Ukraine's limited offensive in the South and Russia's renewed assault in the DonbassNico Lange | 2022-09-06
While Ukraine is conducting a limited offensive on the southwestern bank of the Dnipro River and venturing counterattacks in the north of the Donbass, Russia is attempting to resume the assault in the Donbass and continues to exert pressure on Kharkiv. What is the situation and what is needed?
Since Aug. 29, Ukraine has been conducting a limited offensive against Russian forces on the southwestern bank of the Dnipro River. The Ukrainian General Staff imposed an information blackout, current operational information is also waived here.
This is not a major counteroffensive but a limited approach that seeks primarily to opportunistically exploit vulnerabilities in Russian positions.
Ukraine is trying to cut off Russian forces on the southwestern bank of the Dnipro River from other Russian forces in southern Ukraine and from supplies in order to "starve them out" in this way.
Ukraine destroyed all bridges over the Dnipro shelling alternative pontoon bridges or attempted river crossings with ferries consistently. For the first time, Western 155mm artillery and HIMARS/Mars 2 are also used against targets directly on the front lines.
At the same time Ukraine attacks from the north from the direction of Krivoy Rih and from the south from the direction of Mykolaiv. In the center it formed a bridgehead across the river Inhulez in the direction of Nova Kakhovka, which it is currently constantly widening.
The separation of Russian forces by the river and a possible division of the territory mean that Russian forces cannot freely bring in reinforcements and receive new ammunition, fuel, food, and drinking water.
The limited offensive through Ukraine involves very high risks because Ukraine does not have enough mechanized forces in the open steppe for a frontal counterattack. High casualties are to be expected.
Quick results are not expected in the south. But if Ukraine succeeds in "slice and starve," Russian forces could gradually be put in a precarious position by lack of drinking water, fewer options for reinforcements, and outgoing ammunition.
Also in the north of Donbass Ukraine carried out offensive actions and actions of special forces in recent days, including across the river Siversky Donets.
At the same time, further south in the Donbass, Russia is again stepping up attacks considerably on the heights near Siversk and in the direction of Bachmut. Russia is making a recognizable effort to regain terrain gains for the first time since mid-August.
For the intensification of the Russian attack in the Donbass, fresh forces of the newly brought in 3rd Army Corps are also used, which are weakly staffed and trained but have considerable reserves of partly modern technology.
Russia continues to intensively shell Kharkiv and localities in the Kharkiv region, tying up Ukrainian forces in the northeast.
Russia continues to attack infrastructure and civilian facilities throughout Ukraine with cruise missiles and rockets. However, Ukrainian air defenses now shoot down a high proportion of these missiles and Kalibr cruise missiles.
With the phased delivery of NASAMS and Iris-T, protection of the airspace over Ukraine can likely be closed.
The outcome of Ukraine's limited offensive in the south must currently be described as open. Again higher Russian pressure in the Donbass is emerging at the same time.
Both sides use a great many civilian drones for reconnaissance. Ukraine's Western partners should now quickly deliver many more civilian drones and, if possible, buy up entire stocks worldwide so that Russia cannot get them.
Drone detection devices and powerful drone jammers, such as those used to secure airports or soccer stadiums, could also help Ukraine now.
The terrain in southern Ukraine is very flat, partially below sea level, and characterized by small bodies of water and irrigation canals. You can see very far, which makes any movement of infantry extremely dangerous.
More infantry fighting vehicles and armored troop carriers, as well as main battle tanks, will be needed for major counterattacks and military success in southern Ukraine.