The Ukrainian military is cleaning up shop after days of lightning advances that liberated thousands of square miles. On day 201 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian military has pushed out from almost all the Kharkiv province and retaken key cities.
Ukraine’s A Rapid Advance: Expert Analysis
Despite the withdrawal of the Russian forces from the entire Kharkiv province east of the Oskil River, there are still some isolated pockets of resistance that the advancing Ukrainian forces bypassed and would now have to return to.
During a rapid advance like the one that has taken place over the past few days in eastern Ukraine, the military on the offensive must ignore enemy concentrations and defenses that are irrelevant to its objectives and that don’t pose a threat to the advance.
The Ukrainian objectives seem to have been the capture of Kupyansk, a major logistical hub in which several different rail lines intersect, and Izium, an important command and control location. Russian defensive positions and fortified towns that didn’t have the offensive capabilities to interfere with the Ukrainian push toward Kupyansk and Izium were ignored, which serves as a testament to the Ukrainian military’s strategy capabilities.
“The rapid Ukrainian successes have significant implications for Russia’s overall operational design. The majority of the force in Ukraine is highly likely being forced to prioritise emergency defensive actions. The already limited trust deployed troops have in Russia’s senior military leadership is likely to deteriorate further,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
There is a War in the South Too
But the war continues in the south too. The Ukrainian counteroffensive there was seen as the main effort for weeks now and is still a significant offensive operation.
The persistent Ukrainian long-range strikes against Russian logistical functions and command and control hubs have degraded the Russian military’s capability to bring forward reinforcements and supplies to the units along the contact line.
Pretty much all vehicle and rail bridges that connect the west and east banks of the Dnipro River have been damaged or destroyed, and attempts by the Russian military to create floating bridges have largely failed because of the constant threat of accurate Ukrainian long-range fires.
Six months into the war, the Russian military still hasn’t a response to the accuracy and range of the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) that the U.S. and NATO have provided the Ukrainian forces.
The Russian Casualties
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Monday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 52,950 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 243 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 213 attack and transport helicopters, 2,168 tanks, 1,269 artillery pieces, 4,640 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 311 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 3,463 vehicles and fuel tanks, 162 anti-aircraft batteries, 903 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 117 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 216 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.