The counteroffensive of Ukrainian troops has been going on for a week now, but Kyiv has used only a small part of the trained units, and the main battles are still ahead, according to Western analysts.
Quote from Reuters: "After a week of heavy fighting, the real tests of Kyiv's counteroffensive lie ahead, with Ukrainian troops some distance from Russia's main defensive line and the bulk of forces prepared for the push still on standby."
Details: Konrad Muzyka, a military analyst from Poland who closely follows the course of the war, says that so far, Ukraine has used only 3 of the 12 brigades prepared for the counteroffensive.
According to analysts, Ukraine has created 12 armoured brigades to conduct the counteroffensive operation, nine of which were trained and equipped by the West. A brigade usually has at least 3,500-4,000 troops. Kyiv also said that the Ministry of Internal Affairs had trained eight assault brigades, which is 40,000 soldiers in total.
Analysts say that Ukraine's main forces are concentrated near the city of Orikhiv in Zaporizhzhia Oblast and Velyka Novosilka in Donetsk Oblast, which is about 80 km to the East.
"Those thrusts may indicate Ukraine's generals have their eye on Tokmak, an occupied town in Zaporizhzhia Oblast some 25 km from the front line. A further 50 km away lies the city of Melitopol. Both settlements are heavily fortified", writes Reuters.
The news agency recalls that near the settlement of Velyka Novosilka, the Armed Forces of Ukraine liberated four villages.
According to Anna Maliar, Deputy Defence Minister, the troops advanced 6.5 km and won 90 square kilometres of territory along the 100-kilometre section of the southern front line. On Wednesday, it reported further advances by 300-350 metres in various sections over the past 24 hours.
Muzyka believes that the counteroffensive initially progressed quite well, but progress seems to have stopped 5 or 6 days after the start of this significant phase. The analyst has no idea why it happened.
Reuters writes that the lack of air force complicates the counteroffensive. Kyiv has been lobbying for the supply of F-16 fighter jets in the West for months but has yet to receive them.
It is also reported that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has already called Kyiv's counteroffensive a failure and the one that led to heavy losses.
At the same time, according to Muzyka's estimates, Ukraine may have lost up to 15% of its Bradley IFVs and a small percentage of Leopard 2 tanks, but it is possible that some of these vehicles were taken away by Ukrainian troops and sent for repair.
Meanwhile, military analyst Jack Watling who works for the RUSI Research Center stressed that it is too early to talk about either success or failure of the counteroffensive.
The Ukrainian counteroffensive began about a week ago. But Russia has also prepared for, equipping thousands of defensive positions − from the temporarily occupied territories in eastern Ukraine to the occupied Crimea: minefields, anti-tank ditches, rows of concrete barricades, "dragon's teeth", and trenches.
These positions, which Reuters analysed using satellite images taken in April, are mostly focused on the strategically vital south, where Kyiv is likely seeking to cut off the Russian land corridor to the peninsula and thus split Kremlin forces.