Counteroffensive versus Sledgehammer

I have analyzed several times the Ukrainian war situation, like on May 28, May 21 and May 10. My main conclusion has been that AFU (Armed Forces of Ukraine) will make a kind of counteroffensive by mid-summer, whereas RF (Russian Forces) will use “sledgehammer” to slow down AFU offensive and finally will make its own big offensive in order to crush not only AFU but the whole Ukrainian military-industrial machine.

This scenario seems to be still valid and current events and processes on the battlefield are going along my estimates. Thus, please stay with and follow the situation.

Air strikes – both ways – since May 28 up to May 4

The counteroffensive of the Ukrainian Army has not yet begun and in the meantime, the Ukrainian military is suffering heavy losses because of the ongoing Russian strikes across the country.

On May 28, Ukraine experienced one of the largest drone attacks. The capital of the country was targeted for the fourteenth time in May. The next day, the strikes continued.

On the night of May 29, another series of powerful explosions thundered in Kiev. More damage from the fallen wreckage was again confirmed, also reported strikes in the Lviv, Zhytomyr, Odessa, Mykolaiv, Vinnytsia, Kirovograd, Cherkasy, Poltava regions as well as Kharkov and Kherson regions. Both Russian drones and missiles targeted Ukrainian facilities. The administration of the Khmelnitsky region recognized the strike on a military facility, damage to the runway and five aircraft. Ukrainian authorities described this attack as the heaviest since the start of SMO.

The Russian military launched missiles at Ukrainian airfields and hit command posts and aviation equipment. The purpose of the strike was achieved,” the Russian ministry said, adding that command posts, radar posts, aviation equipment, airfields and weapons storage facilities were targeted. Russia fired a barrage of missiles at Kyiv on Monday in an unusual daytime attack on the Ukrainian capital following overnight strikes.

The map below (source: Rybar) shows the targets of the Russian attack on the 29th of May:

As a whole, the strikes were massive and apparently effective. There are reports that the US Patriot system in Kyiv was destroyed, being situated at the Kyiv Zhuliany Airport. The first struck Patriot site was at the Vasylkiv military air base, which was previously destroyed by the Russians on May 16. According to the Russian government, a number of Ukrainian command centers were destroyed in these attacks across the country.

The video, by South Front, tells more of these strikes: South Front video, May 29, 2023 Massive Russian Strikes

Story of Reznikov – Wallace

One of the most important targets for the Russians was the 7th Tactical Air Brigade, which is based at a military airfield near Starokonstantinov in the Khmelnitsky area. The location in western Ukraine included Su-24M and Su-24 MR fighter-bomber jets that had been modified by the UK to carry Storm Shadow cruise missiles.

A story going around says that Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov and his UK counterpart, Ben Wallace, the UK secretary of state for defense, published a celebratory postcard showing a picture of a Su-24 sporting the Storm Shadow cruise missile. A problem arose, however, because the postcard also showed, in the upper right-hand corner, the insignia of the 7th Tactical Air Brigade, thus enabling the Russians to know, which aircraft had the Storm Shadow and where they were based.

On May 29 the Russians attacked the 7th Tactical Air Brigade in Starokonstantinov.  Five Su-24s were damaged or destroyed and storage facilities for Storm Shadow missiles were hit in the Russian attack. The loss of the aircraft and missiles is a significant blow to Ukraine.

Storm Shadow Postcard Signed by Ben Wallace, UK secretary of state for defense. Photo: Twitter

Ukrainian activities over the border

In its turn, the Ukrainian military intensified shelling on civil areas of Donbass and the border regions of Russia, like Belgorod. In the DPR, Ukrainian forces fired 250 shells over the past day.  The village of Almaznaya in the LPR was hit by three HIMARS MLRS missiles. Several civilians were killed and wounded. In addition, the Ukrainian military used Storm Shadow missiles to attack cities on the coast of the Azov Sea, Berdyansk and Mariupol. The active use of expensive Western cruise missiles in the Zaporozhye region signals that this is still a priority direction for the planned Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Attempts by Ukrainian drones to strike strategic targets on the territory of Russia continue. On May 28, the target was the Ilsky refinery in the Krasnodar Kray. On the same day, a Ukrainian UAV hit car in the Bryansk region. Border villages in the Russian Belgorod region are constantly shelled by Ukrainian artillery. Ukrainian forces shelled also the village of Schebekino. Constant shelling also continues in the Kursk border region.

