Ukraine Counteroffensive… What’s next?

Ukraine orders evacuation of key city near Kharkov

The AFU’s attempt to begin a counteroffensive on June 4 without having air and fire superiority was a strange enterprise from the very start. In the current circumstances, it is unlikely that the ongoing operation will bring about any convincing military or political results.

Moreover, to break through Russia’s well-equipped defense, Kiev needs a much greater number of missiles, troops, artillery, armored forces, and engineering troops.


The failure of the AFU’s current counteroffensive will also result in the failure of the Ukrainian Army’s entire summer-autumn campaign, since after the loss of so many servicemen and a lot of equipment it will hardly be possible to restore its offensive potential before late autumn or even the beginning of winter 2023/24.

In order for Ukraine’s second counteroffensive to be a success, Kiev needs to receive many multirole fighter jets, greatly increase supplies of self-propelled artillery units, tanks, attack helicopters, and get large stocks of ammunition for barrel artillery and MLRS.


At this stage, it seems that the first counteroffensive is approaching a fruitless conclusion, and the second one will not happen soon. In particular, the transfer of the first F-16 fighter jets to the AFU is expected no sooner than winter. Therefore, it is quite possible that the second counteroffensive will begin in the spring of next year.


The Russian Army, however, won’t sit idle during this time. It may launch an offensive of its own and impose its will on the enemy.


In conclusion, I want to stress that making forecasts is generally a fruitless endeavor, especially long term predictions during ongoing military operations. All significant wartime events are of the “black swan” type. This means they are unexpected for everyone (and the expert community first of all) but have very significant consequences. In the course of hostilities, these “black swans” can “swim out” not just one by one, but in whole squadrons and flotillas. However, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will not get F-16 fighter jets before this winter. And without the jets (or rather, without a sufficient number of them), launching a second counteroffensive would be a doubly risky endeavor.

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