Russian forces are edging closer to seizing the last pocket of resistance in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region, with battles raging in Syveryodonetsk and near its sister city, Lysychansk.
The Russian gains have been costly, analysts say, with high casualties and equipment losses, leading British defense intelligence to predict that Moscow’s momentum will slow over the next few months.
Kyiv, meanwhile, continues to urge for greater and quicker shipments of Western arms and ammunition as Ukrainian forces also sustain big losses and deplete their stockpiles of munitions in the intense fighting in the Donbas.
Despite the predictions of lost momentum, the war seems far from over. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on June 20 that the war could last years, an assessment echoed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In a 73-minute speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on June 17 that Moscow would not back down from its current goal to take the eastern Donbas region away from Ukraine. The defiant message to the West came as many analysts believe the Russian president is hoping that Western attention and support for Ukraine will fade and falter over time, allowing the Kremlin a chance to grind out a victory from its costly invasion.
To find out more, RFE/RL spoke with Margarita Konaev, a fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology.
Read the full interview from Radio Free Europe.