In Politico magazine, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, soon to retire, said that the Ukrainians have no more than 45 days left to complete their operation because then the mud will arrive. A senior French diplomat, who wishes to remain anonymous, agrees with Milley, and estimates that Ukraine has no more than 45 days left for a counteroffensive before bad weather prevents it.
And if it is not possible to make climate projections, certainly the videos and online comments speak of open-air cemeteries of vehicles and men which suggest that, unless there is a turning point on another front, the Ukrainians will not be able to complete US expectations in 45 days.
Alexander Kharchenko, military correspondent for the Russian newspaper Anna News, writes in one of his analytical articles: “I haven’t written for a long time. For a series of reasons beyond our control, I have not been in front of (a PC) for a certain period of time. We have just returned from Verbove and nearby Rabotino”.
And he continues: “I want to immediately praise the Russian gunsmiths. OFABs with UMPC have become frequent guests on the front lines. It seems that at least 8 similar drones arrive in the vicinity of Rabotino every day. You hear a familiar rustle in the sky and feel a little safer. There are hundreds of burned out armored vehicles around. And if in May I had thought that the Ukrainian counteroffensive would resemble the ‘Kursk bulge’, then after a closer examination I realized that we were facing the First World War, where instead of horse corpses, they were scattered around the streets the skeletons of armored cars burned. The West relied on the breakthrough of armored vehicles, but, firstly, the Russian defense was already prepared, and, secondly, FPV drones appeared on the battlefield, which Western generals had not taken into account.”
Why has the means lost its importance? Kharchenko also writes: “A simple example that happened yesterday on the battlefield. As soon as a Bradley approached Rabotino, the drones immediately began following it. Dozens of people immediately run towards the ATGMs and controls of the FPV drones. Everyone wants a valuable trophy. Consequently, as soon as it enters a populated area, the American vehicle is immediately hit head-on by a drone (dynamic protection is activated) and the driver quickly turns back, amidst the smoke. The evacuation mission was aborted.”
“Despite all the criticism, Surovikin’s line still fulfills its purpose. Yes, the Ukrainians reached it in the Verbove area, but they stormed it on foot. The armored vehicles never managed to break through, which means that, even after the loss of the front lines, the “dragon’s teeth” continue to perform their function. As armored vehicles became a supporting element on the battlefield, infantry, artillery, drones and electronic warfare came to the fore. Whoever assembles the correct structure in this square will gain an advantage on the battlefield in the near future.”
The Ukrainians and their trainers realized late that this was trench infantry warfare, and so they increasingly used cluster munitions. “In my opinion, two cluster munitions are now used for each high-explosive fragmentation munition. Ukrainian groups are heading towards Novoprokopovka. Accordingly, their progress is this: they level the trenches with artillery for several days, during which they accumulate in small groups in the Rabotino basement. At the appointed time they rush to attack on foot. If the assault on the next point fails, everything repeats again and so on until everything is wiped off the face of the earth. This is the current situation on the front lines. I’ll write about a couple of more interesting points later.”
The president of Ukraine Volodimyr Zelenskyj himself confirmed that the winter of 2023 will not be the last on the front for the Ukrainians and Russians, admitting that the Ukrainian army’s counteroffensive will not have a “happy ending” in any case for Kiev, since the country’s armed forces, in particular, score many losses in the field. “There are a lot of military personnel in the battle.” At the same time, Zelensky said that the supply of weapons by the West to the Ukrainian Armed Forces does not mean quick results on the battlefield.
In recent days Kiev has evacuated Kherson after Zaporizhzhie these are 31 settlements that will soon come under Russian control while attacks on Crimea have intensified with the hope that Ukraine will present some success before the meeting at the United Nations, where they will sit at the table with the Russians.