– It is a scary development

In September, Ukraine carried out a successful lightning offensive, particularly in the Kharkiv region. Several thousand square kilometers are to be recaptured from Russian forces.

After a series of victories, the offensive is slowing down, but that does not mean that the Ukrainian forces have taken a break, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

– They were very successful. So then they have to take care to keep the territory they take, says Tom Røseth, head teacher in intelligence at the Norwegian Defense Academy, to TV 2.

He says the Ukrainian forces cannot simply send everything to the front. As they also have to draw in forces that can hold the territories they take.

– You cannot rule out attempted attacks. So you have to spend a lot of resources on holding territories and not just taking.

– After winning so much territory, the forces must rest and gather new strength before they can move on.

RECOVERY: Tom Røseth, head teacher at the Norwegian Defense College, says it is realistic that Ukraine will be able to recapture a few more areas before winter. Photo: Photo: Martin Berg Isaksen / TV 2

Control of an important river

Ukraine says it secured control of the Oskil River in the Kharkiv region on Saturday.

– It is important because then they have control over the bridges above, and can continue the attacks towards the next supply line, says Røseth.

At the same time, he points out that there are motorways and railways on the east side. It is the latter in particular that the Russians use for the transport of military material.

– Then it will be possible, when they get more power, to move into flat terrain with fewer obstacles now that the river has been passed.

At the same time, it is expected that Russia will create solid defensive positions further east, adds Røseth.

– But the recruitment there has been from voluntary recruits. There are battalions that are supposedly not the best.

Don’t underestimate Russia

Zelenskyy promises that all occupied territory will be recaptured. It includes Crimea and the separatist-controlled parts of Donbas.

OFFENSIVE: Ukraine has taken back large areas from the Russian governments.  Here, a soldier helps a wounded comrade.  Photo: Kostiantyn Liberov / AP / NTB

OFFENSIVE: Ukraine has taken back large areas from the Russian governments. Here, a soldier helps a wounded comrade. Photo: Kostiantyn Liberov / AP / NTB

In the future, Røseth believes that Ukraine can manage to take more territories in the east of the country.

– Until the winter, it is realistic that Ukraine can win some more territories in the east, says Røseth

He refers to Kharkiv, Luhansk, and perhaps the north of Donetsk. The area north-west of the river Dnipro near Kherson, he believes, is also realistic.

– Anything other than that will be a positive surprise.

A challenge now is that it is not known how the Ukrainian army manages to mobilize.

– They have shown in Kharkiv that they have the opportunity to build impact. It is a capacity they can use for new territorial recovery.

Røseth believes the question now is whether Ukraine can do this before winter, and whether they can bear to have such momentum in a war in a cold climate.

– So we should not underestimate Russia’s long-term military power, but now it seems that Ukraine has taken over the initiative and will have it for a while.

– Scary development

The expert believes that Russia will in future use missiles to strike, as has been seen after the Ukrainian counter-offensive.

He refers to an attack on a hydroelectric plant last week, where the Russians are three kilometers away.

– The question is whether it was intentional or a mistake. The hit percentage of Russian missiles is low, but missing by three kilometers is less likely, says Røseth, and adds:

– It shows that the Russians are willing to take high risks. It is a scary development that they continue with it.

PUTIN: If Ukraine manages to take control of Kherson, it will force Russia to take action, Tom Røseth believes.  Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev / Sputnik / Kremlin Pool Photo / AP / NTB

PUTIN: If Ukraine manages to take control of Kherson, it will force Russia to take action, Tom Røseth believes. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev / Sputnik / Kremlin Pool Photo / AP / NTB

In addition, Russia must also consider how it can militarily take the initiative again.

– There it is the personnel situation that is the key, and training in the officer corps where the ranks are starting to thin, says Røseth.

He adds that it is likely that the strategically important city of Kherson in the south of the country will fall into Ukrainian hands before winter.

– It will force Moscow to reassess the recruitment process and take measures which in the long run will increase the military effect.

Leave a Comment