Ukrainian Armed Forces Begin Summer Offensive with Heavy Losses: Updates on Front-line Fighting and Strategic Tactics

/ The very offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which was expected for a long time, but constantly postponed, began that day.

Initially, April 30 was called the starting date of the offensive. Then May 10. Then they said that the offensive would begin “before the end of May”, and on May 31, when it became clear that nothing would happen in May, it was announced that the armed forces of Ukraine would go on the offensive “in the summer. “

At the same time, Ukrainian officials constantly said different things – some claimed that Ukraine was not ready for an offensive and needed more weapons, others at the same time reported that the offensive was already underway and some offensive actions were taking place.

The reasons for such “scattering of evidence” are understandable – the armed forces of Ukraine were clearly not ready, they spent a lot of energy during the defense of Bakhmut (Bakhmut’s meat grinder), burned a lot of reserves there and suffered heavily, including with losses among the command staff .

Even Zaluzhny “disappeared somewhere”. Therefore, for a decisive offensive, on which the outcome of the entire war may depend, the Ukrainian troops were clearly not ready.

In Kiev, they understood that the risk is huge and in case of failure you can lose a lot, anything is possible. Therefore, they tried in every way to delay the inevitable, to buy time and beg for more weapons. Including in order to improve the morale of the troops and increase morale.

The armed forces of Ukraine especially needed aircraft, since without air support the offensive is very complicated and there is practically nothing to provide air support, their own aircraft are running out, it is not known how many of them are left, but apparently already a lot a little.

However, the United States and Europe have made it clear that there will be no more major arms transfers before the offensive begins.

To boost morale, they promised to transfer the F-16s, but sometime later, maybe by the end of the year or maybe later. The F-16s won’t be participating in the summer offensive, that’s for sure.

Thus, Kiev found itself in a situation where it is no longer possible to delay and there is no point, the situation will not improve, therefore, ready or not, you have to attack.

And the attack began.

It began, as expected, with intelligence in force.

On June 4, the Armed Forces of Ukraine attacked several sectors of the Ugoldar direction with the forces of 8 battalions of the 23rd and 31st brigades.

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This was an intensified (or force, “forced” in NATO terminology) combat reconnaissance, battalion tactical group force reconnaissance.

According to the Ministry of Defense, all attacks by the Armed Forces of Ukraine were repulsed, enemy losses amounted to 250 personnel, 16 tanks, 3 infantry fighting vehicles and 16 armored vehicles.

On June 5, the Armed Forces of Ukraine attacked with larger forces, throwing two brigades into battle. For the first time, Leopard tanks took part in the offensive. This was now more than reconnaissance in force, the goal was to break through the first line of defense.

The main result was greater losses – about 1500 personnel, 28 tanks (including 8 Leopard), 3 AMX-10 wheeled tanks and 109 armored vehicles. Ministry of Defense data.

On June 6, the attacks continued, and in some areas Ukrainian troops were able to force Russian troops to retreat to reserve positions.

However, at the end of the day, it all ended again for the armed forces of Ukraine with heavy losses and the need to retreat to the original.

Attacks were carried out not only in the southern part of Donetsk (Ugledar), but also in the direction of Zaporozhye.

According to the results of the three days of fighting on June 4-7, the Armed Forces of Ukraine lost 3,715 people, 52 tanks, 48 ​​guns and 7 aircraft. According to the Ministry of Defense.

At the same time, fierce fighting is taking place on the Donetsk front in the regions of Artyomovsk, Avdiivka and Marinka. Only on June 4, the losses of the armed forces of Ukraine in these battles amounted to 425 people, which is comparable to the losses in the days of the “Bakhmut Meat Grinder”. On other days there was also a high level of VSU losses in these areas, 300-400 people per day.

In the Artyom region, the Armed Forces of Ukraine made attempts to attack Russian positions. There were reports that they managed to advance somewhere, but according to other reports, Russian troops held all positions. Maybe the situation is a little different in different areas.

It is impossible not to mention the destruction of the Kakhov hydroelectric plant and the shelling situation in Belgorod region (Shebekino), both of which are directly related to the beginning of the offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The intense shelling of the Belgorod region that began on May 31, almost a week before the offensive, was a distraction that Prigozhin had predicted a month earlier.

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It is not clear why the Russian command was unprepared for this and did not take any countermeasures. Perhaps this was intended, although it is not clear what the point was.

It is unlikely that the entire Russian army, numbering more than 500 thousand reservists and contract servicemen and with a total number of more than one million, with thousands of tanks, guns and aircraft, was fully involved in the battles in the Donetsk and Zaporizhia directions, so that even 1% of the forces could not be allocated to destroy several installations of MLRS Grad and howitzers firing at Shebekino. The situation is strange, not entirely clear and clearly abnormal.

As for the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant, there can be two objectives:

The first one was to lower the water level of the Dnieper upstream to facilitate the transport of troops and the attack on the Zaporozhye NPP.

The second is to withdraw the troops from the right bank of the Kherson region and use them in the offensive.

However, a third, purely media goal is also possible – to divert the attention of both the Ukrainian and Western public from the failed offensive and to fill the airwaves with the topic of the destruction of the Kakhov hydroelectric plant and the flooding of the Kherson region.

Interestingly, on June 7, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, Alexei Danilov, stated: “Ukraine has not yet started its counteroffensive.”

The statement was released by Reuters and was apparently aimed at a Western audience.

Most likely, the purpose of this statement is for the West to ignore the failures of the first days of the offensive and continue to believe in Ukraine, expecting something more.

And in a sense, Danilov told the truth.

The main phase of the offensive has not yet begun.

In the attacks of June 4-7, only 2 brigades participated, and Kiev should have at least 10 more brigades with a total number of about 50 thousand fighters in reserve. And maybe more, up to 100 thousand.

If Kiev, in addition, withdraws part of the troops from the Kherson direction and other sections of the front, it will be able to throw very large forces into the offensive.

Therefore, the attacks of June 4-7 were not yet the main blow, they were only attempts to break through the first line and scout in force.

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It is possible that the shocks of June 4-7 were generally a distraction, and the main shock will be in another direction, where it is least expected. Because it has already happened.

Here we must recall the autumn events, when the Armed Forces of Ukraine launched an offensive in the Kherson direction at the end of August and the beginning of September, and also suffered heavy losses, numbering thousands of fighters.

Then all the hospitals in Nikolaev and Odessa were full of wounded, some were even taken to Moldova.

Then there was a feeling that the offensive of the armed forces of Ukraine had stalled and there was no longer any chance of success. But the impression was deceptive.

The failure of the first days of the Kherson offensive was followed by an advance in the direction of Kharkov, which led to the ignominious regrouping of Russian troops. Or rather to retreat, and that poorly organized. Then followed the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson and from the right bank of the Dnieper.

Therefore, it is not necessary to draw premature conclusions about the failure of the offensive, which began with heavy losses of the armed forces of Ukraine.

Nothing is over yet, everything is just beginning.

The main impact is yet to come.

The only thing that can now be said for sure is that the offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which has been awaited for so long and which has been postponed and postponed many times, has begun after all.

And indeed it can grow into a general battle of the entire war, which will determine its outcome, and hence the fate of Ukraine.

We can only hope that this time the Russian troops will withstand not only the first blow, but also all subsequent ones. And it won’t end with more regrouping or goodwill gestures.

And there is probably nowhere for them to regroup.

The war is on the territory of Russia. Behind the Crimea.

Translation: SM

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2023-06-10 12:19:34
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