russian attacks have also succeeded in weakening the Ukrainian defense lines.
But the big picture is clear.
Russian forces have made very little progress so far.
“Although Russia is making some regional progress, the Ukrainian opposition has been strong on all axes,” he said. British intelligence Sunday.
Weak Russian morale and the limited time to re-equip and reorganize the forces before the offensive are likely to reduce Russia’s combat efficiency.
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