Russian and Ukrainian forces are now moving east to fight in eastern Ukraine. According to Lieutenant Colonel Pal Yedistibo, Ukrainians have one big advantage.
– Now it’s a race to take the lead and dictate more operations, says Lieutenant Colonel and Department Commander at the War School, Palle Ydstebø, to VG.
Russian forces withdrew from northern Ukraine.
According to Ydstebø, the Ukrainians now have a chance to take the initiative.
“If the Ukrainians are able to move new forces to the east faster than the Russians, they can launch smaller attacks themselves to disrupt and disrupt Russian forces already in the east and make it difficult for the Russians to consolidate their positions,” he said. Lieutenant Colonel.
See below the map of the areas under Ukrainian and Russian control.
‘The Russians have to go around’
According to ISW, the Ukrainians could send in troops after liberating the areas around Kiev without the risk of Russian attacks from Belarus.
– The Ukrainians have already begun to send troops east. It is mainly the National Guard and the Border Guard who secure the areas in the north, says Yedstepo.
The lieutenant-colonel confirms that it is now a question of putting the forces in place quickly.
According to ISW, it could take at least a week for the Russians to be able to deploy the troops. Ydstebø explains that Ukrainians have the advantage of a shorter route.
Ukraine is a large country with many railways and many roads between Kyiv and the front in the southeast. Ukrainians have the advantage of a central position. Yedistibo says the Russians have to go all the way.
He says Ukraine has the advantage of working on the domestic lines.
– If the road and rail connection is open, the Ukrainians have the opportunity to concentrate forces faster than the Russians, he adds.
Do not rule out the Russian attack
Nor is a possible Russian attack likely from the east. According to Ydstebø, the Russians are strong in the area around the Ukrainian city of Izium, which is south of Kharkiv and north of Donetsk.
– It seems that there is a build-up of force on the Russian side. The lieutenant colonel says that if the Russians get enough troops there, they can cut off the Ukrainian forces in the Donbass.
It has been previously speculated whether the Russians will move to make this happen The so-called “pincer maneuver” in the east of the country.
Ydstebø says there have been reports of Russian forces en route to Izium, but it is not known how capable these forces are.
The great uncertainty for Russia is the condition of the troops and how long it will take to acquire these fighters.
The Lieutenant Colonel cast doubt on whether the Russians were capable of mounting a major offensive at present.
-Maybe they don’t have the strength to launch a major attack right away, he says.
Ydstebø also does not exclude that the Ukrainians may have a chance to launch an attack against the Russians from southwestern Ukraine.
– In the first case, I imagine they will try to disrupt, but if they can gather enough forces to achieve enough local superiority, they can attack.
The Ukrainians demanded more offensive weapons. Do they have enough to attack?
– There is one doubt. This is exactly the type of weapon they ordered. They are also asked about the amount of loss they suffer and what kind of wear and tear they have experienced in the Kyiv region, he says and adds:
– The Lieutenant Colonel concludes that the Ukrainians will not reveal what they can do.
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