May 30, Ukraine attacked the Russian capital with eight unmanned aerial vehicles early Tuesday and that all drones were shot down. The Kremlin spokesman Peskov added it is “necessary to understand” that the drone attack was carried out by the Kiev regime.

During the drone attack on Moscow, previously unknown types of UAVs were used that were made based on a closed-coupled canard structure, Alexey Rogozin, head of the Transport Technology Development Center said. Under this structure, the horizontal tail of the aircraft is located in front of the wing. This may be due to the desire to increase the load capacity, the expert noted. However, they were soon recognized as UKRJET UJ-22 kamikaze drones, which were used in some sort of swarm attack, with 24 units. Ukraine launched production of this type of UAV recently and its range can reach up to a thousand kilometers, the wing frames are 4 meters.

Russian air defense systems deployed in and around Moscow region repelled all 24 drones. In the city area, three drones that were suppressed by electronic warfare measures went out of control and deviated from their intended targets and five drones were shot down by Pantsir-S air defense systems. Others were repelled around areas.

Western media and “military experts” are pondering the value and meaning of Ukrainian drones attacked a Moscow southern suburb on May 30th but the excitement is much ado about nothing. Those drones did little damage, there were no serious casualties and militarily their impact is zero. The drone attacks on Moscow were negligible, when compared with massive Russian attacks on Ukraine the night before.

The question is completely of optics, Ukraine’s desperate endeavour to get something done in the middle of “failed spring offensive”, which appears to be postponed as “summer offensive”, perhaps later to “autumn offensive” etc.

May 30

Ukrainian media reported that the Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense had been hit in an overnight Russian missile strike. The strike followed a series of threats by Directorate’s senior officials to “kill Russians” around the world, especially GUR’s head Kyrylo Budanov has used extreme statements. Traffic along the bridge leading to the island where the directorate is based was blocked off in the early hours of May 30. GUR is responsible for coordinating sabotage, terror and drone attacks inside Russia.

President Putin confirmed that Russia carried out an attack on the GUR headquarters, when commenting on the attack by Ukrainian UAVs in Moscow. Moscow officials explained the true reason behind the recent Kiev’s attempts to launch attacks on the Russian territory, which have no military goals but aimed at hiding Ukrainian losses from the public.

GUR strike was impressive and reportedly was killing a lot of NATO officers who were supporting and helping AFU to prepare offensive, there are rumors that possible also K. Budanov head of GUR was killed.

Meanwhile, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu assessing the results of the military operation in Ukraine in May 2023, summarized the following:

  • The Russian military hit another Patriot air defense system in Kiev
  • Over the past month, the AFU lost over 16 thousand servicemen, 16 aircraft, five helicopters, 466 UAVs and more than 400 tanks
  • Russian troops intercepted 29 Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles in a month
  • In addition, 196 HIMARS rockets, 16 HARM missiles were intercepted
  • “Western curators” demand from Kiev to launch a counteroffensive, despite the heavy losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
  • The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are tracking the ways of supply of Western weapons to Ukraine and are striking at them
  • Large Western arms depots in Khmelnitsky, Ternopol, and Mykolaiv were destroyed in recent days

May 31

In the Kursk region that borders on Ukraine, the troops of Russian Border Guard shot down a British-made Malloy Aeronautics T150 drone. It was the first time, when such a drone was shot down over the territory of Russia. The UK officially transferred Malloy Aeronautics T150 UAVs to Ukraine to deliver cargo to fighters. It was not supposed to be used for attacks. After the drone was shot down, it was said the UAV was carrying a bomb. In addition, there was an additional radio relay device found on the body of the drone. The Malloy Aeronautics T150 drone, with the ability to reliably lift 68kg in all weather, is capable of flying for up to 70 km.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said that Chechen units had received orders to redeploy their forces and their zone of responsibility had become the territory of the DPR – the Akhmat Special Forces and the Sever Akhmat Regiment were transferred to the Avdeevka-Maryinka direction. The assault troops of the 5th motorized infantry brigade and the fighters of the Akhmat Special Rapid Response Unit are advancing in the Maryinka direction, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

June 1

Early on June 1, units of the Russian armed forces and the border guard, as well as other elements of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), have repelled three attempts by Ukrainian forces to invade Russia’s territory near the town of Shebekino. According to the statement, Ukraine mustered two infantry companies supported by tanks for this attack. Russian combat aircraft have conduct 11 strikes on the enemy targets. AFU troops, having suffered significant losses, were driven back. Prior to the attack, Ukraine carried out rocket artillery strikes against Shebekino, damaging residential buildings and causing injuries among civilians.

