Offensive shifts war in favor of Ukraine

Jackson Bouler, Contributing Writer

Russia for the past six months, three weeks, and two days have led a military offensive into Ukraine. At the beginning of the war, Russian strategy was a three-pronged offensive: a northern offensive, an eastern offensive, and a southern offensive. 

During the first few crucial days of the Russo-Ukrainian War, Russia implemented precision shelling of key strategic points, most of which unfortunately caused untold amounts of civilian hardship and casualties. Combined with the strategic bombings and air raids, Russian armor plunged deep into the heart of Ukraine, surrounding Kyiv within a few short days since the outset of the war. These rapid advances proved fatal for Russian forces. Russians came in unprepared-they expected not only for Ukrainian civilians to view the Russians as liberators, but they also expected less resistance from the weaker Ukrainian military. Due to this, the Russians came in quickly, in long exposed flanks of armor and artillery. These long columns allowed the Ukrainian anti-armor units to pick off Russian armor, thus causing the line to stall. The Russians were suddenly unable to communicate with each other, and the advance halted. Russian air superiority also fell rapidly to Ukrainian pilots, and ground-to-air missiles. These factors combined led to the beginning of the end for the Russian forces. This essentially ended the northern offensive. Over the summer months, there was little progress for either side in the war due to the repositioning of Russian forces from the northern and eastern campaigns, to the southern areas of Ukraine near the annexed land of Crimea. It is important to note that Russia essentially wants to connect Crimea to the contiguous Russian nation by means of a land route that runs through the Donbas region in the South of Ukraine. 

With all of this repositioning, Ukrainian forces saw a gap in the Russian lines towards the east, and they seized the opportunity. Ukraine says it has reclaimed more than 6,000 square kilometers (2,317 square miles) from Russian control in recent days. In the Kharkiv region, the towns of Izyum and Kupiansk, both key hubs for the supply of Russian forces in Donbas, were taken by Ukraine on Saturday. On top of all this, a Ukrainian counterattack in Kherson in the south still continues. Russia still holds about a fifth of the country, but the Russian retreat is being seen by many analysts as a very significant Ukrainian success. Another significant piece is how Russian officials have acknowledged that there has been a defeat, but in their usual “business as usual” attitude claiming that this is merely a “regrouping of troops and resources.”