Autumn offensive operations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Kharkiv region and Kherson region significantly raised the morale of the Ukrainians, but Russian forces still control about 70% of the territory of the Kherson region, as well as large parts of the Zaporozhye, Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The success of the defense forces in certain areas gives a strong impetus to the further de-occupation of the territories occupied by Russia, but this requires significantly more missiles and ammunition, reports The Economist.
Like the release of the right bank Kherson region will affect the further course Experts evaluate events differently. The head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Army, Mark Milley, believes that the main offensive of Ukraine will end in the winter. A skeptical American general is sure that the UAF counterattack in the south is quite similar to the assault on the occupying forces of Donbass – slow, rude and relatively ineffective actions. While the Kharkov blitzkrieg became possible precisely due to the fact that the Russian forces were understaffed. And this condition is unlikely to be repeated anywhere else, since the enemy will reinforce the front with mobilized soldiers and redeploy more than 30,000 soldiers withdrawn from Kherson.
While optimistic experts believe that the Ukrainians have an advantage, first of all, in manpower, morale and firepower thanks to ammunition and GPS-guided missiles, such as Excalibur artillery shells.
Ukraine’s success in Kherson ultimately provides grounds for both optimism and caution, says Michael Kofman of the CNA think tank. The de-occupation of part of the territories occupied by Russia shows that with adequate supplies, over time, Ukraine will be able to liberate the entire territory. However, it is already clear that the next operations will be slow and exhausting. One of the key factors at this stage will be artillery and the timely supply of ammunition for it. Referring to his own sources, Kofman notes that Ukraine already consumes most of the monthly production of US GMLRS missiles and GPS-guided missiles launched by HIMARS.
On the positive side, the US and Europe have started expanding munitions production, but the bad news is that by next summer, Ukraine may not feel the difference. Therefore, according to experts, the preliminary statement by President Volodymyr Zelensky that the return of Kherson is the beginning of the end of the war is an exaggeration.
“After Churchill declared the beginning of the end, after the second battle of El Alamein in 1942, the war continued for another three long years.” sums up The Economist.
Recall that earlier President of Ukraine commented on the forecasts intelligence regarding the timing of the end of the war.