June 2, tragedy of HQ building of GUR was revealed

There have been a lot of speculations tied to the big ‘earthquake’ in Kiev that was reported on May 30. The common consensus is that there were deep underground bunkers beneath the GUR building, where NATO intelligence officers were helping to coordinate the war effort with the GUR/SBU and Russia used some sort of powerful ground-penetrating munition, perhaps a Kinzhal with penetrating head to hit it. These theories are further supported and partly confirmed by various information sources, like that NATO flights were taking off from Reszow, Poland toward an American military hospital in Berlin.

As a result of a strike on a military HQ of GUR / SBU building on Rybalsky Island, one of the control centers was hit. With the beginning of the air raid, the personnel of the center descended into the shelter but the Russian Forces used a missile with a penetrating warhead, which pierced through the building, penetrated the foundation and exploded, destroying the massive ammo depot and the shelter, where up to a hundred AFU officers and about twenty foreign military personnel from the US and UK.

On the night of June 2, Russian Forces launched another wave of massive strikes on military facilities throughout Ukraine. The recent attack was carried out by Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers which launched Kh-101/555 cruise missiles from the Caspian region, as well as by Russian Geran-type UAVs launched from different directions.

One of the targets was the country’s capital Kyiv. Despite efforts of Ukrainian authorities to hide their losses and prevent any footage from being spread online, the videos from Ukraine reveal the stark reality. On Friday night, air alert sounded in all Ukrainian regions, explosions thundered in Cherkasy, Zhytomyr and Kirovograd regions, as well as in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Zaporozhye.

Last night, several videos from the Ukrainian capital revealed that Russian missiles continue reaching their targets and destroy air defense systems, including the foreign ones. The target was highly likely the last US-made Patriot system, which was deployed in the capital to protect the Ukrainian decision-making centers. Moreover, the videos showed that these air defense systems cause more damage to civilian infrastructure than to Russian drones and missiles. Numerous surface-to-air missiles are seen failing, targeting the residential areas in the city.

June 3 – 4

In response to the AFU’s massive shelling of Russian borders regions, Russian Forces launched more waves of precision strikes on military facilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) throughout the country. On the evening of June 3, more military facilities of the AFU were destroyed in the cities of Dnipro, Dnepropetrovsk regions and Slavyansk, the DPR. On the morning of June 4, an air alert again sounded in four Ukrainian regions, including Sumy, Poltava, Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv regions. The alarm was also announced in the Kiev-controlled part of the Zaporozhye region.

During the night, an air alert has been declared in all Ukrainian regions. This time, the attack, which was carried out by UAVs and cruise missiles, was not massive, but targeted. Targets in Kiev, Kirovograd, Sumy and Dnipropetrovsk regions were hit. Ukrainian military officials confirmed damage to military facilities, Russian strikes damaged an airfield in Kropyvnytskyi, Kirovograd region, where at least two Russian missiles hit the facility.  Military facilities in the Sumy region were also struck by five Russian UAVs.

As to the airfield in Kropyvnytskyi, there is local reporting that two British soldiers were killed in the Russian strike which also annihilated a batch of Storm Shadow missiles.

The Russian Forces hit and destroyed a drone assembly facility/factory near Dnipro. According to RMOD report about 600 Ukrainian troops were eliminated as well a lot of equipment like tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery pieces, MLRS, drones and ammo depots.

Military technical aspects

Training, training!

Some American think tanks have recently come to the understanding that, in fact, there is a constant practical training of the Russian army, while waging war in Ukraine. This conclusion follows at least two classified reports made by unrelated think tanks “RAND Corporation” and “Center for a New American Security”.

It was revealed to them that in combat conditions, Russian troops are practicing the skills of countering Western military equipment, NATO standards of operational control and military tactics. Logistics is also being improved and the process of modernizing the army has accelerated.

That is, pumping Ukraine with weapons and specialists, the Americans teach Russia to fight with them but at the same time their personnel do not receive such experience.

This is a rather weighty fact, which now haunts the military elite of the West, in particular the United States and gives rise to the demand to “stop training Russians.” Exactly how they should “stop” is not specified.

