The Dispatch reports that the Ukrainian counteroffensive has begun, writing:
The Ukrainian counteroffensive has begun.
After months of an apparent stalemate—Ukrainian and Russian forces grinding each other down with artillery strikes while exchanging little territory—Ukraine’s military in recent weeks has made daring strikes behind Russian frontlines and tried to disrupt the flow of supplies of information to Russian units. As we noted earlier this month, Ukraine has been readying for weeks to mount a counteroffensive aimed at taking back territory in the south, particularly the key shipping hub of Kherson.
Monday, Ukrainian officials hinted the time had come. Southern Operational Command spokeswoman Natalia Humeniuk said that Ukrainian forces had begun “counteroffensive actions in many directions” and claimed the country’s military had broken through Russian forces’ first line of defense—though she declined to specify where. Ukrainian and Russian officials called for civilians in the occupied Kherson Oblast to evacuate or seek shelter.
U.S. officials acknowledged the developments on Wednesday. “We are aware of Ukrainian military operations that have made some forward movement,” Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder told reporters. “And in the Kherson region, we are aware in some cases of Russian units falling back.” Citing multiple anonymous U.S. and Ukrainian sources, CNN reported yesterday that U.S. officials had encouraged their Ukrainian counterparts in recent weeks to scale back the size and scope of the planned counteroffensive, focusing primarily on the southern Kherson region rather than engaging Russia on multiple fronts at once. As part of those discussions, U.S. and Ukrainian officials reportedly wargamed possible scenarios to better understand what Ukrainian forces would be up against.
The Ukrainian government has used propaganda to great effect during the war, and the counteroffensive has its own campaign. Watch the Ministry’s well-produced “Run, or Die” video below:
Run, Rabbit, Run! pic.twitter.com/7A5eKfWKXm
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) August 31, 2022
Whether or not the counteroffensive will succeed remains to be seen. Russian outlets reported inflicting major losses on attacking Ukrainian forces, but those numbers may be exaggerated or mistaken. Only just recently it was reported that the Ukrainians fooled the Russians into claiming kills by utilizing wooden replicas of HIMARS systems. The Daily Mail wrote:
Ukraine have been using a fleet of decoys resembling advanced U.S rocket systems (HIMARS) to trick Russian forces into wasting expensive long-range cruise missiles on dummy targets.
The Ukrainian decoys are made out of wood but can be indistinguishable from an artillery battery through the lens of Russian drones, which transmit their locations to naval cruise missile carriers in the Black Sea, according to The Washington Post.
‘When the UAVs see the battery, it’s like a VIP target,’ said a senior Ukrainian official, referring to unmanned aerial vehicles encountering long-range artillery replicas.
A senior Ukrainian official who spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity said that after a few weeks in the field, the decoys drew at least 10 Kalibr cruise missiles, an initial success that led Ukraine to expand the production of the replicas for broader use.
The use of rocket system decoys also points to Ukraine’s readiness to use unorthodox tactics in its fight against an army that outguns it on the battlefield.
The destruction of Ukrainian replicas may account for why Russia has repeatedly boasted that it destroyed many US-made missiles, including the long-range HIMARS missile systems, claims that the US has described as ‘patently false’.
‘They’ve claimed to have hit more HIMARS than we have even sent,’ one U.S. diplomat said.
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