The attack in Lviv that left seven civilians dead and eleven wounded, including a child, was, as it turns out, primarily aimed at military infrastructure and it also hit a car tire factory. With all the talk that the war had moved to the Donbas, the attack on Lviv came as a surprise: This, a city in eastern Ukraine near the border, was thought of as a safe haven, a place secure from attacks to the extent that foreign embassies in Kyiv had been moved there at the start of the war.
As the BBC noted, the attacks “shattered” a sense of safety, leaving people wondering where they could go to avoid the bombs., killing seven civilians.
No one is safe, not even harmless civilians hiding in Lviv, merely 50 miles from the Ukrainian border. This is what the over 1200 missiles Russia fired yesterday what the 300 missiles Russia fired yesterday all over Ukraine symbolized. It’s an attritional battle, the objective is to cripple Ukraine’s economy in order to disrupt the needed supplies to its armed forces.
Frank Ledwidge, a military expert at the University of Portsmouth, told France 24, the real issue is one of logistics in battle “That’s where the West comes in. So, we have to stop these dribs and drabs of equipment here and there and institutionalize Ukraine’s supply in the next weeks and months and make sure that they win that attritional battle.”
Russia is going all-in on its invasion of Ukraine. The 8 year-long annexation plan, which started with the seizure of Crimea, is now showing itself in full colors. Attacking civilians nationwide is part of a broader strategy to annihilate morale and spread terror to cripple Ukrainian resistance.
But this is only part of the story. News usually focuses on the suffering of civilians, which is clearly a huge part of the conflict. The fact is, civilians will suffer and die in any war, if not as collateral damage, they will as direct targets to reduce morale.
What differentiates a war from another is the attacker’s objective and the defender’s response. The new wave of airstrikes is part of a plan aimed at paralyzing the Ukrainian military response. This is shown by the types of targets of the missiles, mainly aimed at the eastern part of Ukraine and military facilities.
The Russian defense ministry claimed to have struck a total of 315 military targets overnight, among which 16 Ukrainian military establishments, including five command posts, a fuel depot and three ammunition warehouses.
Putin’s strategy is clear and classic: imposing logistical difficulties and spreading terror with airstrikes while pushing with on-ground forces. This tactic could appear well-founded at first glance since the Ukrainian military is outnumbered by Russian forces both in quantitative and qualitative terms, and the battlefield is a series of inoffensive grasslands, a difficult terrain to defend.
Still, Ukraine has already proven Putin wrong as he expected a fast wipe-out of Ukrainian resistance in Kyiv and subsequent surrender of the whole nation. Russia has now shifted to a war of attrition, aimed at destabilizing Ukrainian forces capillarily.
Outpost by outpost, if necessary.
If this is the case, then Putin is in for a long hurdle. Many examples show that this attempt will most probably fail as well.
Mariupol has been completely besieged since March the 2nd. Ninety-five percent of the city is destroyed, and continuous airstrikes combine with on-ground assaults, leaving no respite to the last defenders of the city, a few military regiments holding out by and within the Azovstal steelworks, between the Kalmiuskyi and Livoberezhnyi district.
Last Saturday evening, Russian occupiers have offered to establish a “surrender corridor” to the remaining Ukrainian troops, who have answered they will never accept any form of surrender.
Such response seems to echo what happened in Snake Island, where a surrounded handful of border guards refused to surrender before the Russian warship Moskva. After the warship threatened of bombing them to death, the border guards replied with the phrase, which has now become proverbial: “Russian warship, go fuck yourself”.
The epilogue of the attack on Snake Island was unexpectedly positive for Ukraine. The border guards, presumed dead for a few days, were later found alive, in detention by the Russian navy. Some of them have already been released in an exchange of prisoners.
It is very likely that the end of the siege of Mariupol will not be as merry as that of Snake island or some of the many tragic stories of Ukrainian resistance unfolding in all the corners of the nation. In some cases, Ukrainian have been and will be simply wiped out, with no one chanting their last words and remembering their names. The ending, however, is not an important part of any of these stories.
All of these events are not connected by anything, if not for the inherent resolve that inspires every single Ukrainian, soldier or civilian, to resist Russia, actively or passively. This resolve seems to possess something programmatic and revealing regarding the outcome of the war: each fiber of Ukraine rejects Russia’s domination, to the point that It prefers to be annihilated rather than being subjugated.
Russia’s strategy is based on isolating each regiment of defenders and wiping them out one by one, but does it have the resources to actually do so? The answer is probably no. What Russia is betting on is that sooner or later Ukraine’s resolve will fade and a freshly appointed head of the new puppet government of Ukraine will hand the keys of Kyiv to Putin. It is a delirious dream.
The only way Russia could conquer Ukraine is by making it a wasteland. Even then, it would need to constantly counter guerrilla efforts to retake cities by the Ukrainian resistance, and most probably face increasing international retaliation.
The mayor of Mariupol Vadym Boychenko has recently declared that “the damage to the city is so severe it will take years to rebuild it”. Despite being immersed in death and desperation, the focus of his words is on the future. A future of normality, a future without Russia.
Putin can launch as many missiles as he wants, but they will only destroy or kill, not conquer.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: car tire factory hit in Lviv on April 18 Source: Screenshot from BBC video