War in Ukraine: “In the Donbass, Moscow will face a Ukrainian army which has been prepared since 2014… – 20 Minutes

The Russian noose is tightening. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed on Monday what he had predicted for weeks, his Russian counterpart is attacking eastern Ukraine by the throat. Deploying almost all of his men and artillery, Vladimir Putin intends to reach the region closest to his borders and declare his victory at the same time. After having tried to attack the South and the North, kyiv or even strategic cities like Mariupol, how does the Kremlin want to conquer the Donbass? Is the Ukrainian army able to resist? Answers with General Dominique Trinquand, former head of the French military mission to the UN.Dominique Trinquand, former head of the French military mission to the UN?. – iPhone D Trinquand What will the “battle of Donbass” look like? We are entering a much more classic battle. The Russians announced three weeks ago that they were going to concentrate their efforts on Donbass. This means, in military terms, abandoning the attacks that were taking place in kyiv and in the north. Now, in the Donbass, it will be a question of confronting the Ukrainian army which has been preparing for this confrontation since 2014. For this, the Russians will both use artillery to crush the defenses of their Ukrainian enemies but also cause breakthroughs to break them up. Finally, the armed forces of Moscow will try to circumvent, via a movement from North to South, the army of Volodymyr Zelensky in order to cut it off from the reinforcements coming from the West. Why is this battle so feared? Because all Russian means are concentrated there. This means a lot of heavy artillery and therefore a lot of losses. But this “battle of Donbass” is also a final phase for the Russians. Following this operation, either President Vladimir Putin declares victory or President Volodymyr Zelensky does so. But one of the two will come out victorious. Will this “battle of Donbass” last several days, as kyiv claimed? It could even last much longer. Everyone has in mind that Vladimir Putin wants a victory before the symbolic date of May 9 [fête patriotique russe], in two and a half weeks. Then will he succeed? I do not know. And is this date of May 9 really real? I don’t know either. Continued dialogue with 🇳🇱 PM Mark Rutte @MinPres. Informed about the aggravation of the situation in Donbas. Ukrainians are doing everything to stop the aggressor. Grateful for supporting 🇺🇦. When peace is restored we’ll build 🇺🇦-🇳🇱 relations of a new quality together in the EU!

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Is Ukraine able to militarily resist combat in the East? Ukraine has a real advantage because it has been prepared, particularly in this area, since 2014. The Ukrainians have firing plans, they are trained, they are protected by trenches or concrete shelters. On the other hand, their lines of communication are quite long since the reinforcements come from the West, that is to say the opposite. The Russians, on the other hand, have shorter lines of communication since when they arrived in Donbass, they moved closer to their borders. Following this “battle of Donbass”, either President Vladimir Putin declared victory or President Volodymyr Zelensky who does. “Is this offensive different from the one carried out in kyiv? Why? Yes, quite different. At first, in Kyiv, the Russian government thought to quickly overthrow the Ukrainian government and not to use force. Then, the Russian forces never managed to approach within 20 km of the center of the capital. The city was therefore threatened but never attacked directly. In the Donbass there will be systematic shelling. Moreover, the Ukrainians have been asking civilians for several weeks to leave this region because they too will be the target of these bombardments. Is the Russian army stalling in Mariupol? It is not stalling, simply the phase of taking the last bastion of Mariupol which is the Azovstal steelworks located on the port is extremely difficult. There too the Ukrainian forces have been preparing for four weeks. There would be six basement floors in this bastion, which makes seizure so complicated for the Russians. Moreover, there are very determined fighters in Mariupol. They know that by continuing to fight they prevent the Russian forces mobilized on the spot from going elsewhere and therefore, in the Donbass. They also know that all eyes are on them. For the morale of the Ukrainian troops, it is therefore important that they resist. Can we say that Moscow has changed its military strategy since the start of the war? Yes. The initial strategy was to seize power without the use of force. Moscow failed. The Kremlin therefore took another turn after four weeks, and the objective now is to concentrate on the only axis which had progressed until then, that is to say the South/South-East axis. The idea is to obtain one victory and only one: the capture of Donbass. With the exception of Donbass, would Russia have given up the rest of Ukraine? Yes. Russia has given up on the rest of Ukraine for now. She knows she can neither conquer nor occupy the rest of the country. Given the difficulties on the territory and the Western mobilization, at this stage, it seems to me a rather badly started affair. That being the case, that doesn’t mean that Moscow won’t try to get the rest of Ukraine later.