Thứ Sáu, Tháng Sáu 9, 2023
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How Ukraine is preparing for a ‘BIGBANG’ attack to retake Crimea, flatten the Russians and humiliate Vladimir Putin

According to leading military experts, the UKRAINIAN military is ready to use their shiny new Western weapons in a “big bang-style” onslaught to humiliate Vladimir Putin.

The Sun Online spoke with former US General Ben Hodges, retired British Army Brigadier General Ben Barry and former British Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon about Kyiv’s next steps to defeat Russia.


Challenger battle tank 2 exercises before being sent to Ukraine


Challenger battle tank 2 exercises before being sent to UkraineCredit: PA
Ukrainian soldiers pose on the front lines of Donetsk Oblast


Ukrainian soldiers pose on the front lines of Donetsk OblastCredit: Getty

And while they offered various explanations for how the counterattack might have worked, they all agreed that Ukraine has the potential to give the Russians a nosebleed.

Brave soldiers held the line against Putin’s twisted invasion – enduring for months some of the war’s bloodiest skirmishes in brutal, close-quarter trench warfare-style battles .

But it was clear to Ukraine’s leadership that they saw this intense skirmish of attrition as a price to pay as they prepared for their counter-offensive.

Behind the front lines, a new wave of troops determined to defend their homeland have been trained with Western weapons.

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They will enter the battle with significant new equipment, such as the Challenger 2, M1 Abrams and Leopard 2 main battle tanks, Stryker and Bradley armored vehicles, and new artillery systems.

With these weapons – should in theory be superior and superior to the Russians, laying the groundwork for a new offensive.

General Hodges told The Sun Online he believes Ukraine will grow big – and focus their efforts on finally retaking Crimea, which has been in Russian hands since 2014.

Colonel de Bretton compared a potential Ukrainian attack to “Operation Desert Storm” – with their forces attempting to push 200 miles behind Russian lines in a lightning strike. flashy.

And in the meantime, Brigadier General Barry said the counterattack would be like a “big bang” to try to break the deadlock – especially around Bakhmut.

He told The Sun Online: “Ukraine can kill every Russian soldier within 200 miles of Bakhmut and that won’t change the strategic situation.”

However, General Hodges – the former commander of US troops in Europe – believes that the offensive will be much more ambitious than winning the battle at Bakhmut.

It will never be a spring attack

American General Ben Hodges

“The key is victory Crimea – that will be the decisive terrain. Once Crimea is liberated, it will all be over, it will change everything.

“Ukraine knows that it will never be safe without taking back Crimea.”

Given Hodges’ extensive military experience, he believes the offensive will focus on isolating the annexed Crimea peninsula by severing the land bridge to the partially Russian-controlled regions to the south. Ukraine.

“It will be aimed at breaking this land bridge and more precise weapons to hit targets and make the peninsula invulnerable to Russian forces,” he explained.

He believes that this onslaught will involve attacks on Russian air bases, ambitious attacks on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and targeting command & logistics centers located in Russia. deep in enemy-controlled territory in Crimea.

“When it makes sense,” Hodges said they could “once again” blow up the Crimean bridge – Putin’s favorite bridge was attacked last October.

Ukrainian commanders are said to have blown up the £3.2 billion Kerch bridge – a highly symbolic link between the mainland of Vlad and the annexed Crimea.

General Hodges announced that the attack would focus on a narrow area to break through the already dug Russian defenses.

“I think Ukraine will choose one or two places to focus its attack on a narrow front several miles wide and penetrate through fortified front lines using tanks, motorized infantry, engineers and artillery. soldiers.

He continued: “They will use the air force to support them and there will be activity in the rear area of ​​Russia by special forces and partisans to prevent them from reacting. [to the attack].”

When can it happen? “It will never be a spring attack,” he said.

“They’re busy training, practicing and carefully guarding information – they’re waiting for the right conditions to be able to flow – waiting on the ground to be able to sustain the attack,” he mused. guess.

Colonel de Bretton-Gordon also predicts that the Ukrainians will be ambitious in their counterattack – with the key being their new arsenal of Ukrainian main battle tanks.

Ukrainian soldiers shelled Russian positions near Bakhmut


Ukrainian soldiers shelled Russian positions near BakhmutCredit: AP
Ukrainian T-72 tanks fire at Russian positions on the front line near Bakhmut


Ukrainian T-72 tanks fire at Russian positions on the front line near BakhmutCredit: AFP
The battle for Bakhmut raged for more than seven months


The battle for Bakhmut raged for more than seven monthsCredit: AP

He said Western armor would outperform the aging Soviet tank fleet currently used by Putin, penetrating tank traps, trenches and barbed wire like the so-called “Saddam Line”. ” during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Saddam Hussein’s fortifications were breached by US forces using M1 Abrams tanks in just a few hours – just like what the Ukrainians now have in their arsenals.

