The Ukrainian army may have begun the most important stage of its counter-offensive
After weeks of preparations, the Ukrainian army may have begun the most important phase of its counter-offensive, attempting to break through Russian defenses in hopes of achieving success deemed necessary in the context of the ongoing war.
And based on its plan several days ago, the Ukrainian authorities still adhere to an ambiguous position regarding its operations.
For their part, the Russians assert that they repelled a Ukrainian attack in the Zaporizhia region, noting that they caused heavy losses to Kiev.
Many observers believe that \”the Ukrainian counterattack has begun\”, including analysts from the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW), who say that not one \”large operation\” is expected, but a number of coordinated operations, as is currently taking place.
\”Given the use of Western equipment, it appears that the Ukrainian attack is in progress,\” the British newspaper \”Financial Times\” quoted US analyst Michael Kaufman as saying.
For weeks, Kiev has been carefully preparing for its attack by multiplying innovative measures to shape the battlefield, by sending drones to Moscow, attacks on Russian territory, and strengthening reconnaissance operations to test the opponent\’s defense…
Ukraine is in the game strong. The authorities are also aware that they will not have many available opportunities to expel the Russians and restore the occupied territories, in light of their acquisition of Western military equipment. This comes at a time when its population has become smaller and it has been deprived of part of its lands, and the population is languishing under the repeated and deep Russian bombing.
\”The pressure is very strong on the Ukrainians and we may be at a turning point in the war,\” a senior French officer said Wednesday, commenting on the various Ukrainian preparatory measures that he confirmed were part of the attack.
He added, \”I have a feeling that they will play all their cards. If it succeeds, they will negotiate from a position of strength. And if it does not succeed … well … in less than two years there will be US elections.\” \”Certain stocks (of Western weapons) have reached critical levels, they know the rope is stretched,\” he said, noting that \”if it doesn\’t work out, negotiations will take place under less favorable conditions. And the Ukrainians know that very well.\”
French military historian Michel Goya told AFP earlier this week that in the Zaporizhia region, where the Russians say they repulsed an attack, \”the front is largely fortified, but less densely than in the Donetsk region. But if you reach Melitopol, that\’s a target.\” Strategic: cutting the front into two parts,” considering that “all indicators converge towards this area.”
Along the front, the Russians deployed \”about six defensive lines,\” a French military source explained. In the Zaporizhia region, some Russians called these lines the \”Faberge line\” in reference to the luxurious egg that was considered a jewel for the tsar in the 19th century.
The senior officer explained, \”The first line consists of strong points that allow to see what is happening, and the second line to stop the attack, which is rigged to a large extent. Then the artillery, and the first tanks to counter the counterattack, and finally the precautions, then the command and logistics sites.\” All this over a range of about thirty kilometers.
For the Ukrainians, “the first operations of the counterattack may be the hardest and the slowest,” according to the Institute for the Study of War, which says that “initial setbacks are expected” before the well-established lines of defense, which the Russians have consolidated for months, can be breached.
A source in a Western intelligence service said last week, \”I can\’t imagine one of the two warring sides being able to dominate the other.\”
Meanwhile, both camps will ramp up their propaganda, and it may be impossible to judge success or failure for a long time.
Another element that increases pressure on the Ukrainians is the intensification of mediation and negotiation offers from non-Western countries, which tend to want to end this war as soon as possible, especially since its negative consequences for many economies in the world.
China, Russia\’s backer, has offered to mediate, while a delegation of several African heads of state will travel to Kiev and Moscow next week to try to work for peace.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba explained to RUSI that Ukraine has two basic principles.
According to him, any proposal should not involve territorial concessions from Ukraine and should not lead to a freeze in the conflict, which would lead to a de facto recognition of the Russian invasions.