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Ukraine “likely successfully setting conditions” for future main offensive effort – ISW

Ukraine “likely successfully setting conditions” for future main offensive effort – ISW
The US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War says that the relatively slower pace of Ukrainian counteroffensive operations does not reflect Ukraine’s full offensive potential, and it is likely that Ukrainian forces are effectively establishing favorable conditions for a future major push despite initial challenges.

The overall slower than expected pace of Ukrainian counteroffensive operations is not emblematic of Ukraine’s wider offensive potential, and Ukrainian forces are likely successfully setting conditions for a future main effort despite initial setbacks. 

Ukrainian officials have long signaled that the Ukrainian counteroffensive would be a series of gradual and sequential offensive actions and have more recently offered the observation that currently ongoing operations do not represent the main thrust of Ukraine’s counteroffensive planning (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar emphasized on June 20 that it is not useful to gauge the success of military actions based “solely by kilometers or the number of liberated settlements.” Maliar’s statement echoes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s observation that war is not a ”Hollywood movie” that will deliver immediate and tangible results.

Counteroffensive is not a Hollywood movie, Zelenskyy says

The observation that current Ukrainian operations may have objectives that are not simply territorial is an important one. Ukrainian forces may be conducting several offensive operations across the entire theater in order to gradually attrit Russian forces and set conditions for a future main effort. Losses are inevitable on both sides, but careful operational planning on the Ukrainian side likely seeks to mitigate and balance this reality with the equally important observation that the degradation of Russian manpower is a valuable objective. Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin voiced his concern that Russian forces are suffering major manpower and equipment losses as a result of ongoing Ukrainian attacks, especially in southern Ukraine.

Attrition of Russian artillery among current priorities as Ukraine has “certain advances” in south and near Bakhmut – officials

The success of Ukrainian counteroffensives should not be judged solely on day-to-day changes in control of terrain, as the wider operational intentions of Ukrainian attacks along the entire frontline may be premised on gradually degrading, exhausting, and expending Russian capabilities in preparation for additional offensive pushes.

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