Home World Ukraine goes on the counteroffensive as Russians fall back

Ukraine goes on the counteroffensive as Russians fall back

Ukraine goes on the counteroffensive as Russians fall back

Ukraine moved on the counteroffensive throughout week 11 of Russia’s battle, taking back cities to the north and east of the second-largest city Kharkiv.

According to some information experiences, Russian forces retreated to regroup round defensive positions lower than 10km (6 miles) from the Russian border, with Ukrainian items in scorching pursuit.

“This Ukrainian operation is developing into a successful, broader counteroffensive – as opposed to the more localized counterattacks that Ukrainian forces have conducted throughout the war to secure key terrain and disrupt Russian offensive operations,” stated the Institute for the Study of War.

“Ukrainian forces are notably retaking territory along a broad arc around Kharkiv rather than focusing on a narrow thrust, indicating an ability to launch larger-scale offensive operations than we have observed so far in the war.”

Reflecting elevated confidence, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the first time outlined strict conditions on May 6 to enter peace talks with Russia, together with a withdrawal of Russian forces to pre-February 24 borders, the return of almost six million refugees, membership in the European Union, and accountability for these Russians who dedicated battle crimes.

These remarks had been a far cry from these Zelenskyy made on April 10. “No one wants to negotiate with a person or people who tortured this nation,” Zelenskyy stated. But “we don’t want to lose opportunities, if we have them, for a diplomatic solution”.

Elsewhere, the battle appeared to have reached an deadlock; nowhere did Russia rating a major advance.

In Zaporizhzhia, in the nation’s south, locals reported a Russian unit shot up 20 of its automobiles to keep away from fight responsibility.

‘Escalatory trajectory’

The surprising issue of seizing Ukraine has raised questions on how lengthy Russia will commit lives and cash. Even Russian President Vladimir Putin’s solely army ally, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, has stated, “I feel like this operation has dragged on.”

SEE ALSO  FG lists four borders in Ukraine Nigerians can cross to safety

United States Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines instructed a Congressional committee that Putin “is preparing for a prolonged conflict … moving along a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory”.

CIA Director William Burns stated Putin “doesn’t believe he can afford to lose” in Ukraine. “I think he’s convinced right now that doubling down still will enable him to make progress.”

But there are limits to Putin’s stamina, stated Emmanuel Karagiannis, a lecturer in worldwide safety at King’s College London.

“Since 1991, almost all inter-state wars have lasted weeks or months. Given the intensity of Western sanctions and the number of Russian casualties, Moscow cannot afford to continue the war for years,” Karagiannis instructed Al Jazeera.

The European Commission unveiled a sixth spherical of sanctions on May 4, together with “a complete import ban on all Russian oil, seaborne and pipeline, crude and refined” by the finish of the 12 months, in President Ursula Von der Leyen’s words to European Parliament.

The US House of Representatives is making ready to approve a new $40bn package of army and humanitarian help to Ukraine.

“Western military support for Ukraine has been a game-changing factor, which Moscow apparently did not anticipate in its strategy. The Russian army was ill-prepared for such a long campaign and now suffers massive losses,” Karagiannis stated.

‘We will continue to fight’

The solely excellent news for Russia throughout the week was that its forces lastly started to storm the tunnels underneath the Azovstal metallurgical plant in Mariupol, the place a minimum of 1,000 Ukrainian fighters refuse to give up. Russia has bombed the plant from the air and floor artillery, however had not risked the probably excessive casualties of close-quarters fight.

SEE ALSO  Are COVID-19 measures being lifted too soon?

On May 5, Captain Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov regiment, instructed the Hromadske information service, “The Azovstal plant has been actively stormed for three days now … fighting is underway.” He despatched a message by way of Telegram saying, “Give the opportunity to pick up the bodies of soldiers so that Ukrainians can say goodbye to their heroes.”

The head of the Mariupol patrol police, Mykhailo Vershinin, stated the defenders’ perimeter was shrinking and the wounded had been piling up.

On May 8, Palamar implied defeat could come quickly. “We will continue to fight as long as we are alive to repel the Russian occupiers,” he instructed an online conference. “We don’t have much time; we are coming under intense shelling.”

The battle for Mariupol has change into emblematic of Ukraine’s spirit. Removing the final pocket of resistance could be a symbolic victory for Putin, as properly as enabling him to assert the whole littoral of the Sea of Azov.

‘We will leave when we want to’

If Mariupol falls, Odesa can be Ukraine’s final main port on the Black Sea. Russian missiles have disabled its airport runway and severed street connections north to the capital Kyiv and east to Transnistria. But throughout the eleventh week of the battle, the predominantly Russian-speaking metropolis got here underneath missile hearth.

SEE ALSO  US to send destroyer, fighter jets to UAE amid Houthi attacks

On May 8, Spyros Boubouras was having lunch at a restaurant together with his brother and fogeys when a missile destroyed a home 150 metres (490 ft) away. The household dove right into a basement for shelter. “There was no military target there,” stated Boubouras. “They were holiday homes.”

Then on Monday night time, Boubouras heard the twin explosions of missiles destroying a purchasing centre throughout city. “It’s 10km [6 miles] from our house, but we heard it quite loudly. A friend of mine lives 500 metres [1,640 feet] from the shopping centre. All of his windows were blown out. It was a huge shopping centre and it was completely demolished,” he instructed Al Jazeera.

Ukrainian forces are combating fierce battles in Mykolaiv, 180km (111 miles) east of Odesa, sparing the port metropolis every day contact with the battle till now, however “when people hear sirens now, they immediately try to find a basement”, stated Boubouras, a Greek whose household has run a building enterprise there for the previous 25 years.

Asked why the household has not repatriated to Greece, Boubouras stated: “That is what Russia wants – to empty the cities. We will leave when we want to, not when Russia wants us to.”

Despite the assault, Odesa stays an oasis of tolerance, stated Boubouras.

“I’ve never come across Ukrainians having antipathy towards the Russians … even during these eight years that there’s war in the Donbas and the Crimea is occupied. At work there was never discrimination,” he stated.

Asked what Odesa’s Russian audio system consider Putin’s invasion, he added, “They are 100 percent against this war.”