Ukraine's southward offensive is likely to be inhibited by Russia's increasingly intense attacks on the Northeastern portion of the country, Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) Colonel Tarmo Kundla said Friday.
Speaking at the regular Friday Ministry of Defense press conference, Col. Kundla said: "In the coming weeks, you should keep an eye on Russian Federation assaults in Northeastern Ukraine. The results of this offensive will likely also impact Ukraine's opportunities and performance in the southerly direction."
Russian attacks have become more intense in the northeastern and eastern parts of Ukraine, more specifically around Kharkiv and the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts.
"These attacks have not led to any significant changes along the front line," Col. Kundla added.
"Though there has been some progress there from the Russian side. this may still prove significant, as the actions will likely force Ukraine to react and send additional resources to those regions but which could otherwise be deployed elsewhere," he added.
The recent and latest damage to the Kerch Strait bridge, built by Russia to link occupied Crimea with the Russian mainland, is also impeding Russian logistics, Kundla said.
Despite this, Ukraine's armed forces are maintaining the fight, Kundla went on.
"Their biggest challenge and problem they face right now concerns the minefields sowed by the Russian Federation; dealing with these is a slow and quite costly procedure to undergo," he said. Due to the relatively static nature of the front line in recent months, Russian forces have been able to dig in and fortify, as well as create extensive minefields.
After pulling out of the grain agreement, Russia has also attacked infrastructure relating to that agreement, both in the Ukrainian port city of Odesa and elsewhere.
"Attacks have hit Ukraine three nights in a row, attack drones, precision missiles have been used and they have been launched from different platforms," Kundla went on.
"This termination of the grain agreement is probably an attempt to deter the West from allowing Ukraine to utilize Western-supplied weapons in any attacks on Russian territory. This has been accompanied by threatening rhetoric on nuclear weapons, and all manner of other things."
The large-scale war of attrition thus continues, though the initiative is still currently in the hands of Ukraine, Kundla concluded.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleksander Krjukov