Kiev.- Russian progress in Ukraine was slow while Newly Delivered Western Weapons They help the counter-aggressor to recoup the advantage he or she lost. In recent months, that opens up an opportunity Turn the tide of war in their favor.
Russian troops have not made any significant territorial gains since their withdrawal from the eastern Ukrainian city of Lischansk on July 2. Under withered artillery fire. The evacuation gave Russia full control of Luhanskone of two oblasts (regions) that make up the wider Donbass region, and marked Russia’s only major strategic success since abandoning efforts to conquer Kyiv in April.
The lack of progress can be explained, at least in part, by “Operational Brake” Declared after the seizure of Lischansk by the Russian Defense Ministry, To give soldiers the opportunity to “rest and develop their combat capabilities”in the words of the President Vladimir Putin.
But the so-called pause did not stop attempts to probe and penetrate the Ukrainian lines, and the official end of this brief blockade, announced by the Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, on July 16 The intensity of Russian attacks did not increase significantlysaid George Barros, a geospatial analyst at the Institute for the Study of War.
Rather, Barros and many other Western analysts suspect that Russians are about to exhaust their ability to make new regional gainsAs his exhausted army confronts the Ukrainian army with newly acquired abilities.
The Russian army, already forced to give up its hopes of capturing the capital, They may soon have to think about their inability to conquer the entire Donbass region.The only publicly declared objective of the initial offensive and the focus of current offensive ambitions.
Barros said, Russia may have succeeded in capturing one or two more Donbas cities in the immediate line of fire, such as Siversk and nearby Bakhmut, but It is difficult to see his current army going any further than this.
“It seems that the ability of the Russians to move forward is exhausted”, said Phillips O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at St Andrew’s University in Scotland. “I don’t think they can go much further in the Donbass.”
However, it is still too early to rule out any surprises. This There is a massive recruitment drive going on across the country which may still generate the manpower that it desperately needs to make up for its huge losses.
Russia adapted its objectives and strategy after stumbling into Kyiv and may do so again, A Western official who spoke on condition of anonymity said. He also noted that It has abilities that it has not yet used and that could take the war in a different and dangerous direction, An ominous reference to the country’s chemical and nuclear arsenal.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military has a chance to gain the upper hand, taking advantage of the additional range and accuracy provided by the more advanced artillery provided by the Western Allies in recent weeks. High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) from the United StatesWhich Ukraine has been looking for for a long time.
“Right now, the Russians are losing the lead, and the Ukrainians have or are going to have it,” Barros said. “Himmers are the key.”
HIMARS has a . Is Capable of attacking at a range of about 80 km with high accuracy, And Ukrainians have used them to destroy more than 100 high-value Russian targetsCommand and control centers, munitions storage sites, and logistics and support facilities are included, according to a senior US defense official on condition of anonymity.
Ukrainian forces have recently used Hymer to fuel a fledgling Retaliation against the strategic city of KhersonIn the south of the country, which was occupied by Russia in the first days of the war.
Ukrainian counter-offensive is “gaining momentum”, The British Defense Ministry said in a tweet on Thursday, “Severely damaged an important road link after the third attack with Hymers on Tuesday against the Antonovsky Bridge on the Dnieper River.”
The nearly one-mile-long bridge provided the main supply route between the Russian 49th Army stationed on the west bank of the river and the rest of the Russian army, and the troops were left “extremely vulnerable” to the attack.
It is not yet clear whether the attacks permanently disabled the bridge, but videos posted on social media show significant damage and indicate that the bridge was at least temporarily closed.
“The Ukrainians have changed the character of the conflict with their ability to attack behind Russian lines,” O’Brien said. “Over the next few months we will see if the advantage will return to the Ukrainians, and then we will have to see if the Ukrainians can push back the Russians.”,
Hymer has had the biggest impact ever destroying the huge advantage of Russian artilleryIn terms of both the number of barrels and the number of rounds they can fire, said Rob Lee of the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute.
When Russia turned to the Eastern Front and began to gradually take away territory from the Ukrainians, the advantage of artillery was “probably a deciding factor.” “They were firing a lot more rounds a day than in Ukraine, and over time it gets really tough. The soldiers can’t resist that.”
Over the next few months we will see if the advantage will return to the Ukrainians, and then we will have to see if the Ukrainians can push back the Russians.
Using Hymer to destroy ammunition stockpiles, Ukraine forced the Russians take the ammunition depot from the front to the frontLengthening their supply lines and complicating the logistics of getting artillery shells to the units that need them. “Russia doesn’t have a good automated logistics system; it requires a lot of manual work, and that means it’s not very efficient.” Lee explained.
By attacking command and control centers, Ukraine is eliminating the officers and commanders who would give orders to reduce the impact of HIMARS. “From the way the Russians fight, we know they need someone to tell them what to do. And when you’re able to kill the people who tell them what to do, you’re going to kill those people.” can stop you from moving forward.” Explained to the American officer.
However, while Hymers downplay Russia’s ability to advance, they will not help Ukraine gain territorial gains, said Lee, a former US Marine Corps infantry officer. It will rely more heavily on the ability of Ukraine’s substantial army, conventional artillery and ammunition to repel Russian troops, and Russia’s overall numerical advantage continues.
There is particular concern about whether the West will be able to continue to supply the Ukrainians with the ammunition they need for their artillery.Including HIMARS, Lee added.
This concern was echoed last week by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark A. Milley, at a briefing with reporters. Although Ukrainians have discovered a large number of systems, “The issue will be ammunition and consumption rates”, he indicated. “We think we’re fine now.”
But looking beyond the next three months will require careful study by the Pentagon to ensure that US military preparedness is not compromised, as well as an effort to increase US weapons production, Milley assessed. .
“Himer is one of the reasons why Russia did not move forward, but it does not mean that Ukraine is capable of retaking the region. We can see a standoff situation with little progress on both sides.”Lee said.
“It all comes down to stability, and it’s not clear which side has the best angle.”