The Washington, D.C.-based Institute for the Study of War says the Ukrainian counteroffensive is unlikely to manifest itself as “one major operation”.
Kiev’s counteroffensive against Russian forces has begun, although Ukrainian officials continue to deny or deny that their long-awaited campaign to recapture territory occupied by Russian forces is under way.
Activity across #Ukraine is consistent with a variety of indications that Ukrainian counterattacks are under way across theatre, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in a thread of tweets late Thursday.
Ukrainian officials confirmed that their forces were on the offensive in the Bakhmut region – where they reportedly controlled territory – and the ISW said it had “noted a general uptick in military activity across the entire front line, not all of it part of the Ukrainian counter-offensive effort”.
The ISW said the counterattack “would likely not unfold as one major operation”.
“It will likely consist of many pledges in many locations of varying size and intensity over a period of several weeks.”
Ukrainian #counteroffensive I started.
activity all the time # Ukraine Corresponds to a variety of indications that Ukrainian counterattack operations are underway across the theater of operations.
“on what we see and how we evaluate this activity” https://t.co/hwgxTnU2Tr
– ISW (The Study of War) June 8, 2023
With Ukrainian officials indicating that the start of the counter-offensive will not be officially announced, other experts have also concluded that the campaign has begun amid reports of intensifying fighting in areas along more than 1,000 km (620 mi) of front line from Kherson on the Black Sea. To Ukraine’s border with Russia.
NBC News, citing a senior officer and a soldier near the front lines, said the attack had begun, while The Washington Post, citing “four individuals” in the armed forces, reported the same information Thursday.
Asked about these reports, a spokesman for the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine told the Reuters news agency: “We have no such information.”
In his Thursday evening address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed what he described as the “results” in heavy fighting in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.
I am in constant contact with our army. leaders of Khortitsia, Tavria, [and] All participants are in the hottest areas. Donetsk region – very tough battles ” He said.
“But there is a result, and I am grateful to everyone who guarantees this result! Bakhmut – well done. Step by step. I thank each of our warriors!
Zelensky referred to other combat zones but said now was not the time to discuss them.
The whole east, the situation in the south, the situation after the Russians blew up the Kakhovka dam – we see all the details. But it’s not time to talk about that today.”
In an audio broadcast on Wednesday, Michael Coffman of the Center for Naval Analyses, a US research group, said the fighting had taken a “more qualitative turn” as Ukrainian forces appear to be launching offensive operations near the eastern town of Velika Novoselka and other points in the southern part of the Donetsk region, And also on its border with the Zaporizhia region.
These attacks, I do not believe [them] to be the main offensive effort, but they represent what I think is the beginning of the Ukrainian offensive,” he said.
Reporting from Kiev, Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hall said that Ukraine has made it clear that it will not provide “ongoing commentary on what’s going on” as it appears it “doesn’t want to give up the element of surprise”.
“What is or what is happening now, well, the military analysts gave their view, and their view is that Ukraine is engaged in a series of probing attacks, the so-called formation of operations before the counterattack,” Hull said.
“Investigate Russia’s weaknesses, look for weaknesses, and at the same time, basically, keep Russia guessing,” he said.
Russia said its forces fought a two-hour battle with Ukrainian forces in the early hours of Thursday morning in the Zaporizhia region.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the Ukrainian attack involved 1,500 soldiers and 150 armored vehicles.
“The enemy was stopped and retreated after heavy losses,” he said.
Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said only that Russia was conducting “defensive operations” near the town of Orekiv in the Zaporizhia region.
According to the ISW, the initial phase of Ukraine’s counter-offensive operations will likely be the most costly and difficult in terms of loss of life and destruction of equipment as troops and armor attempt to breach Russian defensive positions.
Militaries have long identified the penetration phase of an automated attack as the riskiest and most costly. The success or failure of this stage may not be apparent for some time.
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