Ukraine's mysterious spring counteroffensive is around the corner

Ukraine is preparing for a spring counteroffensive against Russia, which has occupied parts of its eastern and southern regions since 2014. According to sources, the offensive could begin in days and will likely target the southern front, where Russia has built extensive fortifications and defenses.

Ukraine hopes to break through Russian obstacles set on frontiers and split the Russian forces in the south, cutting off their supply lines from Crimea and mainland Russia.

Ukraine has also secured its own supply lines to the eastern city of Bakhmut, which is expected to be the launchpad for the counterattack.

Russia, meanwhile, is scrambling to reinforce its positions and provide more ammunition and equipment to its proxy forces, such as the Wagner Group.

The spring offensive will be a decisive moment in the conflict, as both sides seek to gain an advantage and end the stalemate that has lasted for years.


According to Reuters, Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin posted a clip on social media in which he claims the Ukrainian counteroffensive ‘has begun.’

In the audio message that dates back to May 3rd, Prigozhin is quoted proclaiming that the Ukrainian activity along the borders has risen and the active phase of the counteroffensive would come in the following days.

“I believe the advance of the Ukrainian army has already begun … We are seeing the greatest possible activity both on the perimeter and within the front lines,” said the Russian mercenary leader.

"I, therefore, believe that it has all already started. And I believe it will all enter an active phase in the very near future. It could be a matter of days." Prigozhin added.

Wagner CEO also stated that his forces advanced around 230 meters into Bakhmut and had confined Ukrainian forces into a mere 2.64 sq kilometer area. Reuters could not verify the factuality of these allegations.


Ukraine is preparing to drive Russian forces out of its territory with a counteroffensive. The date of the anticipated counterattack is uncertain, yet the pushback is expected to begin as soon as possible.

On May 3rd, Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared that the counteroffensive is “soon.” Speaking in Finland, he also stressed the importance of accession to NATO and receiving fighter jets.

Zelenskyy did not stress when the long-awaited counteroffensive would be undertaken. It would be wrong to expect such a piece of classified strategic information to float about freely.

Even though the date is still a mystery, military experts agree that for the offensive, ‘the sooner, the better.’

Mark Canian, a retired US Marine colonel, told Business Insider: “On the one hand, there's no immediate pressure. They could launch it anytime between now and the fall.” But on the other hand, “If the frontlines stopped where they are today, that would essentially be a Russian victory.”

The counteroffensive is essential to reclaim the illegally-annexed Ukrainian territory. To not let the Russian forces settle on the ground more staunchly, Kyiv must act fast. However, the Ukrainian side has to wait for the mud season to end to start the counterattack.

“How” will the counteroffensive will proceed is also a question unanswered as it constitutes top-secret information that could hinder the planned operation.

Regardless, speculations on the operation are imminent. Most hypotheses conclude that Ukraine will utilize weapons, ammunition, and equipment supplied mainly by the West.

Franz-Stefan Gady, a modern warfare expert, made remarks to CNN on Ukraine’s offensive plan.

Gady stated the importance of creating a shock effect, asserting, “Intangible factors such as tactical surprise, battlefield leadership, and fighting morale will likely be decisive in the first 24 hours of an attack.”

“Ukrainian armored columns punch through layered Russian defenses at a weak spot, quickly advance into the Russian rear, and threaten command and control nodes like military headquarters and supply centers,” he added.

Mick Ryan, a retired major general from the Australian Army who spoke to Insider, shared similar insights. Ryan also added that the Ukrainian side is likely to carry out several varied military activities to create confusion among the Russians.

According to VOA, US European Command top leader General Christopher Cavoli stated that the materiel delivered to the Ukrainian Army ensures that a shortage of equipment and systems would not hinder the spring counteroffensive.

Cavoli, also Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO, continued, “I am very confident that we have delivered the materiel that they need and will continue a pipeline to sustain their operations.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, without giving details, declared that he has confidence in victory on the 4th of May in The Hague.

Virtually no detail is available to the public on the counteroffensive. Some information regarding the operation got leaked a couple of months ago alongside top-secret Pentagon documents, although the ratted data is practically obsolete now.

As per the latest developments, Wagner's retreat from the war zone by the 10th of May could dramatically increase the success rate of the spring offensive.

Mansur Ali Bilgiç - May 5, 2023