Let’s not create a high expectations trap as to where Ukraine would advance soon, Bielieskov says

Ukrainian troops fire from a howitzer on the front. Photo: General Staff 

Russo-Ukrainian war 2022

Article by: Mykola Bielieskov

Editor’s Note

In his Twitter thread, Mykola Bielieskov, Research Fellow at National Institute for Strategic Studies under the Ukrainian President, argues that the Ukrainian troops are not necessarily going to continue conducting large-scale counteroffensives during the winter time.
Mykola Bielieskov, Deputy Director at the Institute of World Policy. Source: FB ~

Mykola Bielieskov, Deputy Director at the Institute of World Policy. Source: FB

I am going to voice an uncommon idea as to these days’ expectations out of UA forces, but… So, let’s slow down a little bit narrative “Where the Ukrainian forces are going to advance next soon?” The reason is not to create a trap of high expectations. Now let’s explain my perspective.

But also 2022 campaign was very challenging, demanding, and in the end exhausting for Ukrainian forces. Nine months of high-intensity interstate war is really a taxing thing. People need rest and equipment – proper maintenance.

In warfare (especially land warfare), not only the enemy is causing a major strain but the very task of projecting power is very demanding. And there can’t be a continuous sequence of actions, it’s activities and then some regrouping.

Second. Yes, Ukraine is pushing Russians at Luhansk Oblast but at the same time has to repel constant Russia’s assaults at Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Vuhledar directions. There are dozens of daily Russian attacks in these three directions with an unprecedented level of ferocity.

For Ukraine, it’s better to exploit this Russian stubbornness and inflict major damage on Russians through active defense.

In general, Ukraine’s theory of victory as events of 2022 attested is to play from active defense being side inferior in artillery/armor – inflicting major damage on advancing Russians and accruing resources for a counteroffensive.

Third. The major task this winter is just to go through it and simultaneously preserve as much morale/resolve/strength of UA troops as possible and do as much so Russians are not able to do the same trick.

Sure, Ukraine’s long-range precision firepower will do as much as possible to guarantee miserable life for Russians in the field targeting logistics. Either way, the Ukrainian troops at the front will do as many troubling actions as possible.

But really let’s not create an expectations trap. The Ukrainian troops did an incredible job in 2022. But they also need some rest.

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