Written by 21:08 World

As Fighting Rages in Ukraine, a Struggle Is On for Artillery Supremacy

With President Biden in France rallying support for Ukraine’s fight against Russia, ammunition and weaponry from an aid package approved by Congress this spring is arriving at the front in quantities sufficient to help stabilize defenses, soldiers and commanders said in interviews.

Russia, though, still holds an artillery advantage, which has been key in the war in Ukraine.

Lt. Denys Yaroslavsky, a commander in northeastern Ukraine, where Russian forces attacked across the border last month and threatened to advance toward Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, said on Thursday that Ukrainian artillery crews could now fire more frequently at Russian forces.

The Russian advance has largely stalled. But to the south of Kharkiv, in Ukraine’s Donbas region, Russia has renewed assaults on Ukrainian lines.

Overall, the front line has not shifted significantly in more than two weeks, despite fierce and bloody fighting, according to soldiers on the front, military reports and satellite maps of the battlefield compiled by independent monitoring groups.

Here is a look at the state of the battlefield.

Russia attacked across the border into northeastern Ukraine on May 10, raising fears that its forces might advance to Kharkiv, or at least within artillery range of the city. Bringing artillery pieces like howitzers closer to Kharkiv would allow Russian forces to bombard the city more intensely and effectively. At present, Russia has to rely on longer-range aerial bombs and missiles, which are more expensive than artillery shells.

But to get within artillery range, the Russian Army would need to push at least as far again as it has in the past three weeks.

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Last modified: 7 June 2024
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