Russo-Ukrainian War 7/4/22

Ukrainian HIMARS firing on Russian positions. The image was shared by Ukraine’s Minister of Defence in honor of the United States’ Independence Day. (Image via Ukrainian Ministry of Defence)

Though the United States has assessed that Russia’s forces may take a ‘break’ from fighting in the Donbas, battles near Sloviansk have reportedly escalated, with Russian forces anywhere from 5-7km from the city. Heavy shelling of the area has extracted heavy civilian casualties. However, there are reports that Western heavy weapons are operating in the area. Geolocated Ukrainian strikes indicate the usage of western rocket artillery in the Donbas, including areas extremely close to the frontlines in southeast Ukraine.

If Russian forces slow down in the Donbas to regenerate combat power, it is possible that Ukraine could move troops into better positions, including heavy weapons with which to better defend the last of the Donbas. Even as Ukrainian forces seem to prepare for counteroffensives in Kherson-Mykolaiv, a front that Russia has been reportedly neglecting, there are unlikely to be any major, successful Ukrainian operations to liberate territories in the Donbas in the short term. Rather, Ukraine may seek to establish a line of control, forcing Russia’s army to halt and buy time for offensives elsewhere.

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