The relative calm enjoyed by the Ukrainian battle lines seems to have been broken. Various reports suggest that Ukrainian forces are stepping up attacks in various parts of the country’s east, while speculation is growing that Kiev is about to launch a counter-offensive to recapture territory that has fallen into Russian hands.
Russia’s defense ministry said it foiled a “large-scale offensive” this week at five points in the southern Donetsk region, one of two that make up Donbas, in eastern Ukraine. “The enemy’s goal was to break through the Russian defense to the most vulnerable side of the front. The enemy failed to achieve its objectives,” the statement said, adding that the Ukrainian brigade had lost more than 250 soldiers, 16 tanks and 24 armored vehicles. The ministry also released what it said was a video of the battle, apparently showing armored vehicles under heavy fire. At the same time, one of the pro-Russian leaders of the partially occupied Zaporizhia region of Ukraine became convinced that the Ukrainian army was trying to advance in the area.
Pro-Russian Telegram channels They wrote about Fought in Donetsk cities such as Soledar, as well as in the southern region of Zaporozhye, which borders this region of Donbass. They learned that Ukraine is trying to break through to the Velika Novosilka area, which is west of Vuhledar and about 120 kilometers north of Berdyansk, a major port on the Sea of Azov and part of the land bridge between Russia and Crimea. According to A western source familiar with the situation informs the Economist about thisUkraine advanced five to six kilometers west of the city of Vuledar in the Novodonetsk region.
In its latest report this week, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), A analytical center The US-based noted that Ukrainian forces “conducted local ground attacks and reportedly made limited tactical gains in western Donetsk and eastern Zaporozhye.
It is unclear whether the attacks represent the beginning of a counter-offensive that Ukraine has long announced, which has not been confirmed by Kiev, which has assured that it will not announce the launch of such an operation. For example, it is not known at this time whether this is a main attack, an attack or sabotage or an attack to check the Russian lines. Some experts have warned that it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact start of a counterattack.
After the Russian information, some Western analysts They explained that the fight They have multiplied on the front line, but it is too early to say whether Ukraine’s counterattack has begun.
“Who knows whether the Ukrainian attacks are a feint, an investigation or a real beginning.” [de la contraofensiva] But what is clear is the way in which Russians are torn by accusations and divisions,” wrote analyst Mark Galeotti, a specialist in Russian politics. Published in the article spectatorGaleotti urges the Russian version to be treated with “all the necessary skepticism” but claims there is evidence that “the real battle is beginning”.
Kiev talks about offensive operations in the East
Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said its troops were “carrying out offensive operations” on the country’s eastern front and had made progress near Bakhmut, which Moscow took last month after a costly and protracted battle.
Earlier, he assured that the Russian claims are aimed at diverting attention from the losses caused by Russia in Bakhmut. “[En Bajmut] The enemy is on the defensive and wants to hold his ground. To the south, the enemy is on the defensive. The battle of local importance continues. Why are the Russians actively spreading information about the counterattack? Because they need to divert their attention from defeat to Bakhmut,” said Hanna Maliar.
The Strategic Communications Center of the Armed Forces of Ukraine wrote on Telegram that Russian forces are “stepping up information and psychological operations.” “In order to demoralize Ukrainians and mislead the public, Russian propagandists will spread false information about the counterattack, its directions and losses of the Ukrainian army. even if there is no counterattack”. It is also noted that for this purpose “the Russians prepared old videos and photos of damaged equipment, dead and prisoners, as well as other fake materials.”
In his usual sarcastic tone, Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to the President of Ukraine, tweeted: “Russian news has long become a separate virtual meta-world. Moscow is already actively involved… in fending off a global attack that “doesn’t exist yet” (…). Follow only official Ukrainian news if you want to know the truth.”
Kiev has indicated in recent days that its army is ready to launch counter-offensive operations to retake the territory. The last was President Volodymyr Zelensky, who in an interview The Wall Street Journal published this weekendHe said that Ukraine is ready and at the same time emphasized that it will take some time and will have a high cost.
At the same time, the Ukrainian authorities tried to contain the intense speculation that their expected counter-offensive had provoked and demanded silence. In a video released by several senior defense officials, including the minister, uniformed and armed men are seen putting their index fingers to their lips while artillery and gunfire can be heard in the distance.
Kiev has made it clear that its military will never pre-emptively announce the launch of a counterattack, so as in previous operations of this nature, it is using a mode of operational silence, refusing to reveal details such as the address (or directions) it plans to move to or the calendar.
Ukraine’s biggest push is likely yet to come, the Economist reports. “[Ucrania] He will have to find the best places to break through the Russian lines on a narrow segment of the front. (…) At this point, Ukraine continues to probe Russian forces, looking for vulnerabilities – or creating them – before the most powerful units commit. The publication reported that when the Western-trained and supplied brigades that Ukraine created to spearhead the offensive appear, “there will be no room for uncertainty as to whether the attack has begun in earnest.”
For months, Ukraine’s political and military leaders have said they are preparing a counteroffensive against Russian forces after the winter to allow warmer weather to move troops and equipment to improve battlefield conditions and deploy more advanced Western weapons. .
Government of Ukraine In public, they tried to reduce the expectation of success Territory recovery operation. In 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 received from the West, including the first tanks, can make significant progress. battlefield.
A large number of military experts have so far argued that the main blow to Ukraine will be in the south. Some analysts believe that Ukrainian forces will try to break through the land corridor between Russia and the annexed Crimean peninsula, advancing from Zaporozhye towards the occupied city of Melitopol and the Sea of Azov – which, if successful, could split Russian forces. Two halves and cut the supply lines further west, in the direction of the Crimea.
In anticipation of how events will develop, and while the method and location of the counterattack is kept secret, Russian forces have reinforced defenses along hundreds of kilometers of the front line with traffic ditches, barriers such as dragon’s teeth, mines and trenches.
US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley recently said in an interview with CNN that Ukraine is “very well prepared” for a counterattack against Russia, but “it’s too early to know what the consequences will be.” .
Source: El Diario