In the past few weeks, Ukraine has been recapturing Russian-Occupied territories in Northeast and Southern Ukraine. So as of right now, the pressure is on Kyiv to maintain all of the momenta in this counteroffensive. Western governments have praised Ukraine’s significant progress in this war after Kyiv announced that they have reclaimed more than 3,000 square miles of Russian-occupied territory since the beginning of September. To put that in perspective, Ukraine was able to take back as much land as Russia took in 5 months, while Ukraine reclaimed it in less than a month. Ukraine’s counterattacks have prompted Russian forces to retreat from the Kharkiv region and the Ukrainian flag is being raised once again across hundreds of villages in the area. So as of right now, the Ukraine counteroffensive has been very successful but we will have to wait and see if they can keep the pressure on.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated on September 14th, “we are moving in only one direction – forward and towards victory”. The question everyone is asking now is whether this marks a definitive turning point in this war and what is to come next. An advisor to Ukraine’s defense minister, Yuriy Sak said “we hope this is a starting point”. Sak also went on to add that “we are normally cautious about making any predictions, and it’s always safer to say certain things after they occur, but anyway, what has happened is in many respects unexpected even for us”, “Indeed, it was a very successful campaign, the Ukrainian army was able to regain control of over 8,000 square kilometers. That’s a huge part of the territory that was temporarily occupied by the Russians and as a result, what we’re seeing is that the Russian army is demoralized, its military capabilities are degraded”.
Progress… but what now?
The Ukrainian military has been able to recapture dozens of their towns and villages in the Northeast part of the country, which includes the important towns Izyum and Kupiansk. Ukraine’s counterattacks in the Northeast came after Russia started deploying troops away from the region to defend areas they already occupied in the South after Ukraine sent heavy signals that they would launch a counteroffensive around the important port city of Kherson.
United States President Joe Biden, hailed the significant progress Ukraine has been making in the last few weeks but also went on to say “it is hard to tell” if it is a turning point in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Biden also went on to add, “the question is unanswerable. It’s hard to tell. It’s clear the Ukrainians have made significant progress. But I think it’s going to be a long haul”.
Yuriy Sak also said that Ukraine “will keep the momentum” in the conflict, they will start planning more counteroffensive operations in the Northeast and South. Sak went on to note, “at the same time, we understand who we are dealing with, right? So this is an army of war criminals, and a genocidal army, they have not stopped the missile terror”, “What can be said with certainty is that, at this stage, probably more than ever, we need more support from our international partners in terms of providing us with weaponry, tanks, armored vehicles, combat aircraft, and of course, defense systems and anti-rocket systems. These are all things that we need to use this momentum, to keep them going to protect our cities and to drive the enemy out”.