American Patriot air defense system

Now that all three Patriot systems delivered to Ukraine have been destroyed by Russian strikes, one may ask: “What is the point of destroying the Patriot air defense system and why Russians are so eager to do it?” In addition to the defeat of the American air defense system as a legitimate military target, there are other reasons.

A modification of the Patriot PAC-3 Air defense system with MIM-104F (MSE) missiles, presumably deployed in Kiev, is the most modern version of the American air defense system. This version significantly expands the capabilities of the radar for detecting high-speed targets with low visibility, such as Iskander or Kinzhal missiles and also improves anti-missiles. The destruction of such objects by ballistic and cruise missiles will confirm the capabilities of Russian sea -, land-and air-based missile weapons.

In addition, the destruction of the Patriot air defense system will allow Russia to collect a huge array of data on the tactics of using these weapons, technical characteristics and other features of the American air defense system. Almost certainly, during the strikes, an accurate electronic portrait of the main systems and subsystems of the Patriot PAC-3 air defense system was obtained, which in the future will allow detecting these targets, when deployed anywhere in the world.

The average consumption of more than one MIM-104F anti-missile for each Russian “Kinzal” or “Iskander-M” is due to the fact that both types of missiles are equipped with modern means of overcoming enemy missile defense. In particular, Iskanders and Kinzals are equipped with containers with dipole reflectors, electronic warfare stations and can also perform anti-missile maneuvers, which makes their interception almost impossible. 

American Strykers

In May, the 82nd Airborne Assault Brigade of the AFU completed combat coordination and it was equipped with additional Western vehicles. This combat unit received German Marder infantry fighting vehicles, American Stryker armored vehicles and British Challenger main battle tanks. At the same time, columns of Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, which are intended for the 47th Brigade of the AFU, were spotted moving to the Ukrainian front. The 47th Brigade was formed a year ago and is considered the elite of the Ukrainian army.

These military units, trained and armed by NATO countries, are expected to join the main strike group of Ukrainian troops in the upcoming offensive. While Ukrainian attacks were expected, Russian Forces began a prolonged wave of massive drone and missile strikes in all regions controlled by Kiev. As a result, many warehouses and military facilities located on the routes of Western equipment on the territory of Ukraine, as well as in close proximity to the front, where the Ukrainian military is accumulating forces, were destroyed.

In its turn, the Kiev regime is asking for more and more weapons, which are allegedly still insufficient for offensive actions. One of the problems lies in Western weapons, not in their quantity but in their quality and partly in the wide range of variety.

In March 2023, it was revealed that Ukrainian troops will be armed with American Stryker armored personnel carriers. However, it turned out that the vehicles sent to Ukraine had numerous malfunctions. According to unofficial sources from the front, 76% of Strykers to the units of the airborne assault troops of Ukraine cannot fully participate in combat operations. Of the 68 vehicles, 52 reportedly are in a faulty condition. In particular, Stryker has a large number of malfunctions in electronics and chassis. Ukrainian servicemen complain about non-functioning fuel pumps, communication systems, nitrogen supply, etc. In addition to technical malfunctions, Ukrainian forces are not able to fully service American vehicles.

ATACMS missiles

The United States is still considering supplying Ukraine with Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), US President Joe Biden said. “That’s still in play,” Biden told reporters.

US National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby said earlier in May that the US still did not plan to transfer ATACMS to Ukraine. The UK has delivered to Ukraine first batches of Storm Shadow long range missiles.

The ATACMS Missiles can hit targets 190 miles away and can be fired from launchers already provided to Ukraine from the West, including the HIMARS mobile launchers and the older M270 launchers. Western countries have been supplying Kiev with different types of weapon systems, including air defense missiles, multiple launch rocket systems, tanks, self-propelled artillery and anti-aircraft guns since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine over a year ago. The Kremlin has repeatedly warned against further arms deliveries to Kiev.

Kiev asks for German missiles to strike Moscow

On May 26, citing two sources familiar with the Defense Ministry, the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published an article with the information that Ukraine had asked Berlin to send air-launched Taurus long-range missiles. These missiles are of German-Swedish manufacture and Kiev believes that they could be some kind of “game changer” on the battlefield, if they are used in the F-16 fighter jets – which the Ukrainian forces also hope to receive soon from its NATO’s allies.

