Russian Advances Continue in Ukraine

Russian military has great advantage over Ukraine in artillery
Russian military has great advantage over Ukraine in artillery.

By David Sole

Losses keep mounting for the Ukrainian military as Russian Federation forces continue to advance all along the 600 mile plus line of combat. The new, northern front that opened up in mid-May by Russia has drawn Ukrainian military reserves along with other units from the other areas of conflict, thus weakening Ukraine’s overall position. The US and its NATO allies, for whom Ukraine began and continues to fight this proxy war, continue to provide weapons but are unable to turn the tide of fighting.

The northern Kharkov offensive by the Russians has pushed the Ukrainians back from their border positions from which they have been regularly shelling civilians in Russia’s Belgorod province. There are reports that the Russian military is preparing another assault to the northwest of Kharkov into the Sumy province which has not seen fighting recently. The defense of Kharkov and Sumy provinces by Ukraine are stretching the Ukrainian military severely. Ukraine has suffered massive casualties in the past year especially from Russia’s complete control of the air and the acknowledged huge advantage over Ukraine in artillery power.

In the initial aftermath of the Russian push across the border into Kharkov, Ukraine’s President Zelensky fired Brig. General Yury Halushkin, the commander of Ukrainian forces in the region. A Russian offensive “had been widely expected for months” but the attack “found weak Ukrainian defenses, and …Ukrainian troops, many of them lightly armed.” Within days the Russian forces took “control of an estimated 162 square kilometers of border territory and ten villages.” Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, is only about 19 miles to the south of the fighting.

It may not entirely be the fault of Ukrainian military commanders that explains the retreat in the Kharkov area. Ukrainska Pravda, a pro-Ukraine news service, printed a report by journalist Martina Boguslavets on May 13 that exposed massive corruption as a contributing cause of defeat. The chairwoman of an anti-corruption group wrote: “that millions of dollars meant to fund the fortification of the Kharkov province in Ukraine were stolen by officials.”

“Multi-million [dollar] contracts for the construction of fortification structures, for which a total of (roughly $176 million) was spent, were [transferred] by the Kharkov Regional State Administration to dummy companies…local officials had been embezzling millions meant to fortify the province against Russian forces.”

Ukraine’s military forces are also continuing to be ground down under pressure from the Russian forces on all fronts. Seymour Hersh, a respected US reporter with strong ties to Pentagon sources, recently wrote that several Ukrainian brigades told their commanders “they will no longer participate in what would be a suicidal offensive against a better trained and better equipped Russian force.”

Hersh predicted Kiev’s defeat unless a diplomatic solution could be negotiated. “America, in the years Biden has been in office, has spent $175 billion to fight a war that cannot and will not be won. It will only be resolved by diplomacy…or else by the overwhelming defeat of the understaffed, undertrained, and poorly equipped Ukrainian army.”

So far the US has refused to allow any negotiations toward a peaceful resolution on the part of its puppet Ukrainian regime. Instead the US has announced that it will now permit Ukraine to use US supplied weapons to be directed at targets inside Russia’s borders, something previously barred. The New York Times reported on May 31 “the United States amended its policy after months of resistance, saying Ukraine could use American-provided weapons to hit military targets in Russia.” This includes “air defense systems, guided rockets and artillery…along Ukraine’s northeastern border.”

The Times notes that this crosses “a red line drawn by the Biden administration because of worries about escalation into a broader conflict…Officials in Britain, France, Poland and Sweden had already voiced support for the use of their countries’ weapons to strike inside Russia…and NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, had spoken in favor of allowing Ukraine to use weapons from members of the alliance to strike targets within Russia.”

A further escalation by France was revealed by Ukraine’s military commander Oleksandr Syrsky. The general told the Kyiv Post on May 27 that “an agreement has been signed in which France will prepare to send military instructors to train Ukraine troops directly on Ukrainian territory.” Up until now Ukrainian troops had been trained in the US and numerous NATO countries. Ukrainian officials later tried to explain that this was still in the planning stages.

It is unlikely that this new freedom to use western weapons on targets inside Russia will have any effect on the battlefield weakness of Ukraine’s military. This escalation by the western powers may, however, increase the possibility of the Ukraine war spreading to neighboring NATO facilities should Russia respond in kind.

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