Experts agree that Russia is preparing a major offensive for late winter or early spring, with the goal of at least conquering the entirety of Donbas, which is currently partially occupied by Moscow forces.
Near Bakhmut, artillery continued to shell Russian positions on Tuesday, according to AFP reporters who heard frequent gunshots.
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The fall of Bakhmut, the scene of several months of deadly fighting, would open the way for a Russian offensive towards Kramatorsk, the main city in Donbas under Ukrainian control.
Some 150 kilometers further south, Russian forces continue the offensive at Vugledar, near a railway junction connecting to the east and the occupied south.
In the north of Donbas, the Russians are also putting pressure on their adversary, in an area recaptured by kyiv in September.
Sergey Solomon, a 31-year-old Ukrainian construction worker turned soldier, confirms that Ukrainian forces risk being outgunned by Moscow’s.
“The Russians have tanks, armored personnel carriers, Grad [cohetes], everything you can imagine”, he says. “We have equipment, but not a lot of ammunition,” she says.
At the insistence of the Ukrainian government and after having delayed the decision for a long time for fear of provoking an escalation, the Americans and Europeans recently decided to send dozens of heavy tanks so that Ukraine can face the Russian offensive.
However, their number remains below kyiv’s expectations. And the westerners continue refusing to hand over fighter planes.
The United States, on the other hand, promised weapons with a range of up to 150 km, which Ukraine demands in order to attack Russian ammunition depots and supply lines far from the front.