Ukrainian soldiers carry a heavy machine gun as they train near the Chernnobyl exclusion zone


  • The Ukrainian military could launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces in southern Ukraine next month
  • Twelve Ukrainian combat brigades are expected to be battle-ready by the end of April
  • U.S. and NATO trained the new Ukrainian brigades in Germany on special tactics and new equipment

Ukraine could launch a major counteroffensive against Russia as early as next month, according to U.S. officials, as the two warring countries mark the 14th month of the conflict.

The New York Times reported that the operation will likely begin in the southern part of Ukraine, including the country's coastline on the Sea of Azov, near the Russian-held region of Crimea.

"Everything hinges on this counteroffensive," Alexander Vershbow, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia and senior NATO official, was quoted as saying by The Times.

"Everybody's hopeful, maybe over-optimistic. But it will determine whether there is going to be a decent outcome for the Ukrainians, in terms of recovering territory on the battlefield and creating much more significant leverage to get some kind of negotiated settlement," Vershbow added.

Leaked Pentagon documents reviewed by the publication reportedly hinted at Kyiv's timetable and showed that 12 Ukrainian combat brigades consisting of a total of around 48,000 soldiers are expected to be battle-ready at the end of April.

The leaked classified documents also revealed that the U.S. and NATO allies are providing training and military supplies to nine of the 12 Ukrainian brigades.

The Ukrainian military established its new combat brigades by pairing recruits with a small group of experienced veteran soldiers.

In January, the new Ukrainian military units went to American training grounds in Germany to learn combined arms maneuvers, which are used to effectively coordinate advancing troops with supporting units such as tanks and artillery. Ukraine's allies also trained Ukrainian troops to use their new equipment.

Multiple U.S. officials told the New York Times that the U.S.-led training of Ukrainian soldiers went well.

However, some Ukrainian soldiers on the battlefield admitted that the new tactics were difficult to execute. Ukrainian forces have struggled to coordinate their operations as combat units use different radio equipment and the equipment is susceptible to Russian jamming.

"If they can break through, then I think they can change the dynamic on the battlefield," Adm. Christopher W. Grady, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the publication.

Last week, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told the Spanish newspaper La Razon that Ukraine aims to liberate all territories temporarily held by Russia, such as Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk.

Reznikov also revealed that their Western allies were interested in joining the planned Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leader of the notorious mercenary group Wagner, recently said he believes that Ukraine will likely succeed in its upcoming counteroffensive.

Prigozhin noted that the Ukrainian military have enough numbers and trained fighters to purge Russian troops effectively.

Ukrainian soldiers sit atop battle tanks deploying smokescreens as they join military drills