Convinced by force that its initial strategy was devastating – a “blitzkrieg” was impossible in a territory as committed to defending its autonomy as Ukraine – Vladimir Putin It carried out the second phase of the offensive so calmly that the days passed without any great conquests or great counterattacks.
war has become a slow thingIn centimeters, counting until May 9, Victory Day, Putin appears to be focused on the date for ending “special operations” in Ukraine.
When the army from Kyiv and the reservists called up at the last minute assembled in the outskirts of Belgorod, about fifty kilometers from Kharkov, largest city in ukraine russianthe high command continues to consider how to fully occupy the so-called Novarossiya, that is, the territory from Kharkov to Odessa through Dnipro: the entire Donbass, most of the Dniproperovsk region and through To the sea between Negro and the Sea of Azov and Crimea.
It’s an ambitious goal that’s almost impossible to achieve in just a month, but one that still comes to Vladimir Putin’s mind when he realizes that he won’t be able to militarily capture Kyiv or the nationalist state of western Ukraine this goal. It will depend on the resistance of the Ukrainian armythe arrival of new weapons from the West and the ability of the Russian army itself to act with a minimum of organization and discipline.
What we’ve seen so far is almost absurd: 40 days of battle for Melitopol, Kherson and Donetsk. Almost 15,000 people died, occupying one sixth of the enemy’s territory.
From Slovyansk to Dnipro and Kharkiv
Putin’s second offensive has been completely focused on a very limited area of Ukraine and is likely to go in two directions: East to Dnepr, south to Odessa. To do this, you need to create supply and security paths that allow you to move forward as a whole without subjecting yourself to too much partisan attack. Russia seems convinced that Kharkov will fall sooner or later.To do this, take the city Slovyansk, in Donetsk Oblast.
On its own, Slovyansk is not a particularly important enclave. It doesn’t appear in the history books, nor does it have a great narrative behind it. The importance of Slovyansk is that, on the one hand, its capture could help surround the Ukrainian troops still deployed in the Donbass, of which there are many.
We believe that the Donbass are already under Russian control, although Luhansk is indeed more or less in this situation, Donetsk remains an openly disputed territory.
JFO – Joint Operations Force – continues to defend the land against Russian regular and paramilitary forces that have fought in the region for eight years.The idea is to completely surround them, attack them from both directions, and then Isolate Kharkiv in turnin the north, seek any help those troops may offer.
If Russia manages to get into Slovyansk in the next few days, Ukraine will find itself in real trouble defending the country’s second most populous city…if Kharkov falls, Russia will now be able to focus all efforts on Dnipro Overlooking the Dnieper River that divides Ukraine in two.
All this is easier said than done. On the map, we are all Montgomery. This is not a risk. take a city, even kidnap their mayorkilling their civilians and Sow panic with massive bombing, it turns out this is not easy. The area around Kyiv can attest to this, as well as Mariupol, which is partly defended by Ukrainian troops despite weeks and weeks of terror and destruction.
Taking over the city street by street without internal support requires more than just Syrian mercenaries and Chechen volunteers. in some meaning, Occupy Kharkiv (nearly 1 million before the war) It may take longer and cost more lives.
From Mykolayiv to Odessa
In any case, the Russian army will of course try. This is one of the goals imposed by Moscow. Another concerns the south of the country, including the complete closure of Ukraine’s estuary to the sea. for it, It is necessary to expand eastward from Crimea And conquer the entire Sea of Azov – except for the aforementioned Mariupol, which has actually been achieved – and expand the field to the west, conquer Odessa, which currently seems impossible .
Odessa is an important city in Russian history.This Black Sea port is the usual summer resort of the nobility One of the most important commercial centers of Tsarist Russia in the 19th century.
As the scene of the first uprising of the 1905 Revolution, which would sow the seeds of the follow-up movement that led to the fall of the Tsar in 1917, Odessa had waited more than a month for the Russian offensive to arrive. Or not at all.Of course, there have been bombings since then Black Sea base, but the horrific amphibious attack did not happen. There are no guarantees at all.
In order to capture Odessa, given what is happening in the Sea of Azov, Russia needs to completely surround the city, which is currently beyond its reach. Melitopol and Kherson, north of Crimea, They fell down not long after, more or less resistant, but the Russian army is still stuck there. No major progress.
The stone they collided with again and again was Mykolaiv, in a perpetual struggle. There is no way to take the port city… no Mykolaiv There are no worthwhile corridors and no access to the mouth of the Dnieperwhich can be used to travel upstream to Zaporozhye and then gather troops around Dnipro.
Nikolayev was still under constant bombardment from the same mobile bases in the Black Sea, but it did not relax.as long as you don’t The river itself will act as a natural boundary Between the Ukrainian and Russian sides, Odessa will therefore be protected from any invasion. Not a single Russian soldier was within fifty kilometers.
Another option considered before the war was a large-scale landing of troops in the outer northern Xinjiang, pro-Russian rebel territories in Moldova, etc. Attack Odessa from the West… but this will assume organizational efforts that the Russian military cannot currently afford.
A war with no end in sight
In short, both the northern and southern offensives appear to require unprecedented Russian military effort and effectiveness. The precise coordination of the movement and the assumption that the troops will spend weeks and months advancing very slowly until they reach the Dnieper. Along the way, atrocities and aberrationsas we can see.
Worst performance of war. The longer the time, the more cruel and bloody. Russia needs to take Slovyansk and Nikolaev as soon as possible…but it is clearly not enough. This is just the minimum requirement Continue the activity.
We do not know the status of the troops withdrawn from the outskirts of Kyiv, nor how many will be used for the second offensive. We also don’t know how many people remain in Belarus. Or continue to put pressure on the capital in the immediate vicinity, which is the key to forcing Ukraine to maintain a minimal military at all times to protect the crown jewel.
We also don’t know how many more young Putin can mobilize and what weapons he has. With what he had, even the avalanche on the Dnieper seemed doomed.
The question is how to end it all the other way.Can Russia Celebrate a Victory? Does not include any of the four major cities in Ukraine? Can the annexation of territories such as Luhansk and Donetsk not yet on the front line be enough? It looks complicated.
Russia has lost more troops than it has lost in the past few months America in Iraq and Afghanistan Together. Not only that, but they show themselves to be the worst savages. Now, it’s hard to go back. There seems to be no will to do so either.
Unless the Ukrainian military collapses without the West’s reluctance to allow it, the most likely scenario is a war of attrition that drags on and blurs borders over time. There is no way to know where Ukraine ends and Russia begins.
Both economies were ultimately choked by the ravages of ongoing wars, tens of thousands of young and not-so-young people ended up dying, while millions roamed the western part of the country and the rest of Europe without homes or enough means to maintain until the medium term. Horror, wow, whimsical, megalomaniac and pointless horror.