– No, the Ukrainian offensive has not yet begun, says Zagorodnyuk matter-of-factly.
He served as Minister of Defense of Ukraine from 2019-2020. Now he is an adviser to the Ukrainian authorities. He was also assigned to the Center for Defense Strategy.
He notes that the Ukrainian counterattack against the Russian occupation forces is unlikely to be what many expect.
The execution of the attack will not be super dramatic like in the movies. It won’t be too big. Rather, it will be a chain of events, and not just in one direction, the former defense minister tells NRK.
All journalists would like to know when the long-announced offensive from the Ukrainian side will begin. The Ukrainian chancellor believes that there will not be long to wait now.
The attack could happen tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or any time now.
Zagorodnyuk says the fighting and unrest in the Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine and on the Russian side of the border has an important purpose. That is, removing Russian forces from the front line and weakening their ability to defend themselves there.
Video creates expectations
In a clip sent by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, several soldiers whispered to the camera. But when does the attack begin?
Mesto loves stillness. The ministry eventually wrote that there would be no start announcement.
The message is clear: don’t tell where we are and where we’re going. Maybe something will happen soon
Since the first signs of spring appeared on the battlefield, there was speculation about the upcoming attack.
Now the Ukrainian president says they can strike. But the details are as confidential as ever.
– To be honest, this can happen in many ways, but we will go on the offensive, and we are ready, – Zelensky said in a speech on Saturday.
There are still a few things that can be said for sure. NRK spoke to a military expert and disinformation expert about what we can expect in the future.
Do not disclose information
– Perhaps the first and most important thing in the Ukrainian video is to increase the operational and informational security of the Ukrainian forces.
This is according to Eskil Grendahl Sivertsen, who works with Influence Operations at the Norwegian Defense Research Institute, FFI.
He points out that Ukrainians monitoring Ukrainian forces should not reveal sensitive information about their whereabouts, their number, and the type of military equipment and weapons they have.
– The greater the element of surprise, the greater the chance of success in the attack when it arrives, says the expert.
He thinks so and it is important to make the Russians as tense and tired as possible before starting the attack. They must not know where, when and how the attack will be carried out.
Moreover, the video can help maintain Ukrainian fighting morale and the will to defend both on the military and civilian fronts. Many people probably know that something must happen soon, and here you get the clear impression that the future is now.
– Moreover, it is important to maintain the support of all the supporters of Ukraine who donated weapons, equipment and money. High expectations and a lot of hope are linked to the fact that the Ukrainian counter-offensive should come soon – and be successful, says Grendahl Sivertsen.
– It is not unlikely that it has begun
Russia said on Monday that the Ukrainians launched a major offensive in Donetsk province last weekend, but suffered heavy losses without advancing. The information has not been confirmed in any other way.
Tormod Heyer is Head of Research at the Staff College of the Norwegian Armed Forces, and Professor of Strategy and Military Operations. It is believed that the Ukrainian offensive may have already begun.
– It is not improbable that a major Ukrainian counterattack could begin, as it is something we have been waiting for for months.
– If there is an offensive going on, the entire Ukrainian nation is now in a fateful moment, because now the territorial sovereignty of all of Ukraine is at stake.
It is believed that if they are not successful, they will risk losing a large part of their lands forever.
However, there is something in the letter about the “big offensive” in Donetsk that is repulsive, according to Hare.
– When the Russians write that there were six brigades attacked and stopped, I begin to wonder if this is nonsense then. bloomer.
– The Russians do not have any adequate defensive forces to stop such an armored fist that would then pierce through the most vulnerable part of Russia’s front. But this does not mean that nothing happened.
This afternoon, the Ukrainian military authorities denied Russian reports of an attack.
– Why do the Russians publish information about a counterattack? Because they need to divert attention from the rout around Bakhmut, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said on the messaging app Telegram, according to Reuters.
It also indicates that the Ukrainian forces have turned to what is called “offensive actions” in some areas along the front line.
According to Reuters, the Ukrainian foreign minister said that the country now had enough weapons to launch a counterattack. He also believes the attack will give Ukraine the victory it needs to join NATO.
It means that Russia always lies
In war, says Grendahl Sivertsen, you want to keep your cards close to your chest when it comes to what to do when and what capacity you have. You want the other side to have the worst possible chance to defend themselves. One should always be able to surprise, achieving one’s goals is of great importance here.
– The overall picture here is that both Ukraine and Russia are intently operating as an essential part of the war, notes the expert.
He points out that Russia has constantly lied all along, and that Russian sources cannot be trusted.
– But not everything is a lie. From time to time something true can emerge. But it is impossible to know whether the allegations about the attack are true.
Perhaps the Russians want to send a message to the Ukrainians that the offensive is not going well. Perhaps they want to send a message to the Russian people that the Russian army has repulsed the Ukrainian offensive.
It could be a “foolish procedure”
In recent months, Ukrainians have been keeping their cards very close to their chest. So maybe the world won’t hear it from them when the shock comes.
Heier believed that it was extremely important for the Russian military to have insight into their way of thinking, so that they could continue the offensive once it had begun.
– This could be a deliberate Ukrainian misdirection where a covert attack is being carried out to attract the attention of Russia and Russian reserves and reinforcements.
He adds that the soldiers, tanks and drones they encountered there will not be the main force.
– This front line is about a thousand kilometers long, and it is unlikely that the Russians, having 200 thousand inside Ukraine and 300 thousand outside the Ukrainian borders, will be able to fully control and create a very strong and impenetrable defense.
– In this sense, it can be seen as the first stage of the Ukrainian offensive as it begins with the so-called foolish measures.
Heier believes that it is especially important for Ukraine in the future to have control over the area around the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhya in the first place.
In addition, he believes they will prioritize cutting off access to the Sea of Azov, so that the Russians can’t use the land corridor they need to bring regular supplies to Crimea.
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