The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has highlighted how Russia is intensifying its efforts to secure the Donbas region. The areas of Severodonetsk, Lyschansk and Rubizhne are being surrounded by Putin’s forces. But there remains roughly 25km of Ukrainian-held territory splitting this region to North and South – and soldiers are fighting hard to maintain control.
Securing the area is crucial to Russia establishing a clear foothold in Ukraine, as without it the lines of communication and resupply will be stretched even further.
The MoD report states: “If the Donbas line moves further west, this will extend Russian lines of communication and likely see its forces face logistic resupply difficulties.”
The report adds that Ukrainian forces are holding “well dug-in defensive positions”.
It states: “Ukraine’s long-established Joint Force Operation likely retains effective command and control of this front.”
In a late-night video address on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian forces have organised a “massacre” in Donbas, trying to destroy “everything living” in the region.
He said: “Nobody destroyed Donbas as much as the Russian army does now.”
Ukraine’s surprising ability to hold on to key areas in the face of overwhelming odds has become a staple of their war effort.
The Kremlin grossly underestimated the preparedness of the country, after FSB agents reportedly gave Putin an overly optimistic vision of what the invasion might look like in order to please the tyrant.
This was particularly true in Kyiv, which Russia planned to take in a lightning strike before abandoning the attempt after weeks of military failures.
The same can be said of the Donbas region, even though Luhansk and Donetsk fell early under Russian control due to a strong separatist movement in those areas.
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Sharing the latest report, the MoD reiterated the UK’s support for Ukraine in its war effort, stating they will unleash “additional sanctions on Russia and Belarus”.
A Treasury report from last week states the UK is ready to guarantee a further £40million in financial support to Ukraine.
This comes on top of the £755million in loan guarantees the UK has already committed to lending to the country.
The UK’s combined economic, humanitarian and military package of support now totals over £2.3billion.