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21 Jan, 2024 15:56

Frontline situation ‘dramatic’ for Ukraine – German reporter

Forces severely lack ammunition and manpower, according to Die Welt’s correspondent in Kiev
Frontline situation ‘dramatic’ for Ukraine – German reporter

The situation on the front lines is becoming increasingly disadvantageous for Ukraine, a Kiev-based correspondent with German daily Die Welt reported this week. Ukrainian troops severely lack ammunition and personnel to fend off Russian attacks, according to Paul Ronzheimer, citing “generals and soldiers” whom he has “constantly been in contact with.”

Kiev’s troops have largely gone on the defensive following the failure of their much-hyped summer counteroffensive. The operation, which began in early June 2023, failed to gain much ground or bring about significant changes to the front lines, despite heavy personnel and equipment losses.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has previously estimated Ukraine’s losses during the failed counteroffensive at 160,000. Moscow also described Kiev’s total losses throughout the conflict as catastrophic, estimating that nearly 400,000 soldiers have been killed or wounded since February 2022.

Late last year, Kiev intensified its mobilization efforts in a bid to replenish the troop pool. President Vladimir Zelensky stated earlier that the military wanted up to 500,000 new recruits.

According to Ronzheimer, “mobilization isn’t working.” Ukraine has also been flooded with reports about difficult situations at the front lines, the reporter said, without mentioning any particular news pieces. Kiev’s forces were also about to run out of ammunition for its Western-made air defense systems, such as America’s Patriot, he noted, characterizing the situation as a “major concern” for the local population.

Ukrainian “generals and …soldiers” also told the correspondent that the frontline situation “is extremely tense,” particularly near the Donbass city of Avdeevka, a strategic location north of Donetsk that’s seen heavy fighting over the past months.

The Ukrainian generals want “more mobilization” efforts, Ronzheimer wrote, adding that they want to “send more soldiers” into the fray.

In another report earlier this week, the correspondent noted that Ukrainian troops had taken to the defensive along the entire front line in the East and the South, and were still struggling to hold ground. Moscow’s troops launched “massive attacks” in 80 areas “along several hundred kilometers of the front,” he added.

“We keep hearing the messages from the soldiers, which become more dramatic,” Ronzheimer reported, adding that Kiev’s troops had warned they would hardly be able to defend their current positions with whatever they had in stock as of that moment.

It will be “very difficult” for Ukrainian troops to hold Avdeevka in the long term, since Moscow’s forces were making steady progress in that area, Ronzheimer said. “The Russians are on the offensive there and are making progress meter by meter,” he added, while noting that such advances are still quite costly for Moscow.