Report # 246. Ukrainian ‘counteroffensive’. Has it started or not yet? Will it bring any success to Kiev if it begins it?


May 23, 2023


Speaking at a press conference following a G7 summit meeting in Hiroshima, Japan, on May 21.US President Joe Biden refused to discuss the details of the Ukrainian massive counteroperation, and also refrained from assessing the forces and means currently available to the Ukrainian army. "Even if I knew precisely, you think I'm going to tell you what they're going to do in terms of their offensive?" Biden joked with journalists.

He continued: “I wouldn't do that because that would mean it wouldn't succeed. But the fact is that we did discuss privately with Zelenskyy... Let me put it this way: we and our NATO allies know how many brigades they have trained, know what the status of those brigades are and have an expectation as to what their likelihood of succeeding are... I do know but I'm not going to tell you because that would not be a smart thing to do either”. []

No conflict in the world, regional or otherwise, is accompanied by the advance announcement of a major offensive by its forces. Never.

On the contrary: opposing armies conceal, disguise, create false attempts to start, fade their massive offensive/counteroffensive operations, and concentrate forces and warfare means in unrealistic directions to dupe the opposing army about their real intensions.

However, Ukraine has been announcing the notion that it would start massive Ukrainian/NATO offensive/counteroffensive operation – de facto a large-scale military aggression against Russia – since last January. Ukrainian military and political top guns proclaimed in January, February and in March this year, and even have set up April 30, 2023 as the date of launching such long-awaited large-scale operation/counteroperation by the Armed Forces of Ukraine or AFU.

Such confusing tactics of announcing or delaying dozen times the beginning of massive Ukrainian/NATO offensive/counteroffensive operation employed by Kiev made many observers to analyze: has such operation already or not yet?

There are two responses to this dilemma.

The first option is dealt with assumption, that massive Ukrainian/NATO offensive/counteroffensive operation has not started.

Yes, it looks like that it has not started. If we proceed from "negative indications", the absence of counteroffensive is proved by the quantity of the enemy's armored vehicles destroyed by the Russian Armed Forces. Russian Defense Ministry daily briefings containing objective data on how much Ukrainian/NATO heavy equipment and military aircraft has been destroyed in the last 24 hours. It is clear that not dozens of them are being destroyed during the reporting period, but only a few. Logically speaking, if such operation really begins the number of Ukrainian/NATO armed inventory and military aircraft will be deployed to a greater extend, and subsequently will be attacked and destroyed. Inevitably.

One more proof that massive Ukrainian/NATO offensive/counteroffensive operation has not started yet is that President Zelenskyy said the USA hasn’t adequately armed his forces properly and so, until then, the counteroffensive cannot begin.

The second option dealt with the actual massive Ukrainian/NATO offensive/counteroffensive operation should be prepared with more land-based and air-based inventory.

The first rule is that the enemy should have a big amount of the armored military hardware like tanks and armored vehicles like APCs, ACVs, ARVs plus Air Force, and so on. None of such arsenal has been observed so far on the battlefield or in the skies over Ukraine in great quantities.

Attempts to strike simultaneously in several directions, including diversionary maneuvers, require a large number of soldiers and the pulling in of reserves. Ukrainian Armed Forces does not have enough well-trained manpower capable to conduct massive Ukrainian/NATO offensive/counteroffensive operation. Too many Ukrainian GIs and foreign ‘soldiers of fortune’ have lost their lives since February 14, 2022 when Ukraine launched its direct and unprovoked aggression against Donbass. Too many Ukrainian troops perished during the battle in Artyomovsk/Bakhmut that started from April last year and ended with full victory of Russian Armed Forces and Wagner PMC that successfully coordinated their efforts at the highest military level.

Another important sign of a real counterattack is not the absence of munitions in the AFU. However, Ukrainian artillery men and foreign MRLS operators have used the respective munition irrationally. That is, the AFU does not have enough quantity of artillery/MRLS munitions to launch a large-scale operation That is why the EU and NATO promised to deliver more such munition to Kiev. E.g., the EU promised to supply a million rounds of ammunition for artillery systems and MLRS. But it is not known exactly when such stuff will be delivered to the aggressor. Their production is not like a ravioli-making machine.

Another issue is lack of the EU/NATO money need to conduct any massive Ukrainian/NATO offensive/counteroffensive operation. The U.S. has only $6 billion left out of the aid package amounting around $47 billion. But that amount of appropriation is certainly not enough. The Americans have said that they have only nothing left of that big ‘military aid’ package.

Also, the most important sign of any massive is the mobilization of Ukrainian Naval Forces. But Ukraine has lost its shabby Navy. Kiev completely lost its naval presence in the Azov and in the Black Seas: its Navy failed to exist.

As is known by May 21, 2023 Russian Armed Forces have destroyed in total from February 24, 2022, 428 Ukrainian airplanes and 234 helicopters; 4,245 unmanned aerial vehicles; 424 anti-aircraft missile systems; 9,251 tanks and other armored fighting vehicles; 1,100 combat vehicles equipped with MRLS; 4,871 field artillery cannons and mortars, as well as 10,365 units of special military hardware.


Will NATO and the EU be able to replace all these ruined and smashed Ukrainian capabilities for any massive Ukrainian/NATO offensive/counteroffensive operation? The answer is obvious

Summing up all these factors, there are no signs that any kind of massive Ukrainian/NATO offensive/counteroffensive operation has started. To go by an article written by Jonathan Lemire and Alexander Ward and published at the end of April 2023 in Politico: “A top secret assessment from early [last] February stated that Ukraine would fall “well short” of its counteroffensive goals”.

Russia is capable of continuing its military operation in Ukraine ‘for a long time’, President of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) Bruno Kahl said. He also noted that the intelligence service does not see that the conflict has somehow shaken the authority of the Russian state.

Currently it is May. By losing the battle over Artyomovsk/Bakhmut by May 20th Kiev has lost nearly 50,000 as KIA and 145,000 as WIA. Can they be substituted promptly by another 200,000 new GIs for any offensive or counteroffensive operation? Seemingly, not.

Another question: is it expedient for Kiev or Washington or London etc., to regain Russian historic lands that have never belonged to Ukraine, but belonged to Russia? No, I do not think so.

Nevertheless, when analyzing the array of facts and figures about Ukrainian ‘preplanned’ offensive or counteroffensive, one should be extremely careful and vigilant.

In its turn, Russia is on watch. On permanent one.

Being extremely careful and vigilant.

Russia has never lost its gene of victory in its history.

By Vladimir Kozin, Russian military expert


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