EDF deputy commander: Ukrainians have up to 10 weeks for counter-attack
With fall approaching, both sides in the war still have between eight to ten weeks to mount major offensives, according to Maj. Gen. Veiko-Vello Palm of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF), who was speaking on ETV's Ukraine-focused current affairs show, "Ukraina stuudios."
According to Palm, tactically speaking, the Russian troops are still on the offensive, because it cannot be said that their progress has been definitively halted anywhere.
"We cannot say that the Ukrainians have (thus far) gone on a major offensive. In terms of the natural environment, the window of opportunity for a major offensive is relatively short - it is eight to ten weeks. From mid-October onwards, it becomes very difficult to organize offensives, because the forces involved are relatively few in number if we compare them to the Second World War," Palm said.
In Palm's view, the Russian forces are still not performing well, as they have been unable to make a significant breakthrough anywhere. "In many places, the information operation in Ukraine, combined with Ukrainian counter-attacks, has worked very well as are attacks from the rear. It seems to me that the Russian leadership is panicking somewhat," Palm said.
However, the approaching fall means that any Ukrainian counter-offensive will also have to take place in the next two months, Palm said.
"It will certainly not be the kind of offensive whereby the Ukrainians amass large numbers of troops to push through narrow areas using heavy firepower, rather, it will resemble the way they have been operating so far - pinpoint strikes, advances by relatively small units, attacking the flanks and from the rear - there is a lot of empty space," Palm said.
According to Palm, Russia's focus on making massive advances has so far proved to be a poor tactic.
"The Russians have their own problems, just as they don't have the means to make a decisive breakthrough, they have not yet established complete superiority anywhere. Ukraine has held up well with the support of Western weapons and training. Attacking well and in the right places. The Russian troops cannot keep up and their battle losses are high," he said.
Palm believes the biggest problem for Russian in the field is the loss of specialists.
"The biggest problem is not even that they are losing infantrymen every day - they don't count them - but they are suffering heavy losses to their specialists - airborne, special forces, pilots, helicopter pilots, artillerymen, communications. It's very difficult to replace them," Palm said.
As for Ukraine's recent successful counter-attacks in Crimea, Palm said it was too much to hope that this would signal the start of the peninsula's liberation.
"Crimea is still controlled by Russia, but the Ukrainians are doing a very good job. If you consider how entry into Crimea would have to happen, it is very, very difficult to see Ukraine being able to retake Crimea militarily in the near future. At the moment, neither side seems to have the kind of weapon, tool, or method to achieve a decisive breakthrough in the war," Palm said.
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Editor: Michae Cole