According to the article, the German government would be facing a “dilemma” with the Ukrainian request, as many officials doubt that Kiev would use such equipment sensibly. This doubt is due to the fact that a long-range Taurus missile reaches a distance of 310 miles, estimated at 500km. This means that depending on from where Ukrainian forces launch their missiles, it would be possible to hit Moscow and other targets close to the Russian capital. Considering that the plan is to use such weapons with F-16 jets, the chances are even greater that attacks will be carried out in depth, which would lead to unprecedented escalation.

Furthermore, the article also cites security concerns on the part of the German government. The sources reported that the Taurus missiles require detailed, accurate and up-to-date information to be used properly. Berlin is still not sure if it is really willing to share such strategic data with its Ukrainian partners, which is why there are still doubts about the supply of these missiles.

If Germany decides to send such weapons, it would follow the UK, which recently became the first country to supply the Kiev regime with long-range missiles. London has decided and sent Storm Shadow missiles with a range of over 250km to Ukraine, which has been classified by officials and analysts as a serious escalation in the conflict. Since their arrival in Ukraine, British long-range missiles have been used continuously in attacks against the stabilized and demilitarized territory of the Russian Federation. These weapons have reached the border and caused damage against civilian facilities in Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts. This scenario of intensification tends to get even worse with the possible sending of German weapons.

Kiev has lost almost all of its Turkish Bayraktar TB2s

The Bayraktar TB2 is a design of Turkish company Baykar Makina, produced in Turkey and costs around $2 million per unit.

In 2022, Turkish Bayraktar UAV was touted as wonder weapon, with officials in Kiev saying they would give them an advantage against Russia. One year later, however, only a few remaining units are being used far from the battlefield and for reconnaissance rather than attack missions, a Pentagon-linked analyst has told.

Ukraine purchased dozens of Bayraktar TB2 drones and used them to strike Donbass, even before the conflict with Russia began last February. Kiev also claims to have received an unspecified number of additional drones during the past year, despite Turkey’s official neutrality.

In the first months of the conflict, Kiev routinely conducted successful strikes using TB2s but by July, the Bayraktars became “almost useless,” and Kiev reserved them for rare special operations, Ukrainian pilots told at that time. Russian forces destroyed more than 100 Bayraktar drones in Ukraine, the deputy commander-in-chief of the Air Force, Lieutenant-General Andrey Demin, claimed in April. As of now, the Ukrainian fleet of “once-prized drones have almost entirely been shot down,” said Samuel Bendett, an expert in unmanned and robotic military systems at the Center for Naval Analyses.

Russian military recruitment

According to the Ministry of Defence, as a result of the measures taken 117,400 people have joined the Russian Armed Forces on contract and volunteer basis since January of this year, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said.

In August last year, President Vladimir Putin set the stuff number of the Russian Armed Forces at 2,039,758 of which 1,150,628 were servicemen. The number of military men in the Russian Armed Forces was previously changed in November 2017, when it was set at 1,902,758 people, including 1,013,628 servicemen.

In December, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu proposed to increase the size of the Russian Army to 1.5 million servicemen and up to 695,000 contract soldiers, in order to ensure military security of the country.

Production of Kinzal hypersonic missiles

Russia’s Kh-47M2 Kinzhal ballistic missile destroyed the first American Patriot air defense system on May 16 near to Kiev, following the increased publicity. Since then, reports have emerged from a number of sources that Russia has managed to increase production of the missiles at fivefold level,  in coming months, producing approximately 10 Kinzhals per month.

The Kinzhal is deployed by Russian Air Force MiG-31K strike fighters and entered service in late 2017. Before May 16, it has only been used in the Russian-Ukrainian War less than dozen times, with its first use recorded on March 18 2022 to strike a large underground warehouse in Western Ukraine housing war materials recently delivered through Poland. 

Increasing production of Kinzhal missiles could be relatively straightforward for Russia’s defense industry due to the sheer numbers of 9M723 Iskander missiles it has been able to produce consistently for close to two decades. With production lines similar for both missiles already operating, producing more Kinzhals at the expense of a portion of the output of 9M723 missiles is highly possible.

The Kinzhal’s launch aircraft the MiG-31K could also potentially see numbers grow quickly due to the massive reserves of hundreds of MiG-31 airframes Russia has, many of which flew for only a fraction of their lifetimes before being stored after the Cold War’s end due to the Air Force’s sharp contraction. The unveiling of a new enhanced successor to the MiG-31K in August 2022, the MiG-31I, indicated that the Russian Air Force intended to continue to expand its strike fleet. The new variant benefits from an improved flight performance and avionics with a focus on increasing the degree of automation. Although the Kinzhal arsenal is expected to continue to grow rapidly, use in Ukraine is expected to remain limited.

