Russians ‘rush’ to capture Chasiv Yar before US help arrives

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As we delve further into the complex geopolitical theatrics, the Russians are resolute in their quest to seize Chasiv Yar. What’s the urgency? They’re attempting to beat the clock before the arrival of American military aid—a strategic help poised to dismantle the Ukrainian logistical framework spanning from North to Central Donbas. Interestingly, the Russians seem to have scored a significant win by taking control of Ocheretino, a crucial supply hub for Ukrainians—this hub is nestled just west of Avdiivka and south of Konstantinovka. 

If you listen to the Ukrainians, they concede that this development represents a heavy hit. What’s more, shortly after they established control over Ocheretino, the Russian forces didn’t rest on their laurels; they pushed their offensive. Next on their list was the settlement of Novobakhmutivka. In Chasiv Yar, the Russians seized the strategic heights of Kalinovka, ensuring a vantage point for capturing the northern sector of the city.  

Noteworthy is the acceleration in Russian plans to capture the city. Why, you might ask? Well, gaining control of the city would give them a significant advantage in northern Donbas. Plus, its elevated position ensures a secured stronghold in the region. It’s particularly crucial now since Ukrainians are due to receive substantial shipments of arms and ammunition.

Chasiv Yar is the key to Seversk

Despite their best efforts at preparation, the Ukrainian forces are significantly outmatched when it comes to resources, due to the close proximity of the Russian supply chains. Providing a much-needed boost to their ammunition and weaponry, the Russians have received reinforcements from heavily bombed Konstantinovka, courtesy of the Russian Air Force and their guided bombs weighing 500 and 1500 kg respectively.  

Geography plays a pivotal role in this stalemate. Chasiv Yar provides Russia with the strategic advantage needed to easily seize control of Seversk, irrespective of any Western aid Ukraine may receive. The consensus seems to be that, once Chasiv Yar falls, the capture of Seversk is inevitable.  

Photo credit: Ukrainian police

Completing this objective will enable the Russians to forge direct links with Sloviansk-Kramatorsk for the first time. It’s a foregone conclusion that the Ukrainians will make full use of Konstantinovka in a bid to safeguard these twin cities. However, the route from this city will be under the control of the party that commands Chasiv Yar.

April 22, 23 and 24

Reports emerging on April 23 suggest that a significant Russian troop presence, estimated between 20,000 to 25,000, is closing in on the eastern Ukrainian city of Chasiv Yar and its nearby settlements. The Ukrainian military has communicated the critical situation while maintaining its control of Chasiv Yar, a strategic high spot in the partially seized Donetsk region. Speculation abounds that Russia’s aim is to attack and secure the city by May 9, a date that signifies Soviet Victory Day in World War II. 

Photo by Stanislav Krasilnikov

Despite the mounting pressures, Nazar Voloshin, the Eastern Command’s spokesman for the Ukrainian army, remains confident. He states on national television that the circumstances, although tense, can be managed. “The line is being stabilized as reinforcements flow in to defend the city from the estimated 20,000 to 25,000 Russian troops gathering at its borders,” he said. 

In a promising twist on April 24, indications from Ukrainian sources suggest the tide may be turning. Ukrainian forces have managed to retake previously lost territories located east of Chasiv Yar. This news follows continuous offensive operations by Russian troops on April 23. Geolocation footage disseminated on April 22 demonstrates some progress by Ukraine’s armed forces. They can be seen slightly southeast of Ivanovskoye, to the east of Chasiv Yar. 

Countering the above reports, Apti Alaudinov, the commander of Russia’s “Akhmat” Chechen special forces, has stated that his troops, along with other Russian forces, have captured several Ukrainian positions on the western flanks of Klescheevka, an area southeast of Chasiv Yar. However, this information is yet to be corroborated by ISW analysts.

Photo credit: ISW

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

On February 21, 2022, Russia stated that its border facility was attacked by Ukrainian forces, resulting in the deaths of five Ukrainian fighters. However, Ukraine quickly dismissed these allegations, labeling them as ‘false flags’.

In a notable move on the same day, Russia announced it officially recognized the self-proclaimed areas of DPR and LPR. Interestingly, according to Russian President Putin, this recognition covered all the Ukrainian regions. Following this declaration, Putin sent a battalion of Russia’s military forces, tanks included, into these areas.

Photo credit: TASS

Fast forward to February 24, 2022, global headlines were dominated by a significant incident. Putin commanded a forceful military assault on Ukraine. Led by Russia’s impressive Armed Forces positioned at the Ukrainian border, this assault wasn’t spontaneous but a premeditated action. Despite the circumstances resembling a war, the Russian government refrains from using this term. They’d rather refer to it as a “special military operation”.

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