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Think Tank Observations Challenge Putin’s Claims on Ukraine

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In recent developments, Russian President Vladimir Putin has once again dismissed Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian forces as a failure.

This assertion comes as Kyiv’s Ministry of Defence reports further advancements on the front lines around Bakhmut city in the eastern Donetsk region. In a news conference held alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, Putin denied reports of recent battlefield gains by Ukraine, categorically stating that Kyiv’s forces had not merely stalled but had failed in their objectives.

 

Putin’s statement, as reported by Russia’s State news agency TASS, emphasized, “The Ukrainian counteroffensive ‘has failed, not stalled.'” He also expressed his hope that the situation would persist in this manner.

 

However, it’s crucial to note that Putin’s narrative contradicts observations made by Russian military bloggers and international military analysts. These sources have highlighted significant challenges facing Russian forces on the front lines, notably a shortage of artillery shells. This shortage has compelled Moscow’s military strategists to prioritize artillery accuracy over their traditional tactic of a high volume of shells fired during battle.

 

On the other side of the conflict, Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister, Hanna Maliar, announced that Kyiv’s forces had reclaimed approximately 3 square kilometers (1.16 square miles) of land in the past week around the besieged city of Bakhmut. This city had fallen under Russian control in May following months of intense combat.

 

Since initiating its counteroffensive in early June, Ukraine has successfully retaken approximately 47 square kilometers (29 miles) of territory surrounding Bakhmut. Maliar conveyed this information on the Telegram messaging app and also noted “success” in the direction of the villages of Novodanylivka and Novoprokopivka in the southern region of Zaporizhia, although specific details were not provided.

 

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), based in Washington, DC, reported that Ukraine’s infantry had advanced into the western region of Zaporizhia, reaching positions beyond the first line of Russian defenses, which included anti-tank ditches and obstacles referred to as “dragon’s teeth.” However, the ISW cautioned that without Ukraine deploying heavy equipment into these areas, it was premature to conclude that Kyiv had definitively breached the Russian defenses in western Zaporizhia.

 

The ISW’s assessment indicated, “Ukrainian forces likely intend to hold those positions.” It also clarified that it was “not prepared to assess that Ukrainian forces have breached this Russian defensive layer in the absence of observed Ukrainian heavy equipment in these areas.”

 

In response to international criticism, particularly from Western media, asserting that Ukraine’s counteroffensive has been slow and hampered by poor tactics, officials in Kyiv have pushed back. They have argued that Ukrainian soldiers have faced significant challenges, including vast Russian minefields and trenches along the front line. Consequently, Ukrainian forces have adopted a cautious approach to ensure the preservation of life.

 

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, strongly rebuked critics of the country’s tactics, urging them to “shut up.” Meanwhile, videos posted on the Ukrainian presidential website showcased President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visiting troops in the eastern Donetsk region, where Bakhmut is located, and in the Zaporizhia region, where Kyiv’s forces are striving to advance southward toward the Sea of Azov.

 

As the conflict continues to unfold, the dynamics on the ground remain fluid, with both sides asserting their positions. The discrepancy between Putin’s dismissal of Ukraine’s advances and the ground-level realities highlights the complexities of this ongoing conflict and underscores the importance of reliable reporting to understand the situation accurately.

Saeed Minhas
Saeed Minhas
Saeed Minhas is an accomplished journalist with extensive experience in the field. He has held prominent positions such as Editor at Daily Times and Daily Duniya. Currently, he serves as the Chief Editor (National) at The Think Tank Journal

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