The `pan of fire` in Donbass is hot, Ukraine forces troops to force Russia to pay a high price

The `pan of fire` in Donbass is hot, Ukraine forces troops to force Russia to pay a high price 0

(Dan Tri) – Ukrainian forces on the front lines are straining to counterattack Russia when Western aid has not been delivered to the front.

Ukrainian soldiers from the 21st Independent Mechanized Brigade walk along a road in Swedish-made CV90 infantry fighting vehicles near the front line in the Donetsk region (Photo: Reuters).

For Ukrainian artillery commander Oleksandr Kozachenko, American ammunition, long awaited by Kiev forces, could not arrive fast enough as he and his comrades struggled to hold off relentless attacks by

M777 howitzers provided by the US to Kozachenko’s unit used to fire 100 shells a day at Russian forces.

`It would be a luxury if we could fire 30 artillery shells,` Kozachenko said.

The US announced that it is sending ammunition and weapons to Ukraine after Congress approved a $61 billion aid package last month.

However, as of early May, two Ukrainian artillery units that Reuters reporters approached on the eastern front line said they were still waiting for reinforcements and had to operate at a lower speed than necessary.

Gunners from commander Kozachenko’s 148th Independent Artillery Brigade and the 43rd Artillery Brigade, both in the Donetsk region, said they urgently needed more 155mm ammunition for Western guns.

Russian forces, significantly outnumbered and stronger than Ukraine’s defenders, have launched multiple attacks across the eastern Donbass region in recent months and along Ukraine’s northeastern border in recent months.

This development marked a turning point in the conflict.

According to Pasi Paroinen, an analyst with Black Bird Group, a volunteer group based in Finland that analyzes satellite images and social media content, Russia has gained more territory by 2024 than before.

Paroinen said that Moscow forces have declared control of 654 square kilometers since the beginning of this year, far exceeding the 414 square kilometers lost to Ukraine between June 1 and October 1 last year.

Russia’s attack efforts

The `pan of fire` in Donbass is hot, Ukraine forces troops to force Russia to pay a high price

Location of the Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine (Photo: FT).

Colonel Pavlo Palisa, commander of the 93rd Mechanized Brigade fighting near the strategic city of Chasiv Yar, said he believes Russia is preparing a major effort to break through Ukrainian lines in the east.

`This will certainly be a difficult period for the (Ukraine) armed forces,` Colonel Palisa said, adding that he believes Russia wants to control the entire Donbass industrial zone by the end of this year.

Russian forces are gradually launching attacks that could threaten several major cities in the east including Kostiantynivka, Druzhkivka, Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, key military hubs for Kiev’s war effort.

Kostiantynivka is now easily within range of Russian artillery.

According to regional governor Vadym Filashkin, much of the Donetsk region, which together with Lugansk makes up the greater Donbass region, is under daily bombardment.

Oleksandr Stasenko, a rescue volunteer, said his group was receiving more evacuation requests, especially from Kostiantynivka and Kurakhove, a town further south, among other settlements.

Russian forces have also advanced towards Kurakhove, advancing 2-3km along the road from the town east this year.

`Wherever the front lines are approaching, people in those places try to leave as soon as possible,` Stasenko said, adding that his group, East SOS, evacuates about 20 people a week,

Ukraine needs to protect about 1,000km of front lines in the east, north and south.

The heaviest fighting this year has focused on Chasiv Yar, a key peak 12km from Kostiantynivka.

The main highway leading west of Kostiantynivka is under threat.

According to Emil Kastehelmi, another Black Bird Group analyst, Russia’s recent offensive into the northeastern Kharkiv region also threatens to divert Ukrainian forces from the eastern front, making it less likely to hold the defense.

`For now, it seems that the goal of the (Kharkov) operation is to cause chaos and force the remaining Ukrainian reserve forces to enter less important areas,` Kastehelmi said.

Jack Watling, a senior researcher at the London-based research organization RUSI, said Russian forces would likely launch further attacks on the northern and southern points of the front line to

A new law aimed at strengthening Ukraine’s mobilization efforts will take effect on May 18.

According to soldiers participating in the fighting, although Ukrainian forces can hold out until all American ammunition and weapons are brought to the front, the challenge ahead is still very difficult.

`I can say that it is unlikely that time is on our side, because a prolonged war requires more resources,` Palisa, a colonel with the 93rd Mechanized Brigade, said a few hours after Russia

He added that it was important to force Russia to `pay a heavy price` as quickly as possible.

`The enemy’s resources, whether in terms of human resources or equipment, cannot be compared to ours. Those resources are extremely large. That’s why a prolonged war, I think, is not beneficial for

In an interview with French news agency AFP on May 18, when asked whether Ukraine had the ability to carry out a new counterattack, President Volodymyr Zelensky said: `There is that possibility. First of all we

`Russia needs to be stopped and we will stop them. Then we need the right manpower for the brigades so they can carry out the next counterattack,` the Ukrainian leader declared.

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