In a recent development, the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive has seen differential outcomes in at least three sectors of the front, marking a shift from defensive to offensive operations. The Institute for the Study of War has reported on the progress of these operations, shedding light on the engagements and strategies employed by both Ukrainian and Russian forces.
According to the Institute’s analysis, Ukrainian forces launched a significant attack in western Zaporizhia Oblast on the night of June 7 to 8. While initial gains were made by Ukrainian forces, Russian troops defended in a doctrinally sound manner and managed to regain their original positions by June 8. Russian sources credited their success to effective use of electronic warfare systems, air support, and landmines, which disrupted Ukrainian command and control signals and impeded their advances.
It is worth noting that the Russian Southern Military District Forces deployed in this particular area are likely to be of higher quality compared to other Russian groupings. Their defensive performance should not be considered reflective of the capabilities of Russian forces elsewhere on the front. Ukrainian attacks in western Zaporizhia do not represent the full extent of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, as they possess the capacity to conduct coordinated and effective offensive operations.
The humanitarian situation in the region has been further exacerbated by flooding resulting from the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (KHPP) dam break. Russian forces and occupation authorities have been reported to hide among evacuating civilians and house them in locations where Russian troops and equipment are present. Incidents of shelling in evacuation sites have been reported, with both sides blaming each other for the attacks.
The Ukrainian National Police have reportedly Increased Patrols near the Kyiv Hydroelectric Power Plant and Dam to the North of the Ukrainian Capital City after “Threats” to Destroy and/or Sabotage the Dam were made by Pro-Russian Groups over the last few days; if this Dam were to Fail similar to the Kakhovka Dam it would Destroy almost the entire Left-Bank in the City of Kyiv while also spreading Radioactive Silt and Material from the Chernobyl Disaster across the Capital Region
In a related development, Russian President Vladimir Putin has postponed his annual press conference, which was initially scheduled for June 2023. Citing the unstable military situation, the press conference has been rescheduled for November or December, ahead of the March 2024 presidential elections in Russia.
While the Ukrainian counteroffensive has seen both successes and setbacks in different sectors, the situation remains fluid, and observers should avoid drawing sweeping conclusions based on early gains or losses. The conflict continues to evolve, and the capabilities of both Ukrainian and Russian forces will play a crucial role in shaping the outcome.