Ukraine Making Way for Counteroffensive

A Ukrainian soldier stands at the checkpoint to the city of Irpin near Kyiv. | Image by Kutsenko Volodymyr, Shutterstock

In a strategic move to weaken Russian forces ahead of its counteroffensive, Ukraine has been launching a series of targeted attacks on ammunition stores and supply caches.

By attacking the supply line and depriving Russian forces of vital resources before launching a broader campaign to regain territory, Ukraine hopes to gain an advantage in the upcoming counteroffensive.

Ukraine has recently been engaging in what military strategists call shaping operations. These are actions taken against an enemy meant to bring about conditions that will increase the chances of success of future operations. They lay the groundwork for bigger missions.

Ukraine’s recent attacks have targeted Russia’s fuel storage and distribution network in or around the Crimean peninsula, according to The Wall Street Journal. This has potentially forced Moscow to adjust its military refueling operations, such as deploying additional protection at these kinds of sites or relying on infrastructure elsewhere.

“Every time [the Russian forces] have to pull depots back further, it limits the amount that can get to the front because it has to go further in trucks,” Phillips O’Brien, a professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, told The Wall Street Journal.

As The Dallas Express reported, Kyiv is attempting to punch through the Russian front line and reach Crimea in the coming months. The hope is that peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow will open from this more advantageous position.

Although Russian President Vladimir Putin has been steadfast in advocating the importance of his special military operation in Ukraine, his forces have suffered some major setbacks of late, as The Dallas Express reported.

Private Wagner mercenary group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin is now openly criticizing the Russian military leadership after losing its grip on the Ukrainian city of Kherson. Several reports of morale among Russian troops have emerged since the start of the invasion and continue to stream in.

Nonetheless, Russia has made some important strikes against Ukraine recently in a bid to disrupt its planned counteroffensive.

Earlier this month, Russian forces targeted fuel and munition depots and railroads in strikes on the Ukrainian city of Pavlohrad.

Russia also recently reported having destroyed military systems supplied by Ukraine’s allies bound for the front line, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. confirmed on May 16 that a Patriot system had been damaged in a Russian attack on Kyiv, according to The New York Times. It is nonetheless reportedly still operational and managed to intercept six of the hypersonic Kinzhal missiles aimed at the Ukrainian capital.

In fact, many of Ukraine’s recent strikes against Russian forces both in occupied territory and across the border have been made with newly acquired weapon systems from Western allies.

Ukraine has been extensively using drones and British long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles.

Yet Ukraine hasn’t publicly claimed responsibility for some of the recent attacks on Russia’s fuel storage and distribution networks, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In fact, this silence from Kyiv has some thinking that Ukraine’s counteroffensive may have already begun.

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