Ukraine celebrates its Independence Day amid a war of attrition

Russian forces, which invaded Ukraine from three directions exactly a year and a half ago, expected to arrive and take their capital within days. When the Ukrainian resistance thwarted Vladimir Putin’s plans, Ukrainians found limited food rations and parade uniforms in some of the abandoned and captured Russian vehicles.

Dozens of Russian tanks and other military equipment are now lined up on Kiev’s main street, Jreshchatyk, as the country celebrates its anniversary 32nd Independence Day. They have all been burned or scrapped, but represent a different kind of parade than the Russians expected. Wandering Ukrainians find it encouraging to demonstrate the might of their army against a much larger enemy. However, since the outcome of the fight is far from clear at this point, pride and determination mix with pain and uncertainty.

Despite the fact that US President Joe Biden claimed that Putin had already “lost” around in Ukraine. 18% of the territory of the invaded country, including Crimea, is still occupied. Its soldiers continue to die in fighting that stretches along hundreds of kilometers of front lines, while civilians are killed in Russian missile and drone strikes on residential areas in most parts of the country.

High hopes are pinned on the ongoing counteroffensive, apparently aimed at breaching the dense Russian defenses to the south destroy the land corridor between Crimea and Russia. After Ukraine’s attempts to overwhelm its defenses with Western tank attacks were halted in early June, Ukraine’s military leadership has acted much more cautiously. “People who believe this offensive has stalled or failed can point to the small size of the territory that has changed hands as evidence. Unfortunately, some Western media have portrayed it that way,” military analyst Mykola Bielieskov told EuroMaidan Press in an interview.

Actually, the current approach of Ukraine “a slow attrition to undermine the artillery, Russian electronic warfare and air defense,” the analyst notes. In fact, Russian losses of artillery and other key defense systems have tripled in the past two months. The key question, stresses Bielieskov, is whether Ukraine can keep up this pace of destruction to give its mechanized troops a chance before time runs out. Ukraine’s progress has been slower than many expected, for clear reasons. While some partners were reluctant to supply Ukraine with tanks and other weapons, Russia prepared for the Ukrainian counteroffensive by mining extensive areas on the Eastern Front and concentrating artillery there. Unlike Cherson last year, his troops are logistically better supplied. Although Ukraine wants to cut off important supply routes from Crimeait’s not that easy and the impact may not be as big as it was last year.

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There are some encouraging signs, however, as Ukrainian troops are now fighting at two points on the southern front to breach Russia’s second and final line of defences. Videos of Robotyne residents being evacuated by Ukrainian soldiers as they entered the village once again reminded Ukrainians what their army is fighting for.

high morale

Despite the exhaustion and the threat of Russian attacks, the country’s economy is functioning Morale remains high. Clear motivation plays a key role here. According to recent polls, about 90% of Ukrainians believe that territorial concessions are not possible to end the war. Retaking the occupied territories is considered key to stopping Russia’s assault on Ukrainian identity and ensuring that the invading country is not rewarded in any way for its unprovoked aggression. Given the continued determination to keep fighting, Ukraine will be able to inflict defeat on Russia in the future, even if the ongoing counter-offensive fails to achieve its optimal goals. For this to succeed, it is crucial that Ukraine’s partners increase their military production quickly enough, with the lack of artillery ammunition presenting a major obstacle at the moment. That’s what the experts believe, while it’s still under constant Russian fire.

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