A New Stage of the Russian-Ukrainian War. Peculiarities and Consequences

Nobody Should Be Afraid of Russia, It Just Covers Its Fear with Militant Rhetoric

 

Ivan Sichen

According to reports from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the enemy has completed the regrouping of his troops and is intensifying offensive actions. In fact, this is the beginning of a new stage of the war, during which Russia will try to seize the entire territory of Donetsk region. However, the situation at the front is already determined by a number of differences from previous events. We touched on this topic in previous articles, but the development of events is dynamic and requires clarification. Besides, we would like to draw attention to possible political consequences of changes in Russia’s war against Ukraine. They can also be quite significant.

 

…The current stage of the Russian-Ukrainian war is characterized by a number of differences from previous events…

The current stage of the Russian-Ukrainian war is characterized by a number of differences from previous events. Some of these changes are a continuation of previous trends, while others are a consequence of the emergence of new factors in the development of the situation.

For example, the enemy is really intensifying offensive actions in the Donbas, but so far on a smaller scale than at the previous stage. The reason for the occupiers’ practical lack of success since the beginning of July 2022 is the exhaustion of the Russian forces, as well as the appearance in the Ukrainian Armed Forces of high-precision long-range missile and artillery weapons.

For now, this somewhat offsets Russia’s superiority in forces and weapons, at least on the front line. The Armed Forces of Ukraine gained the ability to destroy the enemy’s headquarters, warehouses, and concentrations of personnel in its operational rear. We will give some examples of Ukraine’s successful use of the mentioned weapons.

In particular, last week the field headquarters of the 106th Airborne Division of the Russian Airborne Forces and the 20th Motorized Rifle Division of the 8th Combined Arms Army of the Russian Armed Forces were attacked, which led to the death of their top command. In the first case, two deputy commanders of the division were sent to hell, and in the second — the commander of the division, the political officer and the chief of staff. We will not mention the names, because they are not worth it.

After the destruction of Russian military bases in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, the occupiers began to move their headquarters and field camps as far as possible from the front line, or to flee from there altogether. The occupying authorities of the city of Kherson, together with the traitors-collaborators, left the city hall and are hiding in an unknown place. They are said to be in the hospitals, hiding behind the backs of the civilians.

Unfortunately, Ukraine still does not have a sufficient number of armored vehicles, which does not give the Armed Forces of Ukraine the opportunity to launch a large-scale counteroffensive. Today, resolving this problem is the main task of the so-called Ramstein group, which is engaged in the supply of weapons to Ukraine.

Air defense and combat aviation also remain an urgent need for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Now we shoot down only about 50 % of the Russian missiles with which it is trying to destroy Ukraine. Besides, despite significant losses of its aircraft and helicopters, Russia maintains a significant advantage over Ukraine in aviation on the battlefield.

To a certain extent, the first problem will be overcome by the implementation of the US intentions to transfer two NASAMS batteries to Ukraine (12 launchers together with radar and control systems). The issue of aviation is more difficult, but the possibility of its supply to Ukraine is provided for in the new US military budget.

…The above-mentioned factors have already changed the course of the war and create conditions for its turning in favor of Ukraine…

The above-mentioned factors have already changed the course of the war and create conditions for its turning in favor of Ukraine. Does Russia understand this? It probably does and is trying to prevent such prospects. As usual in such cases, Moscow uses a wide range of informational, military, economic and subversive methods.

For example, the Kremlin continues its desperate attempts to intimidate Ukraine and justify the prolongation of the war in front of the Russian population. A manifestation of this was V. Putin’s recent statement that Russia “has not even started” a real war against Ukraine. The statement of the head of the Kremlin was supplemented by the public demand of the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation S. Shoigu regarding “increasing the actions of Russian troops in all operational directions during the special military operation in Ukraine”. According to him, this is necessary in order to exclude the possibility of the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s launching “massive missile and artillery strikes on civilian infrastructure and residents of settlements in the Donbas and other regions”. Let’s paraphrase: while V. Putin tries to hide the failures of the Russian war against Ukraine, S. Shoigu actually admits them. Including the catastrophic consequences of the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s use of Western weapons for Russian troops, which are cynically called “the civilian residents of the Donbas and other regions”. Under such circumstances, in order to give the Russian offensive a new impetus, S. Shoigu personally visited the occupied territories of Ukraine, where he held a series of meetings with the command of the occupiers.

…While Putin tries to hide the failures of the Russian war against Ukraine, Shoigu actually admits them…

In order to raise the morale of the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the Russian parliament adopted a law that equates becoming prisoner of war with treason. This confirms the aggravation of the mentioned problem in the Russian army.

They did not forget about the civilian population of the country. As we wrote earlier, in July 2022 Russia passed a law that allows the state to place military orders on enterprises of all forms of ownership, and also significantly limits the rights of their employees. In addition, the FSB and local authorities have significantly intensified the struggle against the spread of anti-war sentiments in the country, taking various punitive measures. Covert mobilization continues in Russia, and its economy is being put on military rails.

