Russia Has More Problems to Contend with in Ukraine: Britain’s Ministry of Defence described Ukraine’s Kherson offensive as a “tactical surprise” for the Russians in an update over the weekend.
In an intelligence update shared on Twitter, British intelligence officials revealed how Ukraine’s advance was unexpected to the Russians and noted how Ukrainian troops were able to exploit Russia’s poor logistics to regain lost ground.
“Since 29 August 2022, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been conducting renewed offensive operations in the south of Ukraine,” the update reads. “One element of this offensive is an ongoing advance on a broad front, west of the Dnipro River, focusing on three axes within Russian-occupied Kherson Oblast.”
The operation, the intelligence says, has limited immediate objectives but is proving successful as Ukrainian troops are “exploiting poor logistics, administration, and leadership in the Russian armed forces.”
The comments come after Western government officials describe “tactical gains” made during the first week of Ukraine’s latest counteroffensive against Russia in Kherson. On Friday, officials said that while the operation is limited in scope, it is already beginning to work.
“The Ukrainians themselves have already said that the offensive is, in their words, a planned slow operation to grind the enemy, which will take time and effort,” one official said. “I don’t think we should be anticipating gigantic breakthroughs which completely change the picture…the signs are good at the moment.”
Russia Isn’t Ready
Russia is still struggling to resupply its dwindling troops in eastern Ukraine, too. According to Ukrainian intelligence, 40% of the military equipment earmarked for the newly formed 3rd Army Corps is not combat-ready.
A representative from the Intelligence Directorate at Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said that Russia was using its latest military equipment back in February and March, and that new equipment may not be read for some time. The newly-created Russian military units are designed to provide additional support for existing units in Ukraine but are depending on Soviet-era equipment until the new equipment arrives.
Intelligence suggests that Russia will not be able to fill the ranks of these new units and provide them with the necessary modern equipment until the end of November, meaning Russia could be forced to maintain its defenses in eastern and southern Ukraine for several more months before launching new offenses of their own.
Russia is believed to have redeployed around 20,000 troops to the western bank of the Dnipro River to hold back Ukrainian troops advancing into the region, but it’s unclear how long Russia can prevent the inevitable without access to more troops and equipment.
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.