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Russians want to capture Vuhledar to secure the inviolability of the «corridor» from Russia to Crimea — military expert

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Estimated Reading Time: 3 min

Recently, Russian troops have intensified activities towards Vuhledar in Donetsk Oblast. Why is this town crucial for them, and what role does it play on the eastern Ukrainian front? Oleksiy Hetman, a military expert and reserve major of the National Guard of Ukraine, explained on Hromadske Radio.

«Vuhledar is the southern flank of our eastern front. The Russians had two largest groups – at the Kupyansk-Lyman direction and at the Vuhledar direction. Almost a year ago, when they attacked Bakhmut, the Russians planned to break through the defenses there and move to Vuhledar to the south and to Kupyansk and Lyman to the north, thus surrounding a large number of our troops. That’s why these flanks from Kupyansk to Vuhledar are crucial to them. They were planning to attack Vuhledar from the north after capturing Mariinka, to go around it. So far, they have not succeeded, but it remains a priority goal for them. Capturing this city is very important; it will ensure the inviolability of the land corridor leading from Russia to Crimea through Vuhledar, Tokmak, and along this railway to Dzhankoy», — explains Hetman.

In the near future, the Russians will be particularly active in trying to achieve success on some part of the frontline, believes the military expert. This is due to the upcoming presidential elections in Russia.

«By and large, any direction is important for them now because they are already in the campaign phase before the so-called presidential elections. Therefore, they need at least some victories on the frontline, and they are looking for ways to achieve them. They are attacking Kupyansk, Maryinka, Bakhmut, and now Vuhledar. They need at least something, at least some good news for them from the frontline before 15-17 March when Putin’s election is due. That’s why they will go everywhere and look for where, from their point of view, our positions are the weakest, but so far they have not found them», — says Hetman.

From time to time, there are reports of a new Russian offensive against Kyiv being prepared, but so far, this information is not true.

«It can be assumed, but only theoretically. So far, there is no Russian grouping on our northern border, near Sumy, Chernihiv, and Kyiv regions, that would be capable of taking any offensive actions. According to various estimates, there may be up to 20,000 people there, although there is also information about 5-7,000. These units may be preparing training grounds or tent camps for the military, who may enter to take offensive action. We can assume, and our military and political leadership has talked about this a lot, that our defence on the northern border will be strengthened. The enemy needs two to three weeks to move a large number of troops there. Therefore, if they start such actions, an offensive can be expected in about a month. But so far, nothing of the sort is happening», — the military expert said.

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