There is desperation in the words with which Petro Kuzik describes the situation of the Severodonetsk defenders of Ukrainska Pravda. Kuzik is a captain in the National Guard. And Severodonetsk is the last major city in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk to withstand the Russian offensive.
Kuzik’s unit was in front of Kyiv when the Russian troops were pushed back. A few days ago, however, it suffered a setback and had to give up its positions in Rubizhne near Severodonetsk. The Russian army “didn’t take the city, it destroyed it,” Kuzik told the newspaper.
Rubizhne was razed to the ground, “only a pile of rubble is left there”. The heavy artillery and rockets of the Russian troops are clearly superior. Their task is the destruction of Ukrainian cities without any consideration.
The fiercest fighting in the war that Russia has been waging in Ukraine since February 24 is currently taking place around Severodonetsk. The city is of particular interest to the Russian army. After the separatists established themselves in the regional capital of Luhansk eight years ago with massive military support from Russia, Severodonetsk became the de facto new center of the Ukrainian administration.
The city has been under artillery fire since February. The days always follow the same rhythm, says Kuzik: the shelling is followed by an attempt to storm the place with infantry. So far, these waves have repeatedly failed due to the resistance of the defenders. So the heavy artillery is used again. At the same time, the attackers are trying to block the arterial roads to the west, so that the defenders are locked in a pocket similar to that in Mariupol.
The situation is critical, estimates Kuzik. It is not an option to “rely on the heroism of the fighters alone, we need technology”. What he means by that is clear: heavy weapons that are on par with Russian equipment. However, because of the current balance of power, the invaders are making steady, albeit slow, gains in eastern Ukraine.
According to the governor of the Luhansk province, Serhiy Gaidai, the situation in Severodonetsk is becoming increasingly difficult. Russian units have entered the city, he writes in the short message service Telegram. The Ukrainian soldiers have enough strength and resources to defend themselves. “Nevertheless, it is possible that we have to withdraw in order not to have to surrender.”
Kharkiv, the “second capital of Ukraine”, is also being shelled again. Ukrainian troops had recently gained ground there.
While the US announced the delivery of additional M270 missile launchers, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appears to have growing doubts that Western European leaders, despite their public declarations of solidarity, really want to help his country defeat the aggressors.
In his recent video message, Zelenskyy said: “A catastrophe could be averted if the world treated the situation in Ukraine as if it were their own situation, if the world’s powerful did not flirt with Russia but put real pressure on it.” the end of the war.” Zelenskyy recalled that the European Union had not been able to agree on new sanctions for weeks.
The New York Times sees differences between the United States and Western Europeans when it comes to the question: “How will this end?” In the United States, the view currently prevails across party lines that Ukraine must win.
But it is precisely this clear demand that obscures the fact that there are differences of opinion between Washington and Brussels as to what a “victory” is. A fundamental debate is being held as to whether the project of integrating Russia, which has been pursued for more than three decades, has failed.
While the US would regard Russia as an enemy country that absolutely had to be cut off from access to the world economy, the Europeans in particular warned of the danger of Putin being isolated and “humiliated”. Within Europe, unity on Russia policy is crumbling, the paper continues, pointing to Hungary’s blockade of an oil embargo.
Leaders in East-Central Europe would reject the very idea of holding talks with Putin, while France, Italy and Germany were particularly worried about the damage a protracted war would do to their own economies and see Russia as a neighbor that cannot be isolated forever .
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian secret service believes there is an explanation for the intensification of the Russian attacks. There are still some dates after May 9 this year when the Russian military wants to announce a victory: Russian election day on September 11 or Putin’s 70th birthday on October 7.