The upcoming offensive of the Ukrainian army has been discussed at various levels for several months not only in Ukraine, but also in the West and even in Russia. From the point of view of officials, military experts and journalists, it looks like such an inevitable event that it is no longer decided whether the counter-offensive will start at all, but its details, goals and possible outcome are discussed.
Ukrainian soldiers prepare missiles from self-propelled howitzers in Khasiv Yar, the site of heavy fighting with Russian forces in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
The biggest question marks hang over when Ukraine will launch the attack and the direction in which it is going to attack. The Ukrainian army thus becomes hostage to a situation when it seems that the enemy is also demanding an attack, writes the Russian-language editorial staff of the BBC server.
The Ukrainians have not carried out any large-scale offensive actions since last fall, when dozens of square kilometers in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions were liberated in a lightning counter-offensive, and subsequently the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson. Shortly before that, Russian President Vladimir Putin managed to declare it as the new center of the territory annexed by Russia.VIDEO: Accurate shot. The Russians are not safe even on the left bank of the Dnieper
One cannot ignore the question of whether a counter-offensive will actually begin, or whether it is just a clever information operation, the task of which could be anything from confusing the Russian army to mobilizing Ukrainians to activating Western aid to Kiev. But everything indicates that Ukraine is indeed preparing for a large-scale offensive operation (or a series of operations) against Russian troops, and that the attack may begin in the near future.
Russian goals cannot be taken seriously
The first clue is entirely conceptual. Russia is waging a war in Ukraine with unrealistic goals – no one can take seriously the effort to “denazify and demilitarize Ukraine”, as Putin said more than a year ago. Ukraine, on the other hand, is specific – it wants to restore its territory to the extent of the 1991 borders, i.e. including Donbass and the Crimean peninsula. The two countries have not held any negotiations since last year, which means that Kiev can achieve its goals in only one way – through the use of force.
The content of Western military aid in recent months also speaks for the early start of the counter-offensive. These are mainly ammunition, but also items used in maneuver warfare. For example, the US aid package announced on May 3 includes tractor-trailers to transport heavy equipment.VIDEO: Look at the sky. Ukrainian fighter jets hit the Russian occupiers
The proximity of the counter-offensive is also indicated by the decision of the Russian occupation administration of the Zaporozhye region, which “evacuated” residents of 18 villages, including larger cities such as Tokmak and Enerhodar, near which the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant is located. The same action was taken by the Russians last fall, on the eve of the announcement of the “difficult decision” to withdraw their troops from Kherson.
God, weather and commanders
And finally, representatives of the highest Ukrainian military and political leadership are publicly talking about a counter-offensive. “As soon as there is God’s will, the weather and the decision of the commanders, we will do it,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said at a press conference on April 28.
Western media and some military experts claim that Kiev feels considerable pressure from its Western allies in this regard. The logic is simple – support in many states is constantly decreasing, and the people of Western countries want the money provided by them to have a visible result.VIDEO: Reached 250 km. Where will the Russians hide from British Storm Shadow missiles?
“Kiev really has no choice but to launch a major spring or summer offensive,” Russia expert Mark Galeotti wrote in The Times at the end of April. To retain the support of the West, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will have to show what Washington calls a “return on investment.”
When exactly the counter-offensive will start and what it will look like is, for obvious reasons, a closely guarded secret. In early April, the head of Ukraine’s Security Council, Oleksiy Danilov, said that “only three to five people in the whole world” know these details of the planned operation. Danilov also said on May 9 that the final offensive plan has not yet been approved by Zelensky’s office. “We have several options. They are all being worked on,” he said.Read more Ukraine’s air defense is getting stronger thanks to Western weapons and experience
According to some commentators, the condition of the soil, which must be hard enough for heavy military equipment to pass through, is decisive. However, many Ukrainian experts note that decisions cannot be made based only on the supply of equipment or the weather – such a complex operation depends on a large number of different factors, including the readiness of one’s own forces and the evaluation of the state of the enemy’s forces.
Five possible directions
Perhaps the most classified part of the upcoming offensive is its direction. If we leave aside the completely crazy versions that come out of the mouths of Russian military informants – such as the occupation of parts of the Belgorod and/or Bryansk regions by Ukrainian troops with the prospect of the subsequent “exchange” of the occupied territory for parts of the Donbass or Crimea – military experts and the media talk about five possible directions offensives.
A counter-offensive in the Zaporozhye region is considered the most likely, where the Ukrainian army could draw on several advantages. Not only would it regain control of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, but if its troops reached the Sea of Azov, it would cut off Russia’s land link with the Crimean peninsula and isolate the troops there. Moreover, in such a case, almost the entire territory of Crimea would be within reach of Ukrainian artillery. The disadvantage of this variant is the strong defensive lines of the Russians and the open terrain, which presents problems for ground troops fighting an enemy with air superiority.VIDEO: Reached 250 km. Where will the Russians hide from British Storm Shadow missiles?
Counter-offensives near Vuhledar towards the logistics hub of Volnovach to the Sea of Azov, near Kherson, where it is necessary to cross the Dnieper and face the Russian air force again, near Bakhmut, which is more of a political than a strategic objective, or at Svatov to the north of Luhansk area. In the latter case, the Ukrainians could drive the Russian soldiers to the Russian border, but in that case they would not only extend their own front, but at the same time they would be threatened with attack from the south, from the occupied territory of the Luhansk region, and from the north from Russia.Read more Zelenskyi: Ukraine needs more time for the offensive
Source: Pravda – Správy by spravy.pravda.sk.
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