Russia does not have the resources to counter the Ukrainian counteroffensive

Russian units are currently unable to counter the Ukrainian counteroffensive that has begun. They are already exhausted and do not have the necessary reserves, says for “Deutsch Vele” military observer Andreas Schreiber.

DV: Ukraine announced military successes in the Kharkiv region. Lately, more progress was expected on the southern front around Kherson. Was that a surprise to you?

Andreas Schreiber: Indeed, the recent events in the northern part of the country are a surprise, especially for us. But only in part, because it was generally clear that the Ukrainian offensive could only develop in two directions – to the south, where it had already begun, and to the north. In the heavily fortified Donbas, this is rather impossible. Now the offensive has already begun and we are reporting it. Ukraine appears to have managed to penetrate up to 10 kilometers into Russian-controlled territory. This is a lot considering that it takes the Russians days and weeks in Donbass to advance a few hundred meters.

DV: Do you expect a breakthrough in the Ukrainian offensive, for example the complete liberation of the Kharkiv region?

Andreas Schreiber: For now, it is impossible to predict exactly to what extent this success will be consolidated and continued. Because we do not know whether the Ukrainian offensive is directed to the south or to the north. In addition, it remains to be seen how Ukraine’s tactical actions will develop. We’re already seeing that some settlements with Russian troops are simply neglected, not captured, and the goal is to move as far inland as possible. This task is difficult not only tactically, but also logistically. It is not yet known whether the Ukrainians have sufficient logistical strength to provide the necessary troops along the new lines.

DV: So there are still Russian soldiers in the populated areas through which the Ukrainian military passes during its offensive?

Andreas Schreiber: According to my information, that is exactly the case. At the same time, we are talking about “Rosgvardiya” fighters with relatively low combat power, who do not really have the opportunity to intervene actively. They can only be observed and at some point – as a last resort – taken prisoner. I do not think that these units are capable of independent military operations, or – that they are able to prevent the Ukrainian counteroffensive.

DV: Can we say that the military initiative in this conflict is already on the side of Ukraine?

Andreas Schreiber: It really seems that Ukraine currently holds the military initiative. It is not something that develops in a few hours or days. Rather, we are observing an effort that has been going on for more than a week, or two or three weeks, if we take into account the artillery preparation in the southern part of the country.

We draw such conclusions because we see that part of the Russian troops have been withdrawn from the northern part of Ukraine and are on their way to the south. But they haven’t gotten there yet. At the same time, the Ukrainian offensive in the northern part of the country begins. In other words, Ukraine hit a trick here. And this is not possible if the Ukrainians do not take the initiative. Ultimately, it’s about unbalancing Russian forces without actually attacking or destroying them. They have not yet reached the southern parts, but they are no longer engaged in the north.

DV: Can we expect a response, for example some act of revenge on the part of Russia?

Andreas Schreiber: I don’t think Russia currently has anything to seriously counter Ukrainian efforts. I think that the moment of the counter-offensive, of the land offensive, was chosen absolutely deliberately. More precisely, with the expectation that the Russian forces are already so exhausted that they are not capable of independent offensive actions or sustained defense and that they do not have the necessary reserves. Moreover, it appears that the advance – both in the south and in the north – is directed mostly against the weakest parts of the Russian forces. And especially against the fighters from the “DPR” and “LPR” who are fighting far from their homeland. And now – in the north – and against the “Rosgvardiya” fighters, who are actually used only for support and cannot be compared to heavy infantry, since they do not have the same capabilities that such a unit has.

DV: Does all this mean that Russia is having problems replenishing its own resources?

Andreas Schreiber: I think Russia is having more and more problems replenishing its human resources in general. And now the problems are just huge.

We have been observing this for the past three months. First, the mercenaries from the “Wagner” group got involved, and about two months ago, efforts to recruit fighters began. They are not particularly successful – despite the huge financial rewards on offer. A fighter so hired can earn more in one month, including the starting bonus and starting salary, than a regular soldier in the Russian army earns in a whole year.

Improvised battalions and regiments cannot be created, at best it will only be reinforced companies. Also, Russia has a problem with military training. From the third or fourth month of the war, many officers and military instructors were simply thrown to the front. So now there is a shortage of such staff. You can only imagine the quality of the hastily assembled military units, which were in all probability trained by uneducated cadres, and which are now rushing to the front where reinforcements are most needed.

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