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Jun 8, 2022
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Odessa: S. Ishchenko, captain of the first rank – it’s not worth storming the city, there are pincers, they will work

In the photo: anti-tank hedgehogs on the streets of Odessa.

In the photo: anti-tank hedgehogs on the streets of Odessa. (Photo: AP/TASS)

As early as April 22, Acting Commander of the Central Military District Rustam Minnekaev stated that the Russian army, during the second phase of the special operation that began then, plans to establish full control over the Donbass and southern Ukraine and provide a land corridor to the Crimea.

“Control over the south of Ukraine is another way out to Transnistria, where there are also facts of oppression of the Russian-speaking population,” Minnekaev said.

For almost a month and a half after this statement, the forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, as well as the forces of the Union Republics, completely liberated Mariupol, and are also expanding the zone of control in the Donbass, moving towards the borders of the DPR and LPR. Busy at the very beginning of the operation, Kherson is gradually switching to Russian rubles and plans to hold a referendum on joining the Russian Federation.

However, the military leadership has not yet announced plans for the main cities of southern Ukraine, Odessa and Nikolaev. State Duma deputy Konstantin Zatulin On June 2, in an interview, he said that these regions of Ukraine should “come under our control if we want to achieve victory in this fight,” but this can hardly be considered an official position. So far, these regions are under the gun of Russian aircraft and high-precision missiles, which periodically destroy military installations there.

As the zone of influence of the RF Armed Forces in the east of Ukraine expands, the issue of these cities and regions will become more acute. Especially in the context of the brewing food crisis and the need to export Ukrainian grain from the ports of Odessa and Nikolaev, which the EU representatives especially insist on.

Military analyst, retired captain of the first rank Sergey Ishchenko believes that Russian troops are unlikely to be limited to the liberation of the territory of the DPR and LPR and will move further south. But this will be possible only after the Donbass grouping of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is defeated and the corresponding military resources are released.

– I think that in practical terms, for our military leadership, we are not talking about Odessa now, although, of course, the General Staff has various developments in this regard – both with and without landing, only a land operation, there are options for covering Odessa along the perimeter, and so on. . But in practice, this question is not now, because all efforts are now concentrated on completely different sectors of the front.

There is no progress in the direction of Nikolaev and Odessa, everything has stalled in the Kherson region, almost immediately outside the city. I think that the General Staff will choose options for an attack on Odessa only when this issue can be translated into a practical plane, it is too early to talk about this.

“SP”: – What determines the timing of the offensive?

– The primary task is to take control of the entire territory of the LPR and DPR, and it is being solved now. I am convinced that Russia’s victory in this special operation cannot be complete without the liberation of Odessa. From my point of view, this is a must. Odessa must not be left to Ukraine, otherwise we will have very big problems in the Crimea and the Black Sea. They will very quickly create a new fleet, and they will give submarines, all this will be.

If Odessa does not have Ukraine, a completely different conversation will go on. If only because Ukraine itself will have a much smaller share. Without access to the sea, both foreign trade and the supply of weapons will be very difficult. Therefore, we must take Odessa.

But, I emphasize once again that due to the limited nature of our grouping, this is not an issue today. It can be seen that ours abandoned the idea of ​​​​advancing on a broad front, which was at the beginning of the operation. It ended in nothing, we had to leave the Kyiv and Sumy regions precisely because at the beginning we tried to attack in this way, but it turned out that we overestimated our strength. I had to focus on the Donbass and the Kherson region, which was taken almost without a fight. I think that after the Donbass, the question of Zaporozhye will first arise, and then everything else.

“SP”: – Is it possible to take Odessa according to the Kherson scenario?

No, I have little doubt that it is impossible. Odessa has been turned into a very powerful fortified area. It is being strengthened without end, and it is happening now. This is a fairly large city and it will not work to take it like Kherson. It can only be blocked and slowly strangle the garrison, nothing else. The assault on the city is also hardly possible, because it would be very bloody. Odessa is more than two times larger than Mariupol. The assault is fraught with huge casualties. Therefore, only coverage of Odessa is possible.

Whether there will be a landing at the same time is a matter of tactics. The troops can land closer to the Danube and cover Odessa from the West. Ground forces can advance from the direction of Nikolaev and close. But it seems to me that all these plans lie far on the shelves in the General Staff, because this is not a question of today.

First, we need to release forces in the area of ​​Zaporozhye and Donbass. When this happens, movement towards Nikolaev can begin. The question of storming or capturing Kyiv now, it seems, is not worth it at all, but Odessa is another matter, it is necessary to take it, but not now.

A similar opinion was expressed doctor of military sciences, captain of the first rank in the reserve Konstantin Sivkov.

– Our forces will gradually move forward in the Nikolaev and Odessa regions. The ultimate goal should be to reach the border with Transnistria and liberate the entire Odessa, Nikolaev regions and isolate Ukraine from the Black Sea maritime theater.

First you need to destroy the group that sits in our rear and shoots the Donbass. After that, Ukraine will not have such large combat-ready forces, and other tasks will be solved faster. Then it will be possible to go in the direction of Nikolaev and Odessa. Landing is already a tactical issue that will be determined by the command; it does not have a fundamental issue. A landing operation is not mandatory.

Specialist of the Bureau of Military-Political Analysis Nikolai Kostikin also believes that the promotion to the south of Ukraine is expedient.

These territories must be taken under control. Therefore, point strikes will not do. With regard to the landing or the involvement of a ground group, I can’t predict. There is information that the beaches in Odessa are mined. On the roadstead there are ships with dangerous cargo.

At the same time, a huge number of Ukrainian servicemen are now simply surrendering, where they are treated very well. In general, the strategy for a “humane war” in the format of a peacekeeping operation is working.

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