Ukraine Launches Counter-offensive Against Russia

The highly anticipated counter-offensive by Ukraine seems to be underway after months of speculation. Fighting has reportedly intensified along the breadth of the frontline, which stretches from Kherson to the Black Sea over more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).

In recent weeks, Ukraine has been conducting “shaping operations”. In other words, Ukrainian long-range artillery and missile units peppered Russian positions with strikes in anticipation of a major counter-offensive.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has commented on the counter-offensive and claims that his forces have inflicted heavy casualties on the Ukrainian side and that Kyiv has failed to achieve its objectives.

The Ukrainian counter-offensive

During the first week of June, President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke with the Wall Street Journal and announced that his forces were ready to conduct the counter-offensive.

“We strongly believe that we will succeed,” said Zelensky. “I don’t know how long it will take. To be honest, it can go a variety of ways, completely different. But we are going to do it, and we are ready.”

Snippets of information that have pierced the fog of war imply that the counter-offensive is indeed underway. On Monday, small detachments of lightly armored Ukrainian units advanced over open ground toward entrenched Russian forces in southern Ukraine, southeast of Zaporizhzhia.

Meanwhile, video footage captured from both the northern and southern regions of the city of Bakhmut, where one of the war’s most enduring and violent battles took place, appears to show Ukrainian forces advancing.

Across the battlespace, Ukrainian forces appear to be conducting the “fighting reconnaissance stage” of the counter-offensive, probing Russian positions for weak spots, according to Serhii Kuzan, co-founder and chairman of the Ukrainian Security and Cooperation Centre.

However, Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, has downplayed claims that the Ukrainian counter-offensive is underway. “When we start the counter-offensive, everyone will know about it. They will see it,” he said.

Russian response

“We can definitely state that this Ukrainian offensive has begun,” Putin said during a video interview posted on Telegram by a Russian journalist on Friday.

“But the Ukrainian troops did not reach their aims in any area of combat,” the Russian president claimed.

On the previous day, Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defense minister, stated that Russian forces had successfully repelled a Ukrainian assault during the night in the vicinity south of Zaporizhzhia. The attack reportedly involved a significant deployment of 150 armored vehicles and approximately 1,500 troops.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the 47th Mechanized Brigade of Ukraine made an effort to penetrate through Russian defensive positions.

Footage also emerged appearing to show the destruction of a German-made Leopard tank in Ukrainian service, but the clip has not been verified.

Assessing the progress of the counter-offensive and the validity of Ukrainian and Russian claims is difficult, given the fog of war.


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