Russia has reportedly captured the mining town of Soledar in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.
Soledar is located less than ten kilometers from the city of Bahmut, where months of fighting have been described as the bloodiest of the war.
Russia carried out missile attacks on Ukrainian cities yesterday and Thursday. The attacks have caused destruction, although Ukraine has said that it has repelled a large part of the missiles.
At the beginning of the week, several Western countries promised Ukraine significant military support, including battle tanks.
We asked the experts what the war situation looks like at the moment.
Soledar held by Russia
Ukraine has told that it has withdrawn from Soledar, confirms the head of the Department of Military Art at the National Defense University, colonel Pekka Turunen To . According to the Ukrainians, the salt mining town of 10,000 inhabitants has been surrendered and is under Russian control.
– The situation at the front has been static, and there have been no major movements. The Russian offensive has been most active in the direction of Zaporizhia and in the areas of Bahmut and Izjum.
According to Turunen, however, the Russian attack units are very small in these targets, so the operational attack movements have also remained moderate.
– There are a couple of Russian groups in these locations, and they are about fifteen people strong. Solutions cannot be achieved in such departments.
According to Turunen, the small groups mainly cause harassment, which is used to tie the Ukrainian forces to the fighting.
The pressure increases with the armored vehicles
According to Colonel Pekka Turunen, the pressure in Russia is increasing after the West announced the transfer of armored vehicles to Ukraine.
– The Russian side certainly thinks that something should be done before the tanks supplied by the West arrive on the battlefields.
Since October, Russia has carried out regular missile and drone attacks on Ukraine.
According to Turunen, it cannot be concluded from the airstrikes carried out by Russia on Thursday that some kind of wider ground operation is about to start. According to him, the airstrikes have followed a certain pattern since October and their number has decreased since last autumn.
Turunen believes that the Russian missile equipment is no longer available as much.
Russia may have to hurry
The tanks and other material aid promised to Ukraine by Western countries can significantly affect Russia’s war plans, says a researcher at the Tallinn-based International Center for Defense and Security ICDS think tank in an interview with . Tony Lawrence.
According to him, Russia probably feels the pressure to start its attack now in a faster schedule than before. This is due to the fact that Ukraine is getting significantly stronger once the main battle tanks are available.
Finnish experts have suggested that Ukraine must launch its own winter offensive soon. Russia’s forces are also growing in the spring, when the new mobilized forces have been trained. According to experts, the search time for your own attack would be late spring.
Lawrence states that both parties are in a hurry to get the initiative in their hands.
– The side that moves first has the opportunity to control the outcome of the war. And that side is also able to fight on its own terms, when the other side has to defend itself against an aggressor who fights the way he wants to fight, Lawrence reflects.
He heads the Defense Policy and Strategy Program at ICDS.
Lawrence doesn’t want to bet on who will get there first or who will be ready to strike sooner. In the next few weeks, he does not believe that the course of the war will change significantly.
In recent months, war has been going on in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Lawrence considers it likely that it will remain Russia’s most important direction of operations.
There has been no information that Ukraine is gathering troops elsewhere. However, Lawrence reminds us that Ukraine has been able to conceal the attacks it has carried out well, as it is able to utilize its own region and knowledge of the region.
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