Saks: Ukraine counteroffensive will not see large areas reclaimed quickly

Rainer Saks.
Rainer Saks. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Ukraine's claim that their forces have launched a major counteroffensive in the Kherson region is true, but because Russian troops are numerous in the area, there is little hope of liberating large swathes of territory in a few days, security expert Rainer Saks finds.

Ukraine's southern military command said on Monday that the armed forces have launched a counteroffensive in the region. Saks said that while the offensive seems to be happening on a bigger scale than previous attempts, it does not mean it will be immediately successful.

"It does not mean they will be able to retake large areas in a matter of days, rather that they are applying strong land forces pressure. They should be facing over 15,000 Russian troops in the Kherson region on the western bank of the Dnieper. Some say it's closer to 25,000, while I believe that to be an exaggeration. Despite being poorly equipped, that is a considerable number of troops, and I do not believe there can be rapid progress," Saks offered.

The expert said that Ukraine has been gearing up for a major counteroffensive for a very long time, since it ousted Russian troops from Snake Island.

"There have been several waves of attacks against Russian air power and logistics, with the bridges over the Dnieper now also destroyed. This means that Russia is unable supply its western bank forces. Even if Ukraine is not strong enough but manages to make the counteroffensive look impressive in the media, it might put additional psychological pressure on Russian units and impact their morale. A situation where you're short on ammunition, you know your retreat has been cut off and the other side is coming for you can easily result in a panic," Saks said.

He suggested the Ukrainians have been thorough in their preparations and the very first pressure they put on the Russian defensive lines broke their will to fight.

"We cannot say yet that Ukraine will be able to retake the western bank in a matter of weeks. The groundwork has been laid, now, let's see whether they can pull it off," Saks remarked.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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