Ukraine: fighting rages in Donbass, call for rescue from Mariupol defenders

Ukraine: fighting rages in Donbass, call for rescue from Mariupol defenders

| Saturday 14 May 2022

“There is heavy fighting on the border with the Donetsk region, near Popasna“, commented Friday evening on Facebook Serguiï Gaïdaï, Ukrainian governor of the Lugansk region, reporting numerous losses in equipment and personnel on the Russian side.

“It’s a horror but they are still trying to achieve their ends. But from the intercepts (of telephone communications) we understand that an entire battalion refused to attack because they see what is happening“, he noted.

A US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the most significant Russian activity currently was taking place in the Donbass. “And, basically, we continue to see the Russians not making a significant hold“in this region,” he said.

“Ukrainian artillery thwarts Russian efforts to gain ground, including their efforts to cross the Donest River (…) which affects their ability to send significant reinforcements to northern Donbass“, continued this source.

The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) clarified on Friday that Ukrainian forces had pushed back “with success“a Russian attempt to cross this stream near Severodonetsk, causing heavy losses to the Moscow troops.

This operation illustrates “the pressure under which Russian commanders find themselves to advance in eastern Ukraine“, estimated the MoD, stressing that the Russian army was not “failed to make any significant advances, although it concentrated its forces there after“having given up trying to win in kyiv.

By the end of March, a few weeks after its February 24 invasion of Ukraine, Russia had withdrawn from the capital region, changing “priority target” in an attempt to take over eastern Ukraine.

– Next annexation? –

According to the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Vladimir Putin “probably intends to annex southern and eastern Ukraine to the Russian Federation in the coming months“.

“Ukraine and its Western partners probably have only a small window of opportunity to support a counter-offensive in the territories occupied before“their annexation, according to this organization.

The situation has apparently already reversed in Kharkiv, yet one of the priority targets for the Russians.

“The gradual liberation of the Kharkiv region proves that we will not leave anyone to the enemy“, noted Friday evening the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in his daily message, announcing that the recovery of territories fallen into the hands of the Russians continued.

“As of today, 1,015 localities have been liberated, six more in the last 24 hours“, he let know.

Water, electricity, communications, transport and public services have been restored there, he said, confident to keep in mind the cities and territories still under Russian occupation.

With a special thought for the thousand Ukrainian fighters entrenched in a maze of Soviet-era tunnels under the Azovtal steelworks in Mariupol, for whom “very difficult negotiations are underway on the next phase of evacuation, the seriously injured and the medical personnel“.

 

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