It was brought to my attention by some commenters that the tweet I posted in its entirety in my diary was already published as part of an earlier diary by annieli. Let me apologize for this negligence. It was not my intention to lift someone else's content.
It is an honor that for the first time I find one of my diaries at #1 on the Trendig List. Thank you for that! And also thank you for your participation in the comment section. I really appreciate that.
"Charge of the Light Brigade" is still used ironically to characterize an enterprise that is carried out with great courage and discipline but with inadequate preparation and unsuitable means. Hopefully, the Ukrainians will avoid such an "act of heroism".
Recently, more and more articles are emerging that doubt the success of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. Many commentators find it too slow, especially considering that a significant amount of Western weapons has been delivered. Headlines like
Ukraine counteroffensive creeps ahead, measured in blood
Early stages of Ukrainian counteroffensive ‘not meeting expectations,’ Western officials tell CNN
Ukraine's counteroffensive stalls against Russian forces
show the impatience with which the media react to the presumed delay.
The Ukrainians are expected to deliver tangible results. Given that at the beginning of the war, it was expected that the Ukrainians would be defeated within three days at the latest, many now want the supposedly overwhelmingly strong Russian army to be expelled from the country as quickly as possible and their attention span is already starting to wane. Although President Volodymyr Zelensky has acknowledged battlefield progress has been "slower than desired" he also cautioned against mistaking the war for a Hollywood movie.
That's why I was pleased to finally come across a comprehensive and well-founded opinion on Twitter that dispels the usual cliches and prejudices. Since the article is quite long and there have been difficulties displaying tweets lately (and many of you don't have a Twitter account out of principle), I have decided to include the text of the full tweet here with the author's permission, but also added a link to the original tweet.
About the author: His name is Radu Hossu, he’s from Brasov, Romania and has been a political consultant for some time. Radu is accredited by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine as a War Correspondent. In this capacity he spent 4 months on the Eastern Front, in Kharkiv, during the counteroffensive in September 2022, and on other fronts as well.
He has been to Bakhmut three times in October, November, and in the middle of January when Bakhmut was almost encircled and personally delivered a donated fire truck. So I’m assuming he has at least a basic understanding what’s going on on the front line and is not one of the many armchair generals (like myself) on the interwebs.
The only editing I did was removing some line breaks and formatting it for better readability.
Why is the Ukrainian counteroffensive going exactly as planned and definitely not moving slowly, but rather moving better than many expected? However, the devil is in the details, which I intend to expose here, according to my humble opinion:
1. Before presenting my arguments, I would like to reiterate that I am a political consultant and by no means a military analyst. I am a layperson in the art of war, a simple and humble observer of the events in Ukraine, but I have read extensively about techniques, tactics, and military strategy because political strategy derives from them, which is practically one of the things I was involved in before the war in Ukraine.
Also, before presenting my arguments, I want us to superficially delve into what is happening on the front in terms of offense and defense, as they are defined by theorists of modern warfare:
1.1 The type of Russian defense. A combination of static defense (such as fortifications like the Maginot Line in WW2) and in-depth defense, meaning dispersed defense in multiple layers (defense lines), such as the Surovikin Line.
1.2 The type of Ukrainian attack. A combination of methodical attack and breakthrough attack (or as it has materialized in the collective mindset, the term Blitzkrieg).
2. Please take into consideration that the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) do not have air superiority or air supremacy. Therefore, the Western doctrine of attack, which relies on air supremacy, cannot be implemented in the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
2.1 At the same time, when considering the idea that "the counteroffensive is moving slowly," please compare it unintentionally with the Kharkiv counteroffensive in September 2022.
I say unintentionally because in the field of communication sciences, this is called "shadow framing," which means what remains as residual memory and what we refer to every time we compare the unfolding of an event, the actions of a person, or the actions of the same person in situations that seem similar, but at a certain time interval between the two actions.
3. Therefore, "shadow framing" subconsciously dictates to you that the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) are not advancing quickly. No one would have known what "quick" means if they didn't have a benchmark to compare it to, and that benchmark is for many of those who have been following the war from the beginning, exactly what I mentioned above: the Kharkiv counteroffensive. However, what our own brain deceives us about is that it does not take into account several variables that have changed since then:
3.1 The Russian army did not have any kind of fortified defense line. At this moment, the Surovikin Line has up to 6 successive lines of defense in depth, some of which are fortified. So, the difference between Russian defense then and now is like the difference between hitting a wall at a speed of 80 km/h in a 1966 Lada or in a 2023 Premium SUV.
3.2 By having this time at their disposal, the Russians, by constructing the Surovikin Line, have put the Ukrainians in difficulty, which means they have to adapt their attack from what we saw almost daily in September 2022 as a breakthrough attack (Blitzkrieg) to a positional attack combined with limited breakthroughs. Why do they do this? To limit their losses and to not lose momentum.
3.3 In September 2022, by deceiving the Russians that the attack would be in Kherson, the Russians were forced to dislocate a large part of their troops to defend the only city that had both symbolic and strategic value: Kherson. The Ukrainians did this then to scatter their defense in Kharkiv, and they succeeded.
Today, the Russians know clearly that the attack will be in the southern front, and moreover, they have detonated the Khakovka dam in a terrorist style to slow down the Ukrainians from attacking them from two flanks.
