Has Ukraine’s Long-Awaited Russia Counteroffensive Begun? 2023

Russia’s defense ministry says it thwarted a significant Ukrainian onslaught, suggesting Kyiv’s long-awaited counteroffensive has begun.

However, Ukraine has not confirmed such assertions. We know this much.

Russia’s opinion?

On Sunday morning, the Russian defense ministry said it stopped a significant Ukrainian onslaught in Donetsk at five sites.

Moscow “long suspected” Ukraine would reduce its resistance here, according to Reuters.

Russia posted a Telegram video of military trucks under heavy fire in fields.

It said Ukraine’s “large-scale offensive” with six mechanized and two tank battalions “did not achieve its tasks, it had no success” in breaking through Russian ranks.

The conflict cost Ukraine 250 men, 16 tanks, three infantry fighting vehicles, and 21 armoured combat vehicles.

These allegations are unverified.

Ukraine’s view?

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated the counteroffensive was delayed because Western equipment hadn’t arrived.

On Saturday, he told the Wall Street Journal that his men were now ready, but that the counteroffensive may take time and be costly.

“To be honest, it can go a variety of ways, completely different,” he remarked. We’ll do it and we’re ready.”

However, confirming the counterattack would give Russia an advantage.

The Ukrainian general staff reported 29 combat incidents in Donetsk and Luhansk on Sunday.

Reuters reports that Ukrainian officials have discouraged public speculation about the counteroffensive and tightened down on civilians sharing air defense system photographs and film.

Sunday’s Ukrainian defense ministry video includes the words “Plans like silence.” No beginning announcements.”

Is Ukraine’s counteroffensive underway?

On Monday, former Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) head Professor Michael Clarke told Today that it appeared to have begun.

“I think this offensive started a couple of weeks ago in the air and drone attacks on both sides probing for rear areas,” he added.

He added the “tempo” of activity was growing, suggesting “certainly something is going on” in various spots, particularly along the border between the two nations.

Ukraine denies involvement in a month of drone assaults on Moscow and Western border raids by anti-Putin organizations.

Russian military bloggers reported severe combat on Monday near Bakhmut, Soledar, and Vuhledar.

Clarke said one could “expect diversionary activity” from Ukrainian forces, which might explain why so much is occurring at once or in a succession of surges.

“Someone in Kyiv has clearly given the orders for a series of local pushes, local offensives.”

Clarke said that Kyiv may create a 50km strike force, a fraction of the 1,000km frontline.

So what?

Russia has unlawfully seized four regions and controls 18% of Ukraine. Ukraine has stated its desire to end Russian domination.

Kyiv needs Western support, weaponry, and finance to do so.

Though heavily expected, this counteroffensive is crucial. After getting massive assistance from its friends, Ukraine must prove it can break through Russian ranks, who have dug in over recent months.

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