Civilians are returning to the free cities of the Donetsk region. Worldʼs leading media about the war on February 20

Anton Semyzhenko


Ukraine is capable of defeating Russia on the battlefield, but itʼs unlikely to happen this year, suggests the broadcasterʼs journalist Tim Lister in an analytical article on CNN. He begins the piece with compliments for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which "put faces of the much powerful forces on the ground" — and exposed the backward tactics, slow leaders and broken morale of the Russian army, which turned out to be "more suitable for parades than for battles." The Ukrainian military proved to be very adaptable, ready to creatively use new technologies and attack the systemic mistakes of the Russian army. "And in general, who expected a year ago that the vintage planes of the Ukrainian Air Force would still fly?" ― Lister sums up ironically. However, even such armed forces have weaknesses, the most dangerous of which is the lack of equipment. The key characteristic of the problems of the Ukrainian Armed Forces of the near future may be the word "untimely", suggests Lister. The world still agreed to provide Ukraine with the necessary Western tanks, but "even with fair winds" they will arrive no earlier than April, and then it will be necessary to coordinate the work of their crews. GLSDB shells, which are needed by Ukraine and already promised to Kyiv, capable of destroying the bases and warehouses of the occupiers at a distance of up to 150 kilometers, may arrive as early as autumn — after the offensive operations of both the Russians and the Ukrainians, which, most likely, will determine the further course of this war. Russia, on the other hand, has few trump cards. Their only successful tactic in this war is to destroy everything in sight to make the area undefendable. This happened to Lysychansk, Soledar, Mariupol, the author recalls. However, even the free territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which Putin ordered to seize, is larger than the American state of Connecticut. To capture it in this way, you need a lot of shells — and the Russians are already running out of them. It is unlikely that we will see a significant change in Russian tactics, because the inflexible and error-prone head of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov is leading the invasion. "His tenure only means that untrained and unmotivated Russian soldiers will continue to be asked more than they are capable of," Lister writes. But Putin still has a lot of soldiers. The author concludes the article by suggesting that after the surge in fighting activity this spring, the frontline will once again stabilize, although brutal fighting with high numbers of dead and wounded on both sides will continue. When Ukraine receives all the promised weapons, the situation may change, "however, the lines of the Ukrainian national anthem that enemies will die like dew on the sun are unlikely to come true this year."

A report on how civilians are returning to Slovyansk and Kramatorsk was published by The Washington Post. Even last spring, the population of these cities decreased to 25 and 40 thousand, respectively, against 110 and 220 thousand before the war. Now, according to the local authorities, the number of people there is twice as large as in the spring — and, for example, 20 children are born every month in the Slovyansk hospital, which is four times more than it was in the most difficult times. Those who return even open new businesses: coffee shops, pizzerias, sushi bars. Daytime traffic in Slovyansk has become so dense that the city authorities have restored traffic lights, writes WP. Locals assure that if you ignore the alarms and sometimes being hit, life has not changed for them. Instead, the military and local authorities remind us that the situation can only seem safe, and the relative calm in the free part of Donetsk may disappear in a negative scenario. Some interlocutors of the publication from among civilians say that the reason for them to think about leaving may be the departure of the Ukrainian Armed Forces from Bakhmut. But not for the owner of the newly opened cafe, Kateryna Gordeeva from Slovyansk. "Unless they will reach here," she says. "If I see Russians on APCs in the city, then I will leave."