Is Russia winning in the Donbass?

The second phase of the conflict is running out, and Putin’s Army is prevailing over the resistance. In the last week, Russian troops have advanced more than in the rest of May and are pounding with artillery, scratching Ukrainian morale

The second phase of the Ukrainian conflict is running out, e Putin’s Army is prevailing over the resistance. In the last week, Russian troops have advanced more than in the rest of May, although progress remains slow, limited to smaller targets than those required by the Kremlin, according to the Institute for the Study of War in its daily update. hindered by the Ukrainians. That the wind of the battle has turned, however, was also guessed from the public statements of Volodymyr Zelensky and his government, which in the last week admitted the difficulties in the east – “we lose 50-100 men a day”, said the Ukrainian president: an enormous amount, explains analyst Michael Kofman – and confirmed that on the 16th May Four Russian missiles killed 87 people in a military training center in Desna, in the northern Chernihiv oblast: a targeted shot, like the one in Yavoriv on March 13, the bloodiest since the beginning of Putin’s “special” military operation.

So far, from Kiev – which claims to have killed nearly 30,000 Russians, probably excessive numbers – they were Very little information on the number of victims among the resistance leaked: a hard balance, certainly, but which has remained shrouded in the fog of war. These latest statements seem instead an indirect confirmation that the Ukrainians are suffering the friction of the battleso much so that they are now thinking of bringing reinforcements to the east to prevent further Russian progress: Kiev can cede territory and hope to recover it later, but the Army has reduced its objectives, corrected its plans, no longer thinks of a great encirclement of the resistance but it seeks smaller, simultaneous ones that can allow incremental progress in the disputed regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Here the authorities of the self-proclaimed people’s republics argue that the pro-Russian forces, together with the Moscow army, broke through the Ukrainian defenses. «The Ukrainian defense is collapsing. An active assault on Zolote is underway. The peacekeepers are advancing towards Maloryazantsevo, Volcheyarovka “, declared the ambassador of the Lugansk republic in Russia, Rodion Miroshnik, explaining that” part of the strategic Lysichansk-Artemovsk highway is under the full control of the allied forces. This has led to the almost complete impossibility of supplying the Ukrainian troops in Severodonetsk and Lysichansk ». Taking the road from Bakhmut to Lysyschansk, 2 kilometers north of Soledar, the Russians can complicate Ukrainian logistics and supplies in the areaconfirms Franz-Stefan Gady of the International Institute of Strategic Studies.

“Russian troops have already come very close to Severodonetsk, so they can also fire with mortars,” admitted the head of the Lugansk regional military administration Sergiy Gaidai. “The city is continuously bombed, 24 hours a day. There are heavy fighting on the outskirts of the city, while bombs and missiles are dropped from bombers, the situation is very difficult ». In the fighting near Severodonetsk, the Ukrainian army eliminated the police captain Asvad Idrisov, the officer Gapur Dakalov and the deputy commander of the fourth platoon of the Kadyrov regiment, Sergeant Major Ali Betishev: a sign of the Chechen presence on the battlefield. However, the participation of the veterans of the Wagner security company would be equally relevant, decisive in many situations and certainly superior to pro-Russian militiamen or ordinary soldiers.

The war in Ukraine, wrote John Spencer and Lionel Beehner on Kyiv Post“Confirmed what soldiers have known for centuries”: troop morale is more important than any weapon or military doctrine, brings with it motivation, confidence, courage, cohesion, a sense of control of one’s destiny. For ninety days there was talk of the low morale of the Russian troops, of Putin’s soldiers who did not obey orders or sabotage their own means, but the incessant pounding of Russian artillery – along with the latest news from the field – may now have an effect on the psyche of resistance.

Artillery is often unable to destroy bunkersalso because some grenades are designed to explode at the top to widen the effect of the shrapnel, however, it weakens morale: the soldier locked in the shelter cannot move, suffers psychological trauma, may fear that everything will collapse, thinks of the debris that could block the entrance, explains Lorenzo Nannetti of the Geopolitical coffee. Continuous blows cause progressive wearwith persistent and repeated attacks: there is a persistence that becomes lethal, does not allow you to move and prevents reinforcements from arriving.

There is the so-called fire area, continues Nannetti: it is hit by an advancing wave, with the shot moving more and more towards the objectives, it must to lead your units who will give the assault without running the risk of hitting them. That is why there must be perfect coordination between batteries and infantry. The Russians, at this stage, perform these mechanisms better, because they have expert departments that exploit the openings in the opposing side. The Army has better logistics thanks to the use of a railway network with good branches: you must always think that a lot of ammunition is consumed. The Ukrainians are struggling to respond because the opposing targets, that is the batteries, are further away, in turn have a greater range and must discover it with radars, equipment supplied by NATO but not in sufficient numbers for the needs.