Ukraine’s Counter-Offensive | 15 Sep 2022

For Prelims: Russia-Ukraine Conflict, Regions of Kharkiv Oblast, NATO, Minsk Protocols

For Mains: Ukraine-Russia Conflict and India’s Interests in Ukraine and Russia, Implications of Conflict on India

Why in News?

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.

How did Ukraine Push Back Russia in Kharkiv Oblast?

  • Halt of Russian Forces:
    • 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.
    • U.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’s Attacks:
    • 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.

What do we need to know about the Russia Ukraine Conflict?

  • History:
    • 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.
  • Stand of Other Countries:
    • Global:
      • The G7 nations strongly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
        • Sanctions have been imposed on Russia by the U.S., the European Union (EU), the UK, Australia, Canada and Japan.
      • China rejected calling Russia’s moves on Ukraine an “invasion” and urged all sides to exercise restraint.
    • India’s Stand:
      • India did not join the Western powers’ condemnation of Russia’s intervention in Crimea and kept a low profile on the issue.

Source: TH