Russia adopted new tactics to blind and exhaust Ukrainian Air Defense

On May 28-30, waves of Russian UAV and missile strikes hit Ukrainian military facilities throughout the country. Explosions thundered in almost regions of Ukraine, mainly in the west and south of the country, as well as in the capital. The Ukrainian military again provided amazing data on the results of work of their air defense forces intercepting nearly 100% of all strikes. However, according to the reports from all regions of Ukraine, the Ukrainian military suffered a heavy damage and the numbers provided by their officials do not correspond to reality.

Successful daytime strikes on Kiev became possible after the city’s air defense has exhausted its capabilities during the attacks at night. This was the first time that the Russian Airspace Forces have used such tactics. They launched waves of night strikes, including with fake targets, to deplete Ukrainian air defense means and after that another wave of strikes targeted strategically important targets in the strategic depth of the defense of the AFU.

Ukrainian media reported that the Russian military used a new tactics during the night strikes. Together with strike UAVs, they launched numerous false targets, including cheap hand-made plywood planes with a motor running according to the coordinates. This time, the planes were equipped with reflectors made of foil and plastic tied on a long fishing line. They reflect the radar signal. As a result, air defence systems detected the reflector better than the false target itself. In particular, in Odessa, air defence systems were firing nonstop with indiscriminate fire which led to no results.

Russia’s new “Eye in the Sky” to spy on Kiev’s military facilities

Satellite reconnaissance provides high-quality data that can be used for various purposes. Data collected this way can be used to track the movement of troops, ships and aircraft and to monitor the activities of other countries.

The new Kondor-FKA radar satellite, which was launched into orbit few days ago, will be used for reconnaissance of Ukrainian military installations. It will pass over Ukraine on average twice a day and is capable of detecting military objects in radar range with a resolution of one meter,” a source said. The developers emphasize that the Kondor-FKA is capable of obtaining detailed images of the Earth’s surface with a resolution of up to one meter under any weather conditions and at all times of the day. The Kondor satellites were developed by NPO Engineering. This launch was the first of several radar surveillance satellites series which Russia is going to launch.

Scott Ritter, former US intelligence officer and UN weapons inspector said that “And it’s going to have a fundamental shift in how this Ukrainian conflict goes because all that stuff that’s been brought – can’t hide it,” he continued, referring to Western weapons coming into Ukraine. “The weapons are all detected now and they’re all getting programmed into the Russian target database. And the Russians are gonna start hitting this stuff, more and more and more and we see evidence of this already,” Ritter pointed out, adding that in his opinion this conflict would become “unsustainable for the Ukrainian sometime by the end of summer, early fall.”

Possible scenario, up to end June

Just think about this: “Would the Allied Forces invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 have succeeded if Eisenhower, Churchill and Roosevelt had announced they planned to attack the French coast in June? You don’t have to be Carl von Clausewitz or Sun Tzu to come up with the answer, Normandy invasion would have failed.

So, why are Western analysts and experts focusing on a dramatic Ukrainian success in its highly publicized upcoming offensive, when everyday there is news from Ukraine of massive Russian air strikes with missiles and drones on Ukrainian military bases, assembly points and warehouses for vehicles and weapons? There have been Russian strikes on AFU targets nearly every day in April – May.

It appears that the AFU have finished basic staging for the offensive in the southern direction. However, the AFU is running out of time as the huge increase in Russian strikes is devastating their reserves and Russia’s own industrial capacities in guided weapons are growing exponentially to such a rate that in the future, Ukraine may find it impossible to even receive much Western arms at all, as Russia could destroy everything from afar.

The” counter-offensive ” of AFU is delayed due to massive missile and UAV strikes by the Russians. Many rear ammunition depots have been lost, and there is also a shortage of rockets for air defense. AFU also have internal problems due to the corruption of the Ministry of Defense, and there is a shortage of spare parts for military equipment. Everyone is sure that Zelensky wanted to coincide the offensive with the July NATO summit but there is less and less time left.

In May, Russia launched about 160 missiles (cruise + ballistic), as well as 340+ kamikaze drones. Part of this increased performance comes from Russia’s continual improvement of its ISR and particularly space-recon capabilities. Two days ago, a new Russian Kondor-FKA opto-electrical spy-satellite was successfully launched.

