The Russians are ready to send 40,000 soldiers to capture Kupyansk in the Kharkiv region, Forbes magazine reported. The city and the district are to be defended by 20,000 Ukrainian soldiers who – like the Russians – have hundreds of tanks, combat vehicles and howitzers at their disposal. However, the defenders’ main problem is ammunition shortages.
The Russian army gathered 500 tanks, over 600 combat vehicles, hundreds of howitzers and 40,000 soldiers to capture Kupyansk and a large part of the Kharkiv Oblast Ukraine and take control of the entire Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, Forbes magazine reported.
By March, the Russians want to retake a large part of the Kharkiv Oblast located in eastern Ukraine, which was under their control for some time at the beginning of the war in 2022, but was recaptured thanks to the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the fall of 2022.
Their goal is to occupy the territories east of the Oskol River, which flows through Kupiansk, a city located approximately 120 km east of Kharkov, the second largest metropolis in Ukraine. Their goal is also to occupy the entire Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts in the east of the country.
Russia intensifies attacks on Kupiansk
“Forbes” points out that gaining these territories would be a gift for… Vladimir Putin, who is to be elected head of state for the next term in the “elections” scheduled for March. Putin is the only significant candidate in the upcoming vote.
Kupyansk and the Kharkiv Oblast are to be defended by 20,000 Ukrainian soldiers, who have hundreds of tanks, combat vehicles and howitzers at their disposal. However, Forbes emphasizes that it is not the people and equipment that are the biggest problem for the Ukrainian army, but the lack of ammunition. By far its largest supplier was United Stateshowever, Republicans, whom the magazine called “pro-Russian”, significantly reduced aid to Ukraine in the fall of 2023.
Since then, the daily allocation of 155 mm shells has decreased by two thirds and amounts to 2,000. pieces. Russian forces fire up to 10,000. missiles per day, which is made possible thanks to supplies from North Korea. This allows Moscow forces to shell populated areas without fear of counter-fire from the Ukrainian side.
“This situation allows Russia to carry out (…) systematic destruction of urban areas, which makes cities unfit for defense,” said the Ukrainian analytical center Frontelligence Insight, which added that the destruction of infrastructure had already begun. “Satellite photos show (…) increased destruction caused by artillery fire around Kupiańsk,” Frontelligence Insight reports.
Ukraine sends new brigades
The American think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote that “artillery shortages and delays in Western aid (…) will force changes in Ukrainian operational plans,” which “may force Ukrainians to make difficult decisions regarding the prioritization of certain sections of the front.” at the expense of others where limited territorial losses are the least painful.”
This is because Kiev cannot afford to lose even part of the Kharkiv Oblast. Its capital, Kharkov, is home to strategic defense industry plants, including the largest tank factory. In anticipation of the Russian offensive, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense sent new brigades to this sector of the front.
It is very important that Ukrainians are able to produce tens of thousands of cheap drones enabling live viewing (FPV-UAV) equipped with explosives and ammunition within a month – emphasizes “Forbes”. Some days thousands of them are fired. However, these drones have a major drawback – their range is approximately 3.2 km, which is not enough to effectively hit distant targets. They may prove insufficient during the expected Russian offensive, notes the American magazine.
Main photo source: SERGEY DOLZHENKO/PAP/EPA