The offensive of the Ukrainian armed forces showed that the Russian army is just a “paper bear” with huge problems, writes Roman Rukomeda.
Roman Rukomeda is a Ukrainian political analyst. It’s his 65th account of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian armed forces managed to achieve a very significant victory over the 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 skeptics that they could defeat the Russian army. All those who did not believe in Ukraine’s ability to liberate its territory and blocked mass arms deliveries to the Ukrainian armed forces have lost their main argument.
The Ukrainian armed forces have shown that the Russian army is just a “paper bear” with huge problems. This “bear” is always dangerous due to its weapons and manpower and the nature of its rulers and armed forces. But their defeat showed the best way for the civilized world to end this war – to defeat Russia on the battlefield, drive it back to Ukrainian national borders and isolate it until it is ready to conduct negotiations on the return to the rules of international relations with restitutions.
Since September 6, for 5-6 days, Ukrainian troops have liberated the territory of 8,000 square kilometers. The majority of the liberated territory is part of northeastern Ukraine (Kharkiv region), small amounts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the east, and an area of Kherson region on the right bank of the Dnipro . The Kharkiv region is almost completely liberated from Russian aggressors.
It should be noted that the Russian troops tried to defend themselves and counterattack. The Ukrainian offensive was not without bloodshed, but it was carried out with great precision. For example, the Russians thought that the main strike would be directed against Kherson, but it happened in the Kharkiv region. This time the Russians did not voluntarily leave the captured Ukrainian territories – they had to do this under pressure and attack from the Ukrainian army.
Several thousand Russian soldiers have surrendered and are now prisoners of war. The number is so high, much more than expected, that there is a problem in placing them and providing them with their basic needs.
Another problem is the large amount of Russian war material that remains, including ammunition, tanks, armored vehicles, radio-electronic combat cars and many others. According to rough estimates, Russia lost more than $600 million in military equipment.
Hundreds of these units remained, mostly in working order, and they will be used to arm the Ukrainian army.
Of course, we also understand that the Russians will try to carry out a counter-offensive and that all eyes will be on the Donbass 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 (including demining of local territories and roads), medicine, energy and many other things. It is a very difficult test for Ukrainian central and local authorities to protect people in the liberated places.
Many villages and towns in the Kharkiv region are badly damaged, with the city of Izum being 80% destroyed. With a population of 40,000 before the war, over 1,000 were killed by the Russians.
Additionally, last week Russia launched a massive rocket attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, which knocked out 40 substations and left hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians without power. One of Kharkiv’s largest power substations was attacked and set on fire. For now, most people have regained power, but energy infrastructure remains a target for Moscow.
What matters is that Ukraine attacks, takes back its territories and demonstrates the fundamental weakness of the Russian army. This will continue until the end of the current year and in 2023 until the full liberation of Ukraine up to the territories defined in 1991, including Crimea and the Ukrainian Donbass. Let’s hope that the authorities and Ukrainian internal solidarity will stabilize people’s lives in the liberated territories and give thousands of people hope for a new life.