Russia Refocuses on Ukraine’s East After Month of Heavy Losses

Russia’s campaign in Ukraine is reeling from a string of losses as the Kremlin has refocused its attention on eastern regions to avoid further blushes. The Russian military claims that it now finally controls all areas of Donetsk, Luhansk and Makiivka after heavy fighting over recent weeks. However, civilians remain skeptical about how much control Russia actually maintains.,

The “ukraine news” is a topic that has been in the news lately. Russia has refocused its efforts on Ukraine’s East after month of heavy losses.

Russia said that it was focussing its mission in Ukraine on the nation’s east, a departure from its first effort to conquer Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and large swathes of the country, which met with fierce opposition and significant casualties.

As President Biden flew to Poland, expressing US backing for Ukraine in the form of high-tech weapons, the military shift took place as Moscow more than quadrupled the number of its service men killed since the invasion. Mr. Biden also spoke with soldiers and Poland’s president, a day after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization vowed further military support for Ukraine at its summit.

When Russia invaded its smaller neighbor, it struck on many fronts and tried to conquer Kyiv with an aerial assault that rapidly fell apart. A push into Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, also came to a halt.

President Biden visited Poland on Friday and talked with US soldiers stationed near the Ukrainian border; authorities in Mariupol estimated over 300 people were murdered in a theatrical bombing last week as Russian attacks continued in Ukraine. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images photo

Forces advancing north from Russian-controlled Crimea have made gains in the south and east. Fighting has been tough even there. For weeks, Russia has been bombarding Mariupol with artillery but has yet to seize control.

Since then, Ukrainian military have forced Russian forces back near Mykolaiv and withstood off attempts to surround Kyiv. According to a senior US military source, they are currently battling the Russians in Kherson, the only provincial capital that the Russians had taken.

“Our troops and resources will concentrate on the fundamental objective: complete liberation of the Donbas,” Sergei Rudskoy, chief of the Russian general staff’s major operations department, said in announcing the change in plans. Parts of the Donbas area, on Russia’s eastern border, have been under the hands of pro-Moscow rebels for years, who have expressed larger territorial aspirations in the region.

“Russia definitely had more ambitious ambitions,” said Rob Lee, a former Marine and senior scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. “However, I believe attrition and greater-than-expected opposition have rendered it improbable that Russian troops could seize or surround Kyiv or Odessa.” “It looks that Russia’s objectives have been downgraded.”

Russia-Refocuses-on-Ukraines-East-After-Month-of-Heavy-Losses

Ukrainian soldiers in Mykolaiv, where Russian forces were driven back, on Friday.

Sedat Suna/EPA/Shutterstock photo

On Friday, US officials indicated they had seen a change in Russia’s military posture. According to a senior US defense official, the Russian military’s decision to concentrate its ground operation on the Donbas area is part of a strategy to secure and extend one of its bases within Ukraine. According to the United States, Russia may be attempting to consolidate its control over the area before negotiations to halt the combat begin.

With the help of armaments supplied by Western nations, Ukraine has been able to repel Russian strikes. President Biden visited Rzeszow, a Polish city on the Ukrainian border that has become a significant center for military supply to the troubled Ukraine next door, including antitank weapons and air-defense missiles.

Mr. Biden addressed the humanitarian repercussions from the conflict while visiting his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, in a hangar at the Rzeszow-Jasionka Airport, where antiaircraft missiles were stationed near the runway. According to the United Nations, the fighting has forced more than 3.7 million people to escape Ukraine, with more than 2.2 million migrating into Poland.

The number of Russian military men killed in the battle rose to 1,351 on Friday, up from 498 earlier this month. In addition, 3,825 people were hurt in Moscow.

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On Friday, Russia spelt out more-limited aims for Ukraine in a suburb of Mariupol.

Photo credit: Reuters/Alexander Ermochenko

Recent US estimates of Russian deaths have been significantly higher, with up to 7,000 Russian soldiers reportedly dead. According to a senior NATO officer, between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian soldiers have perished fighting in Ukraine, with up to 40,000 servicemen killed, injured, taken prisoner, or reported missing. According to Ukraine, almost 16,000 Russian forces have perished.

The lower NATO estimate of Russian personnel casualties would surpass the entire number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq during the last two decades of military engagement.

In addition, Russia’s general officer ranks have had a disproportionately high number of deaths.

The severity of Russia’s losses has increased Western fears that Russia would use chemical weapons in Ukraine. According to White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan, the US and NATO partners have attempted to reach an agreement on how to react if this occurs. Following a NATO conference in Brussels, Mr. Biden said that Russia’s deployment of chemical weapons would prompt a reaction from the US and its partners.


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The city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov is a critical component of attaining even the more modest goals Russia outlined on Friday. Control of the port city would provide Russia with a land route to Crimea, which it took from Ukraine in 2014.

Mariupol has been shelled and bombarded in residential areas for weeks as Moscow tries to break the city’s resistance. Fighting has devolved into neighborhood-by-neighborhood combat. Russian military already control a large portion of the terrain around the city.

Thousands of residents have fled the violence, and those who remain are living in deplorable circumstances, without running water, food, power, or internet connection to contact friends and family who may be able to assist them evacuate.

Russian activities near Kyiv have been halted, according to Western diplomats. “They don’t seem to want to go after Kyiv strongly or honestly.” “They’re concentrating on Donbas,” claimed a senior US military official. Russia, on the other hand, is continuing to bomb the capital from the air, he claimed.

“Given their failure to fulfill other goals, it seems as though they are settling on one center of gravity,” said Michael Kofman, a Russian military analyst at CNA. “That doesn’t rule out pursuing those aims in a later phase of the battle,” he continued.

—This paper was co-written by Max Colchester and Nancy A. Youssef.

Matthew Luxmoore can be reached at [email protected]

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