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17 May, 2024 22:14

Russia already outperformed Ukraine’s 2023 counteroffensive – WaPo

Moscow’s troops are advancing both north of Kharkov and elsewhere
Russia already outperformed Ukraine’s 2023 counteroffensive – WaPo

Russian forces have taken more territory in six weeks than Ukraine managed in six months last year, the Washington Post admitted on Friday, describing the 2023 effort by Kiev as “lackluster” and “disappointing.”

The spring counteroffensive was war-gamed by British and American generals in Germany and supplied with 1,500 armored vehicles – including Leopard, Challenger and Abrams tanks, and Bradley armored vehicles. Once it finally began in June, it got stuck in Russian defenses and resulted in gains of only 199 square miles (515 square kilometers) worth of territory by December, according to the Post.

Russia has taken 553 square miles (1,432 square kilometers) so far this year, of which 294 (761 square kilometers) just since the beginning of April, the US outlet noted.

Those numbers came from the Institute for the Study of War, a DC-based think tank run by Kimberly Kagan – sister-in-law of Victoria Nuland, the former US State Department official in charge of Ukraine.

Experts from two other US think tanks told the Post that the Russian advances in Kharkov Region might be part of a strategy to press the Ukrainians everywhere and stretch their reserves, but not actually take Ukraine’s second-largest city.

British intelligence had warned Ukraine of the impending Russian attack, The Guardian reported on Friday, blaming the government in Kiev for not preparing the defensive lines better. Ukrainian soldiers who spoke to the Post said they could not bring up heavy machinery because the Russians would destroy it, and the lack of ammunition coming from the West meant they could not shoot back.

Ukraine’s 125th Territorial Defense Brigade, charged with holding a 43-kilometer section of the front, relied on surveillance drones to keep an eye on Russian movements. They lost all video feeds on the morning the advance began, due to Russian electronic warfare. The Starlink satellite internet feed – provided by Elon Musk’s SpaceX since 2022 – also went down completely, for the first time ever.

Russian forces continue to advance in Kharkov Region, though Kiev has moved dozens of units north to reinforce the line – weakening their positions elsewhere. There have been reports of Russian advances in Chasov Yar, Krasnogorovka, and Netaylovo this week. Moreover, Ukrainian troops have lost Rabotino in Zaporozhye Region, the only town they managed to capture in last year’s counteroffensive.