Espreso. Global

Triangle near Bakhmut and ratio of weapons losses during counteroffensive: weekly military results

9 September, 2023 Saturday

Military expert Serhiy Zgurets gives assessment of the Ukrainian counteroffensive through the prism of equipment losses, concrete fortifications of the Russian army on the 2nd and 3rd defense lines, and the triangle in the Bakhmut direction

Advances in the south and "fuel" for the Ukrainian military

When talking about the "fuel" of the war on the Ukrainian side, this means the desire to liberate Ukrainian territory, as well as the courage and resilience of Ukraine's soldiers, who have been demonstrating for 18 months what no other army has ever demonstrated. This includes holding back Russia's offensive, and now advancing in the south, in those protected areas that, according to all Western analysts, are impassable.

Ukrainian units were told during certain military exercises that in such cases they should avoid minefields and look for options for easier advancement. But it's simply impossible to avoid minefields in the south because there are so many of them, and this was actually the basis of the Russian defense line. But now, in at least three southern directions, the Ukrainian military is putting pressure on the enemy, in particular in the Melitopol direction from Robotynу and further, as well as near Velyki Novosilky.

As for assessing the pace of the counteroffensive, this is not a case where we can measure in kilometers. We understand that the strategy associated with the actions of small units and small artillery is at the core of Ukraine's advance. When we say that the foreign media are beginning to adequately assess the situation, it is primarily based on the statements and assessments of their own generals.

The Financial Times published an article titled "Ukraine cannot win against Russia now, but victory by 2025 is possible" and it is a British army general who advises 5 important things that are needed to ensure the advance. He says that Ukraine should not attack until the material conditions are created, that pressure should be exerted as much as possible within the Russian troop grouping during the winter, that artillery should be used to strike at close positions and in the opponent's depths, and that the Black Sea Fleet should be neutralized. 

Assessment of the Ukrainian counteroffensive due to the loss of weapons and equipment 

When taking offensive actions, the main goal pursued by the Ukrainian army is not only to liberate the territories from the occupying Russian army, but also to destroy manpower and equipment. If we look at the recent reports of the General Staff, more than 600 Russian soldiers have been killed. As for the destroyed Russian artillery, 36 systems were destroyed on September 8 and 31 systems the day before. In fact, these indicators of artillery destruction show how Ukrainian artillery works against the Russian enemy, because this counter-battery fight is ensured by the advantage of Ukrainian systems that have a greater range and accuracy and thus kill the main Russian potential.

According to experts who analyze the destroyed Russian equipment, in the offensive format, the Ukrainian army has a 1:1 ratio of armor losses, and the ratio of Russian equipment to Ukrainian ones is 1:3, 1:4. That is, 4 Russian artillery systems are destroyed compared to 1 Ukrainian destroyed.  

Concrete Russian fortifications and assessment of the 2nd and 3rd Russian defense lines

The Ukrainian servicemen say that the 2nd defense line near Robotyne has been dug up so that underground labyrinths have been created that are concrete. If these lines are concreted, it means that Ukrainian ammunition is not effective enough against Russian artillery because they are in concrete structures.

This means that the process of the first stage of the offensive, when the Ukrainian Armed Forces destroyed a significant number of personnel that Russia had transferred to hold the front line of defense, was fully justified on Ukraine's part, and it is good that the Russians fell for it and put their reserves to hold the non-main area.

Now the question is, on the one hand, not so much about destroying the fortifications, as it will be harder to do with artillery, but about working behind Russian lines, supply bases and logistics convoys that supply Russian soldiers in these fortifications.

What is important now is how to properly plan the expenditure of Ukrainian forces to break through the defense line and then move on. This is an important component of the assessment and approach to the Ukrainian offensive that is currently underway in the south. 

The triangle in the Bakhmut direction and the situation in Kupyansk

Fighting is underway in Klishchiivka. Maksym Zhorin, deputy commander of the 3rd assault brigade, said that the Russian troops are being forced out of the area, and also Andriivka. Currently, the triangle of Klishchiivka - Andriivka - Kurdiumivka remains relevant from the point of view that the issue here is not to enter Bakhmut, but to ensure the destruction of Russian troops.

Currently, about 50,000 Russian forces are concentrated in this area, and Russia has previously deployed paratroopers from 4 airborne divisions here. That is, the most elite Russian troops are being held in Bakhmut, and they are being destroyed there, so Russia cannot move them to other areas. This process of "Bakhmut meat grinder" of Russian troops continues to work at the expense of Ukrainian artillery, and the issue of the advance of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is important, but still secondary. But in any case, pushing them out of Klishchiivka, Andriivka, and Kurdiumivka will significantly complicate the defense line and create the preconditions for capturing Bakhmut.

Russia has moved a significant number of forces to the Kupyansk direction, but the attempts near Synkivka, Novoselivske, and the fighting near Nova Horivka are all aimed at trying to push the Ukrainian Armed Forces beyond the Oskil River, but Ukrainian units have been moved there as well, so risks exist, but there is also a strong defense.

Russia keeps about 3 artillery brigades there, and an artillery regiment beyond Svatove, so now they will try to put pressure on Ukrainian troops with artillery. We understand that this direction is dangerous, but the counteraction will be effective.

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