Ukrainian war: “Decisive week” – Russia wants to achieve the first war goal in the Donbas

NAfter weeks of hard fighting, Russia finally wants to reach its first war goal in eastern Ukraine this week – the conquest of the Luhansk region. The conquest of the industrial city of Sierodonetsk is still crucial for Russia’s ability to gain control of the missing territories of Luhansk.

However, there are now signs in Sievjerodonetsk that the Russian army has broken resistance after weeks of shelling and fighting. According to Ukrainian sources, Russian troops have advanced into the industrial area. He is already fighting there, the governor of the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk Serhiy Hajdaj wrote on his Telegram channel on Monday evening.

Thus, Ukrainian soldiers control only the territory of the Azot chemical plant. The surrounding towns are also under constant fire. In the war against Ukraine, Russian troops have been concentrating on the conquest of Sievarodonetsk for some time. On Monday morning, Ukrainian authorities admitted the loss of the village of Metjolkine southeast of the city.

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According to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Wereshchuk, around 300 civilians were still staying at the Azot chemical plant. However, the situation is constantly changing, according to the Ukrainian agency Ukrinform. If civilians seeking protection express a desire to be evacuated, an attempt will be made to establish an escape corridor. Governor Hajdaj said on Saturday that civilians did not want to be evacuated, but were constantly in contact.

Ukrainian tank at the front in Sierodonetsk

Ukrainian tank at the front in Sierodonetsk

Source: AP / Oleksandr Ratushniak

According to the Russian agency Interfax, about 20 Ukrainian civilians could leave the chemical plant on Monday. They used a passage that is not controlled by Ukrainian troops, and now they are “safe,” separatist leader Rodion Miroshnik said. He also accused Ukraine of using “constant shelling” to prevent the evacuation of civilians from the region.

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Unlike the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, there is said to be no extensive network of anti-aircraft shelters in Azot. According to Hajda, the individual emergency shelters do not follow each other. In the system of bunkers under the Azovstal steelworks, Ukrainian defenders and civilians held on for weeks after the conquest of Mariupol by Russian troops.

Kyiv expects a Russian deadline by Sunday

According to the independent think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW), which analyzes the course of the war in great detail, this week could be decisive for the fate of Sierodonetsk. Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljarova said that the Russian leadership had set Sunday as the deadline for reaching the borders of the Luhansk region, and thus bringing the entire region under its control.

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This will most likely lead to an intensification of Russian attempts to fully occupy Sievarodonetsk. In addition to the complete conquest of the industrial area, the last Ukrainian bastion in the city, the Russian army is trying to encircle the two sister cities of Sievjerodonetsk and Lysychansk.

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The current situation in Ukraine

Source: Infographic WORLD

Ukraine has been asking its Western allies for heavy weapons for weeks to repel Russia’s move in eastern Ukraine. In the east of the country, long-range fighting with heavy artillery takes place. Here, Russia clearly outperforms Ukraine in terms of large arms.

The Berlin-Bratislava-Kyiv ring exchange is delayed

Although Germany promised to deliver heavy weapons almost two months ago, none of them arrived in Ukraine. There is clearly still a problem with the indirect supply of such weapons.

According to a report by the Business Insider portal, the planned German-Slovak ring exchange for arms supplies to Ukraine has been delayed for two months because Berlin does not offer enough tanks. According to the stock exchange, Slovakia would supply Ukraine with 30 main Soviet-made 7-72 ​​battle tanks – and in return would receive more modern German tanks as replacements.

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According to the report, the Slovak government refused the exchange last week after Germany offered 15 Leopard 2A4 tanks. From Slovakia’s point of view, this is too small a replacement for 30 T-72 tanks to be delivered to Ukraine. According to a report by a spokeswoman for the Slovak Ministry of Defense, 15 MBT Leopard “cannot be a solution for us because we need 30 MBT for a tank battalion”.

In a video speech on Tuesday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated that in his opinion Ukraine belongs to Europe and deserves the status of an EU candidate country. The country invaded by Russia proves every day that it is already part of a single European area of ​​values, Zelensky said. According to him, Ukraine’s aspirations to join the EU made Russia very nervous.

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The European Commission on Friday recommended that Ukraine and Moldova be nominated as candidates for accession to the European Union. The heads of state and government of the 27 EU countries must now decide at their summit on Thursday.

According to Zelenský, the defense against Russian invaders is also about drawing attention to the suffering of Ukrainians and mobilizing international aid. However, the longer the war lasts, the more difficult it is to “compete for the attention of hundreds of millions of people in different countries.” Nevertheless, he will “do his best not to lose sight of Ukraine.”

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