Ukrainian troops' recent precision strikes and the slowing of the Russian onslaught after the taking of Lysychansk are giving Ukrainians' hope of a counteroffensive, Estonian experts say. Retired Lt. Col. Leo Kunnas suggests it will not happen before fall.
Western precision weapons given to Ukraine are disrupting Russian supply lines and command. Successful hits on ammunition dumps have already decreased the intensity of Russian artillery fire. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently ordered the entire territory of Ukraine to be liberated. "Aktuaalne kaamera" news asked experts whether this means active battles shifting to the Russian side of occupied territories.
"[It will happen] late August, September as Ukraine is reorganizing its armed forced -- growing it to a million strong. And adopting weapons systems from the West," Leo Kunnas, deputy chairman of the Riigikogu National Defense Committee, said.
"Ukraine will attempt an offensive, especially in Kherson Oblast. They have raised public expectations for this quite high," said Indrek Kannik, head of the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS).
Russia has managed to take Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, using its artillery to push out the defenders. But now their advance has ground to a halt.
The Russians have not managed to disrupt satellite communications necessary for HIMARS precision strikes.
"The Severodonetsk and Lysychansk battles show that Putin, just like Adolf Hitler did in the second half of WWII, directly intervened in battle activities and gave political orders," Kunnas said.
Russian troops pulling out of Snake Island after Ukrainian artillery strikes also came as a sign of altered plans at sea. The agreement for grain to be moved out of Ukrainian ports could signal Russia having abandoned the plan of attacking from sea.
"Should we see a solution for grain transports, using Odessa and nearby ports to export Ukrainian grain, it will come as a clear sign that Russia has, at least for the time being, given up on a landing from there," Kannik said.
That said, experts believe the rest of summer will be spent fighting a winding and grueling conflict without major shifts of the front but with plenty of destruction in store for Ukrainian cities and villages.
Editor: Marcus Turovski