Conventional battles such as tanks and fighters… “Western arms support will be the biggest variable”
The Russian army is gathering troops in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, where there are many pro-Russian forces, and is demonstrating its ambition to take full control of Donbas before World War II Victory Day on the 9th of next month. In particular, in Izum, a stronghold in Donbas, they either withdrew from nearby Kiiu, the capital, or deployed a newly deployed tank unit in a large-scale deployment to wage a final decisive battle with the Ukrainian army in Donbas.
The U.S. Department of Defense warned on the 10th that “the Russian military will launch a large-scale offensive targeting Izum and Dnipro as strategic targets.” Izum is about 70 km north of Kramatorsk train station, which was hit by missiles by Russian troops on the 8th. It is a key point linking Kharkiv with the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics established by pro-Russian rebels in Donbass. On the 8th, satellite images released by the US private satellite company Max showed a scene of a Russian military procession moving from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, toward Izum, which is 13 km long.
When the Kiiu front was stalled due to Ukraine’s fierce counterattack, Russia moved its troops to this area at the end of last month saying, “We will focus on the complete liberation of Donbas.” In the Battle of Donbas, which will determine the will of the Ukraine situation, it is expected that a conventional battle between tanks and fighters will take place head-to-head. Analysts say that the biggest variable will be how much the West provides weapons to Ukraine in the face of Russia’s concentration of power.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech on the 10th that “a lot more weapons are needed to counter the Russian army, which has gathered its troops and weapons.” Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleva also said that the Battle of Donbas would be reminiscent of World War II. The Ukrainian Army is also moving units deployed in the northern areas recaptured from Russia to the southeast for the decisive battle in Donbas.
Western military aid is also accelerating. The U.S. Department of Defense announced on the 10th that some Ukrainian troops who received training in the U.S. to fly the “Switch Blade”, famous for their “self-destruct drone”, will return to their homeland. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also released a video conference with Ukrainian soldiers on the same day.
Russia threatened to attack the US (for this reason), saying that US military support was “de facto participation in the war”. Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said in an interview with Newsweek on the same day that US military aid could lead to a direct military confrontation between the US and Russia.
Washington = Byung-ki Moon, Correspondent email@example.com