If Ukraine reaches its logistics goal, “Russia would be forced to withdraw”

June 20, 2023, Ukraine: A soldier seen climbing the stairs in the once the Russian soldier s base in the newly liberated

There’s a hole in the middle of the road. Big, deep and dark. The pictures published by Wladimir Saldo on Telegram do not show an ordinary pothole. But the result of a missile attack. At least that’s what the Russian occupation chief of the Cherson region claims.

It would fit with current developments. On Sunday, the Ukrainian military declared on Telegram that they had attacked two important supply routes of the Russian occupiers – the bridges of Chonhar and Henichesk. They connect mainland Ukraine with Crimea.

Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian governor of the Black Sea peninsula, confirmed the attacks. He wrote on Telegram that a bridge for cars and trucks was damaged and “repair work is already beginning”. The exact extent of the damage is not known.

Security expert: “Ukraine is always successful”

The attacks on the two Crimean bridges show what the Ukrainians are about. They want to disrupt, ultimately destroy, Russian logistics.

As a result of the damage, the Russian occupying forces are forced to divert their traffic over longer routes in the west of the Black Sea peninsula, the US Institute for War Studies ISW in Washington said on Sunday (local time). A strategic advantage for the Ukrainians.

“They were always successful with targeted attacks on the logistics, leadership and communication of the Russian side,” said Nico Lange in an interview with FOCUS online. He is a political scientist and has been a Senior Fellow of the Munich Security Conference’s “Zeitwende” initiative since July 2022.

Lange is intensely concerned with the Ukraine war. He regularly publishes analyzes of the current situation on his website. Now he says: “When it comes to obstructing access to Crimea, the aim is to cut through Russian supply lines. That seems to be working.”

Nico Lange: “Then Russia would be forced to withdraw”

Kiev wants to liberate all parts of its territory occupied by Russia – including Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in violation of international law in 2014. “The attacks on the approaches to Crimea are part of the counter-offensive and were to be expected,” says Lange. At the same time, he draws attention to other components of the manoeuvre.

“Ammunition depots, command posts and railway junctions are being attacked. The Ukraine is using sea drones to threaten Russian ships that are supposed to bring supplies for the occupying forces.” The aim is to deprive the enemy of any means of supply. No new ammunition, no supplies of soldiers, no fresh petrol for the vehicles.

“Ukraine wants to weaken or even cut off the logistics of the Russians so that they can no longer support and supply each other,” explains the political scientist. “Then Russia would be forced to retreat in southern Ukraine.”

This approach has already worked in Cherson. Ukrainian soldiers increasingly attacked crossings of the Dnipro, Russian command and logistics facilities. The occupiers could no longer use the damaged bridges for military supplies.

Also “disabling targets in the back” central

At the end of 2022, the Russian troops finally withdrew from Cherson, the Ukrainians managed to recapture it. “This could now succeed on a larger scale. However, this tactic takes a lot of time,” says Lange.

According to the security expert, the “elimination of targets in the rear to weaken Russian troops at the front” is also an important part of the Ukrainian counter-offensive.

That sounds promising though. But the truth is that the Ukrainian army is well behind schedule. Since June, several costly Ukrainian advances have been documented.

As “CNN” reports, representatives of the American security apparatus make no secret of their disappointment at the lack of a breakthrough. And President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also admitted in a video address in June that the offensive is progressing more slowly than hoped.

Counter-offensive by Ukraine stalled

It is unlikely that this will change anytime soon. Several members of the Ukrainian military leadership expressed disillusionment. According to media reports, Olexander Pivnyenko, the new commander of the National Guard, said: “Every meter that we advance is a success.”

Others drew attention to strategic disadvantages on the battlefield. Nico Lange can understand that. In his eyes, Ukraine has enough soldiers and military equipment to carry out a major offensive.

The political scientist also speaks of “huge minefields” and the “lack of air superiority of the Ukrainians, especially in very flat, open terrain”. Western tanks are helping Ukraine to hold its own against the Russian army. However, they cannot torpedo the air superiority of the occupiers.

Will there be more momentum on the offensive?

Christian Mölling from the German Society for Foreign Relations (DGAP) sees it similarly. “Bypassing or detonating the minefields is difficult. That’s why the Ukrainians aren’t getting any speed into their offensive,” he recently told the Berliner Morgenpost.

According to Mölling, the main phase of the offensive has not even started. “The Ukrainians are still testing cautious advances. If they make it through the first Russian defense line, the offensive will be successful,” he said.

Lange, however, believes that Ukraine will continue to make slow progress in the south. And that it will continue to massively weaken and hinder Russian logistics. He is convinced: “If there is a breakthrough in the south, we could see stronger mobile warfare, in which Ukraine has an advantage.”

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with dpa


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