/Pogled.info/ The current attempt at a counteroffensive by the Armed Forces of Ukraine is at least the second attempt in four weeks. The first was to begin on the tenth of August, when the VSU covertly (as they believed) withdrew most of the heavy artillery from the fortified Marinka – Peski – Avdeevka area and moved south to establish artillery superiority in roughly the area where they are advancing today . This transfer ended disastrously – the withdrawal of artillery was discovered and, taking advantage of the lack of Ukrainian artillery, our troops went on the offensive – they invaded Marinka, occupied Pesky and captured the outskirts of Avdeevka.
At first, the VSU command hoped that the counterattack near Kherson would force the Russian troops to stop and begin transferring reserves from Avdeyevka to Kherson, and frantically prepared for an attack, but on the fourth day it became clear that if urgent measures were not taken, then the entire fortified area Marinka-Avdeevka will fall and the artillery is urgently thrown out again. In addition, at least two battalion-tactical groups from the reserve had to be transferred there, as well as parts of the special operations forces and mercenary detachments to stop the advance of the Russian assault troops.
It took almost two weeks to stabilize the front. But Pesky and most of Marinka were lost, and the pressure of Russian troops continued, which forced the command of the VSU to completely abandon the plan to concentrate artillery in the direction of the planned strike.
Military science and logic demand that under these conditions one should not rush to attempt an attack, but first achieve the necessary numerical and technical superiority over the enemy. But political interests were placed above military arguments and the offensive began. One of the arguments was the need at the meeting of the defense ministers of the NATO countries with the participation of Ukraine to present quite significant successes of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, able to convince those gathered that the military aid from NATO and the USA really changes the situation at the front and therefore should increased.
Of course, the factor that forced the command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to accelerate the offensive was the information about the final transfer to the Donbass border of the newly formed volunteer army corps of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. His recent appearance at the front would simply bury the hopes of success of the planned offensive.
The command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was able to quickly transfer to the direction of the strike from the dispersal areas the brigades located there in reserve. And now, for two days now, they are trying to break through the defenses of the Russian troops and inflict such a defeat on them that it could be passed off as an epic “victory”.
On the first day, the enemy brought five battalions into battle, trying to compensate for the artillery “starvation” with tactical surprise and fighting in the dark. And almost immediately it came under heavy artillery fire and Russian airstrikes. In only one place (Posad-Pokrovskoye region) the Ukrainian Armed Forces managed to push back the reservists of the DPR militia from their positions and occupy three small villages. In other areas, the advancing units of the VSU failed to achieve a clear success, losing in battles, according to various estimates, from 500 (according to the assessment of Ukrainian sources) to 1200 people (according to the assessment of the Russian command) killed, about 50 tanks, combat vehicles of infantry, armored personnel carriers, two Su-25 and two Mi-8 helicopters.
Such heavy losses and miserable results cannot but cause changes in the future plans of the command of the ASU. And above all, to assess the prospects for a further advance in this area. On the one hand, the VSU command has at its disposal from 10 (conservative estimate) to 15 (maximum estimate) battalion tactical groups, up to 100 tanks, 200 infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers and up to 150 self-propelled guns, MLRS, howitzers and 60 mortars . The power is impressive. In addition, they are well rested and replenished with equipment and weapons received from Western patrons, as well as newly formed brigades in the western regions of Ukraine from soldiers and officers trained in Poland, Great Britain and Romania. In fact, these are the most combat-ready units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In the name of their future success, the command for two months plugged the gaps in the front with battalions of untrained reservists and territorial defense, which were led to slaughter – and died by the thousands.
And now Zelensky’s reserve corps, accumulated at such a terrible price, had to be shown. But the first two days of the counteroffensive were extremely unsuccessful for the ASU. The losses were enormous and the result pitiful. And the command is now faced with a difficult choice: to continue the offensive against Kherson, bringing into battle more and more new units, intensifying efforts, under the dominance of Russian aviation, the superiority of the Russians in artillery, in fact through open space – the steppe? Or to move the strike to the north, to the region of Izyum-Balakleya, where the terrain is more favorable for offensive operations?
There is also a third option – to give up the offensive altogether and keep reserves for the further defense of Nikolaev, Odessa, Zaporozhye, Kharkiv.
We will soon find out what decision the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will make. But it is unlikely to give up further attack attempts. The political pressure on the ASU command is too great and the temptation to gamble everything is too great – no matter what. Neither the General Staff of the VSU nor Zelensky’s office prefers to think about what will happen if the “victory” does not happen and the reserves for the next week – ten days – simply “run out”.
Translation: V. Sergeev
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