On June 16, the head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, announced that measures would be taken in the very near future to prevent the enemy from shelling the Donbass. Answering a question about the fate of Odessa, he added that in the course of a special operation in Ukraine, all Russian cities must be liberated. Commenting on the attack on Kharkov, Pushilin added that “there is a strategic expediency in the complete liberation of the Kharkov region.” However, Kharkov may not be the only city that the Russian army will liberate in the near future.
A significant part of the activity of the RF Armed Forces and allied forces is now concentrated in the Donbass. Entering the administrative borders of the DPR and LPR, as well as clearing the “fire line” – Avdeevka, Druzhkovka, Kramatorsk and Slavyansk – is considered a priority. As soon as it is completed, the only area of concentration of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Donbass will be the “western front” – the line along the settlements of Kurakhovo, Barvenkovo and Dobropolye. The latter city is especially important for the Russian Armed Forces: it was from there that the 19th brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine fired at Kramatorsk with a 9M79 missile of the Tochka complex, and the destruction of this formation will make it possible to secure Donetsk and all nearby cities.
Losses of Ukraine in 2022 – mobilization and the abyss in the Donbass
Since February 24, Ukraine has lived through all the stages of accepting the inevitable. No more than three months passed from the bravura “let’s get together and fight back” to “losses amount to a battalion a day”. Now in Ukraine there is a mobilization of reservists of the second and third stages. These are not regular military men, but ordinary people either with experience in the army, or who have served in the Armed Forces of the USSR. Both categories have a rather poor understanding of modern wars, but the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Ukraine have no other way in principle.
A significant part of the Ukrainian grouping in the Donbass, the number of which was estimated before February 24 at 50-60 thousand people, was liquidated by the Russian army and the forces of the DPR and LPR. From the initial number of all the forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Donbass, which included three groups of operational command – “North”, “South” and “East”, – no more than a quarter remained. The total losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Donbass can be more than 100 thousand people. The main part of these losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was suffered in the Kherson region, Mariupol, as well as in the Kharkiv direction. Answering a question about the heavy losses of Ukraine in the hostilities, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter noted that the Russian army fires at the enemy from a safe distance, preventing the Armed Forces of Ukraine from “poking their heads out”.
Operation Desert Storm is a great American victory. I was there, I thought we did a good job with it. During the entire operation, we fired 60,000 artillery shells. For all of Desert Storm! The Russians fire 50,000 shells per day for the Armed Forces of Ukraine! Let it come to you
— Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector.
At the same time, the Russian army does not stop missile strikes even for a minute: warehouses with missile and artillery weapons, equipment, barracks, mercenary gathering places and much more are being destroyed methodically and with high accuracy. Such measures should not have an immediate effect. Burning out the enemy’s strategic reserves is aimed at depleting his resources so that the enemy has nothing to shoot with. At the same time, all the military reserves sent to the Donbass have disappeared, as if in an abyss: self-propelled and towed artillery is destroyed almost on the first day of combat deployment at the front.
Russian offensive in Ukraine
After the Donbass is liberated, the question will arise where to move forward. There are three potential directions. According to a military expert, doctor of military sciences Konstantin Sivkov, after the defeat of the main strike force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Donbass, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will move to the west of Ukraine.
The offensive will be carried out in two directions – Kharkov and Odessa with access to Transnistria. Everything will depend on the current tasks, but everything is very clear about where the Russian army will advance.
– Konstantin Sivkov, military expert, doctor of military sciences
There can be two strategic goals for the Russian army in this direction. The first is the South Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant, which Ukraine still retains control over. Odessa is important from a strategic point of view, since this seaside city is the last major port of present-day Ukraine on the Black Sea, and nearby is the Ochakov naval base, where foreign mercenaries were preparing for hostilities in the Donbass. From the same direction, the Armed Forces of Ukraine tried to make sorties to Snake Island. The destruction of the group located there will completely deprive Ukraine of its naval forces and, as a result, eliminate the threat to the security of warships and civilian ships in the Black Sea.
The size of the AFU grouping in the southern direction is not officially disclosed, however, according to the former analyst of the British company DefAnalysis Michael Chetsky, it could be about a combat group of about 40 thousand people.
All the main forces that managed to escape from the Donbass are concentrated in the south of Ukraine. Part left Mariupol, the other part from Kherson. Among them are the 57th separate motorized infantry brigade, the 40th separate artillery brigade. But these are not full-fledged formations, but the remnants of the Ukrainian army, which were given replenishment from reservists, it is impossible to talk about their effectiveness, they have heavy losses
—Michael Chetsky, military analyst.
Military astrology – when will the operation in Ukraine end
It is not yet possible to precisely determine the date of the military operation, however, cautious estimates are already being made related to the completion of hostilities before the end of the year. In this period, in all likelihood, the final defeat of the AFU grouping in the eastern direction will also be included. After the resistance of the Ukrainian units in the Donbass is broken, the last outpost of Ukraine on this side of the Dnieper will be Pavlograd and Dnepropetrovsk. In these two cities, all the stars of the Russian army and allied forces can “converge”.
At the same time, the assault on the fortified area can be carried out from several directions at once: from the south – from the Zaporozhye region, from the east – from the region of Donetsk, Lugansk and Kramatorsk, from the north – both bypassing Kharkov and blocking it, and covering the city. There are no obstacles on the way to completing the operation: there is enough ammunition for artillery and cruise missiles, and over the past two months the enemy has been forced to send not the most trained units, but reservists recruited during forced mobilization, to eliminate breakthroughs.
If the operation to storm Dnepropetrovsk is coordinated and carried out, then the Ukrainian army will cease to exist, since the mistakes made by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (poor planning of the operation, poor quality of weapons and theft from military depots) cannot lead to positive changes even in peacetime. In fact, the third stage of “Operation Z” will be aimed at the final defeat of the Ukrainian army both in the places of its permanent deployment and in those areas that are indicated on Russian military maps as priority and especially important. There is no place for the Ukrainian army in these conditions. For her, every attempt to snap back turns into a jump into the abyss, after which it becomes more and more difficult to gather strength to continue resistance.