After Ukraine launched the biggest counter-offensive against invading Russian forces since the beginning of the war on Monday, a Ukrainian official warned this week that progress in the Kherson region would be “slow” – suggesting that while Russian forces have been weakened in the area, victory isn’t immediately in sight for Ukraine.
A senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy On Tuesday told Ukrainians not to expect too much too soon.
Writing on Telegram, Oleksiy Arestovych explained that the operation is designed to be a slow one that will “grind” the enemy in the long term.
“Of course, many would like a large-scale offensive with news about the capture by our military of a settlement in an hour,” the presidential adviser said. “But we don’t fight like that…funds are limited.”
In his Monday night address, the Ukrainian president seemed to offer a similar message, telling occupiers that Ukraine will “oust them to our border,” adding that Russian forces who don’t heed his warnings will “deal with our defenders, who will not stop until they liberate everything that belongs to Ukraine.”
The former head of Britain’s MI6 foreign intelligence service, Sir Alex Younger, said that the news was “extremely unexpected” but “welcome.” Younger told the BBC that Ukraine’s efforts to take back control of the Kherson region is a key moment for the war in Ukraine and stressed the long-term impact the new offensive could have.
“The forces have reached some kind of balance, which is an extremely unexpected and frankly welcome situation for us to be in,” Younger said.
“The long-term trend is the gradual weakening of the Russian military capability and the gradual strengthening of the Ukrainian capability with Western help.”
The former British official said that the new offensive would allow Ukraine to demonstrate its ability to make gains and make Russia rethink its strategy.
Ukraine Breaks Through Russian Defenses
While Oleksiy Arestovych did tell Ukrainians to manage their expectations in Kherson, he also revealed that the operation is so far working. Arestovych said that Ukrainian forces have broken through Russian defenses in many frontline areas close to Kherson City. He also revealed how Ukrainian troops have begun shelling ferries used by Russian forces to supply Russian-occupied regions to the west of the Dnieper River.
It means that not only are Russian troops being forced out of Kherson, but after losing virtually all Kherson region bridges over the Dnieper River to Ukrainian HIMARS strikes, they now face uncertainty when attempting to ship military supplies over the river in ferries.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.