The high cost of Russia’s interests in Ukraine could limit new progress

After more than four months of fierce fighting, Russia claimed an important victory. It is to completely control one of the two states in the eastern industrial center of Ukraine.

However, Moscow’s rout of the last remaining Ukrainian resistance breakwater in Luhansk was expensive.The key question now is whether Russia can gather enough power. New attack To complete the seizure of Donbus and make a profit elsewhere in Ukraine.

“Yes, the Russians occupied the Luhansk region, but at what price?” Ukrainian military analyst Ole Zudanov said that some Russian troops involved in the battle lost up to half of their soldiers. Pointed out.

Even President Vladimir Putin admitted on Monday that Russian troops involved in the action in Luhansk need to “take a rest and strengthen their fighting capabilities.”

It raises the question of whether Moscow’s army and its separatist allies are ready to plunge quickly and deeply into the other states that make up Donetsk, Donetsk. Observers have estimated that Russia has dominated about half of Donetsk in recent weeks, and the front has changed little since then.

What Happens in Don Bus You can decide the course of the war.. If Russia succeeds there, it can free its troops to get more land and determine the terms of the peace agreement. On the other hand, if Ukraine succeeds in detaining Russians for a long time, it may accumulate resources for a counterattack.

Exhausting the Russians was part of the Ukrainian plan to start the conflict, but wanted Western weapons to eventually be able to scale in their favor.

They are already effectively using heavy howitzers and advanced rocket systems from the United States and other western allies. More advanced..But the Ukrainian army they said Stay terribly good..

Ukrainian Defense Minister Hanna Malyar recently said Russian troops are firing 10 times more ammunition than Ukrainian troops.

rear Failure of attempts to advance lightning in the capital of Kyiv In the first few weeks of the war, Russian troops withdrew from many areas of northern and central Ukraine, a region of mines and factories where Moscow-backed separatists have fought against Ukrainian troops since 2014. I turned my attention to Donbus.

Since then, Russia has taken a slow and steady approach, allowing it to occupy some of the remaining Ukrainian fortresses in Luhansk in the last few weeks.

Analyst Zhdanov predicted that Russians would likely rely on firepower dominance to “apply the same scorched earth operation and blow up the entire city” in Donetsk.Same day as Russia Claimed to have occupied the last major city of LuhanskA new bombardment was reported in the city of Donetsk.

However, the Russian approach is not without its drawbacks. Moscow has not counted casualties since it stated that about 1,300 troops were killed in the first month of the fighting, but Western officials said it was only part of the actual loss. I am. Since then, Western observers have pointed out that the number of Russian troops involved in the fighting in Ukraine has declined. This reflects both a sharp decline and a failure to fill the Kremlin’s rank.

Limited personnel forced Russian commanders to avoid ambitious attempts to surround large areas of Donbas, choose smaller operations and rely on cannon barrage to slowly retreat Ukrainians. rice field.

The military also relies heavily on separatists who have mobilized several times, and Western officials and analysts said Moscow is increasingly engaged with private military contractors. It is not clear how successful it was, but it also sought to encourage Russian men who toured the mission to sign up again.

Putin has so far refrained from declaring widespread mobilization that could foster social dissatisfaction, but recently proposed legislation states that Moscow is looking for other ways to replenish its class. Suggested. The bill would have allowed young conscripts, who had been drafted into the army for a year and banned from combat, to immediately switch their positions and sign contracts to become full-fledged professional soldiers. The draft was shelved in the midst of strong criticism.

Some Western officials and analysts argued that the friction was so great that Moscow could be forced to stop the attack at some point in the second half of the summer, but the Pentagon said. Despite Russia’s rapid agitation of troops and supplies, it still has abundant resources.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Abril Haines seems to be embracing Putin’s slow pace of progress in Donbus, hoping to win by crushing the most combat-enhanced troops in Ukraine today. He said he was.

“Russia believes that if one of the most capable and well-equipped units in eastern Ukraine can be crushed, it will basically reduce Ukraine’s resistance, which could have a major impact on them. I believe in the opportunity, “Haines said.

If Russia wins in Donbus, it could eventually try to separate Ukraine from the Black Sea coast to the Romanian border, based on the seizure of parts of Zaporizhia adjacent to the southern Kherson region. If successful, it will have a devastating impact on the Ukrainian economy and will create a corridor to Transnistoria, the separatist region of Moldova, which hosts Russia’s military bases.

But that is not guaranteed. Kyiv-based think tank Mikola Sunflovsky of the Rasmkov Center predicts that increased supply of western heavy weapons, including the HIMARS multiple rocket launcher, will help Ukraine change the course of the war. did.

“The supply of weapons allows Ukraine to launch a counterattack in the south and fight for Kherson and other cities,” Sunhurovsky said.

But Ukraine also faces massive human losses. Officials say there are up to 200 soldiers a day in the fierce battles of the east over the last few weeks.

“Overall, the balance of the local forces in Donbus favors Russia, but the long-term trend still favors Ukraine,” said Virginia-based CNA think tank Russian military expert and program director. Written by Michael Kofman. “But that estimate is conditional on sustained Western military aid and does not necessarily predict the outcome. This is likely to be a protracted war.”


Associated Press journalist Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Ukraine, and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.


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