May 28, 2024

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Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia appears to be in its opening stages

Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia appears to be in its opening stages

An increase in operations in eastern and southeastern Ukraine in recent days appears to indicate that the opening stages of Ukraine’s expected counteroffensive against Russia are under way, but the main push has yet to begin, according to US officials.

A Western official told reporters on Tuesday that Ukrainian forces are conducting operations around Bakhmut and south of Donetsk city, and the activity south of Donetsk appears to represent a new effort.

Ukraine has been silent about how its counter-offensive might begin. Over the weekend, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense Video released with soldiers holding their fingers to their lips in a “shh” gesture, accompanied by text that reads: “Schemes love silence. There will be no announcement of the beginning.”

Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said on Monday that part of defending Ukrainian territory includes carrying out “counter-offensive actions,” but played down Russian claims that a broader counter-offensive has begun. It noted Ukrainian advances in villages near Bakhmut and said that Ukrainian forces now had high ground near the symbolic town.

The United States and its allies have been training Ukrainian forces for several months in combined arms counterattack exercises. The training produced an additional nine Ukrainian armored and mechanized brigades that are now in Ukraine and three more are currently training in Germany.

Social media videos of activity in Ukraine do not appear to show Western equipment, such as Bradley or Stryker armored vehicles that are likely part of these US-trained brigades and could indicate that the main thrust of the counter-offensive has begun.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters traveling with him over the weekend that “there will be stops and starts” for the Ukrainian counterattack, but that the Ukrainians are well prepared.

the The destruction of the Cachova Dam Near Zaporizhia might hinder Ukraine’s counter-offensive, making it difficult to conduct bridge operations and causing the evacuation of thousands of residents in the flooded area.

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