Here's what needs to happen for Ukraine to make a breakthrough against Russia's defensive lines, according to war analysts

Several Ukrainian soldiers on a tank.
Ukrainian soldiers sit on infantry fighting vehicles as they drive near Izyum, eastern Ukraine on September 16, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.JUAN BARRETO/AFP via Getty Images
  • War analysts say three conditions must be true for Ukraine to make a breakthrough against Russia's defensive lines.

  • First, Russia can't have the combat power and reserves to keep up its attacks in western Zaporizhzhia.

  • Second, Ukraine will need  combat power to keep moving after breaking through Russia's combat power. And third, Russia's defensive positions are not well prepared or heavily mined.

War analysts say that for Ukraine to achieve a significant breakthrough against Russia's heavily fortified defensive lines, three key conditions will need to be true:

  • Russia doesn't have enough combat power and reserves to keep up its defenses in the crucial Zaporizhzhia region;

  • Ukraine has enough combat power to keep moving forward after degrading Russia's combat power;

  • Russia's defensive positions aren't as fortified or mined as much as the area's Ukraine has already fought through.

That's according to the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington, DC-based think tank that closely monitors developments in Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine.

If any of those conditions aren't met, Ukraine will not be able to make the kind of breakthrough its forces need, ISW said. But analysts at the ISW said there are "indicators" that so far, things are looking up for Kyiv's forces.

Analysts believe that in western Zaporizhzhia, a region located in southeastern Ukraine, Russia doesn't have enough forces to "completely man its defenses in depth."

ISW also assessed that Ukraine's operations in and around the city of Bakhmut "have kept Russian forces committed to eastern Ukraine and away from the southern front," and also "helped deny the creation of a strategic reserve."

But the institute said it's "unclear" if Ukraine has enough forces and weapons to continue hammering Russia's defensive lines in the south to achieve an "operational breakthrough," which means gaining momentum by exploiting a breach and pushing through defenses. And analysts aren't sure how heavily the areas behind the front are mined.

If Russia is able to plant mines and fortify the position, it could put the brakes on Ukraine's progress in its counterattack against Russian positions in its occupied territories.

Meanwhile, a source described by ISW as a Kremlin "insider" claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin has given his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, until early next month to stop Ukraine's counteroffensive.

Putin has also demanded that Russian forces launch an offensive operation against a bigger city, like Kherson, Odessa, Kharkiv, or Dnepropetrovsk, the Kremlin source was cited as saying.

ISW noted that if Putin's demand to dramatically improve Russia's standing on the front lines is true, it could explain why Russian forces are launching frequent counterattacks even if they come at a steep cost to the Russian military.

Read the original article on Business Insider