In most front sections, the initiative lies with Ukraine. That assessment is made by a high-ranking NATO official according to the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The Russians have to react to the movements of the Ukrainian troops, and cannot choose where the battle will be.
– Even if it is about small steps forward, it is continuously moving forward, says the anonymous NATO official to the newspaper.
It could have an impact on morale, which has long been judged to be stronger among the Ukrainians than among the Russians, whose commanders often send poorly trained and equipped units on difficult missions because they are under heavy political pressure, writes FAZ.
Advantage for the Ukrainian artillery
On the southern front, where the focus of the Ukrainian counteroffensive lies, Ukraine has an advantage thanks to the technology from the West. When the Russians fire at the Ukrainian positions, it is detected by radar and the flight path can be calculated. Computers work out where the shots will hit, and from where they have been fired. According to the newspaper, Ukraine’s own batteries can often initiate counter-fire before the Russian artillerymen have time to get to safety.
In addition, Russia has fewer shells to fire on the southern front. The supply lines are exposed to shelling and therefore other, longer and more complicated routes are taken to transport supplies and ammunition.
Difficult to advance with larger units
But in the Ukrainian progress, it’s still about smaller units advancing.
“This is slow and does not create any momentum. But the Ukrainian units are normally better than the Russian ones in close combat,” writes military analyst Michel Kofman in a study after a longer visit to the front.
The Ukrainians, on the other hand, have more trouble making coordinated advances with larger units, such as battalions or brigades, something Kofman attributes to a lack of training and experience in the Ukrainian ranks.
The troops advancing in southern Ukraine are indeed trained in the West, and partly equipped with Western tanks, but lack previous combat experience. The most experienced troops have instead been deployed in the Bakhmut area in eastern Ukraine.
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