Grosberg: Ukrainian forces getting closer to significant success

Col. Margo Grosberg.
Col. Margo Grosberg. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Both the activities of Ukrainian forces and signs of the difficulties being experienced by Russian armed forces suggest that Ukrainian units can soon expect greater success in their counter-offensive, Colonel Margo Grosberg, commander of the Estonian Defense Forces Intelligence Center (Kaitseväe luurekeskus) said Friday.

Speaking at his regular Friday press briefing held at the Ministry of Defense in Tallinn, Col. Grosberg talked about the tactics used by Ukrainian forces to destroy the command posts and logistics centers of the Russian armed forces with precision strikes, the success in the areas bordering Bakhmut and the descriptions of the Russian general, which give an idea of ​​the end of the Russian reserves.

"All this shows that the Ukrainians are close to success of a larger sort," Col. Grosberg said.

Ukrainian armed forces' current preparatory attacks are aimed at concentrating on Russian units in narrow sections, and finding weak points where breakthroughs can be made. To the same end, vital Russian army transport hubs and logistics points and command centers in the rear are under attack," he went on.

The colonel also discussed how Ukrainian units have been able to capture key areas to the north and south of the city of Bakhmut, giving them the ability direct artillery fire at the city, which itself is still in the hands of Russian troops, and to gain control of the roads leading into the city. This has caused resupply problems for Russian units located there, Grosberg said.

In addition, the presence of Russian airborne troops, who have been in Bakhmut since the spring and are therefore still tied up in the city and suffering losses without scope for withdrawing them, is also exerting a major impact. Considering airborne forces are generally the Russian military's elite, with a higher morale, aggression etc. than many other troops, their motivation will nonetheless eventually be sapped, Grosberg added. "There should be more success at some point," he added.

On the southern front, in the region of Zaporizhzhia and Velyka Novosilka, Ukrainian units have increased their occupied zones and are destroying important targets in the region with precision strikes, Grosberg said. 

He singled out the attack on the Berdyansk hotel this week, in which deputy commander of Russia's Southern Military District Lt. Gen. Oleg Tsokov was reportedly killed.

Grosberg also highlighted the dismissal of General Ivan Popov, which was apparently precipitated by criticism Popov had for the Russian General Staff, the leaked recordings in which he outlined the situation of the 58th Army under his command. 

According to Popov, units remain in the frontline for a very long period of time, but do not get replaced. If and when Ukrainian artillery hits them hard, his units then do not have the ability to respond, he said.

"All this is demonstration of the fact that Russian reserves are running out, as units cannot be rotated from the front," Grosberg went on.

Grosberg also pointed out that in the northeastern direction, in the Svyatov and Kupyansk regions, Russia has been on the offensive the most and achieved some success, though is not yet close to any sort of tactical breakthrough. The purpose of the pressure there is to force Ukraine to withdraw its troops from the vicinity of Bakhmut and elsewhere where they have been successful, the colonel added.

Putin making moves to remove dubious officers

Grosberg also said that units from the notorious Wagner Group have been handing over their heavy weapons and small arms to Russian army units over the past week. 

Some of the Wagner personnel are still located in the Luhansk oblast, but are not taking part in military activities. At the same time, there are also indications that they have started to move towards Belarus as per a plea deal which allowed them to remove to that country following the failed coup last month.

Convoys of buses with Belarusian license plates have been seen in the Voronezh region, Grosberg added.

As anticipated, there has been a purge at the Russian Ministry of Defense, by the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU, the Russian military's foreign intelligence agency-ed.) and the armed forces, following the Wagner uprising: Thirteen senior officers have been detained and about 15 officers considered to have been involved in the uprising have been dismissed.

Grosberg cited, for example, the fact that Gen. Sergei Surovikin has been missing for three weeks, while the deputy minister of defense for logistics, Surovikin's deputy, and a GRU general have also been detained.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mait Ots

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