Few military campaigns have been as anticipated in recent memory as the current Ukrainian counteroffensive that appears to be underway. For months, speculation built over when and how Ukraine's forces would strike back across the front lines in the south and east of their country. Kyiv shared little publicly about its plans to retake territory seized in the Russian invasion, though it clamored for Western tanks, infantry vehicles and other sophisticated military aid as it made its preparations.
Spring began to melt into summer. The brutal fighting over the eastern city of Bakhmut captured attention; so, too, the incessant barrage of Russian missiles and drones on civilian areas of Ukraine, including cities far from the main battlefields of the war. The specter of a nuclear escalation loomed darkly over the conflict. And in the past week, we saw a new horror - man-made ecological devastation, as a suspected Russian attack on the Kakhovka reservoir dam along the Dnieper River led to widespread flooding and the evacuation of thousands of civilians.