The Ukrainian forces have succeeded in controlling the strategic city of Lyman, following the withdrawal of the Russian forces, whose control over the Donbesk region has become faltered – especially after Moscow announced the annexation of the region to the Russian Federation in the wake of a questionable referendum that remains unrecognized by the international community.
Ukraine’s forces have succeeded in achieving military progress against Russia in a number of Ukrainian cities, without leading to a radical shift in the battles where Ukraine has regained all the areas controlled by the Russian army – estimated at one fifth of the Ukrainian lands.
But it is true that Russia’s withdrawal from a strategic city such as Lyman, which was a supply center for the Russian forces, may weaken their ability to control the four regions they seized: Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, where about four million people live across 100,000 square kilometers.
Estimates of the ratio of Russian nationals differ in the four regions but neutral sources and agreed upon estimates, – away from the media and partial propaganda – indicate that their proportion in the first three regions is close to half, while the Russian language speakers who are not Russian nationals are close to two-thirds.
As for the Kherson region, the number of Ukrainians is more than two-thirds, which makes it difficult for the Russian forces to maintain their full control over these regions, especially Kherson, amid the great support the Ukrainian army receives from the West.
Ukraine’s forces have succeeded in evacuating the Russian forces from more than one Ukrainian city, thanks to unprecedented US and European aid, which amount to 20 aid packages including precision strike missiles, more Javelin missiles, anti-armor weapons, unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, artillery, and demining equipment.
Drones also played an important role in the ongoing battles, especially the Turkish Bayraktar drone.
Certainly, the hit-and-run battles and the great Russian progress at the beginning of the war, the important Ukrainian progress in the past month, then Russia’s announcement of the annexation of the four regions to the Russian Federation, and the lack of recognition by the international community of this annexation, will open the door to a real war of attrition of the Russian forces within these four eastern regions.
It is clear that the battle will not be resolved with a resounding or crushing victory for any party, but decided after great attrition for both parties and international pressures from inside and outside Europe to end the war and accept a historic settlement that fulfills part of Russia’s demands in the four eastern regions, but not all, and preserves Ukraine’s sovereignty as well as its neutrality while not joining the NATO.
So far, this scenario seems far from reality, in light of the vigorous ongoing battles where no laws are respected, and in which the West seeks to drain Russia – aiming to defeat it completely.
About Amr al-Shobaki
Authoring a wide variety of articles, essays and books, Amr al-Shobaki is a former member of the Egyptian parliament, and utilizes his political experience to analyze and discuss current political conflicts and movements, especially in the Arab world.
His credentials include a PHD in political science from the University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University, and has authored titles such as “The Crisis of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt” and “Islamists and Democrats: The Problems of Building a Democratic Islamic Movement“.
He has also written for a variety of publications including al-Masry al-Youm, the Middle East Institute, and the French paper Le Figaro.