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Putin’s Disaster: The Russian Military’s Big Ukraine Failure Is Now Clear

Ukrainian soldiers stand on top of a tank, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in the frontline city of Lyman, Donetsk region, Ukraine April 28, 2022. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Another Example: Four-Pronged Russian Attack on Severodonetsk Pushed Back – Intense fighting in the Donbas region of Ukraine continues, which President Volodymyr Zelensky has characterized as turning into “hell.” Russian military units attacked all four sides of the city of Severodonetsk to encircle Ukraine troops in the area. 

Zelensky warned that the final stages of the war could be among the costliest as Russia continues its invasion of eastern Ukraine, adding that the Russians continue to attack civilians and civilian targets.

The Battle for Severodonetsk, Ukraine

“In Donbas, the occupiers are trying to increase pressure. There’s hell, and that’s not an exaggeration,” Zelensky said. “The brutal and absolutely pointless bombing of Severodonetsk … 12 dead and dozens wounded in just one day. The bombing and shelling of other cities, the air and missile strikes of the Russian army – all this is not just hostilities during the war.”

Severodonetsk is in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas of Ukraine that Russian-backed separatists held before the war. The area is collectively known as the Donbas. 

“Severodonetsk was assaulted from four sides at once, but the enemy was repelled and retreated to previous positions,” the morning brief from the president’s office released on Sunday morning. 

The statement added that seven civilian homes in Severodonetsk and at least 27 more homes in surrounding towns and villages were damaged.

Russian troops advanced more than 6 miles toward the town of Soledar, trying to cut the main supply route for Ukrainian troops in the area while encircling them. Russian airstrikes have targeted the city of Bakhmut west of the Russian-controlled city of Popasna. 

In its daily briefing, the Ukrainian General Staff said, “The enemy fired with mortars and artillery on the positions of the Defense Forces along the entire line of contact, concentrating efforts in the direction of the settlements of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.”

“The enemy forces are preparing to resume the offensive in the Sloviansk direction,” the general staff added. 

Ukraine War: Mariupol as the Blueprint

On Saturday, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said that Russian forces were trying to destroy Severodonetsk as they had to Mariupol. With more than 15,000 of the city’s residents hiding in shelters, the Russian air and artillery strikes have killed six people, including two who were sheltering in a school basement, two women were killed by Russian artillery in nearby towns of Lysychansk and Privillia, and a man and woman who were killed in shelling near their house in Severodonetsk.

Haidai spoke with CNN and said that Russian forces “have thrown all their forces and efforts into the assault on Severodonetsk and cutting off the Lysychansk-Bakhmut route, so that we can’t evacuate people, deliver the humanitarian aid or deliver any supplies or ammunition to our defenders.”

Russian troops have made only marginal gains elsewhere in the region. The move by Russian troops to encircle Ukrainian troops from the Popasna area included airborne troops (VDV) and members of the Wagner Group. 

Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for and other military news organizations, he has covered the NFL for for over 10 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.

Written By

Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 1945, he covers the NFL for and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.



  1. from Russia with love

    May 22, 2022 at 1:13 pm

    Does the author have schizophrenia? in the title he writes about the great failure of the Russian army, and in the article that the Russian army is advancing on Solidar and Bakhmut from the liberated Popasna and is already storming Severodonetsk. By the way, I have a question for the author, why haven’t civilians been evacuated from Severodonetsk, despite the fact that the offensive against Severodonetsk has been going on for 2 weeks already? this is a rhetorical question. the Ukrainian army needs civilians as a human shield, just as they did in Mariupol.
    apparently this article was born after severe intoxication with a story about the evacuation of the Nazis from Azovstal 🙂 to prison 🙂
    hmmm… somewhere I already read something similar… oh! this is a copy of the German media about the special operation to evacuate the 6th Army of Paulus from Stalingrad in 1942. 🙂
    The author has outdated data. Severodonetsk is already surrounded by Russian troops from three sides. on the fourth side of the river. There were 3 bridges across the river. 2 were blown up by Ukrainian troops. the third bridge was destroyed by Russian troops on May 21, 2022.
    Ukrainian grouping in Severodoneuk is completely blocked and will be eliminated in the near future. Lisichansk (on the other side of Severodonetsk) is also being attacked.

  2. Vladolph Putler

    May 22, 2022 at 11:15 pm

    The full mass of Russia’s peacetime military pumped up with fresh green conscripts after suffering sustained, and blistering casualties- is taking fewer casualties during armor engagements. Why? Because their BTG’s are understaffed. XD

    Russia does indeed have Severodonetsk encircled. But in the same note, Popansa is also surrounded by Ukrainian forces. Both forces have firing solutions on their supply lines. Not exactly encirclement by typical definitions, but I suppose also not completely untrue.

    Having said that, it’s been weeks of Russians getting roasted on river crossings, and they have gained a few miles. Perhaps they will actually hold it. While this was going on, Ukrainian forces pushed Russians back from Karkhiv, taking piles of POW’s, inflicting substantial casualties, and are holding gained territory.

    I’m not sure “storming” would be the word. If your “storming” ended in retreat, it means your forces got turned into maggot meat. If you feel that is worthy of cheer, I suppose I will cheer with you. Yay! 😀

    There will be more conscripts anyway. However the supply of *working* armor is dwindling badly. Given that Russian conscripts are tasked with stealing refrigerators and washing machines to pillage electronics to fix tanks? I’d say the situation might be a bit on the dire side.

    The Red Army has never valued the lives of conscripts. Sending them out into no mans land- not to collect the bodies of fallen comrades- but to strip their uniforms to reissue to fresh conscripts! 😛

    • from Russia with love

      May 23, 2022 at 3:04 pm

      you also forgot to tell how the Ukrainian military forced the Russians to evacuate 2.5 thousand Azov people from Azovstal 🙂 to prison 🙂
      about the environment of the wax DNR in Papasnaya is cool! Probably the hit of this month!
      I almost forgot… something is still going on in Krasny Liman. there someone grunting loudly has already lost half of the city;)

    • from Russia with love

      May 25, 2022 at 4:13 am

      something is wrong with Popasna’s entourage. for some reason, the Ukrainian forces surrounding Popasna are fleeing.
      probably all right. probably the Ukrainian military just confused the direction in which to attack 🙂

  3. Stefan Stackhouse

    May 23, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    Create a desert and call it peace. The Russians are not the first to operate that way.

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