Jan 9, 2022
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Donbass-2022: from the New Year’s table to the trenches

In the photo: an LPR serviceman in a trench at a position near the village of Sentyanovka, Luhansk region

In the photo: an LPR serviceman in a trench at a position near the village of Sentyanovka, Luhansk region (Photo: AP Photo / Alexei Alexandrov / TASS)

In the last months of 2021, the attention of the world community is riveted on Ukraine. Western media are actively promoting the thesis that Russia is about to attack this country, and this will happen in the first months of the new year.

Of course, Russia is not going to attack anyone, but Moscow has repeatedly made it clear that it will not leave unanswered the Ukrainian aggression in Donbass, repeating the Georgian scenario of 2008. What if all the talk about an “attack” by Russia is an attempt to justify an operation against the republics of Donbass in advance?

The likelihood of such an operation has been discussed for several years. Donbass almost every day expects an invasion of the Ukrainian army, but it has not happened so far, apparently due to fear of Russian interference. But what if this fear has diminished today? What if such an order is given in Washington, and Kiev does not dare to contradict? Or maybe Kiev are sure that the United States will stand up for them? Maybe they really believed in the strength of their army and that Russia would not dare to intervene, fearing the sanctions?

Of course, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are not the same as in 2014, but the republics also have their own full-fledged armies, which have serious experience in hostilities. But what if the West really does intervene? Who makes the decision to start a war? Should we really wait for it in January-February – we asked our experts about this.

“I don’t think the West is pushing Ukraine to a war with Russia. Rather, he supports her desire to annex Donbass by military means, – says Mikhail Alexandrov, leading expert of the Center for Military-Political Research, MGIMO

“At the same time, an attempt is being made to contain or minimize Russia’s response. Hence all sorts of threats of new sanctions and the supply of new weapons to Kiev.
The West fears that in the event of a full-scale Russian military response, Ukraine will cease to exist and disintegrate into a number of territorial entities, some of which will enter the Russian sphere of influence. And this will break the entire strategy of the West to create an anti-Russian Bandera Ukraine, which will become a shock fist in geopolitical rivalry with Russia and will be brought down on our country at the moment when the West needs it.

On the other hand, the West is interested in a small but successful military operation of Ukraine against Donbass, which would raise the morale of the Ukrainian elite, strengthen the position of the Kiev regime and would allow postponing the internal destabilization associated with the growing economic problems. Therefore, the war with Ukraine is quite real. However, the leaders of the West want to make sure that the pro-Western and capitulating circles in Moscow will not allow a full-scale Russian response to the Ukrainian aggression and everything will be limited, as it happened before, to help Donbass in stopping the Ukrainian offensive. The decision to start a war, of course, will be taken by the United States.

“SP”: —How do you think the new war may differ from the situation in 2014−2015? The Ukrainian army is not what it used to be, is it? What is the main difference and danger of the new Ukrainian army: the morale has risen, the American instructors are well prepared, or is it all about the Bayraktars with the Javelins?

– Now the Ukrainian army is much better prepared, but then the LPR did not sit idly by. They also raised the level of combat training, equipped the defense line, created stocks of ammunition and military equipment. The presence of American Javelin ATGMs in Ukraine does not change much, since these weapons are no better than our anti-tank systems, for example, the Kornet. A couple of dozen UAVs “Bayraktar” also will not give Ukraine any tangible advantages. I am sure that the LDNR already has its own UAVs and modern Russian electronic warfare systems to deal with them. In addition, the delivery of Russian Tor systems to Donbass cannot be ruled out if these Bayraktars are too worrisome for the Donetsk militias.

The main advantage of Ukraine is a significant numerical superiority both in the number of personnel and fire weapons. This is the only thing they hope for. Although the morale of the militia is, of course, higher and this partially balances the quantitative superiority of the enemy. Nevertheless, after a few days of hostilities, the numerical superiority of the Ukrainian army will manifest itself, and the militias will not be able to hold the front in all directions. And this is fraught with defeat if Russia does not intervene in the conflict.

“SP”: – How do you think Russia will behave? Does Kiev really not understand that it will have to intervene? What are they hoping for?

