Like Reisner in an interview with “ntv” explained, the Surovikin line, which the Russians have been building in recent months, consists of several sub-lines: “The so-called battle outpost line, where intensive fighting has taken place in recent weeks, the first, second and third defense lines.” The battle outpost line is been breached. This means that the Surovikin line has not been “broken through as a whole”, but “a slump has been achieved”, according to Reisner.
Now they are “on the actual main line, i.e. the first line of defense”. They had even penetrated them “at least in part”. “But not in the sense of an operational breakthrough.”
Expert explains counter-offensive with house comparison
The military expert illustrates the difference between a burglary and a breakthrough with a house comparison: “The Ukrainians managed to get through the front yard, are now at the front door and got a foot through there.” through the house and into the back garden and you don’t know whether the doors in the house are still closed,” explains Reisner. So it’s called a burglary. An operational breakthrough, on the other hand, would be “like a dam that breaks and can no longer be stopped”.
According to Reisner, whether the counter-offensive can now get off the ground depends on the forces with which the Russians are in the rear lines. In the last week they have moved a 76th Guards Air Assault Division to the Zaporizhia area and parts of the 41st Army from the north-east also to the south. Therefore one can assume that Russia “has used up significant forces”. Nevertheless, the lines could be manned significantly more over the next few weeks due to the relocations, according to Reisner.
Against weak Russian lines “domino effect” could occur
If the second and third lines of defense are actually only weakly manned, Reisner believes a scenario like the one in the past Kharkiv offensive is possible. At that time, the Ukrainian troops broke through the sparsely manned Russian positions “in a very short time”. After that, there was a “domino effect” that made the Ukrainian advance “like a dam bursting” unstoppable.
Tokmak is an “important logistics point” for Ukraine. Should the troops advance there, they could use American Himars missiles to bombard roads, ammunition depots and command structures that are important for the Russians and at the same time continue to attack the Crimean bridges. “You might not have to physically take possession of everything,” explains the expert.
Ukraine “put everything on one card”
According to Reisner, whether Russia would then have to give up the south depends on “how far and how deep this point of entry” is. Should it be possible to cut off Russian supplies, “there would be massive pressure on Crimea.”
Nevertheless, Reisner sees no reason to get euphoric. Ukraine had “hardly any more reserves” and “put everything on one card”. The troops had “put their foot in the door of the first line of defense”, but in view of the approaching muddy period things had to “move quickly”.