US officials have stated there are signs that Ukraine may have launched an expected counter-offensive, but Kyiv has remained silent on its strategy.
Details: The NYT, citing US and Russian officials, reports that Ukrainian forces have ramped up artillery strikes and ground assaults in a series of offensive military activity.
American officials, speaking anonymously, said the surge in the attacks was likely evidence that Kyiv’s long-planned counter-offensive against Russian forces had begun.
The officials based their assessment partly on information from US military satellites, recording increased attacks from Ukrainian military positions.
Oleksandr Syrskyi, Ukrainian Ground Forces Commander, said on 5 June that “tanks of the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade struck the windbreak in which Russian troops stayed during their assault on enemy positions on the Bakhmut front” and that the Ukrainian Defence Forces were “moving forward”.
And the Russian MoD claimed on 5 June that a major Ukrainian operation had begun in many parts of the contact line in Donetsk Oblast but that the attack had allegedly been repelled.
The Russian Defence Ministry claims that on 4 June, the Ukrainian Armed Forces attempted a major offensive on the “south-Donetsk front”, involving six mechanised and two tank battalions, but they were allegedly pushed back to their original positions by the morning of 5 June. Instead, the occupying forces were actively fighting “in the central part of [the city of] Marinka”, the Russian ministry boasted.
The NYT notes that Ukraine has kept silent on military operations after months of preparations for a major counter-offensive in the war.
Another article by this news agency states that in order to conduct a successful counter-offensive, Ukrainian troops will have to operate primarily on flat, unforgiving terrain and overcome a solid Russian defence.
Quote: “Military analysts and Western officials have long thought that a counteroffensive would focus on southern Ukraine as part of a strategy by Kyiv to sever the land bridge between western Russia and occupied Crimea.
The operation is expected to involve thousands of Ukrainian troops — including many trained by NATO forces and equipped with newer and more advanced Western equipment, like armored personnel carriers and tanks.
But no matter where Ukraine attacks along a front line that stretches for hundreds of miles, Russia’s defenses will be formidable. Moscow’s forces have had months to dig in, lay minefields and prepare entrenchments. Russian formations also have gotten increasingly adept at using drones to help pinpoint targets for artillery strikes.”
Details: As the American media outlet notes, this has made it difficult for Ukrainian forces to coordinate the movement of troops, tanks and artillery support for a breakthrough.
The type of coordination on the battlefield known as “combined arms” is challenging for Ukrainian troops, as they often use different communication systems on the ground, the NYT writes.
However, the media outlet recalls that during successful counter-offensives last year, such as on Kharkiv and Kherson fronts in the autumn, Kyiv’s military command proved capable of making quick decisions on the battlefield to take advantage of Russia’s vulnerabilities.
Background: On 5 June, Hanna Maliar, Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister, reported that the Ukrainian forces were moving on a vast stretch of the Bakhmut front and were making gains.
Russia has considered Bakhmut to be finally captured since 20 May, but Ukraine has never stopped fighting for this destroyed city in Donetsk Oblast.
The Ukrainian command has repeatedly stated that the final plan for the counter-offensive will be adopted immediately before it begins and that it will be shared with a narrow circle of people.