Russia eyes prolonged war in Ukraine

Published May 25, 2022
Russian servicemen stand guard at a destroyed factory in Ukraine's port city of Mariupol. —AFP
Russian servicemen stand guard at a destroyed factory in Ukraine's port city of Mariupol. —AFP

KYIV: Russia signalled on Tuesday it was bedding in for a long war in Ukraine as the conflict entered its fourth month with heavy fighting in the east but signs of some normality returning elsewhere.

“We will continue the special military operation until all the objectives have been achieved,” Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said, using Moscow’s name for the war.

Three months after Moscow’s invasion, Western funds and weapons have helped Ukraine hold off its neighbour’s advances in many areas, including the capital Kyiv.

Russia is now focused on securing and expanding its gains in the eastern Donbas region, near the border and home to pro-Russian separatists, as well as the southern coast.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba warned that the “Russian offensive in the Donbas is a ruthless battle, the largest one on European soil since WWII.” “The coming weeks of the war will be difficult,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said after regional leaders and residents reported heavy bombardments.

“The most difficult fighting situation” was in Donbas, he said, singling out the worst-hit towns of Bakhmut, Popasna and Severodonetsk.

Ukraine’s armed forces said Russian troops were conducting non-stop “offensive operations” in the region.

In the village of Yakovlivka, on a major stretch of the eastern front, 55-year-old Ukrainian soldier Andriy hid in a ditch as shells fired by encroaching Russians whistled past.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2022

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