The Armed Forces offensive is postponed. What changes can the general plan undergo? — opinion

20 April, 06:20 PM
Bakhmut (Photo:Adam Tactic Group/Handout via REUTERS)

Bakhmut (Photo:Adam Tactic Group/Handout via REUTERS)

What goes into planning a major offensive operation?

The president of Ukraine very recently said that the offensive (I think it is more relevant to call it an offensive and not a counteroffensive, because a counteroffensive is an action that takes place immediately after an enemy offensive) is postponed. President Zelensky is not the only official to have spoken about it. The reason is the delayed weapons deliveries, particularly tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and armored personnel carriers.

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The situation will stabilize, but there are both objective and subjective difficulties.

The objective difficulties indicate that weapons should be delivered to Ukraine as securely as possible. The subjective ones, unfortunately, aren’t new. Our partners slightly overestimated their strength when they took on the relevant commitments.  Some weapons systems, especially tanks like the Leopard Twos in various forms, Leopard-2 tanks of various modifications, do not meet the technical standards for use on the battlefield. That's why they need restoration and repair, sometimes serious ones. Therefore, the tank supply isn’t as fast as it should be. The same applies to the supply of ammunition - both Soviet-model shells and NATO-standard 155mm are in increasingly short supply.

That is why the efforts of Ukrainian officials and our partners aim to make these supplies as intensive and rhythmic as possible. But, unfortunately, while the situation is improving in some ways, the necessary timetables for weapons deliveries are just not possible. This is already being said by both people within the Ukrainian government and international media.

We don't know the plan, thank god.

What goes into planning a major offensive operation? When a plan for a major offensive operation is created, it is always very complex. It is prepared in advance and carried out step by step, but two crucial factors are always considered. The first is the ability of the armed forces to follow these tasks that the General Staff draws on the map, and the other is the state of the enemy. So it is a parallel process.

On the one hand, the generals are monitoring how the training of Ukrainian service members is taking place, how coordination is taking place, the deployment of new brigades, and how weapons are being supplied. Meanwhile, they are monitoring the opposition to our offensive from the enemy's side, where he is building new fortifications, raising reserves, where the new strengthened positions are, new groups, etc. That is, it is a parallel process.

We don't know the plan, thank god. This plan is always a secret. It is meant for a minimal circle of people. In the recent leak, fortunately, there is no indication of even the approximate date of the offensive operation. Nor the direction of the main strike, the specific forces and means that will be used, or the nature of these actions. So when discussing the possibility of postponing this offensive operation, we assume that this postponement may be for a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months (in the worst-case scenario).

So this plan, despite what I say once again, is drawn up in advance and can be corrected. For example, you have a plan where you have to strike here and there. But, if you see that, for example, the enemy is preparing to strike back there, you can adjust. I think that it won’t be possible to change the forces and means, because those units are preparing for a decisive strike. Their creation, deployment, armament, and training is a very long process, and reversing or revising them is impossible. You can adjust by adding new connections or transferring some brigade to somewhere other than where it was initially planned. But this plan is unlikely to be significantly altered. Alterations will have to come based on supply, personnel, and logistics, as known to the General Staff at the time of the attack.

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