• Recently, Ukraine has launched a lightning counter-offensive in the country’s northeast that saw surprising territorial gains.
  • Its forces have pushed back Russian soldiers from most of Kharkiv Oblast, retaking thousands of square kilometres of territory.
  • This is the first time that Ukrainian troops have pushed back the Russians through combat since the Russia Ukraine conflict began.
  • After capturing Lysychansk in July 2022 and taking the whole of Luhansk province coming under its control, Russia’s battlefield combat came to a halt.
  • Russia was controlling almost 25% of Ukraine at this time.
  • The halt of Russian forces opened a window opportunity for Ukraine to move ahead with its counter-offensive plans.

Help from US:

  • Advanced mid-range rocket systems such as High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
  • Military assistance worth more than USD 14.5 billion.
  • S. intelligence agencies also provided information to Ukraine on the weak links of the Russian defence. 

Sanctions on Russia:

  • Russia was being faced with sanctions which made it difficult to make sure their supply was intact and they had to turn to Iran and North Korea.
  • Ukraine started attacks in southern Ukraine in Kherson and sabotage hits in Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.
  • Russia, faced with the Ukrainian attacks in the south, bolstered the defences of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
  • Ukraine broke into the relatively weaker defence lines in the northeast and successfully pushed the Russians back.

Russia Ukraine Conflict

  • In 2014, Russia had annexed Crimea from Ukraine following a hastily called referendum, a move that sparked fighting between Russia-backed separatists and government forces in eastern Ukraine.
  • Ukraine urged the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to speed up the country’s membership in the alliance.
  • Russia declared such a move a “red line”, and worried about the consequences of the US-led military alliances expanding right up to its doorstep.
  • This has led to the present war between Russia and Ukraine.

Invasion of Ukraine:

  • The conflict is now the largest attack by one state on another in Europe since the Second World War, and the first since the Balkan conflict in the 1990s.
  • With the invasion of Ukraine, agreements like the Minsk Protocols of 2014, and the Russia-NATO Act of 1997 stand all but voided.


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