December 2, 2022

Amid Hardening Western Resolve, Signs of Russia’s Stalling in Eastern Ukraine

6 min read


Western support for Ukraine tightened on Friday as the European Union was ready to approve a ban on Russian oil, amid fresh assessments that the Russian military’s eastern aggression is weakening, hampered by logistical problems and stiff Ukrainian resistance. Is.

The oil embargo, which is expected to be phased out in a few months, is expected to be approved by EU ambassadors next week, in a move that avoids the need for heads of state to convene. Go

The European oil embargo came amid growing activity to provide more weapons and aid to Ukraine, while strengthening NATO’s defenses, as the Kremlin and Western allies appeared to be gearing up for a conflict that Was at risk of spreading to Ukraine’s borders.

President Biden’s request for congressional approval on Thursday 33 33 billion to strengthen Ukraine’s weapons and economy Further promises were made by allies. The British military said on Friday it would do so. Deployment of 8000 troops in EuropeWhich was to involve tens of thousands of NATO troops in exercises aimed at preventing further Russian aggression.

A senior Pentagon official said Friday that as NATO allies’ commitments to Ukraine have increased, Russian aggression in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine has shown signs of stagnating amid heavy casualties on the battlefield and is now “several The day is behind.

The United Kingdom’s Defense Intelligence Agency said in a statement on Friday that Russia’s territorial interests had been “limited” and that “Russian forces have been acquired at a significant cost.”

In a video released Friday, an aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky called the Russian losses “huge.”

Experts and Pentagon officials say Russian forces are trying to encircle Ukrainian troops in the Donbass region by launching attacks from the north, east and south, but little progress has been made.

Victory in the Donbass campaign is crucial for bringing a large part of Moscow south and east of Ukraine, from Odessa in the south to Mariupol and Kharkiv in the north, and bringing it under Russian domination or even full annexation.

A Pentagon official said Moscow now has 92 battalion groups fighting in Donbass – up from 85 a week ago, but less than 125 in the first phase of the war. Each battalion group consists of about 700 to 1,000 soldiers.

A Pentagon official said Russia still had large-scale firepower in the region, but that many of its battalions had been badly damaged in the initial fighting around the capital, Kyiv, and that they had full combat power. The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a crowd of 2,000, according to the Pentagon.

Some military experts on Friday made a serious assessment of Russia’s prospects. Dr Mike Martin, a visiting Fellow at War Studies at King’s College London, told the BBC that Russia’s aggression had “somehow failed” and that the war in eastern Ukraine could end in two to four weeks. ۔

Russia’s initial failures, its failure to make “some bold moves” in the recent war and Ukraine’s growing power on the battlefield are behind “major strategic shifts” between Western nations, he said. Defeating Russia and defaming its military while advancing its defense.

In an effort to advance its forces, Russia has launched missile and artillery strikes on all fronts, and has continued its strategy of targeting civilian and military targets. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters Friday that “this is the coldest and worst kind of barbarism.”

Ukrainian troops retaliated in northern Donbas on Friday by recapturing Ruska Luzova, a town of about 6,000 people about 12 miles north of Kharkiv, which has been occupied by Russian forces since March.

Taking advantage of the now open road for Kharkiv, many of the town’s remaining residents fled immediately. The cars, loaded with some bullets, were lame in the city, full of goods, people and pets.

Fighting for Ruska Luzova is part of a broader campaign launched by Ukrainian forces in recent weeks to push Russian troops away from Kharkiv, and is expected to be kept out of Russian artillery. The fighting is fierce, as the Russian border is about 20 miles from the city.

Before the war, Kharkiv was the second largest city in Ukraine with a population of about 1.4 million. But now it is a shell in itself, with many neighborhoods empty after the unbridled bombing.

In another sign of Moscow’s urgency, several of the dozens of battalion groups fighting in Mariupol were sent to fight in Donbass, a Pentagon official said, even as Ukrainian fighters resisted in the troubled city.

The rest of the Russian forces continued to shell Mariopole in their struggle to eliminate the last pockets of resistance there. The city’s mayor on Friday made a disappointing appeal to the international community to rescue those still trapped in a huge steel plant that has become the last holdout for Ukrainian fighters and civilians.

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said more than 600 people had been injured in the Azovstal complex – including soldiers and civilians. “They have been there for more than 60 days and are begging to be rescued,” he said, adding that the supply of water, medicine and ammunition was rapidly running out. “It’s not a matter of days, it’s a matter of hours.”

He said about 20,000 civilians had been killed, but denied that the city had been completely conquered.

The European Union’s move to ban Russian oil imports, a long-delayed move that has divided members of the bloc and highlighted their reliance on Russian energy sources, was another sign that Ukraine’s western The Allies were increasing their support by taking difficult steps to punish Russia.

It has taken several weeks for the EU countries to agree on the form. MeasurementAnd several EU officials and diplomats involved in the process said that in-depth discussions were taking place over the weekend before the European Commission, the bloc’s executive, submitted a final proposal for approval to EU ambassadors on paper. Will remain

Diplomats and officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the progress of the sensitive talks.

Russia is Europe’s largest oil supplier, providing about a quarter of the bloc’s annual needs, and by 2020, about half of Russia’s total exports. As the oil embargo is being phased out, officials say the bloc will try to make up for the shortfall by increasing imports from other sources in the Persian Gulf, Nigeria, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

The fact that the EU is now apparently capable of compromising between its 27 member states has highlighted a fundamental miscalculation in Russian President Vladimir V. Putin’s attack on Ukraine: instead of sowing the seeds of discord, The war is on. A united front that makes it easier to reach difficult agreements.

“More important than the oil embargo is the signal that Europe is united and withdrawing this initiative,” said Mujtaba Rehman, Europe’s managing director at Eurasia Group, a consultancy. Mr Rakhmon said further abrupt cuts in oil imports would have been more painful for Russia, but also more expensive for Europe, which would have threatened to erode public support for Ukraine.

If implemented next week, as expected, the oil embargo would be the biggest and most important new step in the sixth package of EU sanctions since Russia invaded Ukraine. It would also include sanctions against Russia’s largest bank, Saber Bank, which has so far survived, officials said.

Germany’s position has been crucial in finalizing the new initiative. The bloc’s economic leader was importing one-third of its oil from Russia at the time of the Ukrainian invasion. But its influential energy minister, Robert Heibek, said this week that Germany had managed to reduce it by only 12% in recent weeks, making the entire ban “manageable.”

Speaking to news media during a visit to Warsaw on Tuesday, Mr Heibek said: “The problem that seemed too big for Germany just a few weeks ago has now become too small.” “Germany is very close to independence from Russian oil imports,” he added. But he did not explain how he was able to accomplish this so quickly.

Matina Stevis Gardnev Reported from Brussels and Thomas Gibbons Nef Kharkiv, from Ukraine. Eric Schmidt Assisted in reporting from Washington, and Cora Engelbercht From Krakow, Poland.



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