‘Numbers do work’ Ukraine on brink of ‘pushing back’ Russians in Donbas with 1m troops

Ukraine on the brink of a significant military breakthrough

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Ukraine is planning a million-strong army with western-supplied weapons to retake the south of the country seized by Russian troops amid Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.  In a last-ditch effort to gather enough weapons to fight Russia and take back control of the southern Black Sea coast, the Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov called in an interview with The Times on world leaders to speed up deliveries.

According to Retired Brigadier General Peter Zwack, Ukraine could succeed in that mission if they are able to gather one million forces.

Speaking on Times Radio, General Swack said: “Well, the numbers in my mind do work. Ukraine, even with the massive refugee out flux, is about 36-37 million people. Well, the full population normally is about 44 (million)

“If you just do the math of able-bodied and it might be also older individuals and younger and those are there an active resistance, territorial resistance and then passive resistance, leaving behind if you will, Russian lines.

“Yes, you could get 4 to 5 million if you call able-bodied, out of that 35 million. And so, yes, you could put in theory, if funded and armed and resourced, a million people into the field in Ukraine.”

The defence secretary’s call comes as Ukrainians struggle to hold the lines in various positions in the eastern Donbas region and in the south coastal region that borders the Black Sea.

Russian forces have taken full control of the Donetsk province in the Donbas and are now trying to make advances in the other Donbas province – Luhansk.

According to the UK Ministry of Defence, Russian troops are making small incremental territorial gains in Donetsk after Russia claimed they have seized control of the city of Hryhorivka.

In a worrying sign for Ukraine, 80 percent of Donetsk residence have fled, the governor told the Ukrainian news outlet Ukrinform, with about 340,000 people remaining out of the 1,670,000 residents before the war.

On the current state of the conflict, Mr Zwack said: “It is a several front fight now, both for the Ukrainians and the Russians. And we’ve seen the Russians have had major problems with personnel, especially quality personnel.

“In Ukraine, since they have a pitched battle – almost a World War One type of fight – in and around the Donbas linear artillery. And there you need main forces, organised forces, ad hocs and levies don’t do as well there.

“But you also have to the south that you had mentioned, and much of which has now been seized by the Russians up to 100 miles from Odessa. And in that area, it looks like the Russians are in defensive positions because of their man effort in eastern Ukraine – Donbas.

“And of course, the Ukrainians are going to want to push them back and out of there as much as possible in concern that the Russians are going to try to freeze those lines, look for a ceasefire and create for a massive frozen conflict, which the Ukrainians will not stomach at this time.”

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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has reportedly asked his defence minister to mount an effort to recover Russian-occupied territories in the Black Sea coastal region that is vital for the country’s economy.

In a public appeal, Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov has warned that “each day we’re waiting for howitzers we can lose a hundred soldiers”, adding: “Give us the tools, we will finish the job.”

Despite the billions of dollars in weapons sent by the West, Ukraine is still outgunned by Russian forces.

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