Russian forces Struggle continue and their attempts to breach Ukraine’s defenses in the eastern areas of the country, according to the Ukrainian General Staff. The Russian invasion, which began almost a year ago, has struggled to gain momentum, with Russian artillery, drones, and missiles relentlessly pounding Ukrainian-held areas. This has resulted in indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets and widespread destruction.

Western officials and analysts believe that with the one-year anniversary of the war approaching, along with improved spring weather, both sides may be preparing for a critical phase in the fighting, with potential offensives from both sides.

The Kremlin is eager to secure eastern areas that it annexed last September, including the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia regions. Pro-Moscow separatists have controlled part of Donetsk and neighboring Luhansk province since 2014. Ukrainian Red Cross volunteers are evacuating immobile patients from Donetsk hospitals to medical trains operated by Doctors without Borders. These trains take patients to safer regions of Ukraine. The battles are draining weapons stockpiles on both sides, with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warning that Ukraine is using up ammunition far faster than its allies can provide it.

In addition, the U.K. Ministry of Defense has stated that Russia’s military industrial output is becoming a critical weakness. American defense officials believe that Iran is helping Russia sustain the bombardments in Ukraine by providing attack drones. Despite the intense fighting, Ukraine’s continued defense of Bakhmut, a mining town that has been a key target of Russia’s campaign in the east, has been “strategically sound” because it has sapped Moscow’s momentum, according to a U.S. think tank. This defense has degraded significant Russian forces, including units from the Wagner Group, a Russian private military contractor.

There has been some doubt about the wisdom of Ukraine holding out in Bakhmut as it could impact its expected spring offensive. However, support among the American public for providing Ukraine with weaponry and direct economic assistance has waned, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Forty-eight percent of those interviewed said they favored the U.S. providing weapons to Ukraine, while in May last year, 60% of U.S. adults said they were in favor of sending weapons to the country.

The Ukrainian General Staff stated that the enemy is attempting to take full control of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and is focusing its main efforts on conducting offensive operations in the Kupiansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Shakhtarsk areas.

These towns are located in the two provinces and on the eastern edge of the neighboring Kharkiv region. Despite the ongoing fighting, Ukrainian forces have managed to prevent Russian forces from breaking through their defenses, sapping their momentum and degrading significant Russian forces.

Still Russian forces struggle as the one-year anniversary of the conflict approaches, the situation in eastern Ukraine remains tense, and the fighting continues to rage on. Despite the challenges, Ukraine remains committed to defending its territory and protecting its citizens, while the international community continues to provide support and assistance to help the country weather the storm.