War in Ukraine: according to French military, the counter-offensive has already begun

Ukraine has not yet launched the long-announced counter-offensive, the secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council said on Wednesday (June 7th), but Moscow, for its part, maintains that the Ukrainian counter-offensive has already begun. This is also the opinion of French soldiers who closely follow the evolution of the conflict.

A Ukrainian soldier watches from his tank near Shasiv Yar, scene of intense battles with Russian forces, June 7, 2023. © Iryna Rybakova/AP

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There are signs that do not deceive, say French strategists, and history may remember that the Ukrainian counteroffensive began on June 5. On Monday, the Ukrainian armed forces attacked on four axes in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhya regions, supported by Leopard tanks and AMX10RCs of French origin.

They would have progressed for a few hundred meters. A modest gain, but these operations are aimed at finding gaps in the Russian defensive system. And this is the signal of the offensive, assures a starred chef to defense journalists. If there is not yet a major maneuver, it is rather a question of probing the Russian defensive device to find intervals, points out Colonel Frédéric Jordan, of the Center for Doctrine and Command Education:

« The Ukrainians attacked on four points of the Russian front. We see that there are a number of actions carried out by the Ukrainian armed forces and a Russian reaction that also remains, to a certain extent, on an offensive posture in other areas of the front. It is therefore likely that there is already an approach and tests of the device of each other to see if there is an opportunity to possibly "grind" and exploit in the depth. »

Signs of controlled escalation?

But fracturing the Russian apparatus to succeed in this counter-offensive will not be an easy task. The defensive line named Fabergé by Moscow actually consists of six successive lines 30 kilometers deep. Trenches in which the Russians buried their old T54 tanks, used as bunkers, what they call special artillery.

To create breaches, the Ukrainians have intensified in recent weeks their strikes in the depth of the Russian device. They have also multiplied sabotage actions behind the lines, targeting in particular the railway network, on which the supply of the Moscow army passes. Kiev has also targeted critical infrastructure on Russian territory, says a French officer, a sign of a Western green light and controlled escalation. "We may have reached the climax of this war," says another senior officer, who specifies that "this summer for the Ukrainians, it passes or not, so they put the package, they play their all-rounder."

>> READ ALSO: Kakhovka Dam: "In psychological terms, Moscow can consider having regained control"

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