Steigan.no -Daniel Davis -May 15, 2022
Can Ukraine really defeat Russia?
In recent days, a number of senior leaders in both Ukraine and Washington have made defiant claims not only to resist Russian aggression but to push for pure victory. Although such ambitions are perfectly understandable, it is unwise to pursue policies that seek a preferred outcome if there is no rational path by which Ukraine can achieve this goal. At present, most indicators, basic principles of war, and current trends on the battlefield support the prospect of a Ukrainian defeat.
In a speech Monday on Ukraine's Victory Day, commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, President Volodymyr Zelensky categorically stated that just as Ukraine defeated its enemy in 1945, "we have no doubt we will win" the war against Russia. Zelensky's foreign minister went a step further, adding that Kyiv not only sought to win the battle of the Donbas but defined "victory for us in this war will be the liberation of" all Ukrainian territories. There has been no shortage of Western voices supporting this idea - and in one case the escalation of the war.
And that's not all. In a speech to the Ukrainian parliament last week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that Ukraine's war with Russia is simply "good against evil", and that "Ukraine will win; Ukraine wants to be free. " On Saturday, Congressman Seth Moulton said the United States should not only help Ukraine defend itself, but stated bluntly that the United States is "fundamentally at war" with Russia, via proxy, and "it is important that we win." One would think that all these increasingly optimistic statements spring from solid evidence that Russia is losing. Instead, almost the opposite happens.
As a witness for the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, National Intelligence Director Avril Haines expressed confidence that Putin "is preparing for a protracted conflict in Ukraine" and still has ambitions beyond the Battle of Donbas. Haines said he thought the Russian leader " probably " would order a level of a national mobilization to support such goals. Evidence on the ground supports such a probability and helps explain why Putin is likely to take this step.
Following the well-described catastrophe of Putin's opening round of attacks in late February and early March, the Russian military has taken a number of effective steps to reorient its efforts, correct tactical and operational shortcomings, and push for achievable military goals. Over the past month, Russia has translated these changes into methodical, albeit slow, success on the battlefield.
In mid-April, Russia captured the critical transport hub Izyum near the northern shoulder of the Donbas lines. Just days ago, after nearly two months of fighting, Putin's troops captured another important city in northern Donbas that controls several major intersections in Popasnaya. Kremlin forces have now pushed deeper into Severdonetsk, endangering Ukrainian troops near Lysychansk, just southwest of Severdonetsk.
Russia seems to use tactics that mimic what worked for them in Mariupol: surround a city with ground troops, cut off Ukrainian forces' ability to get reinforcements (or food, water, and fuel), and then pepper Ukrainian positions with artillery, rocket attacks, fire and air raids, which gradually shrink the ring around the city.
Finally, Russian troops advance with infantry and armor to defeat the defenders at their weakest point, capturing the city. The pattern has proven effective and is currently being revised in a number of Ukrainian fort positions in the Donbas. Russia's strategy in the Donbas becomes clearer with the conquest of each major city, and it does not bode well for Kyiv.
A pocket is formed around the Ukrainian troops on the northern shoulder of the Donbas. Russia seeks to encircle UAF troops in this pocket by saturating important Ukrainian positions with heavy bombardment, attempting to cross several cities outside the pocket, gradually forcing the UAF defenses either further west - or capturing them in the pocket and then destroying them by fire and later ground troops.
After taking Izyum, Popasnaya, and continuing to Severdonetsk, Russia now invests heavily in Lysychansk, Kramatorsk, and Sloviansk, each city of 100,000 inhabitants or more. Tens of thousands of Ukraine's best, most experienced troops are manning the front lines of the Donbas. If Russia succeeds in taking enough cities there and cutting off the UAF troops, they can repeat the bloody tactics used to destroy Mariupol.
Russia will try to surround the defenders on the northern shoulder of the Donbas and slowly starve them for supplies while mercilessly attacking them with heavy weapons. If the northern shoulder is taken by Russia, the rest of the UAF positions in the central and southern parts of the Donbas - already under relentless Russian fire - could become untenable.
Whether Putin has enough troops, ammunition, and time to complete the destruction of UAF positions in Donbas without mobilizing any part of the reserve forces is an open question. What is clear, however, is that Russia's current operations are slowly suffocating Ukrainian troops in the Donbas and that despite optimistic rhetoric from Kyiv and Western capitals, the fight against Russian tactical success, possibly within two months.
From a military point of view, there is very little hope that even all the promised support with heavy weapons and ammunition from the West can be delivered to the front, that the Ukrainian troops can be adequately trained and firepower put into use in time to change course.
There is always a possibility that Russia may run out of energy before the completion of the siege, that Ukraine is able to pull out the fight beyond two months, and that the deadlock can be won by Kyiv. But it falls more into the category of "hope" and is a poor basis on which to base expectations. By ignoring these realities on the battlefield, the West sets the stage for potentially amplifying its problems.
Ukraine's and Western leaders continue to make statements that make the public believe that things are getting better, that the war is trending in their favor, and that soon the Western promised heavy weapons will stop the Russian advance. It remains at best a distant perspective. To the base, the policy on the expectation of the unlikely (but highly preferred) outcome rather than the realistic possibility that Russia may take Donbas is unwise and dangerous. Think of the consequences of this unwillingness to face hard truths.
By continuing to seek a military victory in Ukraine, Ukraine's troops will continue to fight, no negotiated solution will be realistically sought, and most likely Russian troops will continue to make progress. As a result, more Ukrainian civilians and troops will continue to be killed and wounded, more cities destroyed, and the economic and food crisis - for both Ukraine and the world - will worsen. The most likely outcome will not change (a negotiated settlement, not a Ukrainian military victory), but the cost to Kyiv will be much, much worse.
For every day this war continues, the risk continues for the United States and the West, that through someone's miscalculations, an accident, or just a foolish act on one side or the other results in a direct clash between Russia and NATO, which triggers an Article 5- situation that could drag the United States into a war with a nuclear superpower. As altruistic as it is to want to help Ukraine defend itself from this Russian invasion, there is nothing at stake in Eastern Europe worth being drawn into a potential nuclear war with Russia; a war from which we may not come alive.
Gambling that the current trend on the battlefield will not continue, in the hope that Ukraine can stick to the Donbas, and believing that the UAF will eventually drive Russia back to its country, is doing the people of Ukraine a disservice. Even if it works that way - an unlikely prospect - it will take years to achieve and result in such a staggering loss of Ukrainian life that it would be a pyrrhic owner - not worth the cost. A better course would be to participate in negotiations to do what is needed to end the fighting, end the killings of Ukrainian people, and speed up the day when reconstruction can begin. But continuing to base politics on pride and hope will almost certainly lead to thousands more deaths in Ukraine - deaths that could have been avoided.
By Daniel Davis.
This analysis was prepared by Daniel L. Davis who is the co-editor of the magazine 1945, a senior fellow for defense priorities, and a former lieutenant colonel in the United States. He has been in combat zones four times. The magazine 1945 is strongly Protestant and conservative.
The bottom line is for the people to regain their original, moral principles, which have intentionally been watered out over the past generations by our press, TV, and other media owned by the Illuminati/Bilderberger Group, corrupting our morals by making misbehavior acceptable to our society. Only in this way shall we conquer this oncoming wave of evil.
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