Russo-Ukrainian War 6/1/22

U.S. Marines assigned to 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, conduct simulated fire missions with a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) during an exercise at San Clemente Island, May 2, 2020. HIMARS is multiple rocket launcher mounted on a standard Army Medium Tactical Vehicle (MTV) truck frame, intended to engage and destroy artillery, air defense concentrations, light armor and fortified stationary targets. (Image via Sgt. Manuel A. Serrano)

NATO Allies have ramped up their deliveries of heavy weapons amidst Ukraine’s difficult fight for the Donbas, facing an onslaught of Russian troops and artillery. Deliveries from Poland, Germany, Estonia, Slovakia, and many others have promised to give Ukraine an edge in the war against Russia, particularly in hitting Russian artillery that has been devastating Ukrainian lines.

The battle for Sievierodonetsk, a city key to any Russian declaration of victory in the Donbas, has likely been lost by Ukrainian forces. Though fighting is ongoing, Western intelligence assesses Russian control over most of the city, though Ukraine may still hold Ukrainian forces. The United Kingdom also assessed that, in order to attempt a successful river crossing at the Siverskyy Donets river, Russia would need to re-organize its troops. This pause would threaten its momentum and allow Ukrainian forces to better prepare for the Russian onslaught.

It is highly unlikely that U.S rocket artillery will arrive in time to change the fate of the Donbas. The U.S. announced that it would take three weeks to train Ukrainian personnel on the usage of its M142 HIMARS rocket systems, of which it would give only four batteries at the time. The United States has also pledged four MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones, reinforcing Ukraine’s successful TB2 fleet.

With all signs pointing to a restarting of negotiations, NATO has intensified its support for Ukraine to give Zelenskyy the best possible position on the negotiating table regarding potential concessions or agreements. Whether or not Ukraine’s armed forces can dislodge Russia as more and more heavy weapons arrive, their ability to check Russia’s advance has surely contributed to Russia’s ever-shrinking objectives.

Additionally, the United States confirmed today that it had participated in offensive cyber warfare in support of Ukraine. After previous concerns regarding whether a cyberattack on NATO Allies would trigger Article V (it would, according to Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg), the U.S.’ activities have likely helped Ukraine’s digital infrastructure survive after the initial wave of cyberattacks.

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