NewsUkraine gears up for large counter-offensive: Insight into its unutilized arsenal and high-priority military wishlist

Ukraine gears up for large counter-offensive: Insight into its unutilized arsenal and high-priority military wishlist

New plan of Ukrainians? "They are gathering resources for a fight"
New plan of Ukrainians? "They are gathering resources for a fight"
Images source: © PAP | AA/ABACA

6:38 AM EST, December 17, 2023

The impact of Ukraine's failed counteroffensive in the west has left a mood of pessimism. The current "stalemate" on the front suggests that Kyiv may not be able to reclaim additional areas occupied by the Russians.

"American and European politicians are hinting that Ukraine should concede territory in peace negotiations," reports "Welt".

"Reports about ammunition shortages in the Ukrainian armed forces, a lack of soldiers, supply chain issues from the West, and dwindling Ukrainian morale are fostering a negative sentiment. Some might mistakenly interpret this as Kyiv being written off as a lost cause," remarks "Welt".

Is the situation dire for Ukrainians? An expert weighs in

"Many people overlook the fact that a large portion of the tanks and armored vehicles supplied are still in stock, and most of the promised weapons haven't been delivered to Kyiv yet," notes German security expert and political consultant Nico Lange. This includes about 200 German Leopard 1 tanks, with only around 30 having arrived in Ukraine thus far.

Ukraine can still count on over 95% of all weapon systems provided by the West, "because they have not yet been utilized in a counteroffensive". These are the findings from the Dutch open-source portal Oryx, which analyzes data on deliveries and destruction of military equipment, according to "Welt".

The United States Congress has decided to halt further, extensive aid for Ukraine, but supplies of military materials from the stockpile of the American Defense Department continue to reach Kyiv. In early December, the Pentagon delivered $175 million worth of weapons and equipment, including ammunition for Himars rocket launchers and 155-millimeter caliber artillery.

Despite some tension in areas affected by conflict in Ukraine, there's no cause for outright alarm. Currently, 600,000 Ukrainian soldiers are on the front lines. "Despite constant assaults from the Russian army, especially in eastern Ukraine, the front line, over a thousand kilometers (about 621 miles) in length, has not seen significant shifts," reports "Welt".

In the country's south, Ukrainian units hold and continue to expand a bridgehead near Kherson, on the Russia-occupied side of the Dnieper.

Kyiv's strategy: "Ukraine still harbors ambitious plans"

"The Ukrainians are no longer striving to maintain positions as they once did in Bahmut," Lange observes. "Instead, they aim to slow down the Russian forces and bleed them out in the process," he adds.

"Ukraine still harbors big plans. This is highlighted by the wish list of weapons that Ukraine has sent to the USA. It includes Black Hawk and Apache combat helicopters, F-16 and F-18 fighters, long-range missile systems, Abrams tanks, drones, and various types of ammunition," the portal points out. "But really, most of the chatter revolves around F-18 fighters," Lange claims.

"In total, the Ukrainian order suggests a renewed attempt to transition to mobile warfare, preferably with combined weapon systems, something that didn't happen during Ukraine's summer counteroffensive," the expert explains.

At that time, the Ukrainians made several attempts to penetrate the Russian defense line using German Leopard tanks and American Bradley armored vehicles.

"The attack ended in catastrophe and led to the destruction of some of the Western-supplied armored vehicles," we learn. "After just a few days, Ukrainian commander-in-chief, Valeriy Zaluzhny, decided to change his strategy: instead of using mechanized units, he commanded small assault units to attack on foot," "Welt" reminds us.

Does Kyiv have a plan? "They are amassing resources"

"Word on the street is that the commander-in-chief was never an advocate of the offensive, as he didn't see success as feasible without ample air support," it was suggested. Zaluzhny supposedly agreed to it for political reasons.

"Ukraine is likely amassing resources for a new counter-offensive planned for next year," speculates expert Lange. One of the potential starting points could be the bridgehead in Kherson. With the proposed fighters, combat helicopters, and drones, Ukraine could provide adequate backup during its troops' offensive — especially considering the Russian fortification is almost non-existent in this region.

"This is likely the counter-offensive that General Zaluzhny had in mind from the start," "Welt" writes.

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