Ukraine Strives to Outmaneuver a Distracted Russian Army

by Andrew Wright

Ukrainian commanders, after three postponements, finally found the opportune moment to launch an ambush. Shrouded in darkness, the 129th brigade of Kyiv moved forward, launching a surprise attack on oblivious Russian soldiers.

The Russian troops along the front line were caught off-guard.

The successful retaking of Neskuchne, a small village in the eastern Donetsk region on June 10, portrays Ukraine’s initial counteroffensive strategy. They rely on the surprise factor, which, when successful, leads to gradual territorial and intelligence gains.

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“We had several plans. I believe we chose the most effective one: to arrive quietly, unannounced,” expressed Serhii Zherebylo, the deputy commander of the battalion that recaptured Neskuchne, aged 41.

Across the extensive 1,500-kilometer front line, Ukrainian forces are endeavoring to exhaust the opposition and remodel battle lines to establish more advantageous conditions for a significant eastward push. One approach could involve dividing Russian forces to isolate the Crimean Peninsula, unlawfully annexed by Moscow in 2014, from the rest of its controlled territory.

The Ukrainian forces’ morale was bolstered last week due to an armed revolt within Russia, presenting the biggest challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s power in over two decades. However, the impact of this internal rebellion commanded by Russian warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin under the Wagner Group, on the course of the war is yet to be ascertained.

Despite being a substantial distraction for Russia’s military and political leaders, experts suggest the infighting has so far had minimal influence on the battlefield.

For the past four days, Ukraine has heightened operations around Bakhmut, an eastern city taken over by Wagner forces after prolonged fierce fighting, and subsequently surrendered to Russian soldiers, who continue to lose territory on their southern flank.

Despite the internal revolt, the Russian military’s front-line strength remains unaltered.

It’s unclear where Ukraine will aim for a decisive breakthrough, but any success will depend on newly formed, Western-equipped brigades not yet deployed. Presently, Russia’s heavily fortified locations and relative air dominance are impeding Ukraine’s progress.

It’s challenging to determine who holds the upper hand: Russia has well-established manpower and ammunition, while Ukraine exhibits versatility, modern weaponry, and tactical finesse.

As the autumn muddy season approaches in four months, some Ukrainian commanders express concerns about the ticking clock.

“Although Ukrainian forces are making gradual and consistent advancements, they still lack the operational initiative, implying they are not setting the pace and terms of action,” analyzed Dylan Lee Lehrke, an analyst at British security intelligence firm Janes.

“This perception has led some observers to deem the counteroffensive as underperforming,” said Lehrke. However, it was never expected to replicate the swift liberation of the eastern Kharkiv region by Ukraine last year because “Russian forces had ample time to prepare fortifications.”

According to Putin, the counteroffensive has resulted in substantial losses for Ukraine, including 259 tanks and 790 armored vehicles, though these claims could not be independently confirmed.

Several battle zones are experiencing intense combat.

A dam collapse in the southern Kherson region last month has modified the landscape along the Dnieper River, allowing more

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about counteroffensive

What is the objective of Ukraine’s counteroffensive strategy?

The objective of Ukraine’s counteroffensive strategy is to wear down and outsmart the Russian army, which is currently distracted by internal infighting. Ukraine aims to make incremental gains in territory and battlefield intelligence while reshaping the battle lines for a decisive eastward advance.

How is Ukraine executing their counteroffensive strategy?

Ukraine is employing small platoons to launch surprise attacks on Russian forces, taking advantage of the element of surprise. They aim to make gradual territorial advancements and gather battlefield intelligence. Additionally, they are considering strategies to split Russia’s forces, isolating the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula.

What challenges does Ukraine face in their counteroffensive?

Ukraine faces challenges such as Russia’s well-fortified positions, relative air superiority, and the approaching autumn muddy season. They also need to contend with minefields, anti-tank ditches, and other obstacles set up by the Russian forces. Time is a crucial factor as Ukrainian commanders feel the pressure to achieve significant breakthroughs before unfavorable conditions set in.

How does the internal rebellion within Russia affect the war?

The internal rebellion led by Wagner Group mercenaries under the command of Yevgeny Prigozhin poses a distraction for Russia’s military and political leaders. However, experts suggest that its impact on the battlefield has been minimal so far. The full extent of its influence on the trajectory of the war remains uncertain.

What are the key factors for Ukraine’s success in the counteroffensive?

Ukraine’s success in the counteroffensive relies on their newly formed, Western-equipped brigades that are yet to be deployed. Their versatility, modern weaponry, and clever tactics on the battlefield play a crucial role. Deception and outsmarting the Russian forces are emphasized as important strategies, as demonstrated by their previous success in the “Kherson ruse.”

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WarHistoryBuff June 30, 2023 - 2:15 pm

This counteroffensive sure ain’t a walk in the park for Ukraine. They’re up against Russia’s fortified defenses and gotta watch out for them minefields and dragon’s teeth. It’s gonna be a tough slog, but they’re not backing down!

HistoryBuffsUnite July 1, 2023 - 7:19 am

Remember the “Kherson ruse” last year? Ukraine’s deception game was on point! Let’s see if they can pull off something similar this time. Clever tactics can make a world of difference. Rooting for Ukraine to outsmart the Russian forces again!

NewsJunkie123 July 1, 2023 - 7:28 am

Wow, that internal rebellion in Russia must’ve been a big shocker! Wonder how it’s gonna affect the war in Ukraine. Hopefully, it’ll distract the Russian forces enough to give Ukraine an edge. Can’t wait to see how it plays out!


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