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Zelenskyy Warns Of 'Extremely Difficult' Situation In Donbas

UKRAINE

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned of an 'extremely difficult' situation in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine as Russia mounts one of its largest offensives of the war to date.

  • The BBC's Jeremy Bowen states that the Ukrainian army is "under its greatest strain" since the first days and weeks of the war.
  • Many Russian troops that were previously deployed to attack cities deep into Ukraine such as Kyiv and Kharkiv, or around the now-conquered city of Mariupol have now been redeployed to arenas in the Donbas to allow a major intensification of Russia's assault.
  • Should Russian forces be able to take and hold the Donbas, there will be intense focus on whether this territorial gain combined with a 'land bridge' linking Russia to Crimea will be sufficient for President Vladimir Putin to halt further assaults and seek to consolidate.
  • Zelenskyy stated earlier today in a speech to the WEF in Davos that Ukraine would not halt until all its territories were retaken, but it remains to be seen whether further negotiations would come about in the event of a compromise on the Donbas and Crimea being offered that could halt the war.
Chart 1. Situation in Donbas As of 23 May

Source: BBC, UK Ministry of Defence, Institute for the Study of War

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned of an 'extremely difficult' situation in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine as Russia mounts one of its largest offensives of the war to date.

  • The BBC's Jeremy Bowen states that the Ukrainian army is "under its greatest strain" since the first days and weeks of the war.
  • Many Russian troops that were previously deployed to attack cities deep into Ukraine such as Kyiv and Kharkiv, or around the now-conquered city of Mariupol have now been redeployed to arenas in the Donbas to allow a major intensification of Russia's assault.
  • Should Russian forces be able to take and hold the Donbas, there will be intense focus on whether this territorial gain combined with a 'land bridge' linking Russia to Crimea will be sufficient for President Vladimir Putin to halt further assaults and seek to consolidate.
  • Zelenskyy stated earlier today in a speech to the WEF in Davos that Ukraine would not halt until all its territories were retaken, but it remains to be seen whether further negotiations would come about in the event of a compromise on the Donbas and Crimea being offered that could halt the war.
Chart 1. Situation in Donbas As of 23 May

Source: BBC, UK Ministry of Defence, Institute for the Study of War