Kiev: The counterattack consists of dozens of activities that have been going on for days
Information about drone attacks against Russian targets in the regions bordering Ukraine has intensified. Two drones damaged a building that manages a pipeline in the Pskov region in western Russia, as the local governor announced on Saturday, in a new incident that comes within a series of attacks carried out on Russian territory in the past days. “Early Saturday morning, an explosion damaged the pipeline’s administrative building near Litvinovo in the Nevelsky district,” said Governor Mikhail Vedernikov. Shortly after that, he added that, according to the first information, “the building was damaged as a result of an attack by two drones.”
According to unconfirmed information published by the Russian media agency “Baza” on “Telegram”, quoting intelligence sources, the two drones were targeting the Transneft oil pumping station in Pskov. Baza also reported that a drone attack targeted another oil station in the Tver region, northwest of Moscow.
The Belgorod region, which was the target of an armed incursion from Ukraine at the weekend, was subjected to new strikes in a village near the border, according to a message from the region’s governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, on Telegram, on Saturday.
Today, Saturday, the Russian Ministry of Defense said that its forces intercepted two long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles that Britain had provided to Ukraine, and added that it had intercepted shorter-range American-made Himars and Harm missiles, and shot down 12 drones in the twenty-four hours. last hour.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defense in Berlin said today, Saturday, that Ukraine has asked Germany to supply it with “Taurus” cruise missiles, which are air-launched missiles with a range of about 500 km. The spokeswoman declined to provide details or say how likely Germany would agree to the request. And “Taurus” is produced by the European company (MBDA) for the missile industry, and it has similar characteristics to the British “Storm Shadow” missile.
“Taurus” missiles can be used to hit high-value targets or target forces or fuel depots located at a great distance from the front lines in the Ukrainian war, and have the ability to destroy fortified targets such as underground bunkers. Moscow held Kiev and its Western backers responsible for the increasing number of attacks and sabotage. In general, Ukraine denies these accusations.
Questions were raised about the Ukrainian escalation, and whether this is the beginning of the long-awaited “counter-attack”.
In this regard, official Ukrainian statements were issued, which appear to be contradictory, the latest of which was an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, R4. On Saturday, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, said the offensive against Russian forces was “ready to launch.” He did not give a date, but said that “the offensive to retake the territory from the occupying forces of President Vladimir Putin could start tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or a week later.”
He stressed that the Ukrainian government “has no right to make any mistake” in the decision; Because this is a “historic opportunity” that “we cannot lose.” The BBC reported that during the “rare” interview with Danilov, he received a phone message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky summoning him to a meeting to discuss the counterattack.
But Zelensky and military commanders said they were waiting for weapons, ammunition and other supplies to arrive. Ukrainian forces are also training to use combat vehicles and other equipment provided by the West.
Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said of his government’s position: “Although there have not been any dramatic troop movements yet, similar to the lightning attack carried out by Ukrainian forces northeast of Kharkiv last fall, a counter-offensive may already be underway, quietly. ».
Podolyak sought to reset any expectation that Kiev would make an “announcement” of the offensive. He wrote in a tweet: “Again about the counterattack. First: This is not (a single event) that will start at a specific hour on a specific day with an official cutting of the red ribbon. Second: “These dozens of different actions to destroy the Russian occupation forces in different directions, which actually started yesterday, are taking place today and will continue tomorrow.” Third: “The massive destruction of enemy logistics is also a counterattack.”
His tweets were an attempt to clarify matters after an Italian channel quoted him as saying in an interview that the counterattack had already begun several days ago.
He had stated that the Ukrainian counter-attack against the Russian forces is currently underway. “The counter-attack has been going on for days,” Podolyak said, during an interview with Italian television, on Wednesday evening. Podolyak added, “This is a violent war along a 1,500-kilometre border. Our operations have already begun.”
Podolyak said that Russia and its President Vladimir Putin are unable to defend their lands, referring to the fighting in the region. “What is happening in the border area is a shock to Putin and will lead to his end.” The adviser added that Ukraine does not want to attack Russian territory. He told the Italian journalist, “We are using the weapons you gave us to destroy Russian positions in the regions occupied by Moscow, including Donbass and Crimea.”
But even if enough gear is available, the weather is a real hurdle. “It depends on God’s will and weather conditions,” Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said when asked about the looming counterattack in an interview with the newspaper earlier this month, as well as the force that can be mobilized. “This year there was a huge level of water during the spring,” he added, adding that groundwater levels on May 1 were 4.7 inches higher than would normally be expected.
“It’s the same soil as in northwest France,” said James Rands, a military expert at the British intelligence firm Gaines, referring to the site of the famously muddy and bloody battles of World War I.
While the muddy season usually only lasts a few weeks, the weather has not been favorable this year. “With unusually low temperatures at the beginning of the month, April was a (very wet month) in Ukraine,” said Inbal Baker Reshef, a researcher at the University of Maryland in the US. The weather has played an important role in the war in Ukraine since Russia invaded last year.
Other experts, however, said that ground conditions were no longer a reason for delay. “The weather was a factor,” said Ukrainian military expert Oleksiy Melnyk. But it is not the main component. This casts doubt on the actual reasons that have so far delayed the launch of this attack.