War in the East: Signs are growing that Ukraine is regaining strength

DThe world turned to Kiev in the early days of the Ukraine war — and wondered how long the country and its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, would withstand a full-scale Russian invasion. As is well known, they are still doing it today, forcing the Russian army to retreat eastward from Kiev.

One result of the first days of the war was almost lost sight of: parallel to the attack on the capital, Russia also attacked from occupied Crimea in southern Ukraine and brought a large area around the city of 300,000. Cherson under his control. Later, Russia administered these areas and its occupied territories by capturing the port city in eastern Ukraine. Mariupol To connect with a piece in southern Ukraine.

On Sunday, Kyiv announced the first successes in recapturing these areas. “We can say that a turning point has come on the battlefield,” Serhiy Khlan of the Kyiv Kherson military administration said in a television interview on Sunday. “We see our forces clearly advancing,” Chlan added.

Ukrainian troops will switch from defensive to counter-offensive. Kherson “will definitely be released by September,” Chlan said. Accordingly, the Ukrainians are preparing for a ground attack. Arms supplies from the West support them.

A US-supplied M777 howitzer in eastern Ukraine in the Donbass

Quelle: AP/Efrem Lukatsky

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The city of Cherson was captured on March 2, meaning it has been under Russian control for almost five months – and anxiety is growing every day in Kyiv that it will become increasingly difficult to liberate areas long under foreign rule. Within months, Russia replaced Ukrainian administration with Russian administration and introduced the ruble as a means of payment. Separatists loyal to Moscow announced a referendum on joining Russia.

“Criminals tried to gain a foothold there. But how did it help them? The Ukrainian army is gradually moving into the region,” President Zelensky said in his daily video address on Sunday night.

Ten days earlier, Zelenskij had ordered a large number of soldiers to go south to liberate the territories occupied by Russia at the beginning of the war. Over the past few days, the situation has remained chaotic and it is unclear whether and how the Ukrainian Armed Forces will actually implement the plan.

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ISW experts expect “delayed” reports of successes

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), an independent American think tank that comprehensively assesses the course of war every day, wrote in an article. Sunday night analysisThe Ukrainian counterattack is even more difficult to assess. The trend in advances is “limited and delayed”, it said in the analysis.

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Ukrainian soldiers are stationed in southeastern Ukraine

Ukrainian counterattack

This is because Ukrainian forces have taken several settlements in the region, Cherson’s adviser to the Ukrainian administration said on Saturday. However, he did not give any place names and asked the residents of the region not to spread the news until official statements from the Ukrainian authorities.

The area between Mun and Cherson City is rural and characterized mainly by small settlements. According to ISW analysis, it is unlikely that any troop movements or fighting will be reported from this region. So it is conceivable to change the control over a certain territory without immediate public notice. At the same time, new information from the Russian side is unlikely if these territories are lost.

DWO_AP_Ostukraine_Gebiete_2407-01

Current situation in Ukraine

Source: Infographic World

The current situation in eastern Ukraine is difficult to explain. The Russian army eventually captured the region Luhansk Completed – now target with region Donetsk To capture the second largest part of the Donbass.

The next target of the attack was the city of 74,000 people Bachmood. However, Russian troops have recently made little progress worth noting. Data from satellite imagery provider NASA for the week of July 15-23 clearly shows a decline in the number of fires across the Donbas front. According to ISW analysts, this strongly suggests that Ukraine is using Western-supplied Himar rocket launchers to attack Russian artillery and weaken its effectiveness.

Russia confirms attack on Odessa

Zelenskyy called Saturday’s rocket attacks on Odessa port “blatant Russian barbarism” in his nightly speech. The head of state said the strikes were another reason to provide Ukraine with weapons “necessary for our victory”.

Russia initially denied the attack to the Turkish government. On Sunday, Moscow acknowledged the attack and justified it by destroying American weapons.

The missiles were fired at a ship repair plant, the Defense Ministry said in Moscow. A Ukrainian warship and a warehouse of US-supplied Harpoon missiles were destroyed at the dock, sources said. Ukraine has repeatedly dealt heavy blows to the Russian Navy with such missiles.

Firefighters are at work after a missile attack on Odessa port

Firefighters are at work after a missile attack on Odessa port

Source: AFP/STR

Also, as a result of the attacks, the facilities for the repair and modernization of ship cargo of the Ukrainian naval forces were closed, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier confirmed the attacks on Odessa.

On Friday, Russia pledged in an international agreement to allow export ships to use the sea route and not to fire on them. So the three ports concerned should not be attacked. Among other things, it is about the export of millions of tons of grains. The agreement, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, enables exports to be monitored from a control center in Istanbul.

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Ukrainian rescuers use a crane to remove debris from a heavily damaged school building following shelling in the city of Kramatorsk, July 21, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  (Photo by Anatoly Stepanov/AFP)

Catastrophic destruction

The US government also blamed Russia for the shelling of Odessa. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Russia broke its promises a day after agreeing to export Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea. “This attack raises serious doubts about the credibility of Russia’s commitment to yesterday’s agreement.”

Blinken said the shelling undermines the work of the United Nations, Turkey and Ukraine to get essential food supplies to world markets. Russia is responsible for worsening the global food crisis. Moscow has ratified the grain export agreement and is now obligated to fully implement it.

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