Russo-Ukrainian War 6/24/22

Ukrainian ballistic missile launchers firing in a field. (Image via Ukrainian Ministry of Defence)

Ukrainian forces have withdrawn from Sievierodonetsk, ending a key battle for one of the last cities in the Donbas. Ukraine’s forces have repositioned in Lysychansk and so far held, though some express doubts as to whether they can hold their position there as well.

Western media and governments have tried to downplay the withdrawal, with some reiterating the assessment that Russia’s advances will grind to a halt. While this is certainly correct, it is crucial to understand that Ukraine faced an incredibly high casualty rate in the Donbas: late heavy weapons deliveries are somewhat to blame, as were statements by Western nations that seemed to indicate defeatism in the NATO alliance. With Ukraine now beginning to use rocket artillery as well as receiving artillery and armored vehicles from France, Germany, and the U.K., Russia will likely be forced to mobilize more forces or lose the little momentum it has left.

Sievierodonetsk, which has taken far longer than expected to fall, is just another example of Ukrainian resilience in the face of insurmountable odds. Despite the fate of the city being sealed as Russian troops advanced from Izyum and Popasna, Ukrainian forces managed to hold out for weeks and once again surprised and galvanized a hesitant West. Ukraine’s performance in the battle for the Donbas has locked in Europe and the United States for a long-term commitment, with NATO vowing to ‘Westernize’ Ukraine’s military, even as Ukraine seeks a European identity with the EU.

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