Only a few weeks ago, the Ukrainian military was being hammered mercilessly in the east, suffering huge losses as it progressively gave way to the Russian onslaught. As pessimism grew about Ukraine’s ability to win a battle of attrition or that advanced weaponry might change the course of the conflict, Western backing looked to be waning.
The Ukrainians’ message to the rest of the world has been constant: We are capable of victory. Slowly but surely, our plan is working. It’s OK to keep churning out guns.
Until now, no one has been able to predict whether or not Ukraine would be able to defeat a Russian invasion force with superior troops and equipment. Furthermore, Westerners have gotten so used to hearing Ukraine’s cries for weaponry that they’ve stopped paying attention to them as anything more than unrealistic background noise.
With new long-range rocket systems, Ukraine is attempting to show the world that they can beat the Russians once again this week. In addition, it cites proof.
When Western-supplied HIMARS, or High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, attacked a Russian ammo dump in Nova Kakhovka on the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine, the munitions flew like a devastating fireworks show in all directions.
An important Russian supply route on the Dnipro River was disrupted by a Ukrainian artillery salvo a few days ago. It’s expected that the attack would mark the beginning of a counteroffensive in the South, with the goal of retaking Kherson..
On Thursday, Ukrainian authorities said that their troops had launched long-range missiles and artillery attacks on more than 200 sites in the south.
Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukraine’s defence minister, told the Atlantic Council on Tuesday that “Russia can absolutely be beaten and Ukraine has already proved how.”
On Wednesday, Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, made a rare visit before Congress as a foreign first spouse. Amid Russia’s “destruction of our nation,” she begged for additional weaponry.
For now, though, military experts and Western officials believe it’s too early to predict a turnaround, and that it will likely be a protracted struggle. Amidst the confusion and volatility of a front line that stretches hundreds of kilometres from Kharkiv in northern Ukraine to Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, they warn against placing too much faith in any specific weapon.
We are now doing what we have never accomplished before,” said Taras Chmut, the director of a non-governmental organisation that aids Ukrainian military. There was, however, no breakthrough in the battle at the front. A cure-all or a wand of power that will guarantee triumph tomorrow does not exist.
Nevertheless, top Ukrainian security officials expressed hope in interviews in Kyiv this week.
Oleksiy Danilov, the president of Ukraine’s national security council, said: “The quicker our friends provide us with weaponry, the faster we will finish this conflict.”. As some in the West have argued, Ukraine would not cede land in a negotiated solution, he added. “It’s only a matter of who wins.”
On Wednesday, the Pentagon agreed to send four additional HIMARS rocket launchers and other strong weapons, including two NASAM air-defense systems, to assist Ukraine defend itself against missile attacks. Additionally, the United States Department of Defense’s Lloyd J. Austin III expressed optimism about Ukraine’s prospects.
During a speech to Western defence leaders, Mr. Austin said, “Our help is making a genuine impact on the ground”. “Russia believes it can outlive Ukraine — and us. Russian miscalculations have been many, but this is the most recent.
Richard Moore, chief of MI6, Britain’s top intelligence official, also expressed optimism about Russia’s military, saying, “I believe they are going to run out of steam.” The Russian soldiers “will have to halt in some fashion, and that will allow Ukrainians opportunity to fight back,” Mr. Moore said.
Ukraine has received additional financial help outside of the battlefield from the European Union, which is urging its members to lower their gas use for fear that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin may stop supplying them with Russian gas. Russia reopened a crucial gas pipeline to Germany on Thursday, allaying concerns about a shortfall for the time being.
One of the most important unanswered questions in the fight is whether or not the Russian army can be pushed back by the long-range weapons presently coming in Ukraine.
Analysts have raised concerns about delivering too much equipment to Ukraine before its military have had time to learn how to use it, and the United States and Europe are leery of doing so.
Kyiv may be tempted to launch a counteroffensive too soon, according to Western sources. As a result, the Pentagon is worried that its own supplies may run low in the coming months.