Financial Times: Can Ukraine oust the Russian army?

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Just 15 days ago, Russian forces were bombing Kharkov from positions on the outskirts of Ukraine’s second largest city. The same troops have now been forced to retreat 30 kilometers to the Russian border, following a Ukrainian counterattack that has emboldened Kyiv and boosted its ambitions.

“Victory is an evolving concept,” Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba told the Financial Times. If more military support is given to Kyiv, he added, Ukraine can liberate all its territories.

But President Biden also said that his Russian counterpart had no way out of the war.

Other Western officials and analysts are more cautious. “My analysis is that Ukraine is not losing and Russia is not winning,” said Samuel Crany-Evans of the Royal United Services Institute.

What is certain is that in the 80 days of war the military balance has been upset. On May 8, for example, Russian forces captured the small town of Popasna, on the western edge of Lugansk. The Russian media spoke of “liberation”, the Ukrainians of “regular retreat”. Subsequently, the Russians’ attempt to cross the river failed, and photos posted on social media show that 30 armored vehicles were destroyed or abandoned.

According to the Wagner Group of Russian mercenaries, 800,000 men are needed for a decisive victory over Ukraine. Russia, however, has deployed only 100,000 troops in the country.

“The Russians are bombarding with their artillery, but they do not have the necessary infantry to advance,” Crani-Evans notes. “The Ukrainians, again, have the troops and the tactical capabilities, but they lack the firepower. The result is a stalemate.”

To launch a regular counterattack, Ukraine needs more artillery, as well as trucks, armored vehicles, drones, fighter jets and fuel.

Russian forces have suffered heavy casualties. Britain estimates that 15,000 soldiers have been killed in battle and another 30,000 wounded. In addition, the sanctions force Moscow to use dishwasher chips in some of its weapons.

“There is a long way to go to liberate our country and restore our sovereignty,” said Hannah Milliar, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister. “Russia still has a lot of resources to use.”

By Ben Hall, Roman Olearchyk (Financial Times correspondent in Kyiv) and John Paul Rathbone (London correspondent)

Source: AMPE, Financial Times

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Source: Capital

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