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    In recent weeks, two Ukrainian counteroffensives have pushed back Russian forces in the east near Kharkiv, reclaiming vast swaths of territory from a seemingly stunned Russian military.

    How has Ukraine been able to make such dramatic, swift progress in recent days in retaking territory in the northeast?

    Ukraine pulled off an operational surprise, amassing large numbers of troops and equipment for an offensive without the Russians being aware (or responding). They claimed to have broken through Russian front lines.

    The early September Kharkiv counteroffensive in the east was much more of a surprise to the Russians, who fled, leaving behind weapons and ammunition, which allowed Ukraine to retake key cities like Izyum.Copy

    What does this demonstrate about the resolve of the Ukrainian forces and the support they’ve received from the international community?

    The Ukrainian forces have proven to be a very skilled, well-led force, and their victories are indicative of their impressive resilience.

    International support has also been vital for Ukraine’s war effort. In particular, the United States has supplied long-range artillery, like the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which the Ukrainian military has used very effectively to target Russian logistics and command and control.

    Some Russian lawmakers and pundits have begun to cast doubt over Moscow’s ability to win the war. How is Russia responding?

    While Russian troops were reportedly fleeing from Ukrainian forces in northeast Ukraine, Russians in Moscow were partying, and most Russians seem to be indifferent to the war in Ukraine. However, some Russian lawmakers and pundits are calling for more aggression.

    A more aggressive Russian strategy in Ukraine would involve more widespread use of artillery and bombing, and a military mobilization of the Russian people.

    The Kremlin may respond to the right-wing supporters with limited concessions, such as attacking critical infrastructure and more civilian targets.


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