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Counterattack Is Ukraine’s ‘One Chance’ Against Russia - Military Expert

By Jake Beardslee · July 28, 2023

Polish-Ukrainian combined unit conducts tactical training in defense and counterattack  Ministry of Defense of Ukraine/Wikimedia Commons

Fierce fighting has broken out in the Ukraine’s southern regions, as Kyiv launches a plucky counteroffensive aimed at retaking lost territory it has lost to Russia.

“We have to understand that Ukraine has not yet committed the forces that have been trained in the West and that hold most Western equipment. This would be the 10th Corps,” Marina Miron, military expert at King’s College London, told DW News. “The main thrust here is basically the fact that the Ukrainian ninth Corps… have been able to break through the first line of defense.”

Although Ukraine has not officially confirmed a counteroffensive, Russia has acknowledged intensified fighting. “Yes, indeed, we can confirm that combat activities have intensified significantly,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said recently. “The main battles took place on the axis that the West calls the main one: the Zaporizhia axis.”

While Ukraine has been probing Russian defenses for weeks, the commitment of heavy armor suggests Ukraine sees openings in Russia’s front lines. “It would seem that according to Russian accounts as well…the Ukrainians managed to barge into the Russian defenses,” Miron said.

The counterattack also comes with risks, given Russia’s superiority in the skies.

“We have seen it from the very beginning as well. And we have to understand that it’s a very difficult task for Ukraine, especially in [the] absence of air power,” Miron noted, referring to destroyed Western-provided equipment on the battlefield.

For now, the outcome remains uncertain. “If the Ukrainian forces are able to capitalize on that thrust…that would be the one and the only chance to either make it or break it for the Ukrainian[s],” Miron concluded.

Light Wave commentary

Ukrain’s counteroffensive in the south marks a critical phase in the war. For months, Ukraine has been on the defensive as Russia slowly gained ground in the Donbas. Armed now with Western weapons and taking advantage of stretched Russian lines, Ukraine sees an opportunity to take the offensive. Regaining substantial territory in the south would be a major boost for Ukraine. Russia, however, still holds advantages in artillery and air power. Breaking through Russia’s multi-layered defenses will be extremely difficult for Ukrainian troops. The risks are immense, but so too are the potential rewards. Ukraine is now facing its best chance to turn the tide on the battlefield.