Ukraine’s counteroffensive was firstly a spring offensive but now that June has begun, it turning into summer offensive, perhaps to coincide with the big NATO exercises, which are kicking off in June. However, there was another rumor that they want the offensive to coincide with the big NATO summit taking place in Vilnius on July 11. The big “Air Defender” exercises in Romania will be on June 12-23, which may remain the most likely time for an offensive, if one is to even launch at all.

June 4 – 5, AFU counteroffensive

In the night June 3/4, the Russian Forces launched a long-range air-based high-precision weaponry strike against the enemy targets at the military airfields. The command posts, radar stations, Ukrainian aviation equipment, as well as ammunition depots, have been hit. The aim is to slow down AFU’s planned counteroffensive.

However, it seems that the long touted Ukrainian counteroffensive has started on June 4. New Ukrainian units, never seen before, have come to the front and the first Leopards have been seen in the South Donetsk / Zaporozhye direction. The attack was launched by Ukraine for political reasons under pressure from its western sponsors. Militarily it is unlikely to become successful but it will eat away at whatever is left of Ukraine’s military capabilities.

Attacks happened in several waves and all around the front. In the north, sabotage incursions towards Belgograd and to the east but with the most forces, towards the south.

Up to Monday evening, there was so far little to no success in any of the attacks. The daily report by the Russian Ministry of Defense (RMOD) list as Ukrainian losses over the last 24 hours 910 soldiers, 16 tanks, 33 armored combat vehicles/infantry fighting vehicle and some 30 trucks and other vehicles.

So far, only the most forward positions of Russian troops have been attacked. There are two to three well organized defense lines behind those. The Russians can fall back whenever needed and let the artillery and air force destroy their oncoming enemies.

June 4, AFU scaled up offensive operations on the Southern Front but the losses seem to be too high for long time success. Earlier operations were mainly reconnaissance in force with platoon and company sized combat groups.

Yesterday the Ukrainian forces seemed to be battalion sized combat groups, obviously together 8 battalions. The fighting was intense but, on most places, AFU was turned back, mainly by intense Russian artillery and air attacks. On some places AFU succeeded in capturing a couple of hundred meters.

Daily losses of AFU means that a Ukrainian brigade loses 50% of its fight capability within two days and in four weeks AFU, with such daily losses, would in effect destroy the entire 12 brigades, which are trained and equipped by western supporters for the AFU’s counteroffensive.

It is very interesting that the Ukrainian media and authorities deny this current operation to be any counteroffensive but only a limited reconnaissance operation. Ukrainian military sources told that a series of small scale armoured offensive operations are under way. They did not say, whether this was the start of Ukraine’s long-awaited full-scale counteroffensive.

June 5, Ukrainian troops launched offensive operations simultaneously in different directions. The situation remains tense for the second day in a row. As it was expected, the main battlefield is the Zaporozhie region, where the AFU are trying to break through Russian defence and reach the Sea of Azov. Kiev likely expects to cut the Russian grouping and disrupt military supplies through Crimea. Ukrainian offensive operations on June 4 led to no significant results. The AFU managed to advance up to few hundred meters but were later repelled to their positions.

After the failure, the AFU attempted new offensives on June 5, which involved larger forces.The main direction of Ukrainian offensive is the border between the Zaporozhye region and the Donetsk. More Ukrainian reinforcements are being transfered from the Dnepropetrovsk region to the Zaporozhie front lines. The AFU again attacked Russian positions near Novodarovka, Rovnopol, Neskuchnoe, Novodonetsk.

The main direction of the Ukrainian offensive is the village of Novodonetsk. The settlement was reportedly attacked by a column of 30 armored western vehicles. Ukrainian forces managed to enter the village and gain a stronghold on its northern outskirts. A column of about 20 armored vehicles was reportedly sent towards Novodonetsk to reinforce the Ukrainian grouping.

On June 6, AFU started to retreat from positions they had reached yesterday. Unable to break through Russia’s defenses, AFU considered the present positions unfavorable and began to retreat, also from the village of Novodonetsk.

The losses of three day’s operation were massive to AFU: about 3700 soldiers, destroyed tanks 52 from which 8 German Leopard tanks, 3 French AMX-10 vehicles, 207 armored vehicles, 134 motor vehicles, 5 aircraft, 2 helicopters, 48 pieces of artillery and 53 UAVs.



On June 6, an unusual event took place in Dnieper River.