100 days later, Russia’s war in Ukraine is
still a brutal offensive

100-days-later-russias-war-in-ukraine-isbrstill-a-brutal-offensive

Russia is now waging war on Ukraine 100 days after the conflict began. It has begun to attack
Sievierodonetsk the last major city of Luhansk that it cannot control.

Ukraine still holds the city. Russia wants to take it and make it disappear. According to
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, almost 90 percent of Sievierodonetsk’s buildings and its vital
infrastructure have been destroyed. Despite the fact that only a few thousand people are still
living in the city, they have no access to water, electricity, or medicine.

“Their tactic was to turn the city into the desert and then take over the territory,” stated Serhiy
Hahidai, the head of Luhansk’s regional war administration.

The current phase of Russia’s war in Ukraine is represented by Sievierodonetsk. This is a
brutal, unforgiving offensive in Luhansk (or administrative regions), where Russia seeks to seize
towns and territories, inch by inch. It often relies on indiscriminate bombing, which leaves the
region an arid desert. This campaign is far from over.

The Kremlin’s forces continue to advance and control territory, weeks after Russia moved its
war in Ukraine towards the Donbas. According to Nick Reynolds, RUSI’s research analyst for
Land Warfare, “If you look at a map, what the Russians do in the south or east, they’re continually making gains across all the board.” Zelenskyy stated Thursday that Russia now
controls one-fifth of the territory of Ukraine.

These are the revised war aims of Moscow, which originally sought a lightning-quick takeover of
Ukraine and the fall of the government at Kyiv. The resistance of Ukraine and Russia’s
incompetence prevented this outcome. Russia moved its campaign to the east and south,
where it could regroup, and capitalize on the territorial gains that the Kremlin had made since
the full-scale invasion began.

Russia has learned lessons from its earlier failures and is now focusing on capturing territory bit
by bit rather than trying multiple prongs. The Kremlin has used its immense firepower and
artillery to increase the number of Ukrainian casualties.

Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine is losing 60-100 soldiers every day in the east. Volodymyr
Omelyan (a former Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine) said that although they move slowly, it
causes us to lose a lot of soldiers and many are wounded. It’s not the same story as in March
when we were just killing Russians with no losses.

While momentum may be tilting in Russia’s favor, it is not overwhelmingly decisive. This is a
strong strategy for Russia, which is still suffering heavy losses. While Ukraine is holding
Donetsk, Russia is trying to push through. Although Ukraine has tried to counteroffensive
around Kherson in the south, experts state that Ukraine has had only limited success. If Russia
is forced to react, this could change.

As more advanced Western weapons like the US’s rocket systems make their way to the
Ukrainians on the frontlines, the war is changing. These weapons take time to deliver. There are
delays in distribution, the integration of weaponry in battalions, and training soldiers to use those
weapons. Simon Schlegel, an analyst at the International Crisis Group for Ukraine, stated that
we might see more attempts by Ukrainians to use heavier and more sophisticated weapons to
counterattack this summer. It will be interesting to see if this can lead to more victories for
Ukraine.

The situation in Ukraine remains fluid 100 days after Russia launched its full-scale invasion.
Russia is moving towards its (downgraded war goal of controlling the Donbas. This would give
Russian President Vladimir Putin an opportunity to sell the home a victory. It is not clear,
however, if this will be enough to satisfy Putin. It seems unlikely that Ukraine will agree to sever
its territory and leave the Ukrainians under Russian control. As the humanitarian and economic
tolls mount, all of this could lead to a prolonged conflict.

Russia is expanding its territory in the Donbas. Can it keep it?

Russia’s offensive to the east has seen incremental progress, which has led to more gains over
the years. Russia has decimated entire cities to achieve these goals. Russia is doing the same
thing in Donbas as it did in Mariupol.

“If you take a look at their actions in the Donbas, and why they’re taking territories, it’s because,
they’re going back the way Russia traditionally fights world wars which is through indiscriminate
flames, overwhelming fires little regard for civilians, and committing war crimes,” stated Dmitri
Aloperovitch, chairman and co-founder of Silverado Policy Accelerator.

Russia repeatedly denied war crimes allegations. Pro-Moscow separatists claimed that the
explosion took place on Ukrainian-controlled territory when confronted by individual incidents,
such as the strike on a chemical plant at Sievierodonetsk on Tuesday.

Omelyan stated that everything had been destroyed from his position in the south, where
Russia had bombed or occupied. It’s like the Sahara or a dessert. There are no survivors.
Nearly all buildings have been bombed and bridges have exploded. The roads have suffered
severe damage.

The Russian heavy artillery is also causing serious losses and casualties to Ukrainian troops.
This has caused the Ukrainians to abandon some positions in the east. It may also cause a
decline in morale for the Ukrainian forces as the excitement surrounding Ukraine’s early
victories fades.

Russia’s strategy comes with a real cost. According to a Pentagon official, Russia’s slow and
plodding pace has weakened the military and Russia’s fighting power has declined by around
20%. Russia continues to use a lot of its firepower and soldiers in order to seize one city, as it
did with Mariupol. Russia’s singular focus on making these gains has left some areas
vulnerable, with Ukraine being able to challenge control places like Kharkiv and to try
counteroffensives around Kherson.

It is one thing for Russia that Russia takes territory. It’s quite another to keep it. Schlegel stated
that for every new town they take control of, they must also construct a fence and leave soldiers
behind to stop insurgency or counterattack. Every new control they have also bound their
forces. We don’t know if they will be able to maintain this pace after Sievierdonestk.

