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Italian Newspaper Tells the Truth on Russian Advance

May 23, 2022 (EIRNS)—For the first time, a major Italian newspaper let a commander of a Donetsk fighting group explain the situation on the ground in Ukraine. Gian Micalessin, war correspondent for Il Giornale daily, interviewed Captain Filiponenko, who is leading the assault on Popashna, a key small town in Donetsk. From Popashna, the Russians and the independentists are advancing to conquer a section of Donbass between Lugansk and Donetsk. “Popashna here in the south and Rubiesnoye in the north,” explains Captain Filiponenko, “are the two jaws of the pincer that will crush the Ukrainians. From here we advance in three different directions. We aim north to Severodonetsk, west to Bahmut, and south, once past Troiske, we will march on Svitlodarsk to join the troops of the Donetsk republic.”

Micalessin wrote that “

The Russian strategy does not seem, in short, to be very different from that adopted in World War II when Stalin found himself having to recover territories occupied by the Third Reich. Basically, a concentric-circle advance supported by extremely intense artillery fire aimed at closing enemy troops in ever-wider pockets while ensuring an escape route capable of avoiding last-man battles like the one staged at Mariupol. In this case, the largest pocket, destined to define the fate of this sector, is bounded by Popashna to the south and Rubyesnoye to the north. The strategy, very different and very slow compared to those adopted by a West forced to come to terms with a public opinion now allergic to protracted conflicts, has its good points.”

“Contrary to what your military experts claim, the Russian army and ours,” Captain Filiponenko argues,

“are neither tired, nor demoralized, nor short of means. We could advance much faster, but this would cause very large losses among the population—largely Russian—of these territories, and among our soldiers. In addition, a faster advance would inevitably involve far greater destruction of cities and infrastructure that belong to our republics and we would have to eventually rebuild at our own expense.”

Indeed, 86 days into the war, the slow but systematic Donbass offensive—guaranteed by a partly silent, partly consenting public—appears to be bearing fruit, wrote Micalessin.

“Yesterday the commander of a platoon of the Ukrainian 115th Brigade deployed in Severodonetsk appealed to Zelenskyy, declaring that he could no longer defend the city. ‘You have sent us neither reinforcements nor heavy weapons, in this way,’ he said, ‘we have been condemned to certain death.’ ”

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