Russo-Ukrainian War 6/9/22

A Ukrainian soldier near the ruins of a Russian armored vehicle (Image via Ukrainian Ministry of Defense

Russian rebel forces have claimed the start of the battle for Sloviansk as the Izyum offensive axis renews its push to encircle Ukrainian troops in Sievierodonetsk. Russian advances have placed pressure on Ukrainian morale and Western willingness to continue supplying weapons; though Western communiqués have indicated continuing support for Ukraine, the speed at which heavy weapons can be approved and transferred is crucial.

In Sievierodonetsk, Ukrainian forces fight block-by-block, retreating, and later take back positions in a fluid and dynamic defense to avoid being pinned down by artillery. This is likely how fighting could take place in Sloviansk, and depending on whether Ukrainian troops begin employing heavy weapons in the east, it could be crucial in deciding the fate of the Donbas.

There have been rumors of referendums in several occupied regions of Ukraine for annexation to Russia. Though some occupation sources have floated the concept of a ‘Novorossiya’ nation, others push for direct unification with the Russian Federation. Either option requires the support of the local populace, which in most settlements, Russia does not have. As Ukraine receives more heavy weapons, working to even out Russia’s artillery advantage, Ukrainian forces may be able to move forward across the line of contact and make room for larger offensives in the south and east.

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