3.4 In September 2022, HIMARS was still a novelty for the Russians, and they did not yet have a response to it. The destruction caused by HIMARS to the logistics centers on the Kharkiv front, such as Velyki Burluk, Kupyansk, and Izium, was decisive for the collapse of the front altogether.
Today, we have a completely different situation. It is true that now there is Shadow Storm, which works wonders, but the Russians have adapted. There are fewer large troop concentrations, the depots are smaller and dispersed (to make the use of Shadow Storms economically inefficient), and the logistics centers are also smaller and dispersed in multiple localities.
Thus, what we see today is NOT comparable in any way to the counteroffensive in Kharkiv, to which the majority (including Western Generals) of people refer when they say "the counteroffensive is moving slowly."
If we start taking that into consideration, then let's see what we're looking at. The map that I have drawn here was done on May 5, almost 2 months ago.
"1" on the map represents what I call the "Southern Kherson Island," delimited to the south by the entrance to Crimea, to the east by the border of Zaporizhia Oblast, and to the north and west by the Dnieper River. The plans for this part have been complicated by the terrorist attack by Russia at the Nova Khakovka dam.
"2" on the map represents what I consider the main area that the Ukrainians want to conquer: the zone between Henichesk and Berdiansk.
"3" on the map represents the line of attack that would lead towards Berdiansk and then (or perhaps even before) towards the liberation of Mariupol.
I added the pink arrow because I said 2 months ago to pay attention in the direction of Bakhmut-Siversk-Kreminna.
4. Taking all these things into consideration, what is Ukraine doing now and why do I believe that this counteroffensive is moving at an absolutely admirable pace, even exceeding expectations in certain areas of the front?
The Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) are using a hybrid model of elastic attack: between breakthrough and positional attacks (using artillery to strike deep and diminish Russian forces). In the initial phase, they attack a point, practically using raid-style attacks (rapid, with high force density and a predetermined time and space limit) to force the Russians to counter with artillery fire - thus exposing their positions and prompting them to send infantry and mechanized infantry to confront the Ukrainians - in what would normally be called "offensive defense."
When the Russians resort to these actions, abandoning their positions, the Ukrainians withdraw and utilize their artillery, IFVs, and tanks. The former is used to destroy Russian artillery batteries, where they still maintain numerical superiority, and the latter is employed to eliminate forces deployed for trench defense.
This strategy is gradually thinning out the defense in the Surovikin Line, which is why we see increasing penetrations of the Russian defense on a daily basis, reaching greater depths.
The Battle for Bakhmut. Why is it important? Because, based on all the information I have from my sources in Ukraine, confirmed by Ukrainian and Western official sources, the Russians are still massing between 50,000 and 70,000 personnel in that direction. Why? Because Bakhmut is Putin's only victory, and he cannot afford to lose a locality that currently holds no strategic value (just as it did not have any before). Moreover, today Bakhmut is just a destroyed city, with no value for the Russian Federation, the sponsor state of terrorism.
These tens of thousands of troops are thus fixed by the Ukrainians, who have meanwhile taken the initiative, entered Bakhmut (as I wrote a few days ago, now confirmed even by Russian sources), and gained ground both to the north and south of it, forcing the Russians to remain fixated there.
Despite the lower number of artillery batteries, lower ammunition supplies, and the natural disadvantage of being on the offensive, despite the fact that Ukraine's air force is almost non-existent compared to Russia's, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) have made progress today on all four axes in the south (Kherson, Vasylivka, Orekhiv-Tokmak, Velyka Novosilka-Berdiansk), but especially in the Bakhmut area, where they have crossed the Siversky Donets canal, are close to encircling Klischiivka, are already attacking Kumydivka and Andriivka to the south, and have territorial gains in the north.
Once again, read the last part: despite all the shortcomings mentioned above, the AFU is advancing at a rate that I honestly, as someone who closely follows the course of the war, did not expect!
5. Then why did Zelensky say that he will show (speaking in the future tense) that this counteroffensive will prove to go well until the NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 11th, and why did General Mark Milley say, "the counteroffensive is going well, but at a slower pace than expected"?
- Zelensky made a concise political statement because he doesn't have the ability to write thousands of words like I am doing here now. And...
- With all due respect to General Mark Milley, he was the one who stated that "in the event of an invasion, Kyiv will fall within 72 hours" (he made this statement on February 5). So, allow me to disagree with him this time.
Conclusion: We are not in Hollywood; we are talking about a real war, with people dying every day, with advancements by the AFU, and perhaps most importantly, without the AFU engaging with what I call "The Nine" Brigades - the ones specially prepared for this counteroffensive!
I have confidence in the Ukrainian Command because they haven't disappointed me so far, and I am absolutely sure - even though it may sound optimistic, I am used to being criticized for it - that Ukraine will reach the Sea of Azov by the end of this autumn, leading to the liberation of vast territories in the south.
I trust the Ukrainian Armed Forces!
I will reiterate, for those who may not know yet, my appeal for retweets, comments, or likes, even if they may not be pleasing, in order to reach as many people as possible with this information. Because we are also in an information war, and we are the ones fighting on it. It is up to us to win on this front, just as Ukraine will prevail on its territory!
Glory to Ukraine!
Let me close with a quote from another highly knowledgeable Twitter guy named Thomas C. Theiner:
As long as these don't appear on the front the Ukrainian Offensive is still in an early phase.
Nothing more to say, except “Happy Independence day y’all!