Counter offensive Ukraine has launched a lightning counter-offensive in the country’s northeast that saw surprising territorial gains. Its forces have pushed back Russian soldiers from most of Kharkiv Oblast, retaking thousands of square kilometres of territory.
Ukraine says it has retaken sonde 3,500 square miles of territories since its counter-offensive began earlier this year, including Izium and Kupiansk, two strategically important towns in the northeast that served as logistic hubs for the Russian forces. This is a significant battlefield gain for Ukraine because is the first time, since the war began, that Ukrainian tror have pushed back the Russians through combat.
2014 to present: Difference
When Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered unmarked troop to Ukraine in 2014, first in Crimea and then the eastern borderlands of the Donbas, they were better equipped, trained and organized and they crushed their opponents.
Eight years on, the roles are reversed. That’s due to a multitude of factors: • The modern weapons and training provided to Ukraine by its allies • The vastly better morale of its military • The caliber of its commanders Command Im Intelligence and planning aid from the US
Secret of Ukraine Superiority:
Ukraine’s Military reforms
Following its miserable performance in 2014 against Russia, when demonstrations by pro-Russian groups in the Donbas region of Ukraine escalated into a war between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatists, Ukraine conducted a comprehensive review of its security and defense establishment.
The ensuing report led former president Petro Poroshenko to enact the Strategic Defense Bulletin of Ukraine in May 2016. The bulletin mandated broad and sweeping reform across the defense establishment, with the goal of producing a force capable of performing up to NATO standards by 2020. Over the next six years, Ukraine reformed its military with the help of Western advisers, trainers and equipment.
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Benefiting from eight years of fighting in the Donbas six years of Western training and advises, Ukrai in 2022 wasn’t the same as it had been in 2014, Russia’s surprise. In fact, it was far superior to Russia’s military in every measure but size.
Before reforms were enacted, the lieutenants and captains who were conducting the fighting on the ground were unable to make decisions and were required to seek permission before they could act. By the time Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, Ukraine had built a well-led, professional force with a culture that encouraged junior leader initiative on the battlefield.
Deployment of Troops
Many media reports have focused on the fact that Russian forces’ moving from the north of Ukraine to support operations in the east will increase Russia’s likelihood of success of occupying Ukraine’s eastern region. Yet, what is often ignored is that Ukraine is also able to move forces east.
Sure, a small element of Ukrainian forces will remain to defend Kyiv but others will move east, meaning the overall ratio between Russian and Ukrainian forces is unlikely to change much unless Russia decides to ship in even more troops.
Critical Military Aid & Training
Western aid since the start of the war in February 2022 has been absolutely critical to Ukraine’s continued success. Moreover, European Union has agreed to train a further 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers in EU countries, starting with Germany and Poland. A key to Ukraine’s holding off this much larger force is the ability to rapidly replace military equipment that gets depleted or destroyed. Further, Ukraine’s gunners had learned to rapidly dismantle and reassemble the much more plentiful static, US M777 howitzers.
While the war’s outcome is far from decided and Russia’s armed forces retain advantages in key areas such as sheer quantities of artillery, long range missiles and aircraft, they have for now lost the initiative to Ukraine.
Reliant on slow moving artillery, Russia can only pound Ukraine’s defence and then slowly move forward in the Donbas region. In contrast, in its drive east from Kharkiv, Ukraine can bring its heavy guns forward in real time to perform the role of air cover.