Assessment of the state of Ukraine War / May 2023

Research by our Senior Researcher, Csaba Barnabás Horváth

The events of April and the first half of May 2023 in Ukraine appears to be the “calm before the storm”- a relatively quiet period before the anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive. April 2023 has been the most passive month of the war so far. The net exchange of territory in this month was a mere 25 square kilometers net gain by the Ukrainians, as the Russian advance in Bakhmut was so little, that minor Ukrainian gains along the frontlines exceeded it. A Ukrainian counterattack is expected to begin within weeks, as the equipment provided by the US and its NATO allies has already arrived in Ukraine and the rasputitsa, or mud season, that handicaps the utility of mechanized maneuvers, is expected to be over by the end of May, hard ground permitting an early summer campaign. Noevertheless the discourse regarding the anticipated Ukrainian counterattack remains somewhat ambiguous. While on the one hand, most US and Ukrainian statements have been overtly optimistic on the prospects of the Ukrainian counterattack, on the other hand, some Ukrainian commentators, such as Ihor Zhovkva, deputy head of president Zelensky’s office, expressed doubts about whether the equipment supplied by the US and its NATO allies is sufficient to mount a coherent offensive.

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