Russia is drilling in Ukraine ahead of the widely expected Ukrainian counterattack. According to British intelligence, there would have been a shift from offensive to defensive tactics for several weeks. Ukraine has already launched its first “test attack” on Kherson, but the ultimate goal, according to former General Mart de Cruyff, lies elsewhere.
As the head of Ukraine’s secret service, Kirillo Budanov, said in an interview last weekend, Russia has “switched to defensive positions in all combat zones except for Pashmut”.
Good news, at least for the fallen Russian soldiers near the bush. Due in part to the tactical shift, the number of daily wounded and killed on the Russian side is said to have fallen by 30 percent this month. The British Ministry of Defense stated in its daily briefing that this decrease may also be related to the end of the Russian winter offensive. Now that Ukraine held up its fiercely fought and hard-fought Bishmut, this offensive would have largely failed, save for some limited territorial gains.
Russian bloggers mention in this regard that the Kremlin was going to decide to replace a number of “failed” generals again. According to British sources, Russia is now mainly preparing its forces for the widely expected counterattack by Ukraine. Where will this go is still the question.
According to Ukrainian sources, Russia has begun evacuating civilians from areas below Kherson across the Dnieper River. The evacuation comes days after Ukrainian forces crossed the river separating the two armies. Many analysts believe that these are “snap checks” where the Ukrainians want to test the Russian response.
My guess is that Ukraine is likely to head towards Melitopol anyway
“I don’t think that’s the big counter-attack either, it’s a mock attack,” says former Royal Dutch Army Lieutenant General Mart de Cruijff. “If you get over the Dnieper, which is very clever, by the way, it can be a good flanking attack, For you will bind all the Russian units near Kherson. I think Ukraine will probably turn towards Melitopol anyway to cut off Russia’s supply lines to Crimea, which is 50 miles away. I do not want to say that the attack on Melitopol will certainly take place, but at least they divert attention from where they will put their center of gravity in the attack.
De Cruyff believes that reoccupying Crimea is very ambitious: “Then Putin will rush in with nuclear weapons and it will also be difficult because you have to cross two heads. Ukraine has a rare offensive capability and you will use it for what is really important and that is not the conquest of Crimea.”
De Kruif had previously predicted that the Ukrainian counteroffensive would begin in May or June, and he still believed that. In the coming weeks, everything will depend on how prepared the Ukrainians are to attack. When you start out, you need to have your ammo in stock for at least two or three weeks, otherwise it’s pointless. Nobody knows if this is the case.”
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