In early June, the Ukrainian military unleashed its long-anticipated counteroffensive in the Donbas and southern Ukraine. Progress has been slow and steady but without an operational breakthrough yet.
The Ukrainians remain calm and continue to probe the extensive Russian defensive line for weak spots that they can take advantage of. Thus far, the Ukrainians have liberated about 190 square miles of territory.
Ukraine War: Four Directions, 150 Miles
As of June 28, the Ukrainian military is attacking in four main directions.
In the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are attacking Bakhmut, making progress in the flanks of the tormented town. The Russian military only captured the town in late May after a siege of more than a year and 100,000 casualties.
The second Ukrainian axis of advance is around Avdiivka and Donetsk City. In recent days, the Ukrainian forces liberated territory in this area that had been under Russian occupation for the past nine years.
The third area where the Ukrainians are pushing hard is around Velika Novosilka in the south of the Donbas. The Ukrainian military has liberated at least seven settlements in this area.
And finally, the Ukrainian military is also attacking the Zaporizhzhia Oblast in southern Ukraine.
From north to south, the Ukrainian counteroffensive covers a distance of about 150 miles. What that means is that the Ukrainian military can easily move around troops and reinforce any offensive that offers promise. Moreover, the relatively short distance among the different axes of advance eases up the logistical battle for the Ukrainian military. In addition, the manageable distance allows Ukrainian long-range fires systems, such as the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), which have a range of around 50 miles, to cover multiple axes of advance without moving too far.
The Ukrainians keep probing and pushing the Russian defense lines to see which will crack first. On the other end, the Russian military has to relocate forces from other parts of the battlefield to maintain a cohesive defense. But the Russian forces are already stretched by casualties and force generation problems.
Meanwhile, on day 490 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian forces continue to take heavy casualties. Over the last 24 hours, the Russian forces lost close to 1,000 men killed, wounded, or captured.
Since the start of the Ukrainian counteroffensive about three-and-a-half weeks ago, the Russian forces have lost more than 15,000 men on the ground and several hundred heavy weapon systems.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 227,100 Russian troops, destroyed 321 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 308 attack and transport helicopters, 4,036 tanks, 4,089 artillery pieces, 7,847 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 627 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 6,774 vehicles and fuel tanks, 387 anti-aircraft batteries, 3,499 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 563 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,261 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
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.