Russia’s refocused invasion of Ukraine’s Donbas region is heating up. The fighting is intensifying in Ukraine’s Eastern counties, and Western nations are sending more weapons to aid Ukraine. Yaroslav Trofimov reports for The Wall Street Journal:
Russian forces Wednesday made incremental gains in their offensive in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, as Western nations rushed more weapons to the outgunned Ukrainian military.
In the Donbas port city of Mariupol, besieged by Russian forces since late February, the remaining Ukrainian defenders warned that time was running out and asked to be evacuated to a third country, alongside the wounded and the civilians sheltering in the shrinking area under Ukrainian control. Russia has insisted on an unconditional surrender and kept pounding the Ukrainian forces—who are mostly holed up in the sprawling Azovstal steel plant—with artillery and airstrikes.
With the fighting intensifying, the Biden administration is considering sending another $800 million in military aid to Ukraine to boost the country’s defenses against Russia. President Biden is scheduled to provide an update on the conflict Thursday morning.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, oversaw the test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile that he said would force those who are threatening his country “to think twice,” in his latest nuclear saber-rattling since the start of the war.
Ukraine’s General Staff said in its Wednesday briefings that Russian forces had tried to attack the Ukrainian-controlled part of Donbas from the north and northwest, with artillery barrages followed by probes of weak points in Ukrainian defenses all along the front line.
After seizing the town of Kreminna over the weekend and advancing toward the villages of Torske and Zelena Dolyna, Russian forces are regrouping ahead of a renewed push toward the town of Lyman, northeast of Slovyansk, one of the main cities in Ukrainian-held Donbas, the Ukrainian military added. Russian forces also entered the village of Dibrovne north of Slovyansk, the military said.
Ukraine is reinforcing its units in the area while also trying to counterattack southeast of the city of Kharkiv, in an effort to disrupt Russian supply lines and cut off the forces that massed for the main thrust of the offensive in the town of Izyum. Ukrainian forces have also destroyed a dam on the Oskol river, leading to flooding in the area and making roads and fields impassable to Russian armor—a tactic that Ukrainian defenders successfully deployed northwest of the capital, Kyiv, in March.
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