每日英語跟讀 Ep.K445: After Big Gains, Ukrainians Face Critical Choices
After Ukraine’s stunning offensive in its northeast drove Russian forces into a chaotic retreat and reshaped the battlefield by hundreds of miles, Ukrainian leaders were weighing critical gambles that could determine the near-term course of the war.
Stretching the Ukrainian forces too far could leave the troops vulnerable to attack. Moving too slow, or in the wrong place, could leave an opportunity squandered. And waiting too long could allow the front lines to freeze as winter sets in.
By expelling Russian troops from a large slice of strategic territory in the northeastern Kharkiv region, Ukrainian forces are now positioned to make a move on the Donbas, the industrialized eastern territory that President Vladimir Putin of Russia has made central to his war aims. Just before flooding troops across the border in February, Putin declared the Donbas independent from Ukraine, and he held up the region’s sovereignty as a key justification for the invasion.
Russia now has control of nearly 90% of the Donbas, where its military shifted much of its focus after a staggering defeat around the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in the spring. If Ukraine were to retake even a part of the region, it would be an embarrassing blow to the Kremlin.
Western analysts, including at the Pentagon, said that the Ukrainians were overall making gains as quickly as Russian forces were falling back.
But Ukraine faces potentially serious pitfalls if it pushes any farther.
Any future advances would mean that Ukrainian forces would further extend their supply lines, straining convoys of fuel, ammunition and reinforcements as they have to move farther away from their established logistics hubs.
That could leave Ukrainian units vulnerable, said John Blaxland, a professor of security and intelligence studies at the Australian National University in Canberra. Although he added that a Russian counterattack was “not necessarily going to happen,” in part because the morale of Moscow’s troops appears to be foundering.
Russian officials face their own hard questions, especially with a growing backlash to their “special military operation” from pro-war voices at home.
The current Ukrainian offensive “was a rapid breakthrough designed to take advantage of favorable positions and thinly manned Russian defenses,” said Michael Kofman, the director of Russian studies at CNA, a research institute in Arlington, Virginia.
美國維吉尼亞州阿靈頓的研究機構「海軍分析中心」俄國研究主任考夫曼說，現階段烏克蘭的攻擊「目的是利用有利位置和俄國防衛兵力薄弱，取得快速突破」。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/6636218