Why can’t Ukraine mount a real counter-offensive in the south occupied by the Russians

The Ukrainian armed forces successfully use Western weapons, striking the enemy’s rear, but do not have enough human resources to launch a full-fledged counteroffensive in the south.

The next course of events on the front will depend on the stability of the US and partners’ aid to Ukraine, says military expert Jonathan Marcus, a professor at the University of Exeter, quoted by the BBC.

He believes that currently none of the sides has the power and capabilities to fundamentally change the situation on the battlefield. A potential counter-offensive of Ukraine in the south seems impossible, as the Armed Forces do not have the necessary numerical advantage over the enemy.

“The problem is this: you can prepare the battlefield as you like, but launching a successful offensive requires a three-to-one advantage in combat strength: one soldier on the defensive and three on the offensive. The southern Ukrainians not only do not have such a level of advantage, but also, in my opinion, they do not have enough prepared, trained, maneuverable forces to launch such an offensive, ”said Marcus.

At the same time, he noted that the Armed Forces chose a very correct and effective tactic of exhausting and disarming the enemy, through targeted strikes on military warehouses, accumulation of equipment, logistical connections and troops. The expert points out that the insufficient number of people and weapons of the Russians was a surprise for many.

“They lost a lot of personnel from the elite units. Those volunteer units, which they creakingly recruit, are not suitable for the battlefield, but only for the maintenance of already occupied territories. It seems incredible to many, but the Russians really lack men and equipment! The Russians hope to somehow survive this winter – and during this time they really want to create a radically different atmosphere around Ukraine and its support from the West,” Markus concluded.

And the British Ministry of Defense says in its assessment on Saturday that there have been few changes on the front line recently, but the explosions that have affected Russian military bases behind Russian lines are putting pressure on the enemy.

In the past week there have been only minimal changes in territorial control along the front line. In Donbas, after small advances since early August, Russian forces have moved closer to the outskirts of Bakhmut, but have not yet penetrated the built-up area. Russia made no major effort to advance into the Zaporizhia or Kharkov sectors.

In the southwest, neither Ukrainian nor Russian forces have made progress on the Kherson front line. However, the British Ministry of Defense claims that “increasingly frequent explosions behind Russian lines are likely to put pressure on Russian logistics and airbases in the south”.

What strategy is Kiev using?

Ukraine was outnumbered throughout the Russian invasion – Russian forces used heavy artillery fire to destroy the fighting force of the Ukrainian army. For example, in the Donbass region, they bombed urban areas to make them uninhabitable and therefore impossible to defend.

In addition to the open fighting along the front line, Ukraine is also waging a shadow war inside the occupied zones. Special operations forces agents and partisans have “sowed terror among collaborationist officials in a series of car bomb attacks, assassinations with firearms, Ukrainian officials say, at least one poisoning,” The New York Times reports.

Despite the Western military aid Ukraine receives, “Russia maintains an overwhelming superiority in troops and ammunition, and in recent weeks the Kremlin has begun to strengthen its military in the Kherson region, transferring resources there from eastern Donbas,” the Times reports . Ukraine has laid important building blocks of its planned counteroffensive in Kherson, but so far “the disruption of supply lines has not eroded Moscow’s overwhelming advantage in artillery, ammunition and heavy equipment, making it difficult, if not impossible, for Ukrainian forces to advance without to suffer huge human losses”.

Military analysts estimate that Ukraine does not have the forces for a large-scale assault on Kherson.

Also, according to Phillips O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews of Scotland, quoted by the Times, “The real limitations the Ukrainians face is that advancing in today’s combat environment is really difficult. If you don’t have total command of the skies and the ability to clear the way for your troops, the soldiers engaged in advance are in real danger of being swept away.”

Ukrainian leaders want to try to recapture Kherson before Russia holds a referendum on whether to absorb the province into Russia, or at least disrupt that effort, writes The Week. Unfortunately for Ukraine, their best chance to counter Russia requires isolating Russian forces on the west side of the Dnipro River, which could last months, not weeks, blocking Ukrainian forces, said Michael Kofman, an expert on Russian studies. and strategy.

“The position that the Russian army has in Kherson is the most difficult to defend among the territories they have occupied,” Kofman said. “Once these bridges are destroyed and once they lose the rail connection to Kherson, it will be very complicated for them to transport ammunition there. They will be forced to retreat to positions that are at best outside the city. “

Russian forces cannot support a ground operation without reliable lines of communication and resupply, the US Institute for the Study of War said in its report last weekend. “Bringing ammunition, fuel and heavy equipment in sufficient quantity for large-scale offensive or even defensive operations over pontoon bridges or by air is impractical, if not impossible. If Ukrainian forces have disrupted all three bridges and can prevent the Russians from restoring them for a long period of time, then Russian forces on the west bank of the Dnieper will likely lose their ability to defend even against Ukrainian counterattacks limited.”

Source: Breaking News – Cele mai importante stiri – Ziare.com by ziare.com.

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