Ukraine confronts tougher fight in push to extend battlefield wins

By | November 20, 2022

The Washington Post reports:

Not far from this village on the east bank of the Oskil River, Ukrainian forces have hit a wall of Russian resistance as they try to extend a counteroffensive that just two months ago was sweeping across nearby lands at a stunning clip.

Andriy, a soldier with Ukraine’s 92nd Mechanized Brigade, was not sure what to say on a recent day, when a group of Ukrainian intelligence officers showed up and asked about his unit’s push toward Svatove, a small city in Luhansk region occupied since March.

“How honest should I be?” Andriy said, declining to give his surname or rank because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

A long pause followed.

“It has been very hard,” he admitted.

After a string of autumn victories for Kyiv, the war in Ukraine is grinding down to another inflection point.

Over two and a half months, Ukrainian forces have impressed the world with their offensive mettle, first by recapturing the northeast Kharkiv region in a stunning rout and later in the south by methodically tightening the vise on a precarious slice of occupied land west of the Dnieper River — forcing Russia’s embarrassing retreat from Kherson city.

The victories have put Kyiv on the front foot, boosting morale and expectations of further success. Ukraine has every incentive to press on with its counteroffensive and retake as much occupied land as possible while Russia is still reeling from personnel shortages and command woes. The Pentagon has vowed to continue arming Kyiv alongside European allies for “as long as it takes.”

But the Ukrainian force now faces obstacles that threaten to slow the advance, with each side gearing up to continue the fight well into next year — and neither side close to what it envisions as victory. [Continue reading…]