…Russia is trying to weaken Ukraine as much as possible and demoralize its leadership and population…

Apparently, in the Kremlin’s understanding, the above-mentioned measures are preparations for launching a “real war” against Ukraine by the standards of the 1940s. In addition, Russia is trying to weaken Ukraine as much as possible and demoralize its leadership and population by intensifying missile and terrorist attacks on Ukrainian territory.

At the same time, Moscow continues to make efforts to weaken Ukraine’s external support by conducting subversive work among our state’s partners. According to some estimates, the government crises in the UK and Italy were the result of bribery of a number of local politicians by Russia. As usual, Russia continues to use the gas lever of influence on Europe. In particular, the operation of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline was recently suspended.

These Moscow’s efforts exert a certain influence on the positions of our partners. However, significant military losses and the negative impact of Western sanctions lead to an increase in the Russian population’s negative attitude to the war against Ukraine.

That is why Russia is trying to push Ukraine into negotiations. At this, the Kremlin has stopped publicly declaring plans for the “denazification” and “demilitarization” of Ukraine and only claims its intentions to “liberate the Donbas” and “ensure its own security”. Besides, at the negotiations in Turkey, Russia declared its readiness to make certain concessions in resolving the problem of exporting grain from Ukraine to foreign markets.

…Public messages from the Kremlin do not mean Russia’s having given up its strategic plans for Ukraine, but only testify to its not having enough forces to implement them…

Such public messages from the Kremlin do not mean Russia’s having given up its strategic plans for Ukraine, but only testify to its not having enough forces to implement them. Therefore, Russia, on the one hand, is trying to accumulate forces and break Ukraine, and on the other hand, it is looking for an opportunity to end the war on favorable terms. However, Ukraine and its Western partners maintain firm positions and accumulate forces to counteract Russia.

As a result, the war is increasingly moving into a positional phase with a dynamic balance of forces between the parties. For political and military reasons, Russia will continue to make efforts aimed at the complete capture of the Donbas and creation of a buffer zone around it, keeping the already occupied Ukrainian territories under its control, as well as weakening Ukraine with missile strikes. In turn, the main directions of Ukraine’s actions will remain the defense in the Donbas, the north and south of Kharkiv region and the conduct of counteroffensive battles on the fronts in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

…Due to the loss of more than a third of its ground forces, Russia is no longer capable of conducting strategic offensives, at least in the near future…

Within the framework of the above-mentioned approaches, Russia will rely on its own military, economic and mobilization resources, which really exceed the corresponding resources of Ukraine. Therefore, Moscow can increase the intensity of offensive actions and achieve certain successes. However, due to the loss of more than a third of its ground forces, Russia is no longer capable of conducting strategic offensives, at least in the near future.

But then, it did not have such opportunities before either. For example, all the successes achieved by Russia in February-March 2022 became possible only thanks to the operational suddenness of its attack, the absence of deployed troops and equipped positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (except for the Donbas), the dominant superiority of the Russian army in terms of forces and weapons, as well as actual betrayal in Kherson.

Currently, the situation is completely different , and all mobilization measures in Russia will not be able to radically change it. Moreover, the mobilization of the population and the economy is an extremely difficult task even for totalitarian Russia with all its resources and potential.

It will not be easy for us in any way. However, the Western weapons supplied to Ukraine (albeit in small quantities) already allow the Armed Forces to exert a significant influence on the military situation. And what will happen next, when Ukraine gets a sufficient number of Western weapons? As mentioned above, this will allow the Armed Forces of Ukraine to launch a counteroffensive and liberate the occupied territories.

…The Western weapons supplied to Ukraine already allow the Ukrainian Armed Forces to exert a significant influence on the military situation…

First of all, the cities of Kherson and the right-bank part of Kherson region, which will inevitably be abandoned by Russia as another “gesture of goodwill”. Liberation of the mentioned territories is of strategic importance. For one, in fact, it will be impossible for Russia to attack the Ukrainian cities of Mykolaiv and Odesa, since the Russian troops will not have sufficient forces to cross the Dnipro River. In addition, the logistical channel connecting Russian troops in the south of the left-bank part of Ukraine with Crimea, which is their logistical hub, will be interrupted. And, finally, Russian military facilities in Crimea will be in the range of missile and artillery weapons of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

In general, the given circumstances can become a decisive factor influencing Russia’s position and forcing it to agree to constructive negotiations. And this will be a real turning point in the war.

This is exactly why we need Western weapons. The volumes of its supplies to Ukraine are becoming larger and larger. However, it is still not enough due to the fact that our partners are still wary of entering into a direct military confrontation with Russia. Let’s repeat: nobody should be afraid of Russia, it itself is afraid of the USA and NATO and just covers its fear with militant rhetoric.

 

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