There are many conflicting reports emerging from the Zaporizhia front surrounding Ukrainian forces trying to make a breakthrough near the village of Rabotino.
Scott Ritter, a former intelligence officer with the US Marines, said that while much is still unknown about what is going on in and around Rabotino, one thing is for sure this is not the case. was Ukraine’s first attempt to breach Russian defenses there.
Ukraine once counterattacked with resounding success
Ukraine has successfully pushed back Russian forces out of the Kharkiv region and recaptured the city of Kherson in the fall of 2022.
This success has been attributed to NATO’s supply of tens of billions of dollars worth of training and military equipment, along with operational planning support provided by NATO’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance resources. this alliance.
hen the autumn 2022 counteroffensive ended, Kiev and NATO turned to the task of building new Ukrainian units to replace the damaged forces in Kharkiv and Kherson, in preparation for the spring offensive operation of 2023.
General Valery Zaluzhny, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Army, stated that the goal of the spring 2023 operations is to break through the Russian defenses in the Zaporizhia region and travel 84km to the city of Melitopol to “control fire” comprehensive for the corridor on the junction connecting the Crimean peninsula with the Donbas and Russia, because from Melitopol we were able to shoot into the isthmus of Crimea.”
To do that, General Zaluzhny noted: “I need 300 tanks, 600-700 infantry fighting vehicles, 500 howitzers. I’m not talking about the F-16 right now, but need shells, a lot. “.
Mr. Zaluzhny’s target was the city of Melitopol. To get there, the Ukrainian military needs to break through the Russian defenses that have been carefully prepared for many months.
Ukrainian commanders and their NATO partners believe that the key to victory is to bring in well-trained and equipped Ukrainian forces that can bring down the Russian army, forcing them to break up and flee.
Ukraine suffered heavy losses when attacking Rabotino
In January 2023, Ukrainian forces began probing Russia’s defenses, looking for the weakest point that would then become the focus of their attack.
Near the village of Rabotino, in Zaporizhia, they believe they have found it – a link between the 291st and the 70th regiment of the 42nd Guards Motorized Rifle Division.
NATO has selected two of the best-trained and best-equipped Ukrainian brigades: the 33rd brigade, which operates the US-made M-2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, and the 47th brigade, which is equipped with battle tanks. Leopard main fighter made in Germany.
Both brigades, having received US training in combined weapons tactics, were tasked with a full-scale deployment along the link between the 291st and 70th regiments.
Ukrainian soldiers believe that Russian troops will flee or surrender at the first sign of serious fighting.
The Ukrainian offensive began on June 8 against Russian defenses in and around the village of Rabotino.
Within the first few hours, it became clear to all involved that the expectations of the Ukrainian and NATO commanders were not in line with the reality of the battlefield, with Russia defending effectively. Kiev’s forces suffered heavy losses, at the front littered with the remains of M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and Leopard tanks.
Repeated attacks throughout the following days had similar results.
In the weeks that followed, Ukraine appeared to have changed tactics, skipping the combined weapons training they learned in Germany, using infantry attacks, heavily supported by artillery. troops to break through the Russian defense system piece by piece.
Although these attacks were initially more successful than the initial heavy use of armor, they were eventually repelled by the Russians, causing huge human losses to Ukraine.
The failure of Ukraine’s attack on Melitopol was a major embarrassment for both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his NATO partners as they gathered in Vilnius for the NATO Summit.
Ukraine has criticized the fact that they were asked to carry out a difficult military task with insufficient resources, especially on the grounds of the lack of F-16 fighters, despite the fact that General Zaluzhny eliminated excluded the F-16 from the list of equipment he needed to successfully attack Melitopol.
Meanwhile, NATO blamed it entirely on the Ukrainian officers who failed to use the tactics they were taught at Grafenwoehr.
A leaked German intelligence report highlighted Ukraine’s shift from large-scale armored attacks to smaller, self-propelled infantry attacks, demonstrating the complete deviating from NATO tactics.
What the German report doesn’t address is that NATO has been trying to force Ukraine to use an art of warfare that takes months, if not years, to master, when in reality the training runs out. short-lived, lasting only a few weeks.
If Ukraine wants its NATO partners to increase their military support, such as the delivery of F-16 fighter jets, it needs to show progress on the battlefield.
But to show progress on the battlefield, they had to strike without the support of F-16 fighters, which seemed to make any such attack a failure.
Many Western observers believe that Ukraine needs to show the will and ability to win against Russia, otherwise, the West will have no choice but to start looking for a diplomatic path out of the war.