As the war rages into a 17th week, Kyiv is appealing for more heavy weapons, but rhetoric from Western leaders suggests support may be ebbing.
(Al Jazeera) – Ukraine’s weary defenders continued to score some successes against Russian forces in the 16th week of the war, but Ukrainian leaders say they are also outgunned and in danger of losing territory in the Donbas, where Moscow is focusing its offensive.
Western governments have pledged huge quantities of howitzers, armoured vehicles, anti-tank and anti-air weapons, but the politics underpinning these deliveries may now be eroding as the war lumbers on in a seemingly open-ended stalemate whose economic side-effects are taking a toll on global growth.
Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov said Ukrainian forces managed to push the Zaporizhia front line 5-7km (3-4 miles) south in the first two weeks of June. The Kherson city council said Ukrainian forces launched a counteroffensive on June 11 to take the settlements of Kyselivka, Soldatske and Oleksandrivka, all within 40km (25 miles) of the Russian-occupied port of Kherson.
In the Donetsk region, Ukraine’s Joint Forces command said on June 13 it had recaptured three settlements from Russia and pushed the front forward by 15km (9 miles).
These successes are measured against a creeping Russian advance through the city of Severdonetsk, one of the last free strongholds of the easternmost Luhansk region.
Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence Vadym Skibitsky said Ukraine is on the verge of losing the battle there because of Russia’s superior firepower.
“According to our estimates, Russia still has the potential to wage a long-term war against Ukraine,” said Skibitsky in an interview with Current Time.
NATO weaponry is “still not enough to slow down the offensive pace of Russia’s armed forces,” he said.