Espreso. Global

First Ramstein results and situation at front line. Column by Serhiy Zgurets

21 May, 2024 Tuesday

The Ramstein meeting will focus on topical issues related to support of the Ukrainian Armed Forces


The 22nd meeting in the Ramstein format

When we talk about Ramstein, this is the 22nd meeting in the format of a contact group. We understand that extremely topical issues related to support for the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be discussed. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that the Kremlin's forces will try to make further progress and in the coming weeks will try to create a buffer zone along the Ukrainian border. He was referring to the situation related to Russia's offensive in the Kharkiv region.

We know that processes are underway to provide Ukraine with sufficient military assistance. The U.S. Secretary of Defense said that this process will continue, and providing Ukrainian artillery with ammunition and missiles for air defense is extremely important. Austin also emphasized that Ukraine desperately needs more air defense systems.

Recently, Ukraine's ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, said that she had talked with American representatives and that there was a question behind the scenes that the United States might give Ukraine another Patriot battery. There is no clear confirmation of this yet, but such discussions are ongoing.

Let me remind you that Zelenskyy said that Ukraine needs at least two Patriot batteries to be deployed to protect Kharkiv. We understand that the process of deploying such batteries is extremely complicated and difficult because this is an area close to the Russian border. We also understand that the question will arise: if such batteries arrive, it will mean shooting down Russian aircraft in Russian territory. And this again raises the question that Western weapons should be used only on Russian territory. We know that the United Kingdom has given such permission. Such issues are being discussed in the French parliament. And this is the rubicon of American weapons, which is extremely important for Ukraine to use the potential to destroy the enemy's capabilities in those areas where it accumulates forces and then strikes at Ukrainian territory.

The situation in the north of Kharkiv region

Now, against the backdrop of the Ramstein meeting, the situation along the entire front line remains difficult. Russia is trying to advance in the area of Vovchansk, but we understand that this area is extremely important. There have been reports from the Ukrainian side that the Ukrainian Armed Forces control 60% of Vovchansk. It was also reported that the Russian army might try to intensify its actions in other areas under pressure from Vovchansk.

Bakhmut direction

As for the area near Bakhmut, the Russian troops carried out a number of offensive actions there. These included frontal attacks on Chasiv Yar from the Kanal area, an attempt to move from Bohdanivka, and attacks near Ivanivske. There were reports of Russian attempts to intensify their actions in this area. On May 19, and the next day, there were reports that the Russian forces intensified hostilities, starting to use armored vehicles on a large scale. On Saturday, May 18, there were reports of Russia's attempt to break through to Ivanivske with 20 armored vehicles. The occupier suffered losses not only in equipment but also in manpower.

Dmytro Kozhubenko, an officer of the Rubizh brigade, a major in the National Guard, said that in the area of his brigade's responsibility, Russia is conducting small-group assaults on foot to identify Ukraine's firing points. That is, it can be called reconnaissance by combat, or rather assault meat, which the Russians do not spare. If they manage to identify Ukrainian firing points, they destroy them with artillery and FPV drones.

The NGU major noted that he was aware of a Russian assault on Ivanivske, where Ukrainian soldiers did a good job, but Russia failed. This once again proves that the Ukrainian Defense Forces can fight with what they have, even if they do not have enough shells.

The officer added that the Russian army is actively using Lancets and Orlans to hunt for Ukraine's artillery, and the only way to fight them is with electronic warfare and air defense. The Orlans' height is high, so it is difficult to shoot down with small arms, and the Lancets are more difficult to hit, but electronic warfare devices can also hit them.

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