After months of preparations and training, Ukraine has launched a counteroffensive to push back Russian forces and retake occupied territory, as reported by various Western media such as the Washington Posthe Financial Times and ABC News. kyiv, which has repeatedly said that it will not announce the formal start of such an operation, remains silent and has not confirmed it.
According to the post citing four Ukrainian servicemen who spoke anonymously, including officers, Kiev’s troops, including specialized strike units armed with Western weapons and trained in NATO tactics, intensified their attacks on frontline positions in the southeast of the country this Wednesday night “beginning a significant push into Russian-occupied territory.” The American network ABC News has also reported referring to two Ukrainian sources, one of them close to President Volodimir Zelensky, that the active phase of the counteroffensive is already underway.
Asked about these revelations, a spokesman for the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces told Reuters: “We do not have such information.”RELATED
He Financial Times (FT) reports that kyiv has launched German-made main battle tanks against Russian positions in the southeast in “the first heavily armored assaults of their widely anticipated counter-offensive.” He cites two members of the army, two Western officials in kyiv and military analysts who say the moves are a clear sign that Ukraine’s summer offensive has begun in earnest.
The FT collects statements from Michael Kofman, a leading expert on the Russian Army, who maintains that, according to the actions of this Wednesday and the Western systems used, “it appears that the Ukrainian offensive is underway” and explains that the fighting is taking place. , apparently, “along the axis of Tokmak”, a strategic city in the Zaporizhia region.
Much of the military experts have so far argued that the main thrust of the Ukrainian counteroffensive will be precisely in the south, where many have pointed out that Ukrainian forces may try to cross the “land corridor” between Russia and the annexed Crimean peninsula, advancing through Zaporizhia, partially controlled by Moscow, towards the occupied city of Melitopol and the Azov Sea. If successful, several voices have explained, it could divide the Russian troops into two halves and cut supply lines further west, in the direction of the Crimea.
This Thursday, the Deputy Defense Minister, Hanna Maliar, explained that Russia “is on the defensive” in Oríjiv, in Zaporizhia. He has also reported that fighting continues in various parts of Donetsk, such as Bakhmut – whose capture Russia claimed in May – and the Velyka Novosilka area, which is located east of Zaporizhia and 120 kilometers north of Berdiansk, a key port. in the Azov Sea and part of the “land corridor” between Russia and Crimea.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has said that the Ukrainian armed forces have tried to break through the Russian defenses with 150 armored vehicles in the direction of Zaporizhia, but, he says, they were stopped. “As a result of a two-hour battle, the enemy lost 30 tanks, 11 infantry fighting vehicles and up to 350 personnel,” he has said. These claims have not been independently verified.
A senior American official has said to the New York Times that the attack seems to be the main axis of the expected Ukrainian counteroffensive. This Thursday morning. On Thursday, the British Defense Ministry reported that heavy fighting was taking place on “multiple sectors of the front,” adding that kyiv has the initiative in most areas. Reports of the fighting in Zaporizhia come as the country recovers from extensive flooding caused by the destruction of the major Kakhovka dam in Kherson.
preparation and silence
For months, Ukraine’s political and military leaders have said they are preparing a counteroffensive against Russian forces with a view to the arrival of warmer weather after winter and the consequent improvement of battlefield conditions for troop movement and equipment, and the deployment of more advanced Western weapons.
Kiev has insisted that it will not officially announce the start of the counteroffensive, in line with what has happened in previous operations of this nature, applies a regime of silence due to operational secrecy and has refused to reveal details, such as the address (or the directions) towards which you intend to move or the calendar.
The announced counteroffensive has been the target of intense speculation all this time, which increased last Monday, when various reports suggested that the Ukrainian forces were intensifying their attacks in various points in the east of the country. Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had thwarted a “large-scale offensive” at five points in the southern Donetsk region, one of two that make up Donbas in eastern Ukraine. At the same time, one of the pro-Russian leaders of the partially occupied Ukrainian region of Zaporizhia assured that the Ukrainian Army was trying to advance in this area.
Speaking to Reuters, Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, rejected Russian claims that the counter-offensive has already started. “All this is not true. When all this starts, our military will decide (…). When we start the counteroffensive, everyone will know it, they will see it”.
Some Western analysts pointed out after the information on Monday that the fighting had increased on the front line, they claimed it was too early to say for sure whether the Ukrainian counter-offensive had started or not. Some expert voices have warned that it can be difficult to identify the exact start and confusion has reigned on many occasions.
He think tank The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on Monday that the Russians and Ukrainians were signaling the start of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, but while its researchers noted increased combat activity in different sectors of the front line, they did not they speculated on the intent, weight or objective of the Ukrainian counteroffensive operations. “A successful counter-offensive operation may take days, weeks or even months before its outcome becomes fully clear,” the ISW added.
In a podcast recorded this Wednesday, Kofman stated that “it is fair to say that the Ukrainian offensive began a few days ago and that we are in its early stages.” “I think we’re beyond what people called setup operations beforehand. And I don’t think it’s some kind of reconnaissance and force attacks or just probing. I think there have been a number of Ukrainian operations between Vuhledar and Velyka Novosilka that are brigade level actions on that part of the front. It’s not very clear what’s going on in Zaporizhia, but there have been signs that there’s a lot more fighting and a lot more kind of intensified activity along the front line there as well.” And then, separately, he indicates, “there has been an ongoing Ukrainian counterattack around Bakhmut.”
The Ukrainian authorities have been saying for days that their Army is prepared to start counter-offensive operations. President Volodimir Zelensky said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal posted this weekend that Ukraine is ready, and at the same time stressed that it will take some time and will come at a high cost.
The Ukrainian authorities have publicly tried to lower expectations of the success of the operation to recover territory. Against the background is the fact that Kiev wants to show that its Army is not exhausted after more than a year of war and that the weapons and equipment it has received from the West, including the first tanks, can help make significant progress. on the battlefield.