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Eastern Express 11.07

Following the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from Sievierodonetsk at the end of June and from Lysychansk last week, Russia is reportedly making a strategic pause in operations before launching another attack. Although the Kremlin claims that they have not yet started in Ukraine, the situation on the ground may prove otherwise – that Moscow’s superficial optimism could be masking the grim reality.

Over the weekend, Russia’s artillery strikes against the civilian population have once again intensified, with rockets striking the city of Kharkiv. One of the attacks killed at least 30 people who perished under the rubble of a block of flats. Russia is apparently incapable of stopping itself from committing constant atrocities.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov announced that Ukraine had “passed the test” with its successful application of recently delivered American long-range artillery systems. However, the high attrition rate has increased the need for additional supplies, such as armoured vehicles and drones. Attrition is not a problem only the Ukrainians are struggling with. According to Mr Reznikov, Russia appears to be pausing its onslaught in the Donbas for this reason too, in order to reorganise and restock.

Ukraine’s Defence Minister also stressed that Ukraine must be ready to liberate the country’s south. President Zelensky has ordered Ukraine’s troops to reclaim captured coastal areas crucial to the nation’s economy. To achieve this, Ukraine is reportedly amassing a one-million-strong army equipped with western weaponry. Since Russia is concentrating its military efforts in the east, now would be a favourable moment to attempt to retake portions of the south and attempt to lift the Black Sea blockade which has suffocated Ukrainian trade in grain and other food products.

Oleksii Reznikov said that an offensive to recapture some of the territory taken by Russia was “politically very necessary”. And with the West seemingly incapable of unlocking Ukraine’s maritime trade routes, it appears that authorities in Kyiv have decided to take matters into their own hands.

Eastern Express’ guest

TVP World invited Grigoriy German, a Ukrainian journalist and TV host, to shed more light on the issue.

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