17 mar 2023 8:30 p.m
A new front section can be identified in the Ukraine war: initially not geographically new, through the opening of a new front – rather the close dovetailing and the identical nature of the combat operations in one piece from Artemowsk to Seversk in the north leave this section of the Donbass front section legitimately separate.
The Ukrainian contingent in the center of Artemovsk has long been cut off from any viable avenue of supply, reinforcement and retreat, ie doomed militarily – but Kiev still isn’t giving its troops there an order to surrender. So the Ukrainian command is sacrificing them to tie down the assault squads of the Russian private military company Wagner in battles while they can – so they can’t advance north to the Seversk area, where their comrades are also currently engaged in assault, captures Yuri Podoljaka.
Not only are the Ukrainian troops concentrated in the greater area around Artjomovsk – near Chassow Yar and Slavjansk – unable to relieve the operationally encircled garrison in Artjomovsk. What’s more, more and more contingents are thrown into battle again and again to ward off the Russian attacks near Chassov Yar.
Meanwhile, on the Zaporozhye front section, the Russian defense, which had been tiered several times, passed its first acid test: Kiev’s troops tried to reconnoiter there by fighting – and didn’t even make it through the first of the several defensive lines.
The Ukrainian losses alone on vehicles should amount to six tanks, one wheeled armored personnel carrier and two armored personnel carriers. Russian war correspondent Alexander Zladkov describes massive defense systems and comments: “The Ukrainian troops want to advance to the Crimea? I want to see this attempt.” Yuri Podoljaka takes a similar view: If an offensive were attempted there, Kiev’s military would be brought to a standstill at the third defensive line at the latest – “But considering the way everything is set up and the problems that Kiev has with its mobilization campaign and the supplies of arms from the West, there is good reason to hope that the enemy will not even be able to break through the first line of defence,” said the military observer.
Yuri Podolyaka is a Ukrainian political blogger (his channel on YouTube had 2.6 million subscribers before it was deleted by the platform’s administration) and journalist from Sumy (he has lived in Sevastopol, Russia since 2014), whose insights in the period from the beginning of the intervention became increasingly popular in the Russian media. His analysis outputs only come up with a few figures – but he gives a good understanding of the spatial extent of the respective developments by working with maps and occasionally offers short-term forecasts.
On the one hand, Podoljaka uses openly accessible data as sources: These are reports from eyewitnesses in the social media as well as reports from the Russian and Ukrainian defense ministries. On the other hand, he cites insider sources: In addition to those in the people’s militias and security organs of the Russian People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, these are those in the Ukrainian security and government authorities, which he claims to still maintain due to old relationships from his time as a Ukrainian journalist. To use the current intelligence jargon, Yuri Podoljaka is primarily an OSINT analyst.
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On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he would launch a special military operation in Ukraine together with the armed forces of the Donbass republics to protect the population there. The goals are to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine. Ukraine speaks of a war of aggression. On the same day, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskiy declared a state of war across the country.
The West condemned the attack, reacted with new deliveries of weapons, promised help with reconstruction and imposed sanctions on Russia.
Scores of soldiers and civilians have been killed on both sides of the conflict. Moscow and Kiev have accused each other of various war crimes. Thousands of Ukrainians have now fled their homeland.