Friday, August 26, 2022

How Do We Know Who’s Winning in Ukraine?; U.S. Pledges Another $3 Billion for Ukraine Defense, the War’s Largest Aid Package; Where Ukraine War Stands After 6 Months; 6 months of War: How Russia Got Derailed in Ukraine, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

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How do we know who’s winning in Ukraine?
How experts understand what’s happening on the ground in Ukraine — and what the war looks like six months in.
It has been six months since Russia invaded Ukraine, and it’s not obvious who’s “winning” the war.
The first stage of the Russian attack in February, a lightning thrust aimed at seizing Kyiv and decapitating the Ukrainian government, was a swift and humiliating failure. Stiff Ukrainian resistance forced the Russians to withdraw to the eastern part of the country, where their ambitions narrowed in the short term to a conquest of the Donbas region (much of which had already been controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014).
In the Donbas offensive, which began in late April, the two sides have been locked in an artillery duel — less rapid troop advancement and more firing shells and rockets from afar. This played to Russia’s primary strength, a numerically superior artillery corps, and led to high Ukrainian casualties and slow but steady Russian gains in the spring and early summer.
More recently, however, the momentum has started to swing back to the Ukrainian side. Western military aid — most notably an American rocket artillery system called HIMARS — has helped level the artillery playing field and wreaked havoc on Russian supply lines. Today, experts aren’t asking whether Ukraine will launch a counteroffensive aimed at retaking Russian-held territory, but when it will start and where it will focus.
Whether this means Ukraine is now “winning,” however, is a somewhat more complicated question to answer. We don’t know that the upcoming counteroffensive is likely to succeed; it depends on factors about which we have limited evidence, like Ukraine’s ability to conduct so-called “combined arms” offensive operations (ones that employ multiple components of military power simultaneously to accomplish a particular goal). Some important quantitative metrics, like the size of their respective ammunition stockpiles, are hard to estimate based on publicly available information. At this point, even leading experts on the conflict find it difficult to assess with real confidence who’s winning on the battlefield.
The broader strategic picture is less opaque — but only somewhat.
On one level, it’s been clear ever since Russia failed to take Kyiv that Russia was facing some kind of defeat. Nothing short of successfully seizing control of the Ukrainian state could justify the damage done to Russia’s military, economy, and international reputation. The invasion has already backfired on Russia, and its remaining battlefield efforts are focused on making the most out of a bad situation — to make sufficient gains that it could sell the war as a win to its population and the world. --->READ MORE HERE
WSJ: U.S. Pledges Another $3 Billion for Ukraine Defense, the War’s Largest Aid Package:
Washington also plans to name the military mission supporting Kyiv and appoint a general to lead the training and assistance effort
The U.S. promised nearly $3 billion more in long-term security aid to Ukraine, the White House said, the biggest U.S. weapons assistance package since Russia invaded six months ago.
The package includes advanced surface-to-air defense systems, up to 24 counter-artillery radar systems, nearly 250,000 rounds of artillery munitions, drones and spare parts, the Pentagon said. It also includes funding to train Ukrainian forces on how to use Western-provided weapons, defense officials said.
In addition, in the coming weeks the Biden administration plans to name its military mission supporting Ukraine and appoint a general to lead the training and assistance effort, U.S. officials said.
The naming of the operation formally recognizes the U.S. effort within the military, akin to how the Pentagon dubbed the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. The naming of the training and assistance is significant bureaucratically, as it typically entails long-term, dedicated funding and the possibility of special pay, ribbons and awards for service members participating in the effort. The selection of a general, expected to be a two- or three-star, reflects the creation of a command responsible to coordinate the effort, a shift from the largely ad hoc effort to provide training and assistance to the Ukrainians for years.
The $2.98 billion commitment announced Wednesday will fund the purchase of the weapons and munitions from defense contractors. The weapons in most previous packages came out of U.S. stockpiles. While some defense companies may be able to provide some munitions in the coming months, the Biden administration said getting the weapons promised Ukraine on Wednesday would be a “multi-year investment.” Some weapons could take as long as three years to arrive, defense officials said. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++EXPLAINER: Where Ukraine war stands after 6 months+++++

+++++6 months of war: How Russia got derailed in Ukraine+++++

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