Intelligence chief: We won't see Ukraine counter-offensive in the next week

Col.  Margo Grosberg
Col. Margo Grosberg Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Ukrainian forces are continuing their preparatory activities for the hotly anticipated counter-offensive, says chief of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) intelligence center, Col. Margo Grosberg.

Speaking at his regular Ministry of Defense press conference Friday, Col. Grosberg said that Ukraine's armed forces are set to continue the activities of the first phase of their offensive operation, namely primarily shaping operations with the aim of finding weak spots in the defensive positions set up by Russian armed forces in the occupied zones.

He said: "The initiative is obviously in the hands of the armed forces of Ukraine, which means that they get to pick the time, place and means by which they will attack the enemy's units. The Russian Federation logically would then try to mop up Ukraine's offensive capabilities as far as possible. This would mean using everything at their disposal; artillery fire, minefields, also in the air."

Col. Grosberg said that when the question arises on why the Ukrainian counteroffensive seems from a civilian perspective as per media reports to be taking its time, this is completely logical from a military point of view, not least since the Russian side has had time to fortify the front line in the occupied territories in eastern Ukraine.

He said: "Essentially, the Russian Federation has spent the last nine months building up its defensive facilities. In terms of conducting a classic offensive operation, where doctrine would have it that the attacker needs a three-to-one numerical advantage in personnel and weapons, unfortunately, the Ukrainians do not have that right now."

"On the contrary, the balance of forces is about one-to-one. For this reason and so as not to take any unnecessary risks, the Ukrainians are approaching their operation more methodically, more carefully and quietly, since both human and technical resources are essentially worth their weight in gold," he went on.

Grosberg said Ukraine is currently monitoring Russia's actions too, which have included recent movements in the direction of the front-line city of Bakhmut and in the Velyka Novosilka region, Donetsk oblast.

In particular, units have been brought from the Kherson region, which were no longer needed there following last week's destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam.

There has been an uptick in the use of helicopters and attack aircraft by the Russians and in a southerly direction, significantly closer to the front line than had previously been the case, Grosberg added.

Russian forces have also engaged in largely unsuccessful ground attacks, particularly in the Kupiansk, Kharkiv oblast, and Svatove, Luhansk oblast, regions, he said.

Ukrainian units prepared for the counter-offensive over the last six months have not yet been involved in combat operations, while the loss of equipment by the Ukrainians is an inevitable consequence of all and any offensive activities, he went on.

Less than 10 percent of western-donated equipment has been lost as a result of operations so far, Grosberg said, though this may rise in the course of further operations.

Western-made equipment tends to offer better protection to its operators, he added, meaning even if that equipment ends up out of action, crews often survive without major injury, he said.

Ukrainian activity has been seen to the South and to the North of Bakhmut, as well as in the direction of Velyka Novosilka on the Mariupol line, while Grosberg said there has also been offensive activity in the direction of Orikhiv and Berdiansk, both in Zaporizhzhia oblast.

This makes it also hard to forecast where the main Ukrainian blow will fall – information which the Ukrainians themselves may well not want to make public, for obvious reasons.

Probing for weak spots in the Russian lines and likely across a broad sweep of the front will continue next week, Grosberg said.

"We won't see an offensive over the next seven days," Grosberg concluded at Friday's press conference.


Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleskander Krjukov

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: