If anyone doubts the intensity of Cold War II, they should read this piece in the New Yorker which details just how extensive has been the help and the intelligence that the Americans have provided to the Ukranians as the latter continue their war against Russia. Through spring 2022, the Americans and NATO first gave the Ukrainians enough weapons and artillery to stave off the Russians.
Then as spring turned to summer, the Americans realised that the Ukranians could do more than just hold off the Russians. That’s when American decided to do more as the New Yorker explains in riveting detail (note: Reznikov is the Ukranian defence minister): “Reznikov and other officials wanted to demonstrate to their partners in the West that the Ukrainian Army could reclaim large swaths of Russian-occupied territory. “The counter-offensive would show that it’s one thing to take part in helping the victim,” Reznikov said, “another to realize you can punish the aggressor.”
In July, military officials from Ukraine, the United States, and the United Kingdom converged at a base in Europe to plot out possible scenarios. The Ukrainians’ starting point was a broad campaign across the southern front, a push to liberate not only the occupied city of Kherson but hundreds of square miles in the nearby Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia regions. The military planners met in three rooms, divided by country, where experts ran the same tabletop exercises. They often worked twenty hours a day, with American and British military officials helping to hone the Ukrainians’ strategy. “We have algorithms and methodologies that are more sophisticated when it comes to things like mapping out logistics and calculating munitions rates,” a senior official at the Defense Department said. “The idea was not to tell them what to do but, rather, to give them different runs to test their plans.”
The initial tabletop exercises showed that a unified push across the southern front would come at a high cost to Ukrainian equipment and manpower. It looked ill advised. “They ran this version of the offensive many times and just couldn’t get the model to work,” the Defense official said.
In the south, Ukraine had been battering Russian positions with American-provided precision rocket systems. In response, Russia’s generals had moved a considerable number of units out of the Kharkiv region, in the northeast, to back up forces near Kherson. The assembled planners settled on an idea that would take advantage of this vulnerability: a two-front offensive. Shortly afterward, Reznikov was informed of the plans….
In late August, Ukrainian ground forces started their push toward Kherson. It was a slow, grinding operation, with both sides suffering heavy losses. A week later, troops dashed toward Russian lines in the Kharkiv region, a move that clearly caught Russian military leaders off guard. With so many units relocated to the south, a number of territories in the northeast were guarded by under-equipped Russian forces and riot police with little combat experience. Many of them simply abandoned their positions and ran off, leaving behind crates of ammunition, and even a few tanks. Ukrainian troops sped through one town after another, often on Western-supplied fighting vehicles, such as Humvees and Australian Bushmaster armored personnel carriers.
Reznikov was still en route to the Ramstein Air Base when he first received a text message about the breakthrough near Kharkiv. The Ukrainian armed forces had retaken Balakliya, a key gateway city in the region. Reznikov pictured the map in his head, counting the next towns likely to be liberated. He was travelling with a small delegation that included top officials from the general staff and military intelligence, who were also receiving updates from the front. They began comparing notes. Ukrainian units moved east, toward Kupyansk, an important logistics hub, then spread north and south, retaking key roads and rail junctions. By the time Reznikov landed in Germany, on September 8th, paratroopers had reached the Oskil River, thirty miles behind what had been the Russian front line just hours before. Within days, the Ukrainian military recaptured more than seven hundred square miles of territory.”
The article then goes on to explain the delight of the US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, at the pounding being handed out to the Russians. However, the Americans had in the past – when Obama was in charge – refused to give the Ukranians any weapons. As per the New Yorker, Biden has taken a different stance thanks in part to very detailed intelligence briefings regarding Putin’s prep for Russia’s attack on Ukraine. As a result, the Americans knew well before Russia attacked exactly what weapons would be needed by the Ukranians, when they would be needed and where they would be needed!
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