A counteroffensive in the Ukraine war is imminent. When and where is not entirely clear – Melitopol could be a target. There may be a lot at stake.
The essentials in a nutshell
- Ukraine’s counteroffensive against the Russian aggressors is expected.
- The intention may have been to split the Russian front.
- According to “Spiegel” the support of the West is also at risk.
In the Ukraine war, all signs point to a counterattack. However, the time and place are still unclear.
Burkard Meissner from the German Institute for Defense and Strategic Studies (GITS) tells the German “Degessau”: “We can only characterize how such attacks have happened in the past.” As a rule, one or more feigned attacks were made at the front, “in order to push elsewhere with greater force.”
Ukraine has raised new forces
The scale of the planned counter-attack is also not yet known. However, it is clear that new legions have been formed. “We’re talking about 40,000 to 60,000 men here,” says Austrian military officer Markus Reisner.
These are “mostly” trained for offensive mobile warfare in the West. “And you’d want to use them for such an attack.”
“Spiegel” spoke to a Ukrainian lieutenant colonel who was said to be somewhere in the Zaporizhia region. He says the arrival of new players is good for morale. How well prepared they are will be revealed only in an emergency.
However, according to Reisner, the new troops were “already in a weak position”. According to “Tagesschau”, he was referring to leaks from the Pentagon that appeared on Discord servers.
Possible target: Melitopol
According to “Spiegel”, one of the objectives of the upcoming counter-offensive may be the capture of Melitopol. With this, Ukraine can drive a wedge between the Russian lines, the newspaper says.
Federal military official Markus Reisner sees it the same way: “If Ukraine succeeds in separating Russian forces from the occupied territories, it will be a clear victory,” he told “Dageschau”. That is, one part in the north-east and one part in the south. Then Russia will face “serious challenges”, especially when it comes to providing troops.
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Russian occupiers have long been working on expanding their defensive positions – including Melitopol. “They had a lot of time to prepare,” the city’s mayor was quoted as saying by “Spiegel”. So he finds such progress difficult.
What is at stake for Ukraine?
Ukraine has a lot at stake on the counterattack. As “Spiegel” reports, the Ukrainian army is fighting not only for land, but also for the public opinion of the West. The paper analyzes that if it does not win, support from abroad will decrease.
The leadership in Kiev seems to be aware of this. Ukrainian Defense Minister Reznikov told the Washington Post that “expectations of our counterattack are overestimated abroad. “Most people expect something big.” He fears this could lead to “emotional disappointment.”
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