Putin’s Troops Take Key Ground, Massive Battle Looming

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Young Ukrainian soldiers who were off duty met at a military storage facility.

This meeting was to take advantage of a rare break from the violence that has once more enveloped their torn-apart homeland in eastern Ukraine.


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The Looming Battle

Artillery bursts could be audible a few kilometers away as they laughed and ate pizza. This served as a warning of the impending struggle that threatens to take place in Slovyansk, where Russian proxy soldiers were captured in 2014.

One of the troops, who was unnamed for security reasons, stated, “Everyone understands there will be a big struggle in Slovyansk.”

The conflict recently resurfaced, eight years after their country was last invaded.

If Lysychansk, the last residual Ukrainian redoubt in the Luhansk region, is taken by Moscow, 70 kilometers (43 miles) to the east, Slovyansk can become the next important target in Moscow’s battle to take the Donbas area.

This is Ukraine’s manufacturing heartland with a majority Russian-speaking population.

 

Another warrior, a 23-year-old bookkeeper who enlisted when the invasion started, claimed Ukrainian forces lack the equipment necessary to repel the advancing Russian enemy’s superior weaponry.

He smiled melancholically and continued, “We know what’s coming.” The town was taken over and held by pro-Russian rebels for three months when these troops were still minors.

During the brief siege in 2014, Slovyansk was harassed and hundreds of authorities and journalists were held hostage.

Whenever the Ukrainian army surrounded the city to retake it, fierce combat and shelling broke out.

Actually, Slovyansk was never out of the conflict.

Tetiana Khimion, a 43-year-old dance director who turned a fishing shop into a hub for neighborhood military groups, claimed it didn’t leave people’s thoughts.

“On the one hand, since we are familiar with it, it is simpler for us. However, because we have been living in a paused state for the past eight years, it is harder for us.”

The Political Issue

Slovyansk is a city whose loyalties are divided.

Older citizens frequently express affection for Russia or longing for their Soviet past in this area because of the significant number of retired people living there. Additionally, the Ukrainian army and government are viewed with suspicion.

One tenant, Sergei, claimed he thought Ukraine was responsible for the recent bombardment of his apartment building.


“I don’t support either Russia or Ukraine.” He stated, “I fall somewhere in the middle. Everyone should comprehend that civilians are killed by both Russians and Ukrainians.”

A group of elderly people were irate on Thursday after a roadside bomb tore through their roofs and broke their windows, which they were unable to conceal.

“Ukraine claims to be defending us, but what sort of security is this?” questioned a man who didn’t give his name.

His neighbor, Tatyana, said of Biden, “They prostrate to that Biden, may he perish!”