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Zero Hour in Ukraine

Photo: Segey Bobok/Getty Images
Julia Ioffe
August 30, 2022

On Monday afternoon, the Ukrainian military announced that it had launched its long-awaited counteroffensive. After six months of playing defense and losing territory in the east, the Ukrainians are now trying to push forward in the south, toward the strategically vital city of Kherson, which sits on the western bank of the Dnipro River, right where it spills into the Black Sea. 

If the offensive were to be successful—and that is still a big if—it would be a massive victory, both militarily and symbolically. It would also be a vital psychological salve for a country shattered by war. Geopolitically, it would prove to Ukraine’s Western backers that Kyiv’s forces can do more than repel an invader and hold them at bay indefinitely. It would show that Ukraine’s army can push them back and actually win, rather than simply maintaining a stalemate with all that expensive Western military equipment.