by Shabbir Ali ’24
Published Nov. 24th, 2022
On February 24th of this year, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, tragically causing millions of people to lose their homes and livelihoods. Now, after being stuck in a stalemate for a significant period of time, Ukraine has launched a counteroffensive against Russia.
The counteroffensive officially began on September 6th. Ukraine, however, had started making preparations for this months beforehand.
Ukraine’s strategy had involved advertising for a large-scale counteroffensive in Kherson. In response to this, Russian forces had moved units to the south to defend the city, which in turn had allowed Ukrainian soldiers to conduct strikes behind enemy lines, destroying ammunition storage and bridges used to supply the Russians.
Although an attack was advertised in the south toward Kherson, Ukraine’s real goal was to overextend the Russian military so that they could launch an attack on Kharkiv. Using this tactic, Ukrainian forces were able to catch the Russians off guard, capturing the region on September 11th.
The victory forced Russian forces to retreat from Kherson in order to assist in the east, leaving open millions of dollars worth of ammunition and supplies. Though Ukraine has so far been unable to capture Kherson, forces are still fighting for the region as it provides greater access to Crimea, a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea that has been held by Russia since 2014, and which Ukraine hopes to recapture.
Besides Ukraine’s military success, another significant aspect of the counteroffensive was the assistance Ukraine received from the United States. For example, the U.S. provided Ukraine with a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HMARS), a rocket launcher that has given the Ukrainians superior range and accuracy when compared to traditional artillery.
The recent counteroffensive marks Ukraine’s largest tactical victory since successfully defending Kyiv. This could be the start of many more victories to come, though it is still impossible to know what the future holds.