Jun 7, 2022
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The battle for Donbass went according to a smoldering scenario. What to expect from the next months

The fourth month of the special military operation (SVO) has begun. The hostilities, which famously began throughout the territory of Ukraine bordering Russia and southern Belarus, are now almost completely concentrated in the Donbass.

It must be admitted that Ukraine, as an adversary, turned out to be much stronger than it seemed to many on the eve of the NWO. Yes, the reason given by the Russian side for the start of the operation (the threat of a Ukrainian invasion of Donbass) lost its relevance in the first days, if not hours: the Ukrainian army (APU) was neutralized with powerful strikes and deprived of the opportunity to conduct offensive operations. Yes, within a couple of weeks it was possible to occupy the territories of several regions without serious battles. However, the collapse of the Ukrainian state did not happen, command and control of the troops was maintained, mobilization was carried out, and supplies were established. Seeing that Ukraine was holding out and could fight, the West finally decided on massive military supplies.

Kyiv managed to build a fairly effective military propaganda. Her thesis line: we were attacked, the whole West supported us, together we resisted and forced the enemy to retreat, together we will fight to victory. So far, the ideological pumping is working, but over time, the weaknesses of the chosen line will begin to appear: free handling of facts, or, more simply, an excess of lies.

In this sense, the example of Mariupol is indicative, the garrison of which was surrounded for two and a half months and which the Ukrainian authorities all this time first promised to release by military means, and then to achieve export to a neutral country. It all ended with a natural “evacuation” into Russian captivity, and the military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the militants of the national battalions clearly saw how they were used as cannon fodder in the information war. Coincidence or not, but soon after the fall of Mariupol, the front in Donbass also staggered, and under the threat of encirclement of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, they now more often prefer to retreat and surrender cities without a fight.

Tectonic shifts have taken place in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions occupied by the Russian army: the creation of full-fledged military-civil administrations, the transition to payments in rubles, the connection of Russian television and the Internet, the transition to SIM cards of Russian operators. Russian license plates are being issued, symbols of Ukrainian statehood are being dismantled, and the procedure for issuing Russian passports has been adopted. Everything suggests that Russia intends to stay here seriously and for a long time – in contrast to the areas of the Kharkov region controlled by us, where nothing of the kind has yet been observed. The battle for the Donbass, which will determine the future of the NWO, is in full swing. She followed a slow, smoldering scenario that does not imply a swift and spectacular defeat of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Increasingly, the term of the First World War is remembered: war of attrition.

The conflict remains local and peripheral for everyone except Ukraine: Russia is fighting with a peacetime army, in fact, an expeditionary force at maximum speed, and the West, although it supplies the Armed Forces of Ukraine on an unprecedented scale, does not yet supply the latest and most expensive weapons, does not interfere with its own troops.

In any military conflict, two issues are of capital importance.

First: what is the politically acceptable damage – how much are you willing to lose forces and means to achieve military goals?

Second: what is the physically acceptable damage – how much can you lose in strength and means, while maintaining the ability to fight and achieve goals?

In the context of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, we will try to answer clarifying questions:

How much Ukraine is ready to lose people?

Politically, apparently, quite a lot. Now the total losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in killed, wounded and captured are estimated at tens of thousands of people, and the public opinion of the country still accepts these figures: yes, the losses are high, but we are successfully “holding back the orcs.” However, these are the best, most experienced and motivated fighters, and, at least in the coming months, it will be difficult to replace them. In addition, the defensive tactics of the Armed Forces of Ukraine work well on the fortified positions that have been created in the Donbass over the years. How untrained recruits will perform outside of such positions and against an army that has gained experience in assault operations, the future will show.

How much Ukraine is ready to lose weapons?

At first glance, in terms of the cheat code for endless ammo and barrels from the West, this question does not matter. But the basis of the army, especially the defending army, is not hipster drones and not single outdated armored vehicles, but artillery: guns, howitzers, MLRS, mortars. With the current scale of hostilities, they need thousands, tens of thousands, as well as millions of pieces of ammunition for them. Yes, the USSR accumulated weapons for a couple of world wars, and the lion’s share of these weapons settled in Ukraine and now serves in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Yes, military aid is brought in from all over the world, but this flow is less than what is lost at the front. As the Soviet stock is depleted, the West will face the question of a full-fledged military supply to Ukraine on a scale that has not been seen for decades, but it will have to supply a battle-hardened, but badly battered army with a significant percentage of untrained recruits, which means even more losses and the need for even more supplies .

How long can Ukraine sustain economically?

They give figures of a two-fold drop in Ukraine’s GDP this year: about $100 billion. Keeping the economy afloat in the face of mobilization, the loss of part of the territory, in the face of standing enterprises, the devaluation of the currency will require comparable infusions from the West. Even the complete confiscation of Russian gold reserves will only partially compensate for this, because the issue of military supplies remains, which requires up to $ 1 billion more daily.

And what about Russia? As long as the artillery-based slow advance tactics adopted by the Russian army are bearing fruit, we should not expect them to change. If the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation finally stall and get stuck – whether in the defense of Slavyansk or Kramatorsk, on the outskirts of Kharkov or Nikolaev – they will have to resolve the issue of military mobilization, which so far seems politically unacceptable to the Kremlin.

For the adversary (Ukraine and the West), the question of the acceptability of damage will ultimately come down to how the Ukrainian army will be able to attack the Russian army and occupy the territory. If he can, the economic costs, as well as human losses, will still remain insignificant, people will go to the front, weapons will flow from the West in a wide stream. If he cannot, if he continues to retreat, albeit slowly, then the question will arise what to do: go for peace or raise the stakes.

As before, everything will be decided on the battlefield.

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