Ukraine claims to have recaptured more than 30 settlements in the Kharkiv region. According to military expert Mick Ryan, advances in the Kharkiv region are of great importance for the further course of the war.
Ukrainian forces have recaptured more than 30 settlements in the eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. On Friday evening, Zelenskyy said in a video speech: “We are gradually taking control of new settlements”. According to the President, “bitter fighting” is continuing in eastern Ukraine, in the Donbass region and in the south of the country.
Australian military expert and ex-General Mick Ryan calls the latest developments in Ukraine’s offensive “a significant intrusion into Russia’s defenses”. The military expert classifies the Ukrainian operations around Kharkiv on Twitter and explains their importance for the further course of the war.
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According to Ryan, a lot has happened in Ukraine in the last 48 hours: while the offensive in the south continues, the Ukrainians have achieved a surprise victory against the Russians in the Kharkiv region. The area was only weakly defended by Russia, which is why the Ukrainians were able to invade the rear areas of Russia on a significant scale, according to the military expert.
According to Ryan, the fact that Ukraine was able to seize this opportunity indicates that Ukraine has a “significant mobile operational reserve”. While the offensive in the south is of crucial importance for Ukraine’s economic future, the offensive in Kharkiv has enormous tactical and operational implications for the region and the further course of the war, according to Ryan.
The offensive would affect Russian operations on the Eastern Front: “It endangers the Russian supply routes and leads to a major psychological problem for the Russians fighting in the east,” writes the military expert. According to Ryan, it is difficult for Russia to continue the fight in the east without dealing with the threat to the rear areas and logistics.
Russia must now call in reinforcements to the Russian-held areas in northern Ukraine: This could affect Russia’s defense of the south, explains the military expert. Accordingly, Ukraine could use the redeployment of Russian troops for itself. As a result, according to the military expert, there could be a cascade of tactical retreats and failures by the Russians in the various regions.
According to Ryan, deception is a key part of all Ukrainian preparation for this phase of the war: “Ukrainians have evidently taken care to quietly stockpile military resources and keep units in reserve to take advantage of opportunities like those in the north.”
According to Ryan, the high speed of the Ukrainian advance has led to Russia suffering significant material losses: “Surprised Russian supply depots (especially with artillery ammunition and fuel) will further damage the Russians and help Ukraine”. A real problem for Putin: In view of the Russian recruitment problems, the losses are difficult to replace.
For the military expert, Ukraine is doing a lot right on the offensive: “Operationally, the Ukrainians arrange their tactical battles in terms of time and geography, set priorities and adjust them in order to achieve strategic goals.” Strategically, the Ukrainians could also score as they continue to implement their corrosion tactics that target Russia at its weak points, Ryan said. Above all, Ukraine is destroying Russian logistics, communication channels and morale.
Nevertheless, the military expert explains that a Russian counterattack could stop the penetration of Ukraine. According to Ryan, the Russians would have to advance quickly, have sufficient reserves, and at the same time defend areas on the outer lines.
However, the military expert considers this unlikely: “It will be difficult (not impossible) for Russia to respond to the current pace of Ukrainian operations.” According to Ryan, the Ukrainian command philosophy of delegation and exploiting opportunities is superior to the Russian centralized method.
Even if Russia is not yet defeated, they are in big trouble at the moment. The military expert therefore suspects an unexpected reaction from Putin. Because according to Ryan, Russia has so far shown no signs of wanting to withdraw from this invasion.
According to Ryan, while the encroachment is a great triumph for Ukraine, it should not be forgotten that Luhansk and large parts of Donetsk and southern Ukraine remain under Russian occupation. Further Ukrainian offensives are necessary to clear these areas, Ryan said.
The military expert nevertheless highly appreciates the achievements of Ukraine: “They still have a long way to go, but they managed to surprise, deceived the enemy about their intentions and carried out a series of offensives that cornered the Russians” . According to Ryan, Ukraine has now taken the initiative and is tactically and operationally capable of surviving the winter. Even if the war is far from over, the military expert is hopeful about the further course: “Perhaps the tide is finally turning.”