'Knock-out': Ukraine's forces 'conserved energy' before stunning attack on Russians

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Ukraine’s forces hit Moscow with a “knock-out” punch which saw Russian forces routed for miles. Now, however, the counter attack has slowed – although it is still pressing ahead in some places. A Ukrainian journalist told Express.co.uk how Kyiv prepared for the assault and then executed an attack which surprised friend and foe alike.

Ukraine has been fighting an uphill battle against Russian forces. Although Kyiv has the backing of the West – and with it increasingly superior weaponry, intelligence and training than the Russian forces – Moscow’s military dwarfs Ukraine’s.

However, the Ukrainians have turned their advantages against the Russians and seemed to have gained momentum in the conflict. Ukrainian Journalist and Coordinator at the Ukrainian Volunteer Journalist Initiative Mark Savchuk told of the difficulties the Ukrainians faced while preparing the attack.

He said: “You have to understand that the Ukrainian Army is extremely undersupplied. For us to conduct an offensive, it was very difficult. We basically sat quiet for a some time, conserving our resources so that we could launch a large offensive.”

“It isn’t like we have nothing, we have a very large military, probably the largest in Europe at this point, but the problem is that we are fighting the Russian army – which is sitting on the military stock from the cold war. They have literally thousands of tanks, artillery pieces, APCs etcetera.”

However, Ukraine took time to conserve ammunition, feed Moscow false intelligence about where the lightning counteroffensive would take place and prepare before launching the attack. For the time being, the tactics seemed to have put Moscow on the backfoot – not just in a stalemate, but retreating out of huge areas.

Mr Savchuk added: “In order to conduct an offensive in this way you have to really conserve your energy. You could say that Ukraine is sort of like a very proficient but extremely tired boxer.

“We have enough resources for one large push – but then we have to rest, reorganize and gather our forces for the next punch. We have to use our resources very carefully, because our enemy has more tanks, artillery pieces, planes etcetera.

“So that’s exactly what we have done, we have conserved our energy, and then, bam, come out striking and basically gave the Russians a knock-out.”

READ MORE: Putin’s ‘desperate’ mobilisation risks ‘mutiny’ on frontlines

Now that the offensive has slowed, there are questions about how much more territory Ukraine can recapture immediately. The longer the frontlines, the more areas Kyiv’s forces have to position troops in order to mount a defence.

According to Mr Savchuk, Ukraine won’t make the mistake of overextending, instead they will continue to press Russian forces, probing for weaknesses while consolidating their gains.

He said: “Ukrainian forces can’t go infinitely further, because their resources are limited. Our generals are extremely smart, and they understand the threat of overextending. They are not going to make that mistake.

“We are going to be looking into various other areas where Russian defences are weak and we are going to exploit these weaknesses. Just as we did in our recent offensive at Balakleya [a liberated town in Kharkiv Oblast].”

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Following the rout, Vladimir Putin has ordered the mobilisation of 300,000 Russian reservists to the frontlines of the war. However, analysists question whether this can make a difference for Moscow.

The call for more men saw thousands of Russians attempt to flee the country and sparked protests in at least 30, likely more, cities. There have been reports of attacks on army recruitment centres in the country.

The troops Putin does manage to get from his mobilisation will likely be poorly trained and unwilling to fight – not the best soldiers to throw into battle against determined Ukrainian troops.

In the meantime, Kyiv will likely bide its time, pushing the frontlines and probing Russian defences in preparation for its next “knock-out” blow.



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