Russia appears to have significantly scaled back its immediate ambitions in Ukraine, throwing the bulk of its remaining military might at a handful of cities in the eastern Donbas region. And the Russians are making inroads.
Russia’s forces are on the outskirts of Lyman, “conducting an intense offensive” to take control of the important rail hub in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said. If they take Lyman, nearby Sloviansk is within shelling range, and the last Ukrainian strongholds in Luhansk Oblast — Lysychansk and Severodonetsk — are a big step closer to being encircled. The situation in Severodonetsk “is serious,” Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said Wednesday. “Our guys are holding on,” but “the city is constantly being shelled with every possible weapon in the enemy’s possession.”
Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, “on almost every front, Russia has underachieved, while Ukraine has overachieved,” NPR reports. But are Russia’s scorched-earth advances in the Donbas a sign that the tide of war has shifted in its favor?