Espreso. Global

Ukrainian counterattacks, liberation of territories in south, situation near Avdiivka: weekly military results by Serhiy Zgurets

24 February, 2024 Saturday

Russia wants to ensure a 'political effect' by pushing Ukrainian units out of areas liberated during the offensive. Robotyne is such an area, but the Ukrainian military has been conducting successful counterattacks

Frontline situation: southern Ukraine

For two weeks, Russia has been attacking Robotyne from the west and south. From the west, Russia advanced about 400-500 metres. But just yesterday there were counterattacks by Ukrainian military in this area. The Ukrainian Armed Forces regained control of one of the strongholds that was captured by Russia. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have enough artillery in this area. We have seen many examples of the effective use of munitions, which leads to significant enemy losses. 

Russia will continue to create conditions for Ukraine to leave this area. Invading Russian forces tried to do this through flanking attacks, but it seems that the military leadership of Ukraine has drawn certain conclusions, and the flank areas around Robotyne are quite strongly fortified. Russian enemy has resorted to frontal attacks on Robotyne, but as we can see, there are no positive results for the enemy. 

Consequences of the Ukrainian Armed Forces' withdrawal from Avdiivka for Russian troops

Indeed, Russian army tried to surround Ukrainian units. To do so, it spent four months of fighting, but lost 47,000 personnel and a significant amount of equipment. Due to the superiority in aviation, artillery and manpower, the enemy managed to push Ukrainian units out of Avdiivka. But they failed to surround Ukrainian garrison. Now Ukrainian troops are holding another line of defence, 10 kilometres deeper. This line of defence runs along the Stepove-Lastochkine-Severnoye line. The area is defended by the same brigades that fought with Russian enemy in Avdiivka itself. All of Ukraine's military units are holding back the enemy's offensive, which has been effectively stopped.

Despite the active actions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Russian forces are trying to somehow push through the new defence line. Russia is now pressing on Stepove. There was fighting opposite Lastochkine. Recently, the Third Separate Assault Brigade, using cluster munitions, eliminated a large group of Russian militants at night who were trying to break through to Lastochkine. 

There was information that Russia had approached Sievierne, another settlement held by our troops. The Russian troops pushed Ukrainian troops back a little bit. Now Ukrainian forces are holding this line of defence. But using their superiority in manpower and aircraft, Russian enemy is trying to move this line. The new defence line is worse than the positions in Avdiivka. After all, Avdiivka was a powerful fortified area. But we remember that Russian enemy was creating an opportunity to surround Ukrainian troops. Ukraine's military leadership, with all the risks of such a manoeuvre, managed to ensure that the Armed Forces withdrew to new defence lines without significant losses.

The threat of Russia’s advance towards Stepove and Lastochkyne

Active hostilities have been taking place over the past two days. Lastochkyne is being covered by the 3rd Detached Assault Brigade. Russian enemy was not allowed to advance there, given the effectiveness of Ukrainian defence. There were active attacks near Stepove. Despite the losses, Russian forces used the accumulated strength to provide some replenishment in a few days. Russia is trying to put pressure on Stepove and Sievierne to try to push Ukrainian troops to the next defence lines. These next lines of defence are in the depths at a certain distance. In fact, they are much better prepared than the line where our troops are. The dynamics are likely to be extremely difficult from here on out. Maksym Zhorin, deputy commander of the 3rd Brigade, said that Russia retains the potential to try to push deeper into Ukrainian territory. 

Situation in the Kherson region

Russia is trying to complicate logistics. When the Ukrainian military uses boats to bring reinforcements to the marines, Russian forces try to sink the boats. Now the marines are holding areas in Krynky. Yesterday, there was information that samples of equipment that Russian enemy was trying to bring up to provide its air defence against Ukrainian drones were destroyed. In fact, we are now witnessing a systematic duel using Ukrainian capabilities from the right bank, primarily artillery, drones and electronic warfare. This allows the marines to hold this difficult section of the frontline. Yesterday, HIMARS strikes struck a concentration of Russian troops who were training at the Oleshkivski Pisky training ground. Russian troops suffered significant losses. 

After Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu lied about Krynky being captured, Teplynsky and other military leaders are likely to act accordingly. Therefore, there is a risk that Russian enemy will now try to intensify attacks on this area and push the infantry into the river. But this is not the first threatening situation. Ukrainian soldiers heroically withstood more difficult periods in holding this bridgehead.

The likelihood of a Russian offensive by the anniversary of the full-scale invasion

Russia has an advantage in manpower and equipment. However, when we talk about the enemy's ability to conduct any more powerful offensive operations against Kyiv or Odesa, this is probably a significant exaggeration. The forces that Russia keeps on Ukrainian territory are 470,000 personnel. They are aimed at holding the captured territories and conducting offensive operations. 

The Ukrainian Armed Forces kill up to 30,000 soldiers per month. In fact, Russia mobilises the same number. That is, there is now a certain parity in manpower capabilities, and this is the risk. Therefore, Ukraine needs to provide support to the Armed Forces with ammunition and equipment. We have to spend this year in active defence, we have to ensure a sufficient level of fortification, which is what is happening now. We must ensure that we hold the territories that Russia is trying to attack. If we manage not to give up territories this year, it will be a success in 2024. Ukraine has the potential to help quickly. We hope that we will be able to keep it in the current format, and we will receive help from our international partners in time.

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