Ukraine is preparing for a major Russian attack

Ukraine is preparing for a major Russian attack

Kuyev“We will have to move and advance to new positions. Here we have hot water and a kitchen. We do not know what we will find there,” joked a soldier of the 5th Brigade in Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, in response to a question about the advance of Russian forces from Chasiv Yar, one of the areas where they have become . “It's a shame for the innocent people,” the soldier adds, but now he's speaking seriously. “The upper floors of the buildings have been completely destroyed. I wouldn't want the same thing to happen in other cities.”

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A major Russian offensive, expected in late May or early June that could break through the Ukrainian defense line, has become a topic of discussion. The president's office even spoke out: Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed in an interview with the American CBS channel that Ukrainian forces had managed to contain the Russians, but were not ready to stop a major offensive.

That Russia is trying to seize more territory is no surprise to either experts or the Ukrainian military. Even if peace talks begin in the fall, which is also being speculated, Vladimir Putin is believed to be continuing his campaign of conquest in order to sit in a better position at the potential dialogue table.

Despite open talk of a possible “large-scale” attack, Ukrainians living in Kiev are not packing their bags in case they have to flee. They realize that the Russians will focus on the Donbass region, a region they have long considered their own. It is very important, for example, that the head of the Russia Today channel, Margarita Simonyan, stated that the first thing the residents of the Russian-occupied town of Avdiivka asked for after their “liberation” from Ukraine was to vote in the Russian elections. In favor of Putin's candidacy. After occupying Avdiivka, it is feared that Russian forces will also take control of the city of Pokrovsk. The concentration of troops in the Chasev Yar region indicates that the municipalities of Kostyantinivka and Kramatorsk are also at risk.

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In recent weeks, Russian television has been mainly talking about Kharkiv, the Ukrainian city in the northeast of the country, located a few kilometers from the border. Russian broadcaster and preacher Vladimir Solovyov even urged the soldiers to act without pity towards the residents of this city and destroy it completely. He declared on his program with great enthusiasm: “They must put an end to all hope. They must give the residents 48 hours to flee and then destroy all the house buildings to their foundations.”

Russian forces proved this week that his words were not merely congratulatory. They fired targeted bombs at the city, killing one person and wounding dozens. Likewise, since March 22, there have been continuous interruptions in electricity supply. Air defense remains operational, but the city's proximity to the border makes protection difficult. The Ukrainian army does not rule out that the Russians will try to encircle it and even occupy it.

Defensive positions

How can we confront this potentially major attack? Since the beginning of the war, one of the persistent criticisms of Ukrainian forces has been the lack of preparation of their defensive positions. “One unit [militar] He replaced another brigade and found that the trenches were barely knee-deep. It was incomprehensible that they could fight like this. “Then they are surprised that they suffer such a large number of casualties,” explains Private Maxim, who fought on one of the most active fronts in Donetsk.

“If you want to live, you have to dig” is the golden premise that unit after unit is repeated like a mantra. But in practice, this depends on the commander, because if he wants his forces to build a real line of defense, he must request wood, cement, and machinery from the high command. The result is that defensive capacity varies greatly depending on the area of ​​the front.

This was taken seriously after the Ukrainian forces reached the Sorovikin Line, i.e. the defensive positions set up by the Russians in the occupied part of the Zaporizhzhya and Donetsk regions, and it was found that they had a built-in defense line. Since then, the government has allocated 20 billion hryvnias (more than 4 million euros) to improve defense on the front line, and military units and regional administrations now publish almost daily photos of the condition of trenches and air raid shelters.

Military mobilization

Another problem in Ukraine is the military mobilization of the population. The law has not yet been approved, and there are fears of the political consequences it may have. Currently, local military committees are accused of trying to forcibly recruit men they encounter on the street. On the other hand, the lack of a clear and fair recruitment process does not benefit Ukraine's ability to defend itself.

But there is no trench or shelter sufficient to protect against the guided bombs that Russian forces have begun using. There are days when they fire between 150 and 200 of these shells. Zelensky asked F-16 fighters to deal with this new threat. Whatever the case, time will tell whether Ukraine has learned from its mistakes and is able to stop a major Russian offensive.

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