Ukraine forces advance amid counteroffensive speculation

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has commended his troops as Ukrainian forces advanced in several sections of the front line with Russia, leading to increasing speculation that Kyiv’s anticipated counteroffensive is underway. In a video address, Zelenskyy expressed gratitude to the Ukrainian soldiers, particularly those in the Donetsk region, for their efforts in defending the country and progressing forward.

Zelenskyy’s praise followed statements from Ukraine’s ground forces commander, Oleksandr Syrskyi, who reported that his troops were “moving forward” near Bakhmut. Despite Russia’s claims of capturing the city last month, Ukrainian officials insisted that their forces still maintained a foothold in the eastern city. Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar also mentioned a shift towards “offensive actions” in some areas of the front but dismissed suggestions of a significant operation.

On the other hand, Russia’s military reported thwarting two large-scale Ukrainian offensives against its forces in eastern Ukraine since Sunday. The Russian defence ministry stated that the “enemy did not achieve its tasks” and had “no success.” However, some pro-Kremlin military bloggers acknowledged that Kyiv’s troops had made some rapid gains.

Kyiv has remained silent regarding the official start of any counteroffensive, despite analysts’ speculation that an offensive campaign against Russian forces has begun. Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reported from Kyiv that there is “increasing evidence of an intensification of fighting at various locations along the front line.” The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) also observed increased fighting in different sectors of the front line, noting that “Ukrainian forces are making territorial gains despite Russian claims to the contrary.”

Military analysts suggest that Ukraine has attempted to conceal its strategic intentions by launching multiple attacks on several sectors of the front line in recent weeks. This strategy aims to force Russia to disperse its resources and distract them from where the primary strike would be launched. As a result, Kyiv is searching for Russia’s weak spots and attempting to expand the front as much as possible, according to Ukrainian military analyst Roman Svitan.

With Russian troops entrenched along a front line stretching approximately 1,000km (600 miles), many military experts anticipate Ukraine will attempt to breach Russian defences towards the Sea of Azov coast and break the land corridor to Russian-held Crimea. While some officials in Washington believe the counteroffensive is underway, the US White House’s national security spokesperson, John Kirby, declined to confirm this. Nonetheless, Kirby emphasised the United States’ efforts in ensuring the Ukrainians were prepared for any potential counteroffensive.

World News

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Jenn

With a Bachelor's Degree in English, Jenn has plenty of experience writing and editing on different topics. After spending many years teaching English in Thailand, Jenn has come to love writing about Thai culture and the experience of being an ex-pat in Thailand. During long holidays, she travels to North of Thailand just to have Khao Soi!