By David Sole
The military situation across the long front lines shows that Ukrainian forces are being pressed hard by strong Russian Federation land and air forces. In the heavily fortified city of Avdeyevka the Russians have made significant gains.
Avdeyevka has been occupied by Ukrainian military forces since the U.S. organized right-wing Maidan coup in 2014. After a pro-Nazi regime took power, attacks around the country targeted Russian-speaking Ukrainians. The provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk declared independence and drove out the Ukrainian armed forces.
But just outside of Donetsk City the Ukrainians established a stronghold in Avdeyevka. Fortified for the past 9 years, Avdeyevka was used to regularly shell Donetsk. It was the Ukrainian killing of over 10,000 people in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics that finally led Russia to launch its Special Military Operation in February 2022.
Since October 2023 the Russian forces have been steadily surrounding Avdeyevka and closing in on the Ukrainian forces. It has been a slow process, much like the months-long battle for the city of Bakhmut that finally ended in May 2023 with a Russian victory. Estimates are that Russia has amassed over 40,000 ground troops for this battle. The lack of Ukrainian air defense systems has made the use of Russian air power widespread on the front.
In recent days the Russians have succeeded in entering Avdeyevka’s southern area while continuing pressure on the east and north. A CNN headline of January 23 admits that “Russia’s relentless …assaults are wearing down outmanned and outgunned Ukrainian forces.” The report admits that Ukraine has a severe shortage of ammunition and equipment. “The cannon – a U.S. supplied M777 howitzer – is silent for much of the day, rationed to around 20 shells a day, 30 on a ‘good day’ the gunners said. Last summer…the gun crew would fire at least twice as many.” At another location to the north “the crew had no shells to fire at all.” The Russians, it is widely admitted, have a “10 to 1’ advantage in artillery supplies.
The situation for Ukraine is no better anywhere else. The New York Times reported on January 13 that “Ukraine’s military prospects are looking bleak. Western military aid is no longer assured….Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive in the south…is over, having failed to meet any of its objectives. And now, Russian troops are on the attack.”
The report continues “For now, Ukraine is in a perilous position….Ukrainian soldiers are exhausted by long stretches of combat and shorter rest periods. The ranks, thinned by mounting casualties, are only being partly replenished, often with older and poorly trained recruits.”
In the south a Ukrainian “bridgehead” on the eastern side of the Dnieper River in the Kerson region has all but been annihilated by fierce Russian counterattacks. In the north it is estimated that a Russian force of 140,000 troops are continuing to pressure Ukrainian positions around Kupiansk.
The Ukrainian government is now wrestling with how to build up its forces. A huge military conscription goal of 500,000 new troops has been floated. But the Ukrainian people are not enthusiastic as casualties mount and realization grows that they are cannon fodder for the U.S. in this proxy war. The New York Times had to admit on January 28 that the “proposed bill on mobilization has become the focus of a debate as more men dodge the draft and calls rise to demobilize exhausted soldiers”
It is no wonder that Ukrainian politicians worry about “stirring up social tensions.” Corruption has been reported since the beginning of the war. The German magazine “Der Spiegel” exposed that German weapons for Kiev were handled without inspections. Tens of billions of dollars of weapons were shipped with no oversight by the German officials.
Ukraine has recently revealed that “it uncovered a $40 million corruption scheme in weapons procurement.” The Security Service Bureau of Ukraine (SBU) “said it has discovered a mass corruption scheme in the purchase of weapons by the country’s military” involving “the purchase of 100,000 mortar rounds for the Ukraine Armed Forces in the fall of 2022.” The SBU reports that “the ammunition was never received” and “the funds had been transferred to foreign accounts.” This fraud involved “former and current high ranking defense officials.”
With their Ukrainian proxy forces facing increased pressure and possible collapse if Russia mounts a major offensive, the U.S. and its NATO allies are thinking about taking on the Russian army directly. Of course the public position cannot say this directly. So it is couched in terms of NATO preparing to fight a ‘Russian Invasion.” The New York Times, reflecting this ruling class thinking, announced “Amid crumbling U.S. support for Ukraine and Donald Trump’s rising candidacy, European nations and NATO are making plans to take on Russia by themselves.”
A Ukrainian defeat has always had built into it the escalation by its puppet masters who have, all along, been intent on “weakening Russia.” How else to explain that NATO “will test its readiness in a monthslong military exercise – including 50,000 troops – that began last week in what officials are billing as the largest drill NATO has staged since the end of the Cold War. That the exercise is a test of how NATO forces would respond to a Russian invasion has rattled nerves in border states, particularly the Baltics and Nordics.”
Much of the world’s attention has been focused in the past few months on the U.S.- Israeli war against Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Iran, which is being escalated by Washington and Tel Aviv daily. But the possible escalation of the Ukraine conflict is clearly a real possibility. Anti-war forces around the world need to stay active in opposing both imperialist adventures.