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Putin Needs to Panic: Ukraine’s Military Is ‘Gaining Momentum’

After nearly two months of heavy fighting, often with little progress to show, the Ukrainian Army’s counteroffensive looks to be gaining momentum. 

Russian Tank Destroyed by Ukraine Drone Screenshot

After nearly two months of heavy fighting, often with little progress to show, the Ukrainian Army’s counteroffensive looks to be gaining momentum. 

Kyiv had been holding back a significant number of its troops, but it has reportedly begun the main thrust of its counteroffensive in the Zaporizhzhia region. Ukraine has deployed thousands of soldiers newly outfitted with Western arms into the battle, The New York Times reported.

U.S. officials have described the current campaign as a “big test,” one that might show Ukraine is capable of regaining large swaths of its territory.

The results could signal whether Kyiv is actually able to drive out the Russian military.

The Ukrainian general staff has said it would “continue to conduct an offensive operation in Melitopol and Berdyansk directions.” Liberating those cities on the Sea of Azov would drive a wedge through Russian-occupied territory in Southern and Eastern Ukraine.

What Has Gone Wrong?

After much anticipation, Ukraine’s offensive has not delivered the results some in the West hoped to see. According to reports, a number of unexpected factors might have contributed to the underwhelming results. The first was a delay in the start of the attacks, due to a lack of necessary weapons and ordnance.

“We did have plans to start it in spring. But we didn’t, because, frankly, we had not enough munitions and armaments and not enough brigades properly trained in these weapons, still, more, that the training missions were held outside Ukraine,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview on CNN earlier this month.

The delay provided Russia with the time it needed to increase its defenses and fortify the positions it held, and that included laying vast numbers of landmines.

“And, definitely, they had even more time than they needed. Because of that, they built more of those lines. And, really, they had a lot of mines in our fields,” Zelensky added. “Because of that, a slower pace of our counteroffensive actions. We didn’t want to lose our people, our personnel. And our servicemen didn’t want to lose equipment because of that.”

Fortified Positions vs. Tanks – A Setback

Russia’s beefed-up defenses have proven to be more than a match for Western-supplied equipment. Notably, they have held up well against main battle tanks and other armored vehicles. Several German-made Leopard 2 MBTs and U.S. M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles were damaged or even destroyed in the early days of the offensive. This was a shock to Western observers, who may have had unrealistic expectations for these war machines.

It was also a propaganda coup for the Kremlin, which quickly claimed Ukraine’s counteroffensive had failed. However, as the BBC reported, “In reality it was an early setback rather than a decisive blow.”

In its most recent assessment from Ukraine on Wednesday, the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War reported that Kyiv could have one significant advantage over Moscow.

“Ukrainians appear to have rotated fresh forces into this area for the operation whereas Russian forces remain pinned to the line apparently without rotation, relief, or significant reinforcement in this sector,” ISW noted.

The think tank also reported that offensive actions around Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast could be the start of a main thrust – but whether it will deliver a knock-out blow has yet to be seen.

Author Experience and Expertise

A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

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Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.