Russo-Ukrainian War 6/18/22

M777 howitzers in use with the Ukrainian military (Image via Ukrainian Ministry of Defense)

Irregular partisan troops, striking behind enemy lines, have been aiding Ukraine’s army in coordinating artillery and hampering Russia’s efforts to freeze the conflict into a stalemate.

Partisans have been especially active in Melitopol, and mysterious explosions deep in occupied Ukraine have been claimed by Ukrainian media as the work of partisans (Russian occupation forces claim the explosions were their own, for mine destruction). It is also possible that repeated Ukrainian artillery attacks in Kherson, targeting Kherson’s airport where Russian forces have attempted to unload equipment, could be supported by Ukrainian partisans.

Resistance, however, does not come without a price. In Zaporizhzhia, occupation officials have threatened the death penalty, which after actions revealed in Bucha and Irpin, has almost undoubtedly occurred in occupied parts of southern Ukraine.

As Ukraine begins receiving heavy weapons and doing more damage behind Russian lines, Ukrainian partisans will be crucial in helping break the stalemate and directing Ukraine’s resources to outmaneuver Russia’s larger forces. Russia’s advances, which still continue, have been largely stalled. Earlier momentum built after breakthroughs in Popasna and other parts of the Donbas seems to have been lost, and while the situation remains dire for Ukraine, Russian underperformance has bought Ukraine’s army time to gather more support and materiel to begin to consider a larger counteroffensive.

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