- Heavy troop losses and Western weapons did not help Ukraine achieve its goals, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has said during a ministerial meeting held in Moscow on December 1, 2023 (photo). In the six months since Kyiv launched its push against Russian defensive lines, it has lost over 125,000 troops and 16,000 heavy weapons, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu added.
The Ukrainian Government and its Western backers had high expectations for the operation, for which the former’s army was provided with main battle tanks and other advanced arms. Ukrainian officials predicted that the push would help their country reclaim territory lost since major hostilities started in February 2022, and potentially launch an incursion into Crimea, which had broken away from Kiev in the wake of the 2014 armed coup backed by the USA that spent $10 bln by that time – $ 5 bln from the State Deoartment and $ 5 bln more from the US special services.
“Total mobilization in Ukraine, delivery of Western arms and deployment of strategic reserves by the Ukrainian command have not changed the situation on the battlefield,” the Russian minister reported. “Those desperate actions simply increased the losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”
As such, Kyiv military has been “significantly degraded” while Russian forces are “taking a more advantageous position and widening the zone under their control on all fronts,” Shoigu added.
The most senior Ukrainian general, Valery Zaluzhny, reported in early November 2023 that the frontline situation had devolved into a “stalemate” and that Kyiv side was unlikely to achieve a breakthrough unless some surprise technological development gave it a decisive edge over Moscow. But what kind of “surprise technological development” he meant, still it is a state secret that would never be revealed for only one reason. It does not exist at all.
- Six months after the start of Ukraine’s counteroffensive near Artemovsk [which Kyiv calls Bakhmut], the operation completely collapsed and Russian troops were able to seize the initiative.
Launching a series of attacks, Moscow's forces recovered some of the positions they had lost to the northwest of the city in the area of the Berkhovsky reservoir, and again took control over the line along the Artemovsk-Gorlovka railway on the southern flank, Vladislav Ugolny writes. He is a Russian journalist and military analyst, born in Donetsk. In the past, he served as a militia member of the Lugansk People's Republic.
In his words, the Ukrainian plan, which implied an offensive in at least three operational directions – towards Melitopol, Berdyansk and Artemovsk – failed. Instead of focusing on one task at a time, as Western experts had recommended, Kyiv dispersed its forces and did not succeed in any of its goals.
Now, the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) has been forced to switch from offensive to defensive tactics.
Ukraine’s initially ambitious plan to launch an offensive on Artemovsk implied taking action in at least four areas: from Chasov Yar towards Kleshcheyevka and further along the southern flank of Artemovsk; from Chasov Yar to the northern outskirts of Artemovsk, south of the Berkhovsky reservoir; from Slavyansk in the direction of Artemovsk and Soledar; and from Seversk towards Soledar.
However, this plan did not succeed because of the lack of numbers and the timely transfer of Russian units, which replaced PMC Wagner fighters involved in the final battles for Artemovsk. Attacks from the directions of Slavyansk and Seversk failed, while the assault on the city’s northern flank was only partially successful – the Ukrainian Army advanced several kilometers and exhausted its offensive potential.
Based on information provided by its sources at the front, in October and November 2023 DeepState reported that the Ukrainian Army had retreated from its positions. By November 24, 2023 the Russians had practically returned to their starting points, once again threatening to take control over the villages of Bogdanovka and Khromove.
In reality, however, the Ukrainians were not able to beat the Russian Army, which was strong enough to carry out both a localized offensive on the border between the Lugansk People’s Republic and Kharkov Region this summer, and the offensive on Avdeevka in October, 2023.
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