Home World News The battle for Donbass, the next chapter of the war in Ukraine

The battle for Donbass, the next chapter of the war in Ukraine

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After their withdrawal from several key towns around kyiv, the redeployment of Russian forces towards the South and East is confirmed. “Russian units that withdrew from northeastern Ukraine to redeploy to the east are heavily weakened,” estimates the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in Washington. Should this be seen as a tactical repositioning or the beginning of a retreat, after more than five weeks of war? “We must not be too optimistic”, tempers NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who called for caution on Sunday, April 3, in fear of“a potential increase in attacks, particularly in the South and East”.

To the south, Moscow would like to consolidate its positions around Mariupol and bring down this strategic city to ensure territorial continuity from Crimea to Donetsk and Luhansk, the two pro-Russian separatist republics of Donbass. Despite Ukrainian resistance, Russian forces “will probably take the city in the next few days”, predicts the ISW.

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“Units already weakened”

Also in the south, the historic and hitherto spared city of Odessa suffered a series of strikes on Sunday, which destroyed a refinery and three fuel depots. However, experts do not see this as a sign of an imminent offensive, given the damage suffered by the Russians on the front near Mykolaiv.

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The Russian army looks mainly to the East. “The next decisive battle will be in Donbass where Russian units are regrouping and trying to drive out Ukrainian forces, says Michael Kofman, an expert at the American think tank CNA. This is the front to watch in the coming days. »

After three weeks of offensive, the army of Moscow ended up capturing the town of Izium, a crossroads allowing the troops present in the oblast of Kharkiv to join those of Donbass. Corn “Russian forces are unlikely to break through Ukrainian defenses if they continue to regularly commit already weakened units to fighting in eastern Ukraine,” believes the ISW.

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