HomeWorldUkraine marks 200 days of war as major countermeasures advance

Ukraine marks 200 days of war as major countermeasures advance

Ukraine has sought to mobilize the population to reach an active army of 1 million people, while Russia, in contrast, continues to rely on a limited contingent of volunteers.

Ukraine has sought to mobilize the population to reach an active army of 1 million people, while Russia, in contrast, continues to rely on a limited contingent of volunteers.

As the war in Ukraine drags on for 200 days, the country reclaims wide areas of the south and east in a long-awaited retaliation that has dealt a heavy blow to Russia.

The counterattack began in late August and first focused on the area south of Kherson, which had been swept away by Russian forces in the early days of the offensive. But as soon as Moscow redirected attention and troops, Ukraine launched another highly effective offensive into Kharkiv’s northeast.

Faced with the prospect of being surrounded by a large group of its forces, Moscow ordered a troop withdrawal from Kharkiv, in a dramatic change of game situation, which made the Kremlin’s biggest challenge to the invasion on 24 February. Introduced since launch.

“The Ukrainian army has taken advantage of the transfer of the bulk of the Russian army to the south and is trying to direct the course of the war, showing excellent and great ingenuity in maneuvering,” said Mykola Sunhurovsky, a military expert at Razumkov Center. , a Kyiv-based think tank. Ukraine’s quick advance, he said, is “important both to gain initiative and to bolster the spirit of the troops.”

Read also | The last reactor at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant has shut down

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the military in a video address late Saturday, saying it has reclaimed nearly 2,000 square kilometers (more than 770 square miles) of territory so far this month. He also taunted Moscow upon his return, saying that the Russian military “does the best they can – showing their backs” and “they made a good choice to run.”

Both sides suffered heavy losses in Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II. Ukraine’s military chief said last month that nearly 9,000 of the country’s soldiers had been killed in action. And while Moscow has not reported its own losses since March, Western estimates put the toll as high as 25,000 dead, with wounded, captured and deserted people taking the total Russian loss to more than 80,000. .

As the war progresses, an increasing influx of Western weapons in the summer is now playing a key role in retaliation, helping Ukraine increase its precision strike capability.

As the war progresses, an increasing influx of Western weapons in the summer is now playing a key role in retaliation, helping Ukraine increase its precision strike capability. , photo credit: AP

Ukraine has sought to mobilize the population to reach an active army of 1 million people, while Russia, in contrast, continues to rely on a limited contingent of volunteers for fear that a mass mobilization could fuel discontent. and can disturb internal stability.

Read also | Russia announces withdrawal of troops from Kharkiv region of Ukraine

As the war progresses, an increasing influx of Western weapons in the summer is now playing a key role in retaliation, helping Ukraine increase its precision strike capability.

Since the retaliation began, Ukraine said, its forces have recaptured more than 30 settlements in the Kharkiv region.

In the Kherson region, troops sought to remove Russian forces from their foothold on the west bank of the Dnieper River, a potential vantage point for Moscow’s push deeper into Ukraine.

The city of Kherson, an economic center at the confluence of the Dnieper and the Black Sea, with a population of about 300,000, was the first major population center to fall in the war.

Russian forces have also infiltrated north into the Zaporizhzhya region, where they have seized Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. The last of its six reactors was shut down on Sunday after one of the power lines to generate power for the plant’s critical coaling system was restored after several days of risky “island mode”. After that electricity was generated.

Moscow has set up a puppet administration in the occupied territories, introduced its own currency, handed over Russian passports and prepared for a local referendum to pave the way for annexation. But retaliatory strikes have derailed those plans, with a top Moscow-backed official in Kherson saying the vote there needed to be closed.

The counterattack followed systematic attacks on Russian infrastructure and supply lines. Ukrainian military has used US-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launchers to topple two bridges across the Dnieper, forcing Russian troops in the Kherson region to rely on pontoon crossings, which also faced daily attacks Is.

Last month, a series of explosions also affected an airbase and an arms depot in Crimea, underscoring the vulnerability of the peninsula captured by Russia in 2014 and critical to its southern operations. Ukrainian officials initially refrained from claiming responsibility, but the country’s military chief of staff, General Valery Zaluzny, admitted in recent days that his military had hit him with rockets.

Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said that “Ukraine has used tactics to systematically eliminate the Russian army, weaken it and regularly deprive it of the possibility of strengthening its army.”

Unlike to the south, where Ukraine’s counterattacks proceeded more slowly on the barren steppes of Kherson, which left the troops vulnerable to Russian artillery, the forests of the Kharkiv region offered natural cover that struck astonishing lightning from many directions. Allows attacks.

“Speedness and surprise have become a key factor following the Ukrainian military’s actions in the Kharkiv region, as Russian forces stationed there were shifted south,” Mr. Zhdanov said.

Michael Kaufman, a Russian military expert at Virginia-based think tank CNA, said the retaliation “has proved to be a very important victory for Ukraine.”

“The Russian military appears to have spread too little, and the military leadership is unprepared, despite earlier evidence of Ukrainian construction,” Mr. Kaufman wrote. “I think it’s fair to assess that Russia was surprised in the way of locally available reserves.”

After capturing the city of Balaklia, about 55 kilometers (about 34 mi) southeast of Kharkiv, Ukrainian forces quickly suppressed their offensive forward Kupiyansk, a rail hub important for maintaining Russian operations in the region. Is.

They claimed control of the strategic city on Saturday, cutting off supply lines to a large group of Russian forces around Izium in the south. To prevent their full encirclement, Moscow ordered a hasty retreat, claiming they were shifting to focus on the neighboring Donetsk region.

Mr Zhdanov noted that a successful counter-attack is crucial to persuading allies to further increase arms supplies to Ukraine, which were discussed at a NATO meeting in Germany on Thursday.

“Events in the South and in the Kharkiv region should show the West that the Ukrainian military knows how to handle weapons and needs to develop its success,” Mr. Zhdanov said.

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