Zelensky is under pressure to launch a counterattack
As the bloody artillery battle in eastern Ukraine comes to a stalemate, the fighting seems to be a waiting game for a long-promised Ukrainian counterattack.
The timing for any move to break the stalemate has become an important strategic decision for the Ukrainian government. Both sides are bracing for a protracted war, but Ukraine has a greater incentive to try to avoid it by making risky maneuvers as early as this fall – before the rainy season ends. window to possible attacks on open fields.
From Ukraine’s point of view, the fighting, which is essentially static trenches, cannot go on indefinitely. Giving Russia control of much of the southern coast would cripple Ukraine’s economy, which has weathered the war and is supported by Western aid.
The initial target of any counterattack is believed to be Russian positions on the west bank of the Dnipro River. However, moving too soon and the Ukrainian army may be equipped with insufficient and insufficient weapons to guarantee victory, military analysts say. Wait too long and political support in Europe could waver as energy prices soar.
Political pressure is mounting to prompt President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to make the move even as it remains unclear whether his army has amassed the necessary weapons and manpower.
Andriy Zagorodnyuk, former defense minister, wrote in the Ukrainian newspaper: “The very difficult state of our economy, the constant risks of missile and air attacks and the general fatigue of people due to the difficulties of the war will turn against Ukraine”. Pravda newspaper. He said the military should be prepared to advance, rather than defend.
“There is no point in prolonging the war for years and competing to see who will run out of resources first,” he wrote.
The Ukrainians have turned to a new strategy called “deep war” – hitting targets far behind – after months of intense artillery fire and street fighting in the eastern region of Luhansk, where the last both came under Russian control in early July.
Using long-range, precision-guided missiles provided by the United States, the Ukrainian military pacified Russian positions behind the front lines while also attacking the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula.
The Ukrainian government said that since the end of June, it has hit at least 154 ammunition depots, 91 weapons storage bases, 4 barracks, 4 fuel depots and 8 command posts. Those claims cannot be independently verified.
But Ukraine for months has been planning to telegraph the great battle in the south — with the weapons it demands from its Western allies and the strategies it pursues on the battlefield providing clues to its approach.
A recent US military assistance package specifically includes demining attachments for armored vehicles to be used in advance, suggesting preparation for attacks on Russian lines.
But more time will bring more Western weapons: Despite the emergence of artillery systems from NATO member states, Ukraine’s arsenal is still largely made up of old Soviet weapons. Shove.
In his home country of Ukraine, Mr. Zelensky has broad support for continuing the war. A poll by the Razumkov Center, a policy research organization in Kyiv, released on Monday found that 92% of Ukrainians believe in a military victory over the Russian army.
However, Russia’s plans to hold a referendum in the occupied territory could lead to a declaration of annexation as early as next month, adding time pressure on Mr Zelensky to launch an offensive. labour.