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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Ukraine official reveals key moment for Kiev to counterattack in Donbass

According to a senior Ukrainian official, “the Ukrainian armed forces are waiting for an improvement in weather conditions” to launch a counterattack against the Russian troops.

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the eastern Luhansk region, told Telegram on Monday that Ukrainian fighters would wait “several weeks” before launching a counterattack in the Donbass region.

Luhansk, along with Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, was plunged into an armed conflict in 2014. Russian-backed separatists took control of parts of Luhansk and Donetsk, and Moscow illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula south of mainland Ukraine.

Donetsk and Luhansk, collectively known as the Donbass region, have seen the heaviest fighting since all-out war broke out on February 24, 2022. Russian forces are working to seize Luhansk’s remaining territory, according to Washington DC-based think tank, the Institute for War Research.

Oleksandr Syrsky, who heads Ukraine’s ground forces, told Telegram on Saturday that it was “necessary to buy time to gather reserves and launch a counter-offensive, which is not far away.”

Advisor to Ukraine’s Presidential Office Mykhailo Podolyak said on Friday that Ukraine’s armed forces were “in no hurry” but would “reorganize within the next two months”.

“We will exhaust the Russians in Bakhmut and then concentrate elsewhere,” he told the Italian newspaper The pressure.

There has long been speculation as to when Ukraine will launch a counteroffensive, which was expected in the warmer spring months. Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, said last month news week that Ukraine was “awaiting shipments of Western equipment to launch our own counteroffensive”.

But as the mercury rises, so does regard for the infamous Ukrainian mud season. The warmer temperatures, known as “Rasputitsa,” create muddy conditions that hamper military operations.

“Mud is a factor, especially when you’re stuck in a muddy ditch or driving off-road or on a dirt road,” said William Reno, a political science professor at Northwestern University, previously news week.

It directly affects vehicles’ ability to go off the road, said former US Army Major John Major news week. The mud is causing problems with maintenance, movement and supply chains, he added.

“Since mud limits the roads you can take, it increases the likelihood of attacks,” he argued.

On February 9, 2023, the British Ministry of Defense referred to the spring thaw, arguing that both Ukrainian and Russian commanders would “most likely try to avoid major offensives” from mid to late March.

“Weather continues to play a significant role in the course of Russia’s war in Ukraine,” added the UK government agency.

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