With 100 days since Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) warned Friday of a protracted war of attrition, and the United Nations, for its part, ruled out a victory for either side.
Until then, Russia had controlled 20% of Ukraine’s territory and its attack is currently targeting the Donbass region (east) and the strategic city of Severodonetsk.
“We had some success in the battle of Severodonetsk. But it is still too early. This is currently the most difficult region,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday evening. He spoke of a similar situation in the area, especially in Lysichansk and in Pakhmut.
Across the Donbass region, he said the situation “hasn’t changed much over the day.” Before that, he had indicated that the situation in the east was “very difficult”, adding: “We lose between 60 and 100 soldiers a day. They are killed in battle and about 500 are wounded.”
“Today we fight and control every meter” of the region, said Sergei Godai, governor of the Luhansk region. “Despite all the statements from the Russians,” he added, “she is still under the Ukrainian flag.”
Godday said Russian troops “destroyed everything that characterizes the Lugansk region for 100 days”, noting that more than 400 kilometers of “roads built to European standards” were destroyed, as well as 33 hospitals, 237 rural clinics, about 70 schools. and 50 nurseries.
He explained that Severodonetsk, the administrative capital of the region, is “80% occupied” by Russian troops, and fighting is raging in the streets.
The Ukrainian president said on Thursday that Russian troops currently control “about 20%” of his country’s territory, or about 125,000 square kilometers.
Russian pressure also remains high on Donetsk and Slovyansk, the other region of Donbass, about 80 km west of Severodonetsk. The residents of the area in particular are faced with a shortage of gas, water and electricity.
Weapons and foreign fighters
Ukraine is awaiting delivery of more powerful missile launch systems promised by US President Joe Biden in the hopes that it will change the balance of power on the ground.
Today, Ukraine’s defense minister said: “Our crews have started training in Europe and the United States on the use of US missile launchers.”
“Our forces had some success in Severodonetsk overnight,” he added, urging the West to take measures to speed up the shipment of military aid.
Moscow confirmed on Thursday that it had halted the flow of foreign “mercenaries” seeking to fight alongside the Ukrainian army after suffering heavy casualties in recent weeks.
The Russian defense ministry said the number of foreign fighters has “almost halved” from 6,600 to 3,500, explaining that a “large number” of them would like to leave the country as soon as possible.
The railways were bombed in the region of Lviv (west), where weapons arrive that are sent to Ukraine by western countries.
In the south, Ukrainians are concerned about the annexation of areas occupied by Russian troops, while Moscow has discussed organizing referendums from July next year.
In the west get ready
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that Western countries should prepare for a “war of attrition” for a “longer period”.
On Wednesday, Stoltenberg – in a news conference with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken – said the war in Ukraine “could end tomorrow if Russia stops its aggression”.
“But we don’t see any signs of that direction at this stage,” he added.
The NATO secretary told reporters: “We have to prepare for the long term because what we see is that this war has become a war of attrition.”
Stoltenberg is visiting the US capital to prepare for the NATO summit scheduled for June 28-30 in Madrid, and expressed his determination to deliver results by that date.
He reiterated that NATO does not want to engage in a direct confrontation with Russia, but in turn pointed to NATO’s “responsibility” in providing aid to Ukraine.
For his part, the US Secretary of State said Russia’s war in Ukraine will last “several months”.
The United Nations, for its part, confirmed on Friday that no side will win Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“There is no victor and no side will be victorious in this war. Instead, for 100 days we have witnessed what has been lost: lives, homes, jobs and opportunities,” said the organization’s assistant secretary general. and UN coordinator for Ukraine, Amin Awad, said in a statement.