The extent and success of the Ukrainian offensive is still unclear. Military expert Mick Ryan explains which factors are now important in the counteroffensive.

The Ukrainian armed forces have launched the announced counter-offensive in the south of the country. On Monday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: “If they want to survive, it is high time for the Russian soldiers to flee”. So far, however, hardly any details are known about Ukraine’s alleged major offensive in the south of the country.

Australian ex-general and military expert Mick Ryan explains on Twitter which factors could determine the success or failure of the Ukrainian offensive in the coming weeks. Ryan names 7 factors for planning campaigns that are now important:

Now save articles for later in “Pocket”.

The political dimension of the offensive is just as important as the military dimension: “For Zelenskyy, it is the key to fulfilling his promise to retake the south, but it is also an area that is of great economic importance for Ukraine,” writes the military expert on twitter.

After Putin’s failures in Kyiv and Kharkiv, losing the south would be a major blow to Russia, but it would not be the end of Putin’s campaign, Ryan said. The status of Crimea is also at stake: Because of the infrastructure and bases, it is an important location for Russia.

So far there has been a lack of clarity about the goals of the offensive: are the Ukrainians only interested in the country west of the Dnieper or the entire south? “This will dictate the order of the attacks and prioritize the allocation of the various support mechanisms required for the advance such as logistics, fire, communications, engineering, intelligence, operations, etc.,” Ryan said.

Thus, Ukrainian tactics would depend on whether the Ukrainian goals are primarily related to retaking territory or to wiping out a large part of Russian forces in the south, writes Ryan.

The ground also plays an important role: “Control measures such as operational phase lines and exploitation limits are influenced by it,” writes the military expert. The Dnieper could represent a phase line for the operation: “Maybe the Ukrainians have to cross it – and that will be difficult,” said Ryan.

How long the Ukrainians can sustain the offensive will largely depend on the equipment and ammunition they have stockpiled for that offensive, Ryan writes. The quantity and location of reinforcements and reserves is also important.

And what will affect Russian success or failure? The sustainability of Russia’s defenses depends on how the troops will be able to support the defensive combat with tactical fire, engineering, attack aircraft and logistics, writes Ryan.

According to Ryan, the success of Russia’s defenses depends on how Russia has set up its general defense plan: “Are they defending forwards or backwards, and what are the capabilities of their dedicated and situational reserve forces?”

This is crucial to the success of the offensive: “The reserves (and their locations) will determine how well the Russians can counterattack or repel intrusion attempts to seal off the points where the Ukrainians penetrate or break through the Russian defenses.” , writes Ryan.

The Ukrainian offensive is an information battle: “[…] the aim is to obtain – and use – relevant information about the battlefield. It is also a struggle to preserve important information on one’s side while the world is informed of what is happening,” writes the military expert.

Whether Russia can successfully coordinate defense depends on whether it has secure communications: “What decision-making powers has the senior Russian commander delegated to subordinate commanders? How much flexibility does the senior Russian commander have to make tactical realignments and retreats?” Ryan said.

Whether the Russian forces are fighting street by street around Cherson or withdrawing to spare their combat troops remains open to the military expert. The impact of the offensive on Russian supplies, the deployment of reserves, and the morale of Russian soldiers could make the difference between success and failure.

“Ukrainian efforts over the past few weeks to ‘isolate’ the battlefield by cutting bridges and destroying C2 nodes will impact the sustainability of the Russian defenses, as well as their tactical cohesion and morale,” writes Ryan.

Ultimately, it would be a battle of wills between opposing commanders who would attempt to deceive and outwit their opponents: “In this battle of wills, understanding the objective is one of the most important differences between combatants. It is unclear whether the Russian commanders and soldiers know what they are fighting for. Ukrainians have a clear idea of ​​why they are fighting,” writes the military expert.