Day 332: 'Both Sides Have Massed Significant Forces' In Zaporizhzhia, UK Intelligence Says

Following days of increased shelling in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia, the UK's defense ministry said that both Russia and Ukraine have "massed significant forces" in the region, signaling where the next battles in the nearly year-long conflict may take place

Day 332: 'Both Sides Have Massed Significant Forces' In Zaporizhzhia, UK Intelligence Says
Image credit: Reuters [via Reuters]

Facts

  • Following days of increased shelling in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia, the UK's defense ministry said that both Russia and Ukraine have "massed significant forces" in the region, signaling where the next battles in the nearly year-long conflict may take place. Zaporizhzhia is one of four regions Russia claimed to have annexed last year, in spite of not controlling its entire territory.
  • Elsewhere, the heaviest fighting took place near Kremmina in the Luhansk region, where the UK defense ministry said: "Ukraine has likely made small gains and successfully defended against a Russian counter-attack." In Bakhmut of Donetsk, the agency said: "Russian and Wagner proxy forces have likely been reconstituting in the town of Soledar, after capturing it earlier in the week."
  • "Overall," the UK defense ministry concluded, "the conflict is in a state of deadlock. However, there is a realistic possibility of local Russian advances around Bakhmut."
  • The view on Bakhmut was shared by US officials who reported a high probability that Russia will take control of the Donetsk city. They said the Biden administration was in conversation with Kyiv about potentially moving Ukraine's focus to the southern regions but advising not to conduct any major new offensives until training and delivery of the latest US arms took place.
  • Meanwhile, in civilian casualties for the past day, Ukrainian officials reported three civilians were killed and four injured in Donetsk, while one civilian was killed and four injured in Kharkiv. One civilian was killed and one injured in Zaporizhzhia, while four people were injured in Kherson.
  • Elsewhere, US officials said that Daniel W. Swift, a former US Navy Seal, was killed in Ukraine this week — making him the sixth American to be killed in Ukraine during the conflict. Swift, who went absent without leave (AWOL) from his post in 2019, was reportedly killed in Dnipro. "We cannot speculate as to why the former Sailor was in Ukraine," the Navy said in a statement.

Sources: Standard, Reuters, Ukrinform, and Associated Press.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by PBS NewsHour. This invasion is an egregious violation of international law. Putin's ultimate aim is to restore the Soviet empire, even if it takes massive bloodshed and false pretexts such as calling the 2014 Ukrainian revolution after an election a "coup". This unprovoked attack is the latest chapter in Putin's Orwellian attempt to rewrite history.
  • Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by National Security Archive. NATO and the US have ignored Russia's security concerns by breaking its promise not to expand eastward in return for German reunification. These concerns are legitimate and taking them seriously would have avoided the Ukraine tragedy.

Predictions