Ukraine Begins its Delayed Counteroffensive!

What started as a December offensive turned into a spring offensive and is now, seemingly, a summer offensive for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Despite the delays, however, it seems that Kiev has mobilized its new western tanks and conscripts and on June 5th, 2023 has started their attempt at taking back the occupied portion of the Zaporozhye region and eventually the rest of the lands that have been incorporated into the Russian Federation. As confirmed by aerial photos, we are seeing western Leopard tanks used against Russian forces for the first time. Early reports indicate that focus is being put on the town of Vuhledar in western Donetsk region near the border with Zaporozhye.

Part of the delay on this offensive has been Russia’s effective bombings of munitions depots and supply lines of western equipment coming in from Poland and Romania into western Ukraine. Recent massive explosions in Khmelnitsky as well as the destruction of billions of dollars of Patriot missile systems in Kiev have kept Ukraine, even with its massively inflated military, on its back foot regarding the current line of contact. Of course there was also the Bakhmut meat grinder which is now securely in Russian hands after months of fierce fighting between the Wagner PMC and dozens of brigades of the AFU. This meat grinder cost the Ukrainians an estimated 45,000 lives while Wagner lost under 20,000 men. With the twilight of Bakhmut, currently the largest battle ever fought in the 21st century, Kiev is now probing all along the southern front from Kherson region up along Donetsk to find weak points to attempt to burst through with their tanks and armored vehicles.

While it seems that southern Donetsk and Zaporozhye are the focus of this new offensive, the Ukrainians are clearly struggling to form a cohesive plan to counter the slow loss of territory they have been experiencing. In the past two weeks Polish, Ukrainian, and some Russian partisan terrorists have made attempted incursions into the Belgorod region of Russia bordering Ukrainian (for now) Kharkiv. Some rumors were even implying that the counter offensive would focus on Belgorod and ignore the “occupied Ukrainian regions” altogether. This is unlikely, however, as the US has signaled against these moves (despite the UK and Germany supporting the terrorism) and does not seem to want any more US weapons to end up across the current Russia Ukrainian border. In response to this the Governor of the Belgorod region has called for the annexation of Kharkov.

As the offensive begins another big question is the whereabouts of the head of Ukrainian Military Intelligence, Kirill Budanov. Budanov has been missing for over a week which coincides with a massive strike that Putin ordered, destroying the central headquarters of Ukrainian Military Intelligence. Budanov was one of the most influential and outspoken members of the Kiev cabal who said, over 6 months ago now, that in 6 months Ukraine will have retaken Crimea from Russia. While it may seem easy to dismiss such nonsense, this latest offensive towards Donetsk and Zaporozhye may very well be Kiev’s last stand, so it should definitely be taken seriously.

Conrad Franz is a Staff Writer at Turley Talks.

Copyright, 2023.