The offensive of the Ukrainian Armed forces showed that the Russian army is just a “paper bear” with enormous problems, writes Roman Rukomeda.
Roman Rukomeda is a Ukrainian political analyst. This is his 65th account of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian Armed forces managed to achieve a very significant victory over Russian armed forces in the Kharkiv region and a smaller but also significant triumph in the Kherson region.
These military successes of the Ukrainian Army proved to all sceptics that they could defeat the Russian army. All those who did not believe in Ukraine’s capability to liberate its territory and were blocking massive delivery of weapons to the Ukrainian Armed forces have lost their main argument.
The Ukrainian Armed forces showed that the Russian army is just a “paper bear” with enormous problems. This “bear” is still dangerous because of its weapons and workforce and the nature of its leaders and armed forces. But their defeat showed the best way for the civilised world to finish this war – defeat Russia on the battlefield, throw it back to the Ukrainian national borders and isolate it until it is ready to hold negotiations on returning to the rules of international relations with appropriate restitutions.
Since 6 September, during 5-6 days, Ukrainian troops have liberated the territory of 8,000 square kilometres. The majority of the liberated territory is a part of Ukraine’s northeast (Kharkiv region), small amounts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the east, and an area of the Kherson region on the right banks of the Dnipro river. Kharkiv region is almost fully liberated from Russian aggressors.
It should be noted that Russian troops tried to defend themselves and counterattack. The Ukrainian offensive was not bloodless, but it was done in a very accurate manner. For example, Russians thought the main strike would be directed at Kherson, but it occurred in the Kharkiv region. This time Russians did not leave the captured Ukrainian territories voluntarily- they had to do it under the pressure and attack of the Ukrainian army.
Several thousand Russian soldiers surrendered and are now prisoners of war. So high is the number, much more than expected that there is a problem placing them and providing them with their basic needs.
Another problem is the large amount of Russian war equipment left, including ammunitions, tanks, armoured vehicles, radio-electronic fight cars and many others. By the rough estimates, Russia lost over $600 million in military equipment.
Hundreds of such units are left, mainly in working condition, and they will be used to arm the Ukrainian army.
Of course, we also understand that Russians will try to perform some counter-offensive, and all eyes will be on the Donbas region.
Ukrainian authorities and emergency services are currently renewing their activities in the liberated territories. They do their best to provide people with food, water, internal security (particularly demining local territories and roads), medicines, energy and many other things. It is a very tough test for Ukraine’s central and local authorities to protect people in liberated locations.
Many of the villages and towns in the Kharkiv region are severely damaged, with the city of Izum 80% destroyed. With a 40,000 population before the war, over 1000 have been killed by Russians.
Also, last week, Russia started a mass rocket attack on the energy infrastructure of Ukraine that saw 40 substations cut off and hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians left without electricity. One of the biggest electrical substations in Kharkiv was attacked and burned. For now, most people have had power restored, but energy infrastructure remains a target of Moscow.
What matters is that Ukraine is attacking, taking its territories back, and demonstrating the Russian army’s fundamental weakness. This will continue till the end of the current year and in 2023 until the total liberation of Ukraine up to territories defined in 1991, including Crimea and Ukrainian Donbas. Let’s hope that authorities and Ukrainian internal solidarity will stabilise people’s lives in the liberated territories and give thousands of people hope for a new life.
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