Ukraine says it will ramp up counteroffensive

Sep 4, 2023, 7:02am EDT
 Ukrainian servicemen of the 108th Separate Brigade of Territorial Defence fire small multiple launch rocket systems towards Russian troops, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near a front line in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine August 19, 2023. REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi/File Photo
REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi/File Photo
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Ukraine says it’s upping its counteroffensive measures, and claims it has breached through Russian defenses.

The offensive push comes as Kyiv shuffles the leadership of its defense ministry. On Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced he would replace Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, who faces swirling corruption allegations. Zelenskyy will ask parliament to approve Rustem Umerov as Reznikov’s replacement.

Ukraine is suffering heavy equipment losses, Jack Watling and Nick Reynolds write in an analysis for U.K.-based defense think tank RUSI. Since the country is still receiving equipment from allied countries, the losses aren't translating into increased deaths of military personnel, the authors write. Meanwhile, Russian forces continue to adapt to Ukrainian advances. "It is vital that Ukraine’s partners assist the country’s preparations for winter fighting, and subsequent campaign seasons now, if initiative is to be retained into 2024," Watling and Reynolds note.1

Ukraine is pushing Russia from occupied territories despite its difficulties with the counteroffensive. Speaking to The Guardian, Brig. Gen. Oleksandr Tarnavskiy, who is leading Ukraine's southern push, said that "everything is ahead of us." Ukraine's forces have been clearing mines along occupied areas near Zaporizhzhia, and have now breached Russia's defensive lines in the region, Tarnavskiy claimed. "The enemy is pulling up reserves, not only from Ukraine but also from Russia. But sooner or later, the Russians will run out of all the best soldiers," he said.2

Drones have comprised a large part of Ukraine's counteroffensive, and breach into Russian territory on a near-daily basis now. The reason is largely psychological: By hitting high-profile targets, Ukraine brings the war closer to Russians. In Ukraine, it's a morale booster: "It's a small indication of offensive power, but it shows they are able to hit back," drone expert Peter Lee told Euronews.3