Ukraine prepares offensive to retake Black Sea coast as Russia advances east

KIEV – After the conflicts over the territory of Luhansk provincein the east, the Russia and the Ukraine focus on battles donetsk region and on black sea coast. The Russians have increased attacks on civilian targets with artillery and warplanes in recent days as they regroup and resupply. At the same time, Ukraine is preparing a counterattack to reconquer Kherson, a city in the south of the country that was taken by Russia in the first days of the war.

According to reports from Ukrainian authorities, at least 10 towns in Doestk have been bombed in recent days after Russia conquered Luhansk. In one of the attacks, a missile hit a residential apartment complex in Chasiv Iar on Saturday and killed around 30 people., according to the Emergency Service of Ukraine. Russia denies being responsible for the attacks on civilian targets, despite Ukraine’s accusations.

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The ground troops of Vladimir Putin they also claim that they stopped the advance in the east to reorganize. The order came from Putin himself last week, and military analysts fear it heralds a bigger and more destructive attack.

Ukraine rescue team carries bombing victims in the residential area of ​​Chasiv Yar, in the Donetsk region, in this image from Monday, 11. The attack left about 30 dead and was blamed on Russia.
Ukraine rescue team carries bombing victims in the residential area of ​​Chasiv Yar, in the Donetsk region, in this image from Monday, 11. The attack left about 30 dead and was blamed on Russia. Photograph: Nariman El-Mofty/AP

Experts expect Putin to order a new offensive to conquer the remaining Ukrainian territory in Donetsk, anchored by the cities of Sloviansk, Kramatorsk and Bakhmut – if not more.

Meanwhile, Russia is also signaling an attempt to establish permanent control of the Ukrainian territories under its occupation. This Monday, 11, Putin signed a decree that simplifies Russian citizenship for all Ukrainians.

One of these territories is the city of Kherson on the Black Sea coast. Taken over by the Russians in the early days of the war, on February 24, the city plans to hold a referendum to decide whether to separate from Ukraine or not. But, in parallel, Ukraine asks the Ukrainians to leave the city to carry out a counterattack. “It is clear that there will be fighting, there will be artillery shelling, and therefore we urge (people) to urgently withdraw,” declared Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Irina Vereshchukon a national network.

The offensive must rely on the reinforcement of new weapons sent by Western countries. In a speech on Saturday, the Ukrainian president Volodmyr Zelensky he said he hopes the new aid, which includes an additional $400 million from the United States, announced on Friday, will offset the military disadvantage and “reduce Russian strike capabilities.”

Vereschuk did not say when the offensive would start, but said the warning was to prevent women and children from becoming “human shields”. According to Reuters, the city had about 300,000 inhabitants before the war; the current number is unknown.

Yuri Sobolevski, vice president of the Kherson regional council, told United News, from Ukraine, that although it is very difficult to leave the city, “it must be done”. He told those who cannot go out to prepare for heavy fighting. “[Estes] must prepare for the fact that they will need shelter again. It is necessary to have a supply of water and a certain amount of food to survive the onslaught of our troops,” he declared.

So far, Ukraine has attacked Russian ammunition and equipment depots. On Saturday morning, a massive explosion was heard in the area, officials said.

In other areas of the country, outside of Donetsk and the Black Sea, Russia acts to reinforce control in territories that are already occupied and carries out attacks where it is most fragile. According to military analysts, the recent attacks appear to differ from Russia’s earlier tactics in the war, such as the failed blitzkrieg in Kiev and then the weeks-long concentrated bombing of major regional cities. The latest attacks hit a variety of targets without a corresponding attempt to advance territorially. /NYT

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