Not much is known about the Ukrainian counterattack—except that Kiev thought it would be easier. According to the official message, it works “slower than would be desirable”. Mines and drones will slow down progress.
The journey takes place through a small village in southern Ukraine: signs of the Russian occupation can be seen everywhere. The walls of damaged and bombed houses have been sprayed with the letter Z, and the burned corpse of a Russian soldier lies in the street.
For a short while now, the Ukrainian flag has been flying again over the ruin. The chirping of birds mingled with the thunder of artillery, and Private Jura shyly looked into the AFP camera:
I’ve only been here for three days. I don’t even know where we are. I can not remember. I’m not doing well. I’m a little scared but I will keep going.
Little information is leaked
The Gora unit in southern Ukraine is trying to break through massive Russian defences. It is currently difficult to assess how far Ukraine will succeed in this regard. Very little information or pictures leak out.
President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukrainian forces are advancing in the south and east of the country – but more slowly than would be desirable. And one of his most important security advisers – Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security Council – explained on Ukrainian television: “The situation is very difficult. The enemy has realized its mistakes and established certain links in behavior, tactics and strategy.
The Ukrainian army does not talk about its losses
When the photos are released, they are often taken by the Ukrainian military: a video is said to show a Ukrainian special unit taking a Russian-held trench on the southern front.
Crouching their way through the narrow trenches, the men shot first around the corners and hurled grenades. Russian soldiers continue to appear from around the corners – and collapse in a hail of bullets.
“Surrender,” the Ukrainian soldier shouts, the camera clipped to his flak jacket. According to Ukrainian sources, ten Russian servicemen were killed in the operation. However, the Ukrainian military does not talk about its losses.
Again and again smaller gains in terrain
“The enemy is resisting fiercely,” Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malgar said at a news conference in Kiev about a week ago. “Ukrainian armed forces are faced with continuous excavations in the fields, we are faced with the use of kamikaze drones, with intense bombing. The enemy does not simply give up its positions.”
Since then, Ukraine has repeatedly announced small gains in the territory of the south and east of the country. It should now amount to 113 square kilometers in the south – every one significant to Ukraine. Despite everything, they will not deviate from his plan, says security consultant Danilov:
“I do not advise anyone to deal with this issue today. Everything is going according to plan, which was determined with our army. They know their business, we believe in them and we know that victory will certainly be ours.”