Ukraine army running out of time as it tries to cross Putins land bridge

Ukraine’s counteroffensive is “running out of time” to make the advances it needs to in order to break through Putin’s defensive line, an expert has said.

The pushback against Russian occupation in Ukraine, launched in June, has been slowed as Russian forces are dug into their positions, maintaining control of around a fifth of the country.

Michael Clarke, an independent defense analyst who was director-general of the Royal United Services Institute from 2007 to 2015, told CNBC: “The hope is that they’re far enough through the Russian defensive lines now … to make some rapid progress.

“Whether they will or not, we don’t know, but they’re certainly running out of time in which to do it.”

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He added: “They’ll keep on fighting during the winter but what will happen is at the end of November the weather will turn pretty wet, and that will put a block on things until it turns cold, which will be sometime late December, early January.”

While Andrius Tursa, Central and Eastern Europe advisor at risk consultancy Teneo, said in a note on Monday: “Ukraine’s counteroffensive has not achieved the presumed military and political objectives so far and the prospects of a breakthrough appear limited.

“Despite inflicting significant losses on Russian armed forces, Ukraine’s four-and-a-half-month-old counteroffensive has not achieved major territorial gains nor managed to slice through Russia’s ‘land bridge’ to Crimea.”

But the Ukrainian army has seen some gains around the devastated city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine and east bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson, as well as recently breaking through a major first line of Russian defenses near the village of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region.

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