Russia’s new Donbas offensive is failing, NYT reports

28 February, 04:19 AM
Defenders of Ukraine in the area of Bakhmut (Photo:REUTERS/Marko Djurica)

Defenders of Ukraine in the area of Bakhmut (Photo:REUTERS/Marko Djurica)

Russia is conducting its vaunted new offensive in Donbas with tens of thousands of untrained conscripts and has managed to barely budge the frontline in a month, The New York Times reported on Feb. 27.

NYT reports that Russia is running out of artillery shells and cruise missiles, and restocking is becoming harder due to Western sanctions. Many of the most elite and experienced units of the invading forces were decimated, and their recovery could take "not months, but years," experts say.

U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) had previously noted that Russia "probably lacks the reserves to drastically increase the scale or intensity" of an offensive in the winter. According to the analysts, Russia’s offensive operation "is very likely to end without reaching its goals" due to the lack of tanks and other equipment.

Video of day

According to the NYT, Russia decided to carry out several attacks along the entire front in Donbas, instead of concentrating on one. But the very first attack – the assault on Vuhledar in mid-February – ended in failure for the Russians and the loss of dozens of tanks and armored personnel carriers.

Ukrainian soldier with the call sign ‘Diesel’ said that every day, sometimes several times a day, the Russians are trying to capture Ukrainian positions by attacking in small groups. He also said that he recently opened fire on two invaders who were wandering around the field and “looked like they were picking mushrooms,” apparently unaware that they were within range of Ukrainian positions. Both managed to escape.

“They use small groups to spout out weaknesses,” the soldier said. “Their advantage is in quantity, while ours is in high morale.”

On Feb. 27, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar reported that the situation at the front is difficult, as the invaders increase the intensity of the assaults. The enemy uses tactics of attrition and total destruction during the offensive, losing between 600 and 1000 men every day. Later that day, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that the Russians concentrated their main efforts on the offensive on Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Shakhtar axes.

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