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The Logistical Logic of a Counter-Counter-Offensive
The War in Ukraine (2014-2023)
It is quite possible that, in the weeks to come, the Russians will remain on the defensive. After all, each day that passes without a spectacular Ukrainian victory leaves the West a little less willing to continue its support for the war. If, however, the Russians decide to go on the offensive, the logic of logistics suggests that they will do so west of Donetsk and Bakhmut.
Seven major railways run from Russia to the area east of Donetsk and Bakhmut, where they connect to a spider’s web of local lines. Because of these, the Russians would be able to move large quantities of ammunition and other supplies with an enviable combination of speed and redundancy.
The same, however, cannot be said for the scene of some of the fiercest fighting in June, the area north of Tokmak. Russian forces operating there would be dependent upon a pair of railroad lines that, rather than connecting to a network of circle lines and spurs, connect at a single point. That point, moreover, serves as a single point of failure that the Ukrainians could be counted upon to strike with the best of their long-range missiles.