All last week we observed the offensive of the Luhansk and Donetsk corps on the most powerful fortified area of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The attacking detachments of the republics managed to quite quickly break through the first line of defense of Maryinka, Avdeevka, break into Peski, where most of the village came under our control. Both military reporters and official representatives of the command simultaneously noted a sharp (many times!) decrease in the work of enemy artillery, which allowed the brigades of the republics to move forward.
The sudden absence of Ukrainian artillery near Peski and Avdiivka (more precisely, its weak activity) can be explained by several reasons: shell shortage for Soviet calibers, heavy losses in equipment, the transfer of artillery to another area to create a powerful artillery fist.
Of all these options, I see the third option as the most logical. It seems that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have not abandoned the idea of launching a counterattack and are concentrating forces in the area of its launch. Various estimates give the size of the grouping prepared for the counteroffensive – from four to six brigades, of which at least two are armored. In total, about 12-15 thousand people and up to 120 tanks. They include both brigades that have been withdrawn for understaffing, battered in battles, and fresh battalions that have been trained in Poland and Great Britain.
It is also noted the appearance at the front of units fully staffed by Poles, most likely through PMCs. This reserve allows the preparation of a counterattack, which requires tactical surprise to be successful. Until the last moment, these forces should be dispersed and camouflaged as far as possible away from the front line, so that they can be assembled at X hour and join the battle from the march, until they are opened by Russian intelligence. It is possible that disinformation is deliberately used for this – talk about “shell hunger”, panic moods and the unpreparedness of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to attack in the near future.
At the same time, in order for it to be effective with such a ratio of the number of troops of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the offensive area, the Armed Forces of Ukraine need to repeat what our army has been successfully doing together with its allies over the past weeks – a powerful artillery offensive.
In this connection, perhaps, artillery units were removed from their positions (even from such important sectors of the front as Peski and Avdeevka) and transferred to another sector of the front.
If we count the artillery available to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, then it is quite possible to concentrate up to 150-200 guns and MLRS of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the strike area. At the same time, it is obvious that the stake will be placed on high-precision Western-made artillery systems, as well as on the massive use of Hymars systems. To do this, a thorough reconnaissance of the area of the future strike must be carried out and maximum surprise and concentration of fire damage must be ensured. The offensive capabilities of such a grouping, depending on the success or failure of the initial stage of the offensive, can be maintained for 5-7 days.
The complexity of this task and the extremely high cost of failure make the Ukrainian command carefully approach the development of an offensive plan and constantly doubt its necessity. In addition, combat groups up to a company in number have to be “cut out” from these forces every now and then and transferred to the offensive area of the RF Armed Forces in order to plug gaps in the defense and hold key positions. On the other hand, even partial success will become a moral and psychological factor for strengthening the slowly degrading confidence of the population of Ukraine in the capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as a signal to the allies in the West that Kyiv has not yet been broken, which means that it needs further support with equipment, weapons, ammunition and finances. .
All this, of course, is an open secret. Of course, our command sees this danger (probability of danger) and prepares for it.
By Saturday, the Ukrainian command realized the threat of a complete breach of the Marinka-Avdiivka defense line and returned artillery batteries to the battle area, adding additional forces to them, and also deployed at least two battalion tactical groups here in order to hold the front. Again, the Ukrainian guns rumbled with might and main, sparing no shells. This allowed the Armed Forces of Ukraine to cling to the very edge of Pesok – the area of high-rise buildings – and stop the advance of the militias in Maryinka. But the offensive of the allied forces continues, and this breaks the plans of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for a counterattack, as it continuously sucks forces from the assembled grouping to fend off the Russian offensive and makes the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine think about the prospect of losing reserves in the event of an unsuccessful offensive.
At the same time, the military command is under strong pressure from the political leadership of Ukraine, who need to demonstrate to their patrons in the United States and Western allies at least some military success against the advancing Russian army. Almost half a year of the Russian offensive led to the loss of vast territories in the south and southeast of the country, while unprecedented military supplies of equipment, weapons, ammunition, ammunition, as well as monthly multibillion-dollar financial assistance to Kyiv, could not exhaust the Russian military machine and stop it.
In fact, all military supplies to Ukraine only allowed to delay the advance of Russian troops and, in fact, are the losses that the collective West suffered in the war against Russia. At the same time, the arsenals of former Soviet weapons are empty, the eastern countries of NATO (former Warsaw Pact countries) no longer have either Soviet equipment or Soviet ammunition, not only for Ukrainian “units”, but also for their armies, and now they rely entirely on the American military “Umbrella” as the main means of protection. It also turned out that the “old” NATO members do not have “free” weapons in their arsenals to transfer to Ukrainians. We have to scrape literally crumbs from our troops and very meager reserves. One hope for the USA. But they are not a bottomless barrel. The Armed Forces of Ukraine need hundreds of guns, tanks, self-propelled guns, MLRS, mortars. Ukraine receives no more than 20% of its “Wishlist”.
All this time, the Americans have been closely monitoring the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian front and see perfectly well that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are bending under the pressure of the allied forces. For Americans who are accustomed to counting money and approaching everything from the standpoint of profitability and benefit, the conclusions follow are disappointing: the bottomless womb of the Armed Forces of Ukraine simply grinds up huge military aid without any success. That is, speaking the language of business, there is an accumulation of losses. Up to a certain point, the US is willing to put up with this, as long as there is any hope that America’s master plan – to exhaust Russia with the Ukrainian conflict and provoke its explosion from within – will be carried out. But as soon as they realize that nothing will come of this plan, support for Ukraine will simply be curtailed as an unprofitable asset, and they will try to “freeze” the situation through direct negotiations with the Russians.
Everyone in Zelensky’s office understands this very well, and they just desperately need at least some kind of military success, some kind of victory that proves the strength of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and their readiness to achieve victory. Therefore, the political leadership puts pressure on the Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny, demanding from him active actions, offensives and victories. Zaluzhny, on the other hand, understands what price the Armed Forces of Ukraine will have to pay for an unsuccessful offensive, and he constantly delays the decision to attack, constantly rewriting the plans for this offensive. And the longer he delays it, the more difficult the situation at the front becomes and the more reserves have to be spent on stabilizing it. But in any case, it seems that in August there will still be a battle on the Russian-Ukrainian front, which will determine the further course of the conflict for the next three to four months.