The Ukrainian military expects a tough and bloody Russian offensive which should start in the next few days.
The vigil of arms is coming to an end in the Donbass. It was not long, ten days at most. From now on, the Ukrainian army says it expects a Russian offensive in these two provinces, avowed objectives of the Kremlin. “According to our information, the enemy has almost completed its preparation for an assault on the East. The attack will take place very soon,” warned at a press conference the spokesman of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, Oleksandre Motouzianik.
The defenders fear urban and insurrectionary combats that are deadly, long and whose outcome will also depend on Western aid. “We cannot predict when exactly this will take place, this is information from Western sources”, he said. The Russians, after a failed start to the campaign, are looking for victories.
According to experts, efforts should be directed south of Izyum, towards Donetsk, before concentrating towards Crimea. For lack of men and equipment, the offensives should be linked one by one. Washington also believes that the preparation should take a little longer. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has already assured that military operations will not be suspended in the event of talks.
The Battle of Mariupol
Ukrainian troops are reinforcing their positions in anticipation of this potential assault, digging new trenches or mining the sides of the roads. The population, it tries to escape the battle which is announced there, fleeing, while the air strikes and the bombings continue, deadly. Eleven deaths were recorded in Kharkiv on Sunday.
The attack also depends on the fate of Mariupol, where the Russian forces are progressing very slowly. On Sunday, the port area fell, pro-Russian separatists said. The last Ukrainian soldiers brace themselves for a “final battle” in this devastated city, besieged for more than 40 days. An open letter to Ukrainians attributed to the 36and navy brigade, which has not been authenticated, states: “Our ammunition is running out (…) It will be death for some of us and captivity for others. We are slowly disappearing.”
In Moscow, Vladimir Putin met on Monday with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, the first European leader to discuss face-to-face with the Russian president since the start of the aggression against Ukraine in February. The Chancellor, after talks in kyiv with the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, tried to obtain humanitarian corridors in Ukraine. “It was not a friendly discussion”, explained the Chancellery in a press release on Monday. Vienna intended to explain to Vladimir Putin that he “Isolates Russia, that it’s going to lose this war morally, and that it’s doing all the wrong things,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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