Has the hour of the Ukrainian counter-offensive come?

The Ukrainian army likes to remain discreet about its military strategy. However, it has announced for several months a counter-offensive in preparation, intended to force the Russian troops to withdraw from the areas they occupy. While opposite, Moscow claims to be countering attacks on several fronts since June 4, kyiv puts things into perspective. Has the time for this counter-offensive come or is it just offensive actions carried out by the Ukrainian General Staff? Update on the latest items available.

Ukrainian “large-scale attacks” or Russian propaganda in action?

Five sectors of the front have been the scene of actions by the Ukrainian army that the Russian Ministry of Defense claims to have countered since June 4. These “large-scale attacks” are located, according to Moscow, “in the southern direction of the Donetsk region”, located in the east. The Russian army also acknowledged on Tuesday the death of 71 of its soldiers in these operations intended to repel the Ukrainian attacks.

New “attempts to break through the Russian defenses” also took place on Monday afternoon near the town of Novodonetské, near Vougledar, in the south of the Donetsk region. “The enemy has not achieved its objectives”, welcomed the Russian ministry, broadcasting images of destruction of armored vehicles. A discourse, however, questioned by the experts who observe the conflict, like Cedric Masa military historian, who denounces “a new crude propaganda announcing extraordinary losses” Ukrainians.

The Russian Ministry of Defense also congratulated its forces which would have killed “more than 1,500 Ukrainian soldiers” and destroyed “28 tanks. Figures derided by the leader of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigojine. “It’s just rantings,” he commented. Killing 1,500 soldiers in one day is “one hell of a massacre,” he quipped, mocking Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

Simple “offensive actions”, according to kyiv

On the kyiv side, the thundering Russian announcements are put into perspective. According to Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Maliar, “in some sectors we are carrying out offensive actions. She also reported, without further details, “minor fighting” in the south where Russian forces are “on the defensive”. The announcement of the start of the counter-offensive is rejected by the Ukrainian camp.

While Volodymyr Zelensky thanked his troops for the territorial gains they claimed, he also joked about Moscow’s reaction. “We see how hysterically Russia reacts to all the advances we make in this sector, to all the positions we take. The enemy knows that Ukraine will win,” the Ukrainian president said.

The adviser to the Ukrainian presidency Mykhailo Podoliak had previously estimated that Russia is “busy to repel a global offensive which does not yet exist”. “Why are the Russians actively publishing information about a counter-offensive? Because they need to divert attention (about) the defeat in the direction of Bakhmout ”, for its part launched the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense, Ganna Maliar, on Telegram.

Recognition tests?

Experts and Russian soldiers actually expect that kyiv multiplies the attacks on the enemy lines to detect weaknesses there, before launching the bulk of the troops. In September 2022, the Ukrainian army secretly prepared an assault that resulted in the reconquest of almost the entire Kharkiv region.

These Kiev operations allow him “to better know the Russian positions, to try to gain a foothold in key positions to then open the offensive, to create a diversion, but above all, to fix the Russian forces in this sector”, analyzes on Twitter Stéphane Audrand, independent consultant, specialist in the control of the arms trade.

Emphasizing the strategic quality of diversion in Ukrainian communication, the specialist advances the possibility “that the Ukrainians have deployed false units that they make credible by real/false attacks. The counter-offensive will soon follow, according to other observers. “Over the next week, it looks like the most important offensive of the last seven months will begin,” says the account. War Mapperwhich produces daily maps of the war in Ukraine.

Bakhmout remains the epicenter of the fighting

The Donestk region remains the epicenter of the fighting to this day, particularly in the town of Bakhmout which has been under fire since last summer. Advances then retreats… The city has still not fallen into Russian hands despite the efforts made by Wagner’s mercenaries to take Bakhmout. While they left the hand to the regular Russian army, the Russian camp shows new defeats.

Ganna Maliar thus affirmed that the Ukrainian forces are advancing on the outskirts of this city “on a fairly broad front”: “We are winning successes and occupying the dominant heights”. According to her, the Ukrainian troops have advanced several hundred meters on this sector of the front. This progression has even been confirmed by Evguenie Prigojine according to whom “part of the locality of Berkhivka is already lost”, a “shame. »

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