Ukrainian civilians living in Russian-controlled territory could also resist. An explosion occurred
in Russian-held Melitopol that appeared to have targeted the Russian-installed leader. The
Kremlin attributed the incident to “Ukrainian Saboteurs.” Ivan Fedorov, the former mayor of
Melitopol said “The ground will burn” until the Russians leave.

Although insurgency has been restricted in Russian-controlled regions so far, it is difficult to
determine what is going on in these areas. Russia’s devastation campaign has caused tens of
thousands to flee. Many of the people left behind in Russian-controlled regions are too
vulnerable to be evacuated. Experts said it may take some time to rebuild these population
centers so that insurgency can be possible.

It will be extremely costly for both the Russian troops and civilians of Ukraine if an insurgency
occurs. The Kremlin is well-versed in the tactics used to force occupied people into submission
through mass killings, torture, forced disappearances, and forced disappearances. These

atrocities could also be occurring in the Donbas. However, it is being hidden because Russia
controls the information flow.

Reynolds stated that Russians will either continue to crawl forward slowly or hold on to their
position and stabilize. Then they’ll dig in defensively to purge the local population they control.
That’s the current trajectory.

For a war that isn’t ending, ask “How does it end?”

Russia’s eastward expansion has allowed it to make progress. With heavy artillery and
advanced weaponry, it also outmatches Ukraine militarily.

Yes, Russia has suffered some very embarrassing losses. Ukraine has found ways of
undermining Russia’s might and Russia has discovered ways to undermine itself. According To
Andrea Kendall-Taylor, and Michael Kofman Russia has lost about 25% of its active tanks force,
more than 30 aircraft, and over 10,000 troops. War-hacks-how to outgunned Ukraine has found
ways to counter Russia’s might.

The Ukrainian defense has been a remarkable and shrewd effort to fend off an invasion of its
territory. As the war in the east becomes more entrenched, Kyiv has been unable to provide
effective counteroffensives. This means that they have not only held Russia back, but also taken
back what they lost, or beyond. It is possible that Western and US weapons, particularly more
advanced, could help to sway this.

Since the beginning of the war, the US has provided billions of dollars in security assistance to
Ukraine. This includes anti-aircraft Javelins and long-range weapons systems such as
Howitzers. This week, President Joe Biden announced $700 million more in military aid to
Ukraine. These include four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), that allow forces
to launch multiple precision-guided rockets. These are the most advanced weapons ever
delivered. However, the US has restricted its range to prevent Ukraine from firing on Russian
territory. The UK is also asking for similar systems.

It has been a common pattern that weapons deliveries from the West have come in waves
throughout the war. This makes it difficult to discreetly transport arms and artillery amid a
Russian offensive and to train Ukrainians how to use them, who then need to return to the front.
The Pentagon stated that it would take approximately three weeks to train Ukrainian troops on
HIMARS.

It is also difficult to quickly increase Ukrainian capabilities during an active war. It is very difficult
to track what’s happening and who’s getting what, and make sure everything’s working well. It
can take some time for these weapons, even in the best cases, to have an impact on the
battlefield. Omelyan stated that he was happy to hear American music recently. He was
referring to the sound of M777 howitzers, which began to reach the frontlines in May.

The costs of war continue to mount. The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is terrible. More than 6
million have fled Ukraine and 7 million have been internally displaced, according to the United
Nations. Although the United Nations has reported more than 4,000 civilian deaths since
February 24, it is likely that there are many more. The economically blocked, in return for
Western sanctions being lifted. Officials in Ukraine have been skeptical about such a deal. It will
be difficult for Western governments, if Russia is still actively waging war against Ukraine, to
make such an agreement. As the war drags out, the economic consequences of the conflict
become more severe for the US, Europe, and the rest of the world.

This brings us to the bigger question of how to find a solution for Russia’s war against Ukraine.
If Putin does get what he wants, it is likely that Ukraine will lose what he wants.

Putin had to modify his original war goal, but Russia’s gains in the Donbas means that he can
define what this “special army operation” accomplished as a form of victory. Russians can easily
tell him that he secured Crimea through the creation of a land corridor through eastern Ukraine.
He can also say that he “liberated” Donbas. He can also say that he destroyed Ukraine’s
industry and infrastructure so that the country cannot rebuild its military. This was unlikely to be
worth the cost to Russia but Putin can still use it if he so desires.

What about Ukraine? Biden and Zelenskyy ( quoting from Zelenskky in a New York Times
opinion piece) both said that this war would be ended with a diplomatic solution. The West’s
support is an attempt to tip the balance in Ukraine’s favor. Publicly, Ukrainian officials oppose
ceding any territory or abandoning Ukrainians living in Russian-occupied territories. They are
confident that the public supports them. “Any politician that would attempt to make such a deal
with the Russians, or anyone who has no political future is I believe, it’s very, very risky,” stated
Sergiy Kyslytsya (the Ukrainian ambassador to United Nations), at a Washington Post
conference this week.

“The Ukrainians won’t agree to these terms. Reynolds stated that the Russians will not be able
to agree to cease and draw new borders just because they want peace.

This raises the possibility of a prolonged conflict, particularly as neither Russia nor Ukraine has
any incentive to stop fighting. Maryan Zablotskyy (a Ukrainian parliamentarian) said that she
was certain that the conflict would end in Ukraine’s victory. “Russia is on the wrong side. We are
on the right side and have the support of the West,” Maryan Zablotskyy, a Ukrainian member of
parliament, said to Vox. The larger question is likely: At what cost?