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Ukraine’s counteroffensive involves a 3-pronged attack

Jun 09, 2023

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Although Ukrainian officials haven’t confirmed that their widely-anticipated counteroffensive against Russia has begun, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, says Ukraine’s campaign to retake territory has started. In a series of tweets on June 8, the ISW said, “Activity throughout #Ukraine is consistent with a variety of indicators that Ukrainian counteroffensive operations are underway.”

Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan agrees and predicts there are three main assaults to come.

Excerpted from Peter’s June 9 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

The Ukrainian counteroffensive is upon us, and there are three main assaults to follow: one of strategic importance and the others being a mix of strategic and emotional significance.

The purely strategic assault is a multi-pronged move on Zaporizhia in hopes of pushing south to the Sea of Azov. This would sever the land bridges of Ukraine proper and Russia proper, splitting the front in two.

The second assault was supposed to be an amphibious assault further down the river that would eventually cut off the Crimean Peninsula. The Russians foiled those plans with the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam.

The third assault is a push east into the Donbas. This would be no easy feat, but it’s on the table for one reason: if the Ukrainians can reclaim territory that Russia seized in 2014, it would be a global humiliation — humiliating enough to convince some of those Russian backers to reconsider their allegiances.

Oh yeah, one more thing. The information on the Zaporizhia offensive comes from Russian military bloggers, not the Ukrainians. Kyiv seems to have operational security down. I’ve heard a lot of details, but nothing that I’m in a position to authenticate. Ergo, this video’s broad-brush approach.

Hey everybody hello from Colorado, Peter Zion here. Today’s topic is very straightforward. The Ukrainian counter offensive has begun. So I want to give you an idea of what’s going on and why. There are three main assaults. The first one is purely strategic, and the other two have a combination of strategic and emotional value. So let’s start with the most important one, which is the purely strategic one.

Ukrainian forces have crossed in mass of the river, probably closer to nipro, which is in central Ukraine, gone down the southern side, eastern side, if you will of the Nieper River and are attacking into the province of zapper and etea. On a wide bank, it appears that they’re doing a lot of probing actions, hitting the front and multiple places looking for a place that’s weaker that they can then achieve break through. The goal here is to break through the troops and not necessarily do any encircling actions, but drive straight south to the Sea of Azov. If they can do that, they will have severed the land bridge through Ukraine proper from Russia proper, over into the northern access point for Crimea and basically split the front in two. If they can do that the Russian position in the Crimean peninsula becomes completely untenable, because the Ukrainians will then be able to using their own weapons, not even Western weapons will be able to take out the rest of the current Street Bridge. Now, if you remember, last year Kirche, the rail bridge was basically destroyed. But they can still move things on the remaining one span of the road bridge. And that’s how they’re trucking in all their supplies for Crimea through the eastern supply route. If that is severed, then Crimea is on its own. It can’t grow its own food can’t supply its own energy. And then forces from Ukraine will be in too close proximity for the Russians to even have ships come in and go in on a regular basis. So the whole what used to be a platform for Russian strategy through the centuries would become a massive embarrassment and a strategic Imbruglia because they just couldn’t supply their own people.

That is proceeding a pace. It looks like the Russians are holding at least for the moment, there hasn’t been a breakthrough that I’ve been able to detect what’s going to prove critical as the degree to which the conscripts had been pushed into this front by the Russians. As a rule, the Russians use conscripts as reinforcements, which they don’t do very good at and as human way of attacks as cannon fodder in which they’re pretty decent. I mean, they’re disposable from the Russian point of view. But if you use them to hold a position to defensive position, then they’re very likely to break and run. We have not seen that in the 72 hours since the offensive Scott’s going. It’s too soon to know. But honestly, there’s not a lot of good information coming out of there. The Russians obviously don’t have reporters embedded with them. And the Ukrainians have chosen not to for operational security. So we’re not going to know one way or another on this for a few more days, probably. If they do break and run, it’ll be really loud. So you know, you won’t have to come to me to hear it. Okay, that’s the first one. The second assault was to be paired with the first one, but it’s not going to happen now. It was supposed to be an amphibious assault across the lower reaches of the NEPA River, followed by a sprint to the isthmus of land that separates the Crimean peninsula from mainland Ukraine. If the Ukrainians could have pulled that off, then all of the troops in southern Ukraine that would have tried to retreat from the Crimea would have been cut off and put into a cauldron, and it would have been a global humiliation for Russian forces. But with the Russian destruction of the COVID Dam, the lower reaches of the Nieper are simply uncrossable at the moment, up top on the reservoir that was above the dam, it’s draining very, very quickly. By the time you see this, it’ll be about 80% drained already, and the lake bed will be muddy and the new channel will be unpredictable. And the lower sections you’re talking about massive flooding, which means that it’s not the current it’s not safe to cross. And as that water then recedes over the next several days, it will again be muddy, and it’s going to be at least a month before anyone would be able to cross the river. In addition, the destruction of the dam that was the last land crossing across the lower ranks of the river. So that was the only place that the Ukrainians could have theoretically gotten vehicles over in any sort of number. So that is now off the table. Which brings us to the third one, which is a push east into the Donbass the Donbass is the part of Ukraine that has the most rail connections and since the Russians fight by rail, they’ve actually been able to do fairly well over there for most of the war. Some of the northern sections around Kharkov Of course, fell early to a counter offensive last summer. But for the Ukrainians to get the Russians out of Donbass, that’s going to be some heavy fighting. It’s more densely populated, there’s more industrial cities, it’s going to be more house to house and it’s going to be critical for the Ukrainians to take out the rail hubs. Now they’ve been doing this with increasing ferocity over the last several weeks, so it’s not like the Ukrainians are starting from day one.

on here, but we have not yet seen significant troop movements in that direction. It sounds like it’d be a gnarly fight it would be. But the reason that the Ukrainians are willing to consider it is that this is territory that the Russians captured from them in 2014.

And if here we are a year and a half into the war, the Russians can be proven to that they can even lose territory that they’ve held for 10 years, that again, falls into that global humiliation category. One of the things that Ukrainians are trying to do here, you know, beyond getting their land back, is trying to convince to the international community that the Russians are the losing horse, and so there’s no reason to back them. And there’s a lot of countries in the developing world who are hedging their bets, hard to blame them. But if the Ukrainians can show that the war is clearly going the other way, and get people like a Jinping of China to blink and make it so that the only people that are still backing the Russians are folks like Daniel Ortega, in Nicaragua or Tucker Carlson, then we’re in a very different public relations fight here. I still don’t think that would make the Russians stop. But getting more and more countries. On the other side is something that would allow Ukraine to more easily unlock aid and military support from the world over. So zapper needs to first the crossing of the neighbors off. Dawn boss will probably see that before long. That’s it You guys take care

 

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