– I think that Kiev understands perfectly well that Russia will be forced to intervene. However, as I said, they are not certain about the scope of the Russian response. If they were sure that the answer would be limited only to Donbass, then the operation would have already begun. Incidentally, this state of affairs opens a window of opportunity for us. It gives a chance once and for all to resolve the Ukrainian question, which has turned into an existential threat to Russia. This threat is not only of a geopolitical nature, which is widely discussed everywhere. This threat is primarily of a civilizational nature. In Ukraine, a significant part of the Russian nation – several million Russian people – is being exterminated by forced assimilation. They are trying to turn them into anti-Russian janissaries. The destruction of the Russian nation piece by piece is a long-standing goal of Western policy, and now it is being successfully implemented. If we allow this to come true, then it will be a conflict for centuries. And sooner or later he will spread into Russia. Therefore, we could now pretend that our response to Ukraine will be limited, and when Kiev begins hostilities, conduct a strategic offensive operation to defeat the Ukrainian armed forces. This should be followed by a territorial reformatting of present-day Ukraine in such a way that this territory could never pose a serious threat to Russia and the Russian nation.

—Let’s not guess on the coffee grounds. Any forecast is an assessment of the likelihood of an event occurring, but no more, – believes historian, publicist, permanent expert of the Izborsk club Alexander Dmitrievsky

– And all the current “forecasts” of a large-scale war are nothing more than unfounded alarmism, not supported by any objective data. A military solution to the Donbass problem has always been and will be the damp dream of Kiev strategists. But one must understand that in the Donbass republics the number of Russian citizens is steadily approaching a million. And this means that the military defeat of the DPR and LPR is an unacceptable scenario for Russia. In fact, it is this factor that cools hot heads in Kiev.

“SP”: – How do you think the new war may differ from the situation in 2014−2015?

– Judging by the information that gets into the press, the strategy of the Ukrainian army has not changed: the same desire can be traced to drive a wedge between the republics, to cut them off from each other and from the Russian border. But, again, you cannot enter the same river twice. Especially if your secret plans have long been turned into a military secret of OpenCinelle.

“SP”: -How much have the moods of the residents of the republics changed? Is there fatigue, apathy? Are people still ready to defend their choice?

– There is weariness from the war. But it is expressed not at all in capitulation sentiments, but in the desire to quickly reach the borders of the former Donetsk and Lugansk regions, to become part of Russia, to build a kilometer-high wall on the Ukrainian border and forget Ukraine as a bad dream. But the majority has no desire to fight for the liberation of Novorossiya and Little Russia for a long time: Donbass chose its fate, smelled gunpowder for it, so let the population of other regions voluntarily decide with whom to be and where to go.

– In my opinion, the likelihood of a big war between Russia and Ukraine is still somewhat exaggerated, – I am sure coordinator of the “Other Russia E. V. Limonova” party * Andrey Dmitriev

– We have seen in recent months the unceasing hysteria of the collective West under the slogan “The Russians are coming” in the absence of any reason for this. The Kremlin accepted the game and began to put forward its own conditions, which are rather tough, but it seems to me that no one is ready to fight seriously. Look for yourself: the Americans have just disgracedly left Afghanistan, handing it over to the Taliban **. Where can they fight with Russia, despite the large defense budgets? By the way, despite all the threats, the West made it clear that it is not going to fight the Russian Federation even in the event, as the newspaper Bild wrote, that the Russian army entered the Korosten-Uman line. They all threaten with sanctions, so their reaction can be interpreted as “you can take Kharkov, nothing will happen” (remember, it is located 50 kilometers from the border).

Perhaps the Americans want to fight the Russian Federation with the hands of the Ukrainians, but for Vladimir Zelensky, and for the whole army of Independence it will be suicide, which they must understand.

But the recognition of the LDNR and the deployment of Russian troops there is a quite possible scenario. The main thing is that “dear partners” represented by Joseph Biden did not disappoint and continued to put pressure on Vladimir Putindisagreeing with his demands on NATO. Then they will not leave him a choice and Donbass will finally gain freedom and independence.

In general, looking at the foreign policy of the Putin era, one never ceases to wonder how history puts the GDP in such circumstances that it literally has to make the right choice. At the beginning of his reign, he was a 100% Westerner, he wanted the Russian Federation to join NATO and the EU, but got a turn from the gate and was offended. Later Mikhail Saakashvili attacked Tskhinvali and Russian peacekeepers. I had to answer during the 5-day war. Then the Maydauns overthrew Viktor Yanukovych and had to take the Crimea, which itself fell into the hands like an overripe pear. And all these years, the Kremlin has not lost hope of exchanging the return of the LDNR to Ukraine for the recognition of Crimea as Russian. But the collective West does not want to hear about it. Now completely different issues are on the agenda. So they are great. Let them continue to push Putin against the wall, you look – and Russia will grow with new territories and people.

* The organization is not registered with the Ministry of Justice of Russia.

** The Taliban movement was recognized as a terrorist organization by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on February 14, 2003, its activities on the territory of Russia were prohibited.

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