Why did Russia wage a ferocious offensive to seize control of a vital Ukrainian city in the east?

The head of the Donetsk region believes that taking control of the city of Vuhledar will be a “game changer” for Russia’s military campaign.

Dennis Pushilin, the Russia-appointed leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine, told RIA Novosti news agency that taking control of the city could radically change the balance of power in money. Ukraine line.

In an interview published on January 27, Pushilin said Vuhledar “will soon become a new, very important victory” for Russia.

According to military observers, in recent days, Russian forces have made significant strides, breaking through Ukraine’s defenses in the city of Vuhledar in the western region of Donetsk.

Pushilin said Russia was “waiting for good news from Vuhledar”, adding that the encirclement and “liberation” of this strategic city would “solve many problems”.

“Taking control of this area will give our troops access to the directions of Krasnoarmiysk (Pokrovsk) and Kurakhovskoye,” added Pushilin.

Pushilin’s adviser, Igor Kimakovsky, said on January 26 that Russian troops had entered Vuhledar and entrenched themselves on the outskirts of the city.

According to Kimakovsky, Russia’s main task now is not to launch a direct attack on the city, but to seize control of Vuhledar with a pincer position.

Yevhen Nazarenko, the spokesman for the Ukrainian army’s 68th brigade, confirmed that the city of Vuhledar had been heavily shelled in the past 24 hours, with seven buildings and two schools damaged.

“They constantly used artillery fire, air strikes. There was not a moment of peace here. We defeated the enemy. They suffered great losses, but still did not stop their action and continued to send more. new forces to take our positions,” Nazarenko said.

Yuri Butusov, a Ukrainian military correspondent, thinks the city of Vuhledar is of “key importance” to Russia.

“It is a strategically important point of contact in the south of the Donbas, the border for the future deployment of Ukraine’s attack on the Crimean corridor,” Butusov said.

“Controlling Vuhledar will significantly improve the strategic position of the Russian military in the Donbas, and at the same time allow to strengthen defense capabilities,” Butusov said, adding that Russia’s goal in 2023 will be to control the entire Donbas region or push the Ukrainian army away from the Crimean corridor.

According to Butusov, to capture Vuhledar, Russia has gathered its best forces, including “Marine and paratrooper brigades, ammunition depots”.

The British Ministry of Defense said that Russia is unlikely to make any significant progress near the city of Vuhledar.

“Over the past six days, Russian online commentators have stated that Russian forces have made significant progress. A real possibility is that Russian military sources are deliberately spreading disinformation. misleading to imply that the Russian military campaign is still maintaining momentum,” the British Ministry of Defense said.

According to observers, Moscow is seeking to take full control of the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine to establish a land corridor from Russia to the Crimean peninsula. After withdrawing troops from Kherson and Kharkiv in September and November last year, Russia shifted its forces to the Donbas front.

“The enemy is throwing a considerable amount of personnel, weapons, and military equipment into the battle, trying to break through our defenses. Currently in Donbas, in front of the enemy’s superior in the number of soldiers. soldiers and weapons, we only have the advantage of professional military command and the courage of the soldiers,” Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar emphasized.

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