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Ukraine Has 6 Weeks Left On Counteroffensive - US Intelligence

Ukraine Has 6 Weeks Left On Counteroffensive - US Intelligence

United States, United States-Ukraine, Ukraine-United States, counteroffensive, counteroffensive of AFU, U.S. intelligence, counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, AFU counteroffensive

The Ukrainian army has only six weeks to actively advance in the south and east of the country. Currently, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have an advantage over the Russian military, which can allow success in the Kherson and Luhansk directions. This assessment is given by the U.S. intelligence, The New York Times reports.

The time window of 6 weeks is due to a number of reasons. The key one is the change in the time of year. Cooling and worsening weather conditions will put the fighting on pause, giving both armies time to regroup.

The United States believes that it will be difficult to repeat the Kharkiv success and quickly return large territories. However, Ukrainian troops can break into some Russian units, which will allow recapturing some cities in the Donbas and even Kherson, which intelligence calls "a major prize in the war."

The Armed Forces of Ukraine confirmed that there was progress, but the battles became more difficult.

“We are moving forward, but not quite as swiftly as we did in the Kharkiv Province,” said Maj. Yaroslav Halas, а company commander with the 128th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade, which is fighting in the Kherson Region. “And there are many losses.”

American officials believe that Ukrainians may soon force Russian troops in Kherson to retreat beyond the Dnieper. Thus, most of the city will return to the control of Kyiv. The Russian command has already recommended withdrawing to the river, but Russian president Vladimir Putin canceled this order, the intelligence said. Meanwhile, the occupation authorities began evacuating residents of the region.

“There’s a Ukrainian window of opportunity here,” said Mason Clark, a Russian military analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. “The Ukrainians have the freedom to choose where they’re going to attack.”

Some U.S. officials consider Luhansk a promising area where Ukrainian troops can surround or break Russian defensive lines. If in the coming weeks the Armed Forces of Ukraine manage to take control of the Route 66 highway, Russia will lose the channel for the transfer of forces to the occupied territories.

Ukraine needs to use its advantage in the coming weeks, but not to overstretch its supply lines or defense borders, the U.S. experts believe.

“Clearly, Russia is experiencing some significant logistics and sustainment challenges right now,” Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, said on Tuesday. “Those are only going to get harder as the winter months set in. And so time is certainly of the essence when it comes to capitalizing on that from an operational standpoint.”

Nevertheless, the U.S. experts urge not to underestimate the Russian army, since it still has a large number of artillery at its disposal. In addition, we must not forget about the "partial mobilization" announced in the Russian Federation, which will increase the number of troops and compensate for losses on the battlefield.

“However, I think major Russian offensive operations are pretty much off the table at this point,” Clark said.

Communication between units is still difficult, which forces them to place senior officers near the front line and prevents them from coordinating actions. And the mobilized, who are driven onto battlefields, are poorly trained and equipped.

In general, it is not worth waiting for the imminent end of the war: both Ukraine and the United States believe that it will last more than one month. The course of the conflict may be affected by more difficult combat conditions in December and the degree of readiness of Putin to escalate. In addition, further military support for Ukraine is threatened by a potential change in the political situation in the United States and the energy crisis in Europe.

What happens next is an open question, analysts say. Given the dynamics of hostilities, the pause will not last long, according to U.S. officials. The troops will need to wait out the mud in late autumn. But as soon as the earth hardens, the confrontation will begin again.