Russian Invasion of Ukraine Stalls

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Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is a gross violation of that nation’s sovereignty and an affront to the international community.”

– Rand Paul  (US Politician)

Latest news from Ukraine indicates that Russia has failed to achieve substantial territorial gains in the Donbas region over the past month and during that time has sustained “consistently high levels of attrition,” the UK Defence Ministry said in an intelligence update. With Putin’s invasion of Ukraine stalling, other former Soviet States are weighing prospects for pulling away from Moscow’s orbit even as they fear risks of potential border conflict. The war is sending tremors along an arc of instability stretching from Ukraine’s neighbour Moldova through the Caucasus and into Kazakhstan in central Asia. Putin’s intentions have become an urgent national security question in countries with so-called “frozen conflicts” or that have large pro-Russian minorities.

Russia has lost one third of the forces it launched into its attack on Ukraine in February and is unlikely to make significant progress in its stalled offensive in eastern Ukraine, the U.K.’s Defence Ministry said on Sunday. Despite small advances, Russia’s progress in the Donbas region beyond the territory its proxy forces had occupied since 2014 has largely lost momentum and is now significantly behind schedule, the ministry wrote in its daily assessment of the military situation on the ground. Recent losses of Russian bridging equipment, intelligence capability and unmanned drones have almost certainly exacerbated these delays, the ministry said. Bridging equipment in particular has been in short supply throughout the conflict, restricting Russian’s offensive capacities.

In these conditions, and with limited ability to rapidly replace lost materiel, demoralized Russian forces are unlikely to make significant gains in Donbas in the next month, the ministry concluded. In one of Moscow’s biggest military setbacks since the start of the war, Ukraine has repelled repeated attacks by Russian Forces to cross the Siverskyi Donets River in the Luhansk region, slowing their momentum in Donbas. Recent satellite imagery showed more than 70 Russian tanks, armoured personnel carriers and other armour destroyed after Ukrainian artillery and airstrikes Vladimir Potin may have lost a third of his troops that have invaded Ukraine, according to British military intelligence.

In its latest assessment, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of UK said Russia’s campaign in separatist-controlled Donbas region of eastern Ukraine has “lost momentum” and was now “significantly behind schedule”. Relatives of Ukrainian soldiers in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol have asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to act as an intermediary in talks with Russia to help evacuate the defenders and provide safe passage to a third country. “There is only one person in the world” left to turn to, Natalka Zarytska, wife of one of the defenders, said in a televised briefing. Citing the close ties between Moscow and Beijing, she said it would “be difficult for Putin to refuse” a request from China’s leader. Group of Seven Foreign Ministers issued a long list of demands on Beijing’s stance toward Ukraine after talks in Germany, including a request “not to justify Russian action The G-7 officials called on China to “resolutely urge Russia to stop its military aggression against Ukraine,” according to a joint statement. They also called on Beijing not to assist Russia, not to undermine sanctions, and “to desist from engaging in information manipulation, disinformation and other means to legitimise Russia’s war of aggression.”

“Ukraine can win this war,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told journalists at a virtual appearance of alliance diplomats in Berlin. The comment was Stoltenberg’s strongest statement yet on the issue. Despite concerns that Turkey is hesitant to welcome Finland and Sweden into the alliance, Western officials in Berlin sought to present a united front ahead of the upcoming NATO summit in Spain.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters that the U.S. and its allies are “focused on giving Ukraine as strong a hand as possible on the battlefield, and at any negotiating table, so that it can repel Russian aggression and fully defend its independence and sovereignty.”

In conclusion, Ukrainian President VolodymyrZelensky met with a U.S. Senate delegation led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on last Saturday in Kyiv, calling the visit “a powerful signal of bipartisan support for Ukraine from the U.S. Congress and the American people,” his office said. A $40 billion aid package for Ukraine will be taken up in senate debate in the coming week. Britain’s Defence Ministry says Russia now appears to have suffered the loss of a third of the ground combat force it committed in February. The destruction of equipment and low troop morale mean that Russian forces are unlikely to accelerate their rate of advance in the next month, the ministry said. With major international support for Ukcaine it is very unlikely that Russia can defeat Ukraine in this war.

By Lakshman I. Keerthisinghe