Ukraine has turned the tide of war in its favour, says think tank

Ukraine has turned the tide of war in its favour, says think tank
Ukrainian President Volodomy Zelensky during an address on 11 September. Credit: Ukrainian presidential press service

The Ukrainian counter-offensive has swung the direction of the ongoing conflict decisively in their favour, believes the American think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

During the initial phases of the war, Ukrainian forces defended themselves against Russian attacks, but now the situation has reversed, the think tank writes in its latest analysis.

Ukraine now dictates the terms of the war including when and where battles take place; Russian troops now find themselves on the back foot. ISW stresses the psychological advantage.

Battles in the south, east, and north of Ukraine have allowed Ukrainian forces to take back 3,000 square kilometres of Russian-occupied territory, according to Ukrainian General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi. "In the Kharkiv direction, we began to advance not only to the south and east, but also to the north," Zaluzhnyi wrote on Telegram, adding that Ukrainian military is now only 50 kilometres from the Russian border.

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Russia has ordered its troops to withdraw from the occupied Kharkiv Oblast, according to the latest intelligence update from the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), with Ukraine recapturing territory twice the size of Greater London.

Near Kherson (south Ukraine), Russia is likely struggling to get supplies across the Dnipro River to the front line, the MoD continued, adding that the success of the Ukrainian attacks has "significant implications" for Russia's operational plans and that trust in Russia's senior military leadership is likely to deteriorate further.

Ukrainian military: We have recaptured 20 occupied cities

Ukrainian troops have forced out Russian forces from 20 occupied cities, the Ukrainian MoD reported on its official Facebook page.

"The liberation of settlements from the Russian invaders in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions continues. Russian troops quickly abandon their positions and flee deep into the occupied territories or back into the Russian Federation," the Ukrainian MoD wrote on Monday.

After successful Ukrainian operations in Kherson, Russia suffered "significant losses in manpower". The Ukrainian MoD stated that "the rest of the servicemen have an extremely low morale and psychological state and are refusing en masse to return to the combat zone."

"Fled like Olympic sprinters"

Petro Kuzyk, leader of the Ukrainian military unit that drove Russian forces back, said that the counter-offensive took a long time to prepare and involved tricking Russia into thinking that a big counter-offensive would take place in the south.

Kuzyk describes that Russian forces fled so quickly that when Ukrainian troops arrived, there were still meals on the table along with large stocks of valuable ammunition and weapons.

"They abandoned their tanks and their equipment... they even took bikes to flee. The degradation of the Russian army made our work easier; they fled like Olympic sprinters."

Zelenskyy response to Putin

Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure mean that large parts of Kharkiv no longer have power or water. On Telegram, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia wanted revenge for Ukraine's counter-offensive by taking away light and heat. However, Zelenskyy remained defiant.

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