Donbass, in Severodonetsk the battle is unequal by choice. ‘Here an army of volunteers has stood up to the Russian battalions for over a month’

“The news from the front will be true, for heaven’s sake. But you have to read them sideways, possibly with the maps and the calendar in hand ”. According to David Rossi, Head of Military Geopolitics for Online Defense, Russian troops are actually pushing hard to take Severodonetsk, the last Ukrainian city in the burning Lugansk region, where the governor has issued a dramatic appeal to civilians: “It’s too late to escape, stay hidden in shelters.” The newspapers speak of a new “martyr city”After Mariupol, now isolated from the rear of Rubizhne which guaranteed supplies. Zelensky speaks of a “inferno“That you reap 100 deaths a day and begs the US to provide long-range rocket launchers to foil the final grip on the Donbass, a number one priority for Moscow which has spared no humanitarian columns and fleeing civilians.

Rossi however warns: “Attention, not all things are as they seem”. He refers to the fact, for example, that the offensive to take Severodonetsk started on April 12 “so even if they took it in seven days, it would take a month and a half to conquer the equivalent of a Sesto San Giovanni, but without a nearby Milan because there is nothing around it. Isolated as it is, it is certainly not a strategic objective, but the Russians want to take it to break the resistance, the Ukrainians’ is to avoid it at all costs ”. This is not to diminish the advance of Russian troops in the area or the difficulties of the Ukrainians, but to clarify: “While the Russian army uses all the best it has (and remains), in those areas on the Ukrainian side they are fighting the men of the teroborona, territorial defense groups, roughly a national guard. “They did an excellent job of repelling the Russian assault, but clearly they didn’t have the strength elite troops of the regular army that is training in the use of weapons that the West carries thousands of kilometers from there ”. Especially for this, according to the expert, the Russians managed to take village after village. “Zelensky is right to believe that 100 deaths a day are many, but they are little more than volunteers with a first training who fight against an army that tries to express its maximum pressure. From direct sources they died true, dramatic, but in a relationship of forces which sometimes touched 3 to 1 which for military doctrine is absolutely favorable to those who attack. The Ukrainians there now have only one mission: reduce damage. Then there remains the differential between perhaps 40 thousand men, perhaps less, and 40-50 Russian tactical battalions “.

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Which in fact also move up other fronts. “At the moment, the largest troop movements are around Izyum and towards theoblast of Kharkiv, to try to contain the Ukrainian counter-offensive, then on the southern Donbass area, towards Kherson, where the Russians have moved many troops to try to strengthen the position or attempt another offensive“. In any case, things can change quickly. “It already happened. We have witnessed a massive Ukrainian counter-offensive in Kharkiv where the Russians, under pressure, have had to give up territory. They did not solve the problem of the location of the controls in the vicinity of the areas at risk. I imagine that if that were to happen, the Ukrainian resistance would target the ammunition depots and fuel, command points, logistics centers. At that point the occupants could not help but call the command and say “what do we do?”, But since they are far from the reinforcements they would hear the answer “withdraw before they arrive”. In short, everything is in the balance, much is left to the motivation to resist. Rossi points out, for example, the unknowns surrounding the fall of cities such as Melitopol and Kherson, where the population had welcomed the occupiers amid protests but the resistance was less fierce than elsewhere. “The defenses were hardly seen, unlike what happened elsewhere: corruption? Inefficiency? Infiltrate? Budanov himself, head of Ukrainian services, said it: once the war is over, it will be necessary to understand what happened in those parts. There is no doubt: if they had covered the Crimean area better we would be telling stories another war”.