Posted on April 18, 2022, 4:55 pmUpdated Apr 18, 2022 at 7:10 PM
Monday’s Russian and Ukrainian attacks and counter-attacks paved the way for the Battle of Donbass and adjacent areas, which could conclude with the outcome of the Russo-Ukrainian war.
In the sense that this battle began during the day with a sudden attack of Ukrainian forces from the city of Kharkiv in the northeast of the country with the aim of cutting the supply lines of the Russian units that control the city of Izyum, and to take them with pliers with other Ukrainian elements in the south.
encircling the ring
These Russian forces – 22 battalions according to Kyiv, i.e. a fifth of the Russian forces in Ukraine – wanted to besiege the Ukrainian units deployed opposite the Moscow-controlled part of Donbass. It’s somehow a roundup of trying kyiv.
The operation had mixed success. While the Ukrainian army took control of the villages of Bazalievka and Lybashi, Russian forces entered the town of Kremena on Monday. The city of 18,000 inhabitants is located about fifty kilometers northeast of Kramatorsk, the Ukrainian capital of Donbass.
Military analysts, however, doubt that the Russians will be able to occupy a significant part of the region, 60% of which is still controlled by Kyiv, and they declare victory on May 9 over the forces of the “Nazi regime” – as the Kremlin determined its neighbor. The outcome of the battle will also depend on the ability of the Russian army to reorganize its supplies and modus operandi, which has hitherto not been very effective, but also, on the Ukrainian side, on the timely arrival of heavy weapons supplied by the Westerners.
Mariupol under pressure
In the south, the Russians were under pressure on the outskirts of Kherson, the only large city that had fallen into their hands since the beginning of the invasion. Its restoration, which is undoubtedly difficult, promises to be even more urgent since Moscow intends to organize a referendum there at the beginning of May on the annexation of the city! The Kremlin launched a similar ballot after the occupation of Crimea in 2014. During the campaign, rejectionists were systematically arrested and tortured …
In the strategic port of Mariupol, the Russian army is also intensifying its efforts to seize the last quarters taken over by the Ukrainians, in particular the huge Azovstal plant. About 3,000 fighters are stationed there. The complex – the fall of which would take only a few hours … a week – was first attacked by the Tupolev Tu-22M3 heavy supersonic grenade launchers.
Ukrainian MP and oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, Viktor Medvedchuk, who was tried for treason and captured by Kyiv, asked in a video clip released by Ukraine on Monday, to be exchanged with Mariupol residents and defenders, including two British mercenaries, Sean Boehner and Aiden Aslin. The latter, who was captured in the city, himself asked to take advantage of the exchange, in a video tape broadcast on Monday by Russian public television VGTRK.
return of refugees
Moreover, Russian artillery continues to try to maintain a certain sense of insecurity far from the front. Five Russian missiles hit Lviv on Monday morning. At least seven people were killed. This large city, close to the Polish border, has been targeted with missiles only twice so far. It became a refuge for the displaced and hosted many Western embassies relocated from Kyiv.
This does not prevent refugees from returning to their country after the liberation of the northern and northeastern regions. For the first time since the conflict began, the number of people returning to Ukraine, about one million, has exceeded the number who left the country last week, according to border guards.
First footage of the Russian ship Moskva before it sank pic.twitter.com/YOYrmMz8MC
– Rajipsoylu (@ragipsoylu) April 18 2022
Russian forces also targeted sites near Kyiv after the cruiser “Moskva” was destroyed by two Ukrainian missiles on Thursday. Five days after the events, it was not clear on Monday the fate of the crew of 520 sailors of the most powerful Russian combat ship deployed in the Black Sea. Rumors in Moscow indicate hundreds of deaths, including conscripts mobilized in a war zone, which is illegal in Russia. After the Argentine ship “General Belgrano” during the Falklands War in 1982, this is only the second time in the world that a cruiser has been destroyed in service since 1945.