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International

What’s next for Ukraine after Russia’s Donbas offensive?

21:18, Tuesday, 31 May, 2022
What’s next for Ukraine after Russia’s Donbas offensive?

The recent Russian advances in the Donbas lead to an inevitable question: whether the indiscriminate tactics the Kremlin deployed there will be a template for future offensives.

With reports of large numbers of troops, artillery and rocket launchers mustering across the border near the Russian city of Kursk – in an area that borders Ukraine’s Sumy province – it is an urgent issue.
     While much has been made of the painfully slow and grinding pace of Russia’s recent offensive in the Donbas, the speed of territorial gains is not the only metric.

The Russian tactics that have shaped the battle in the Donbas have also posed a brutal dilemma for Ukraine’s defenders – to hold their ground amid rapidly mounting casualties, or withdraw and risk giving the attackers momentum.

While other parts of the 300-mile frontline in Ukraine’s east lack some of the same vulnerabilities that existed around Sievierodonetsk – which sat in the midst of a Ukrainian salient that Russia exploited – in any future offensive the Kremlin is likely to offer Kyiv the same hard choices, attempting to stretch its ability to respond.

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