Heavy urban fighting is underway in Sievierodonetsk, where Ukrainian forces are holding off an overwhelming Russian assault. Several groups of Russian forces, supported by constant artillery shelling, are converging on Sievierodonetsk from multiple directions. Fighting in Sievierodonetsk is becoming a grim reminder of the siege of Mariupol, where Ukrainian forces held out against a massive Russian assault and bombardment in industrial areas of the city.
However, unlike Mariupol, Ukrainian troops in the Donbas have not been encircled by Russian forces. Though it is dubious as to whether western weapons could be delivered to troops inside the Luhansk pocket, reinforcements and critical supplies continue to arrive in Sievierodonetsk as Ukraine’s military seemingly begins a bid to hold the city past the United Kingdom’s ‘two-week’ estimate for the fall of the Donbas. Heavy weapons delivered just outside of the Luhansk pocket could be employed to break a future encirclement, targetting Russian positions in Popasna and creating the necessary momentum for a larger offensive.
Ukraine is no stranger to subverting western expectations; just three months ago, Ukrainian forces held off what western media described as the complete destruction of Ukraine, defending the vast majority of their territory, including their capital. Russia’s ‘three days’ turned to weeks, and now months. Yet to replicate their feat, Ukraine must stave off a concentrated Russian assault as western civilian interest begins to wane, slackening some of the pressure on western governments to reiterate their support for Ukraine.
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