The defence minister says its forces have made good use of US and British rocket artillery in their counteroffensive against Russia

Ukraine hopes to assemble a “million strong” army to try to retake territory occupied by Russia, the defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, said over the weekend. Its forces, he added, had also demonstrated to the US it could make good use of newly acquired longer-range rocket artillery, opening the door to the supply of more, reports the Guardian.

But however impressive sounding the claims were, it is hard to believe Ukraine is yet capable of an effective counteroffensive, even if the much-vaunted US Himars and the British M270 rocket artillery, with their range of 70km to 80km, have begun to arrive and are being put to good use. A turning of the military tide, if it happens at all, will most likely to take time.

Ukraine has to talk up its prospects. The idea of a counteroffensive “is a hugely popular idea inside Ukraine”, said Orysia Lutsevych, a research fellow at the Chatham House thinktank, and Kyiv needs to convince the west that with sustained help, its military has a realistic chance of kicking the Russians out.

The country began the war with a 125,000-strong army plus 100,000 in national and border guards, according to figures from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) – but says it is lifting that to an army of 700,000 plus 300,000 of the paramilitaries. But if it can assemble that number under arms, a key issue is their quality.

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