Kyiv, Ukraine – With the eastern city of Severodonetsk on the verge of falling into the face of Russia, military analysts say outnumbered Ukrainian forces are trying to prolong the fight to inflict more casualties on Moscow.
Russia uses its advantage in long-range artillery to bombard eastern cities from a distance, flattening them and killing or expelling civilians, raising the question whether defending them is worth the cost in the lives of Ukrainian soldiers. President Volodymyr Zelensky called Severodonetsk a “dead” city.
Analysts say the Ukrainians are hoping in Sievierodonetsk that, by drawing Russian troops into street-by-street battles, they can defuse Moscow’s heavy weapons advantage, at least for a while, because fighting in one quarter increases Russia’s dangers. Artillery strikes will bombard their soldiers.
“If the Ukrainians succeed in trying to drag them into the house-to-house fight, there is a greater chance of causing casualties among the Russians that they cannot afford,” said Gustav Grisel, a Ukraine expert from the European Council on Foreign Relations.
However, the Ukrainians are venturing into dragging the Russians into street fighting, risking entrapment in the city—especially since the last bridge that would have allowed a quick escape has been destroyed. Mr. Zelensky Confess too The cost of direct combat “in terms of the number of dead and the number of casualties.”
But with the slow arrival of Western weapons, the Ukrainians seem to be calculating that it is worth the risk for now.
Although street fighting kills large numbers of Ukrainian soldiers—officials have estimated that Ukraine loses up to 200 soldiers a day in battle—it inflicts Russian casualties in greater numbers from asymmetric artillery and tank battles in open fields.
Prior to the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian military studied enemy combat approaches with armored vehicle and superior artillery capabilities, including by drawing lessons from urban combat in cities like Aleppo in the Syrian war.
In December, military instructors told volunteers preparing to defend Kyiv, the capital, to fight in urban locations at the closest possible engagement ranges, to prevent the Russians from calling in artillery without risking strikes that would also injure their soldiers.
There was no need for these tactics inside Kyiv, because the Russian forces were repelled before entering the city. But Ukraine used it in urban combat in Mariupol, where Ukrainian fighters facing much larger Russian forces were able to engage enemy forces for weeks.
Mikhailo Samos, deputy head of the Center for Military Studies, Conversion and Disarmament, argued that the Ukrainian military resistance had also bought time for its forces, preventing Russia from advancing further into eastern Ukraine where they hoped more Western arms shipments would arrive. . The goal, he said, was to “exhaust or reduce the enemy’s offensive capabilities.”
However, it is not clear how long such a strategy could work in the Donbass, where the largely flat plains favor Russian artillery, and because long-range weapons from the United States and other Ukrainian allies are slow to arrive. As Ukrainian casualties mount, Mr. Zelensky acknowledged that Russia has more troops it can use as “cannon fodder”.
in Speech This week at the American Jewish Committee’s World Forum, he reiterated his plea for allies to send in more weapons more quickly.
“We need powerful weapons to attack, without which the war will continue and the number of casualties will increase,” he said.
Oleksandr Chubko Contribute to the preparation of reports.