In April 2022, Russia shifted its military effort to Ukraine’s Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk regions after its miscalculated attack on the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions to overthrow the “Nazis” in the Ukrainian political elites. By mid-May 2022, the Russian army has lost offencive pace, is exhausted and is 30-days behind in its initial advance plan. Different sources estimate that the Russian army has lost 70,000 soldiers dead, demobilized and wounded, which is one third of Russian forces on the Ukrainian borders in February 2022.
After an intimidating defeat in Bilohorivka and exhausting defense of captured Zmiinyi island, Russia is facing military defeat in the second phase of the war. Russian forces are trying to make the last offensive in Severodonetsk-Izyum district, but their pace is slow due to insufficient technical support. The Russian command may be abandoning efforts to encircle Ukrainian troops along the Izyum-Slovyansk-Debaltseve line in favor of smaller encirclements of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. In the South, the plan to establish a land corridor connecting Russia to Crimea resulted in the occupation of Kherson and Zaporizhia regions, but the perspective of the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the nearest weeks is real.
Russia enters the third phase of war knowing it is economically, diplomatically and geopolitically alone. Western sanctions will remain in place indefinitely. Russia’s economy will decouple from the West and cannot rely on loyalty from its partners in China in the nearest future. NATO is already at its doorstep, as Finland and Sweden decide in favor of membership. The Collective Security Organization Treaty states turned their heads away from Moscow at their latest meeting. Biden has signed a Lend-Lease Act to ease military exports to Ukraine, to add to all support from its European neighbors.
Prospects for a negotiated agreement are pessimistic; even if a peace deal materializes, a stable, long-term settlement is unlikely. The positions at stake are existential and political for the sides, so no compromises will be considered. Even though the two sides are negotiating to exchange prisoners, there is no ground for any substantive peace talks. Ukraine’s government, army and society are prepared to make great sacrifices to defend their national sovereignty.
- Ihor Semyvolos, head of the Center for Middle East Studies
- Volodymyr Solovyan, analyst at New geopolitics Research Network
- Mykhailo Samus, Deputy Director for International Affairs of the Center for Army Conversion and Disarmament Studies
- Anton Mikhnenko, military expert.
UKRAINE IN FLAMES project is created by Ukraine Crisis Media Center, Ukrainian Catholic University’s analitical center and NGO “Euroatlantic Course”. We are aiming at searching a loud support for Ukraine in the war started by Russia on the 24th of February 2022.
If you want to support Ukraine against Russian aggression, check the link with recommendations by Ukraine Crisis Media Center – https://uacrisis.org/en/help-ukraine.
NGO Euroatlantic Course collects donations to support Ukrainian Army and civilians – https://eac.org.ua/en/main-page/.