Monday, August 29, 2022

A Violent Stalemate Sets In as Battle Lines Harden in Ukraine’s East; Russia’s Dwindling Manpower in Ukraine Spurs Recruitment Drive; Russia's Attacks on Ukraine train system may be war crimes; Ukraine's Energoatom says Russia shelled occupied nuclear plant again, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Photographs by Serhii Korovayny for The WSJ
WSJ: A Violent Stalemate Sets In as Battle Lines Harden in Ukraine’s East:
Russia’s troops have been exhausted by grinding offensives and Ukrainian resistance, but despite a promised counterblow in the south, neither side is able to advance
Maj. Yuriy Bereza’s battalion spent months defending, then retreating from city after city in Ukraine’s east in the face of overwhelming Russian firepower.
Now, with Russia’s offensive stalled after a costly advance, Maj. Bereza’s 1,500 men are digging in, creating a nearly 10-mile line of trenches to defend this strategic city.
“We’re at the point where Russia can no longer advance, and we can’t advance yet,” Maj. Bereza said at a command post of the Dnipro-1 battalion of Ukraine’s National Guard on the outskirts of Slovyansk.
The war in Ukraine’s east has reached a new phase: a violent stalemate. Russia’s troops have been exhausted by grinding offensives and Ukrainian resistance, bolstered in recent weeks by long-range rocket launchers provided by the U.S. The Ukrainians aim to stymie the Russians in the east and probe in the south in search of a breakthrough.
Russian President Vladimir Putin set the conquest of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions as a central goal of his invasion. His forces captured Lysychansk and Severodonetsk in late June, securing most of Luhansk. Ukrainian and Western officials warned that Slovyansk, a major transport hub in Donetsk that was briefly occupied by Russian irregulars in 2014, would be next.
But two months on, Russia has hardly advanced, and the city with a prewar population of 110,000 stands largely deserted but unbowed. Weary-looking Ukrainian servicemen on breaks from the front line just 5 miles away fill the two cafes still operating, stop for haircuts at its barber shop and take advantage of cellphone connection to call relatives. Shelling rings out in the distance.
“We used to come here once a week if we were lucky,” said a soldier from Vinnytsia in central Ukraine, smoking near the main square with members of his unit on a recent sunny afternoon. “Now we come more often, to check the news and take a couple hours off.” --->READ MORE HERE
Photo: /Associated Press
WSJ: Russia’s Dwindling Manpower in Ukraine Spurs Recruitment Drive:
Ads urge Russians to sign up for military service as authorities turn to prisoners and mercenaries to grow ranks
The Kremlin has embarked on a nationwide drive to recruit new military personnel as Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to regain the offensive in Ukraine and replenish some of the estimated thousands of soldiers lost in Russia’s war effort.
Six months after Russia invaded Ukraine, Moscow’s military has lost much of what momentum it had but has chosen not to take the politically risky decision to declare a national mobilization.
Instead, Russian authorities have plastered ads on billboards, websites, public transportation and official city portals urging Russians to sign up. Mobile recruitment centers have sprung up and authorities are seeking manpower from mercenary groups, prisons, veterans groups and volunteer brigades, among other sources, according to military analysts and activists who have been monitoring Russia’s enlistment drive.
Russia is currently fighting on two fronts, seeking to advance in Ukraine’s east and south. Mr. Putin has promised a fresh offensive, saying last month that “by and large, we have not started anything seriously yet.”
However, Russia is stalled on both fronts and has made no significant territorial gains in more than six weeks. Military analysts say one reason is a lack of personnel.
“They don’t really have a good manpower solution for what they’re trying to do at the moment,” said Dara Massicot, a senior policy researcher at the Rand Corp. think tank who specializes in Russian military strategy. “I don’t see them having a capable force for a major offensive. What they could do right now is muddle through and make small incremental gains, but it’s not going to be a powerful push.”
Russia said in March that 1,351 troops had died in Ukraine since the start of the conflict. It hasn’t updated that figure. The Pentagon says the tally of dead and wounded is as high as 80,000. The Kremlin didn’t respond to requests for comment on the Pentagon’s estimate. --->READ MORE HERE
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