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Date: August 11, 2023     Updated: October 7, 2023

Is Ukraine counter-offensive faltering? Is it losing steam? The answer is no. Not at all. It has not started yet!

People were led to think that Ukraine's counter-offensive is faltering and is not performing as well as hoped. They were disappointed at not seeing a lot of advances at the front line. But patience is what it takes for great accomplishment. The counter-offensive has not started yet. The current main focus of Kyiv's counter-offensive efforts is to prepare for the final big one. They have to clear paths through heavily mined fields. They can't rush into a war when the situation is not right.

Ukraine's current strategy and tactics:

  1. Ukraine will not start the counter-offensive until they are totally ready and all the pieces are in place. Weapon and money can be supplied by the West, but soldier and people are what is lacking. They cannot afford to risk sacrificing their young people recklessly without adequate air coverage. They know it is not the right time to launch the attack. If they rush into it now, the chance of success is limited. If they do well, then the West will say there is no need for F16 Fighter Jets. If they were to do poorly, there will be no sense sending them those things anyway. Ukraine is working hard to get the Fighter Jets. They know it is coming by the end of the year. Their pilots are trained and public opinion in the West is prepared. At first, the West said they were not supplying F16 to Ukraine. Now they say the planes will come by the end of the year. They need to test the water and see how Russia accept and respond to it. Seeing Russia's moot response, they are now encouraged to do so by the end of the year. Realistically, Ukraine won't start the counter-offensive until next year when all the pieces are in place and the weather and ground conditions are right and when Russia is getting ready for the presidential election.

  2. That will provide time for Russia to make more mistakes by purging experienced generals; to continue to indulge in the belief that they are holding the defense line and doing well in thwarting Ukraine's offensive. They want Russia to get used to Ukraine's attacking targets deep inside its own country. By bombing a bridge here and there; a building in Moscow's financial district; the airports; gas and energy depots; ammunition and weapons manufacturing hubs; military bases; naval warships and other assets in the Black Sea; causing mysterious fires (likely by sabotage) at random, they are practicing their targeting, their drone and missiles operation and force Russian commanders to make painful choices. So Ukraine is returning the war to Russia's own territory. They want Russia and the world to gradually become accustomed to these kinds of strange events in Russia.

  3. Zelenskyy is a very smart person. He is making preparations on both fronts. While Ukraine is practically part of NATO, he continued to complain about NATO not providing a clear road map. That is a tactic to push the West to give more weapons, especially the F16 Jets. After those complaints, more ammunition was promised. The West has now confirmed that the F16 Jets are coming by year-end after seeing no negative response in public opinion. Now that Zelenskyy found that his charm with Western leaders has evaporated, he is sending his admirable First Lady Olena Zelenska to work on Western media and politicians. She was especially successful in South Korea and Japan.

  4. Ukraine's prime target is to take back Crimea. They only have one chance to succeed. They are aware of that, and they have to do it right. Furthermore, they are holding the better-trained and equipped troops in reserve for Crimea. They are testing the weakness of Crimean defenses and preparing and shaping the battlefield. They invested heavily on efforts to cutting off Russian supply lines, ammunition, depots and logistics hubs. And above all, they needed to sever Moscow's land bridge to the occupied Crimea. There are two main bridges: the Chonhar road bridge connecting Crimea with Russian-held parts of Kherson region in southern Ukraine; and the Kerch Bridge connecting Crimea with Russia. Both had been targeted. They need to secure a cleared pathway through the heavy minefields to reach Crimea. The Nova Kakhovka Dam on the Dnieper (Dnipro) River that separates Ukrainian forces from Russian occupied land has been destroyed. This removed one of Ukraine's greatest worry that Russia may breach the dam and flood the field when Ukrainian soldiers are crossing the river to attack Crimea.

  5. Another important tactics of Ukraine was to deliberately target Russian artillery pieces. As the war grinds on, artillery became one of the most lethal and important element in the war. So far, Ukraine has been quite successful in destroying Russian artillery units.

  6. All these small but effective and necessary actions here and there are just preparations for the main thrust. The real counter-offensive will be next year around April when the weather condition is suitable for ground operation. Indeed, Western leader are now saying that Ukrainian pilots will not be ready until early next year.

