Officials from the West have stated that they “hope” and expect Ukrainian forces to succeed in their landmark offensive against Russian-held territory south of Ukraine.
Officials described the operation in the Kherson region to the west from the Dnipro as “sensibly restricted” and an “important attacking moment” for Ukraine, after six months of defense against Russia’s large scale invasion.
They spoke on Friday and said that it would take time and would be fatal.
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Officials from the West said that it was important to view the mission, which was officially launched Monday, through the lens of what it could achieve.
The Ukrainian military commanders have deliberately focused their forces on targets in the south. They see the retaking Kherson city as a key prize and are not aiming to launch offensive operations along the entire 1,500-mile-long frontline stretching from east to south.
One official stated that the offensive must be judged on its own terms. “It is located around Kherson, west the Dnipro [river]-that is the current field of operations.”
Let’s start slowly and see what the Ukrainian forces do in the coming days.”
The second official said: “It would really, really be significant if the Ukrainian forces – as we hope and expect them to – achieve that kind of success [that has just been outlined].
“It won’t end the war but it would be really significant. This is partly due to the geostrategic significance of Kherson but also because Russia is very far from having this war its way.
Journalists in Ukraine have been denied access to the offensive, so independent assessment of how it is going has been impossible.
However, the officials from the West said that the signs were “good at the moment”.
There are certain signs that Russia is dropping back, but Ukraine has already stated that the offensive was a planned, slow operation that will grind the enemy. Therefore, I don’t believe that we should expect huge breakthroughs that completely alter the picture. We will have to wait and watch, to be fair.”
Officials stated that Russia is believed to have around 20,000 troops in the region, having moved to increase its ranks in preparation for a Ukrainian counter-attack.