Russia now on defensive awaiting HELL Ukraine is about to unleash


Is This The Ukrainian Counter-Offensive?  Recent news from the frontline in the Russo-Ukraine war suggests that the Russian invaders have well and truly stalled. They have been battering away in Bakhmut for months now, trying to capture the city. Now the indications are that the Ukrainians are beginning to regain ground on the flanks there, suggesting that their enemy may be eventually forced to withdraw. As ever, the information is sketchy.

Some, however, have been quick to suggest that this signifies the beginning of the long-awaited Ukrainian counter-offensive. Well, never say never, but I very much doubt it is so. This is much more likely to be a series of successful local counter-attacks and part of the ebb and flow of this particularly intense struggle. Most of Bakhmut still remains in Russian hands.

What most experienced military commentators mean by a counter-offensive is a combined arms, operational, or even strategic level operation of war involving multiple formations and many hundreds of vehicles and aircraft. It would be designed to severely curtail and disrupt the enemy’s efforts and gain significant advantage over, if not defeat of, the opposition in a major way.

Historical examples abound. Perhaps one of the best known from the Second World War might be Germany’s failed counter-offensive launched against the Allies in the Ardennes in December 1944, better know as the Battle of the Bulge. The operation lasted for five weeks and was the biggest and bloodiest battle fought be US troops in that conflict.

So, given the scale of what appears to be happening around Bakhmut at the moment, I think it’s fair to say that this is not the anticipated operation, although it might prove in time to be part of it of course.

Two things currently militate against the UkrAF moving in strength. The first is the weather and the state of the ground. As I have written before, an unusually long rain and mud season suggests that the terrain will not be suitable for massed armoured manoeuvre until the middle of next month at the earliest. They will not want their offensive to get literally bogged down.

The second is that the UkrAF still don’t have the right kit in sufficient quantities. Zelensky is presently on a tour of European capitals asking yet again for more equipment as soon as it can be provided, and without it in mass he will not unleash his armies. He is on record saying that to do so would be far to costly in Ukrainian casualties, and that is something he quite rightly wants to avoid. There have been too many already.

What we can say, I think, is that the Russians have clearly transitioned from the offensive to the defensive along most of the line of contact. They are only too aware of what is coming and have been preparing defensive lines in depth for months now.

What they do not know, not openly at least, is where the centre of gravity of the Ukrainian effort might be and where the main blow will fall. Everyone has been second-guessing this for ages, but only the Ukrainian commanders will know for sure, maybe not right now but when necessity dictates.

And when the counter-offensive does begin I don’t think we’ll have any doubts that it’s happening. It will be of a scale and expanse that will likely surpass anything that the UkrAF have attempted to date. Careful preparation and secrecy are crucial until the time comes.

Britain’s recent donations of Storm Shadow missiles and now long-range drones, promised by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during Zelensky’s visit to Chequers, will undoubtedly help shape the battlefield. All the other equipment donated by the west will do the same.

But in the end it is up to the Ukrainians to get up close and personal with their Russian enemies and take back their territory. That will be a bloody slog when it comes.

In the meantime all we can do is watch and wait. But I don’t think we’ll be waiting too long.

Lt Col Stuart Crawford is a defence analyst and former army officer. Sign up for his podcasts and newsletters at



Tank CommanderLt Col Stuart Crawford’s latest book Tank Commander (Hardback) is available now

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