  7. While Zelenskyy has demonstrated his exceptional strategic and diplomatic ability, Putin has not shown his hand. His responses to Ukraine's sporadic and frequent strikes within Russia have so far been mute and tame. We know that tactical nuclear weapon is one of his options and he will not hesitate to use it if his hold on Crimea is under threat. But so far, he has let Dmitry Medvedev to do the talking and posturing.

Russia's Possible response:

Russia is currently jamming Starlink signals in Crimea. If Russia is suffering huge loss in Crimea, they might want to take out Starlink satellites as a first step before finally resort to tactical nuclear weapons. But attacking Starlink satellites would risk a direct conflict with the US, while using a nuclear weapon would still be a localized event limited to Ukraine. Russia might just resort to it directly.

Ukraine depended on SpaceX Starlink to direct its drones to attack Russian ships and other targets. Elon Musk had known to have refused Ukraine's request for Starlink services for such purpose. Starlink enables drone pilots to cut down the time to find and strike a target from 20 minutes to about a minute. Other satellite internet providers cannot match the level of connectivity that Starlink gives. Last year, he proposed a peace plan that Ukraine criticized as allowing Russia to keep parts of occupied Ukrainian territory. There were reports that the US government has been exerting pressure on Elon to relax the restrictions imposed on Ukraine's use of Starlink services.

The greatest danger is, as former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who has always raised the threat of a nuclear conflict over Ukraine, said recently that Moscow would have to use a nuclear weapon if Kyiv's ongoing counter-offensive was a success. If that happened, Putin may not be able to keep this kind of talks in check. The most dangerous part is that the West is dismissing it as a bluff.

Drone strikes inside Russia, sometimes within sight of the Kremlin itself, had become a daily event and Russia seem to be able to live with that. Those drone attacks may very well have been launched within Russian territories itself. Russia's vulnerability is becoming more obvious by the day. Unless Russia can quickly ramp up its weapons production, depleting military aircraft and dwindling supply of artillery batteries could become a big problem when Ukraine finally launched the real counter-offensive.

The West's Position and Plan:

Judging from Biden's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, it is obvious that the US will not put boots on the ground and will not allow itself to be entangled in any ground operation. Money is no problem. They can print as much as they want. The world at large is footing the bill. Sending ammunition and weapons is a boost for the defense industry and is good for employment. Getting rid of the obsolete equipment makes room for a modernized arsenal. There is no downside to it. But putting boots on the ground is a definite no, no.

As of August 2023, Ukraine had received 70 Leopard-2 and 14 Challenger-2 tanks, with a further 21 Leopard-2 and 14 Challenger-2 tanks promised from the West. The US agreed to give 31 M1A2 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, but later decided to send M1A1 Abrams tanks instead. As of July 2023, more than 3.7 thousand air defense missiles and over 1.6 thousand air defense systems were transferred from the US. In monetary terms, the U.S. military aids to Ukraine reached 42.8 billion Euros as of May 31, 2023. The US has also decided to provide cluster munitions, and depleted uranium shells will come from Britain as well. Cluster bombs have not helped the Russians achieve their objectives in Ukraine, nor did the US gain much advantage in its wars in South East Asia and Afghanistan. Perhaps it is a good way to get rid of obsolete substances.

With Russia showing more of its weakness, the West is encouraged to take bolder and bolder actions. The situation is similar to a feral animal being driven into a narrow blind alley by force. The result is predictable. With this background and setup, the most horrible outcome of a nuclear conflict may not be avoidable!



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  • Gina E [2023-09-12] said ...

    The Ukrainian Counter Offensive is doom to fail. It is a no win situation. If they do well, Russia will nuke them. If they don't, the West will finally just give up. Like they did so many times in so many places.

  • Allen Kickt [2023-09-11] said ...

    Hope someone will come to their senses. Let them talk peace instead of pouring oil on fire.

  • Turner Il [2023-09-11] said ...

    If Russia can drag it out, it will soon be another Vietnam or Afghanistan.

  • Adams_Ki [2023-09-08] said ...

    Before the war, Putin was deified as semi-god. Now no body cared about him. Hope the long table he used to entertain the French president is still there and not rotted.

  • Oprah_Medi [2023-09-03] said ...

    If Ukraine recaptures Crimea, there will be nuclear war. You think inflation is bad now. By then, there will be shortage of everything everywhere.

  • King_Ewon [2023-09-03] said ...

    Ukraine is running out of young men. Now they are drafting female. Will NATO want to send their young men there to be martyrs?

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