Retired U.S. Army General Mark Hertling suggested that Ukrainian forces could achieve better results in their counterattacks against Russia if they cut a Russian supply line that extends across Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.
Ukraine has been preparing for a spring counteroffensive for months with help from the West. NATO nations have been sending humanitarian and military aid to help the war-torn country fend off Russia, including heavy artillery, tanks and advanced equipment. Russia’s war with Ukraine has extended in major cities since it began in February 2022, including Kyiv, Odesa, Kherson and most recently in Bakhmut, which has been the site of months-long intense fighting between the forces.
Hertling analyzed Ukraine’s advancements and counterattacks during a recent appearance on CNN. He explained that Ukraine could be in an advantageous position if it targeted Russia’s supply line amid its ongoing battle in Bakhmut.
“So when you’re seeing an offensive taking place, you’re gonna see not only what’s going on in Bakhmut and the city surrounding them being attacked, but I believe you’re going to see the Ukrainians going into the south where the critical point Russia has been supplying Ukraine through this supply line that goes across two provinces, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, as well as up from Crimea. If the Ukrainians can cut the logistics line, they have a better chance, but that’s going to be tough,” said the retired U.S. general, who served as commanding general of the U.S. Army Europe and the Seventh Army.
While Ukraine continues to launch counterattacks to take back Russian-occupied territories, it remains unknown when exactly its spring counteroffensive will kick off. This month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that his country will “need to wait” in launching the counteroffensive, suggesting that carrying out the operation now would result in heavy losses.
Hertling previously said that waiting is a good strategy that would help the Ukrainian army take its time to map the counteroffensive, adding that an attack “starts when the commander feels it’s the right time.”
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said late last month that preparations for the counteroffensive are in their final stages and that Ukrainian troops are being trained to use the weapons and military equipment supplied by the West.
“The preparations are coming to an end, as in addition to weapons and military equipment, there must be training for our military personnel in how to use them. We have received state-of-the-art systems,” the defense minister told reporters at the time.
Newsweek has reached out via email to the Russian defense ministry for comment.