It’s been just over three months since Russia rushed to and invaded Ukraine. The war has gone from being a major offensive to a battle in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine – and both sides are fighting for the upper hand.
Russia is making little progress and Ukraine is a good defense. Now it remains to be seen who will have the upper hand to continue the war, says Lieutenant-Colonel Pal Yedistibo.
Moscow’s move to focus on Severodonetsk and Donbass creates vulnerabilities to Russia’s advance in eastern Ukraine, according to new statement From the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
Russia’s weak point is primarily Kherson, where Ukraine is showing a powerful counterattack.
Kherson is extremely important because it is the only land area controlled by Russia on the western bank of the Dnipro River, NTB writes.
“The strategic importance of Kherson usually indicates that Russia has sent in sufficient forces to hold the city,” ISW wrote in its statement.
This is how Ukrainian soldiers are trying to stop the Russians
“President Vladimir Putin has chosen instead to concentrate all forces and resources that can be brought together, in a desperate and bloody attempt to achieve symbolic victories in the East,” ISW wrote.
On the other hand, Ukraine receives praise from the think tank for not prioritizing the defense of Severodonetsk.
This decision is strategically good, even if it hurts. The think tank wrote that Ukraine should take care of its limited resources and use them to restore important terrain rather than defend something that will not determine the outcome of the war.
But it is not only Russia that has suffered heavy losses. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said recently, according to the New York Times, that up to 100 Ukrainian officials may die daily in the ongoing fight against Russia.
He stressed that Ukraine’s goal remains to recover all territories, but that this requires patience.
“Saving lives is a priority,” the president said.
– He might have a chance
Lieutenant Colonel Bali Yedstepo believes that Ukraine may have a chance to gain control of the situation, despite a slight Russian advance.
– It may be possible, but it depends on Russia’s strength in the war. It will take time for Ukraine to reap the full benefits of military assistance from the West, and for Russia to have control, it must be able to recoup its losses before then.
Russia is struggling for progress, even on the small front they are striving for now, says Yedstepo.
However, he notes, Russia will likely be able to seize the remaining five percent of Luhansk.
When it comes to ISW statements about Russia’s strategic mistakes, war is not black and white in practice, according to Ydstebø.
Russia does not necessarily have to win with a different strategy. This rests with Russia’s war capacity and Ukraine’s resistance. To me, it might seem a bit random. Russia strikes as it sees opportunities for small victories.
– It is only a matter of time before one of the countries has the upper hand to continue the war. For this to happen, one limb must be forced to kneel, Yedistibo says.
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