Desert Storm’s ground assault lasted just 100 hours and saw an army of American and British forces wipe out Saddam’s tanks and soldiers who ultimately had to surrender. batch batch.

Colonel De Bretton-Gordon told The Sun Online: “Over four days [in Desert Storm] we covered a few hundred miles. Ukrainians will probably want to go a little further but not much further.’

Subsequent battles saw Western tanks like the Abrams and Challenger take on Russian armor and take them down in short order.

If the Ukrainians can in a similar fashion break through the Russian defenses, they will exploit that position to inflict havoc and destruction behind enemy lines.

According to Colonel De Bretton-Gordon, the key to Ukraine’s victory would be to arrange the logistics to sustain such an advance until it could get far enough behind the Russian lines to cause havoc. maximum break.

He added: “Ukrainians are very clever. I am very impressed with the way they act.

“We couldn’t teach them much. Obviously we taught them how to use tanks and artillery, but in terms of teaching generals, they were already impressed.

“Now that they have tanks and artillery for close combat, I’m pretty confident they’ll be able to [succeed].”

For months now, the war has “come to a standstill” and the frontline has remained “quite static”, but Brigadier General Barry told The Sun Online – but change is coming.

The senior fellow for land warfare at the International Institute for Strategic Studies said Russia had made “very slow progress at the cost of enormous casualties” in Bakhmut.

Bakhmut is considered the “bloodiest battle” of the war to date – with both sides fighting in a meat grinder fashion, with reports of soldiers fighting to the death with shovels.

“Ukraine has repeatedly said that 2023 is the year of counter-attacks, where they want to expel Russia from Ukraine,” he explained.

“Ukraine will want to make sure the attack is effective, so we’re looking at a focused ‘big bang’ attack, rather than dribbling it away in small packets.”

“The longer they delay, the more modern weapons and armor they will have to service and train its operators,” he continued.

Ukraine is known to be forming a network of new “Storm Brigade” – with about 40,000 soldiers.

Named Hurricane, Spartan, Chervona Kalyna, Frontier, Rage, Azov and Kara Dag (a mountain in Crimea), new Ukrainian units are preparing to play their part in a decisive new offensive. intended to repel Putin’s army.

War analysts at Conflict Intelligence Team said the main goal of the new counterattack would be to “unblock” Bakhmut.

“These vehicles are already present on the territory of Ukraine under the use of the Ukrainian military and may be used in combat in the nearest future,” the team wrote in their situation report on August 1. March 28.

“We assume that the main goal of the Ukrainian counter-attack will be to unblock Bakhmut.”

The commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, General Oleksandr Syrskyi, recently said: “Our mission is to destroy as many enemies as possible and create conditions for us to launch an attack.”

Russian and Eastern European security expert Samantha de Bendern said she also doubts that a Ukrainian counterattack will go on until at least the summer.

She told The Sun Online that their army is “busy defending Bakhmut and holding it back….and won’t be ready in the near future”.

“That will change very soon,” she said, as Ukrainian troops trained abroad arrive with their flashy new weapons and machines.

One thing is absolutely certain – Ukraine will never give up.

Samantha de Bendern

Agreeing with military experts, she believes “they can’t attack on all fronts… that would be a concentrated attack.”

“The front line is so long, it’s as long as the distance from London to Barcelona.”

However, the former political officer from NATO HQ explained that what the attack would entail would “be the best kept secret from the Ukrainians”.

They are masters of “surprise”, she said, who know how to disguise their true intentions, “create fake attacks and then attack somewhere else”.

The Chatham House Contributor disagreed that Crimea would be a target for Ukraine because “there was pressure from the Americans not to attack the peninsula, they did not welcome Ukraine’s ideal of liberating Crimea”.

Instead, de Bendern believes that the offensive will be focused on the East and will depend entirely on when Western weapons sent to Ukraine will become operational.

“Air support would also be essential to any Ukrainian attack,” she said. recently Pentagon files leaked exposed the basic fact that “Ukraine’s air defenses are exhausted” and so are their planes.

Whatever the plan behind the attack, de Bendern said: “One thing is absolutely certain – Ukraine will never give up.

“They will fight to the last man.”

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