Russias war in Ukraine 2022 1 - Europe Superpower

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Russias war in Ukraine 2022 1

Russias War in Ukraine 2022
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Ukrainian intelligence service: Missile strikes from the territory of Belarus - a large-scale provocation of the Russian Federation in order to further involve Belarus in the war against Ukraine - 25.06.2022
„On the night of June 25, a massive rocket bomb was fired on the territory of Ukraine. In particular, Russian bombers "worked" directly from the territory of Belarus. For this purpose, six Tu-22M3 aircraft were involved, which launched 12 X-22 cruise missiles. The launch line is the area of ​​the town of Petrykov, not far from Mozyr, approximately 50-60 kilometers from the state border of Ukraine. The bombers took off from Shaykovka Airport in the Kaluga region of the Russian Federation. Then through the territory of Kaluga and Smolensk regions entered the airspace of Belarus. After launching the missiles, they returned to Shaykovka Airport in Russia. The blow was inflicted on Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions. [...] Today's shelling is directly related to the Kremlin's efforts to draw Belarus into the war in Ukraine as a direct participant.“
Ракетні удари з території Білорусі – масштабна провокація РФ з метою подальшого втягнення Білорусі у війну проти України
„У ніч на 25 червня по території України завдано масованого ракетно бомбового удару. Зокрема, російські бомбардувальники «працювали» безпосередньо з території Білорусі. Для цього було задіяно шість літаків Ту-22М3, які виконали пуски 12 крилатих ракет Х-22. Рубіж пуску – район міста Петриков, що неподалік Мозиря, орієнтовно за 50-60 кілометрів від державного кордону України. Бомбардувальники злітали з аеропорту «Шайковка» калузької області РФ. Далі через територію калузької та смоленської областей входили в повітряний простір Білорусі. Після пуску ракет повертались в аеропорт «Шайковка» на території РФ. Удар наносився по Київській, Чернігівській, Сумській областях. [...] Сьогоднішній обстріл напряму пов’язаний з намаганнями кремлівської влади втягнути Білорусь у війну в Україні в якості безпосереднього учасника.“

Kaliningrad at the center of a new Russia-NATO faceoff 23.06.2022
Moscow is angry about Lithuania‘s decision to apply EU sanctions and thus to restrict the Russian freight traffic of some types of iron and steel, as well as luxury goods to its exclave of Kaliningrad. Perhaps against the background of Sweden and Finland planning to join NATO Russia sees an increasing pressure in the Baltic Sea, „essentially then a NATO lake“, and responded by threatening the leadership in Vilnius with "serious consequences“. Kaliningrad is a Russian enclave at the Baltic Sea with a strategic importance for Moscow: „It’s the home to the Baltic fleet, the Russian Baltic fleet. It’s the only port that is ice-free in the Baltic Sea for Russia. The other ones closer to St Petersburg all freeze over. It’s also become an interesting place militarily. Russia has stationed Iskander missiles there. They’ve never said whether those have nuclear weapons attached to them; they are capable, though, of having those. Western intelligence sources say, and openly, that they do have those missiles in Kaliningrad.“ Kaliningrad is, furthermore, important for the Russian control of access of NATO troops to the Baltic States, as it is situated at one side of the Suwalki Gap, a 60 miles long tiny sliver of territory between Poland and Lithuania. On the other side is Belarus. So, the Suwlki Gap could easily be closed off if Russia so decided.

Russian morale highly likely especially troubled
UK Ministry of Defence, Intelligence update 19.06.2022: „In recent days both, Russia and Ukraine have continued to conduct heavy artillery bombardements on axes to the north, east and south of the Sieverodonetsk pocket, but with little change in the front line. Combat units from both sides are committed to intense combat in the Donbas and are likely experiencing variable morale. Ukrainian forces have likely suffered desertions in recent weeks, however, Russian morale highly likely remains especially troubled. Cases of whole Russian units refusing orders and armed stand-offs between officers and their troops continue to occur. […] Drivers for low Russian morale include perceived poor leadership, limited opportunity for rotation of units out of combat, very heavy casualties, combat stress, continued poor logistics, and problems with pay. Many Russian personnel of all ranks also likely remain confused about the war‘s objectives.“
Institute for the Study of War 18.06.2022: „The Russian military continues to face challenges with the morale and discipline of its troops in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate released what it reported were intercepted phone calls on June 17 and 18 in which Russian soldiers complained about frontline conditions, poor equipment, and overall lack of personnel. One soldier claimed that units have been largely drained of personnel and that certain battalion tactical groups (BTGs) have only 10 to 15 troops remaining in service.“

Deputy head of Ukrainian military intelligence says Ukraine is losing artillery war against Russia, 10.06.2022
Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, told the Guardian: “This is an artillery war now […] and we are losing in terms of artillery. […] Everything now depends on what [the west] gives us. […] Ukraine has one artillery piece to 10 to 15 Russian artillery pieces.” But, Skibitsky said, also the Russians seem to have some problems: “We have noticed that Russia is carrying out far fewer rocket attacks and it has used H-22 rockets; they are old 1970s Soviet rockets. This shows that Russia is running low on rockets.” And according to him Russia was unable to produce them quickly because of the sanctions and that it had used already around 60% of its supplies.

Russia crisis military assessment: The impact of multiple rocket launcher transfers to Ukraine, 09.06.2022
„If the battle in eastern Ukraine becomes a war of attrition, the Russians are currently favored to win. In addition to having a much larger population from which to draw replacement forces, Russia knows that Ukraine is dependent on older, Russianmade tanks and fighters. While Poland recently gave Ukraine 240 of its old T-72s, the donation of old equipment from former Warsaw Pact members is only a temporary solution. To help Ukraine expel Russian forces from its territory—and defend itself in the future—the United States must begin its full transition to US-made equipment now. That means Washington should send M1 Abrams tanks, F-16 fighter jets, light armored vehicles, and helicopters. [...]“ As for the rocket systems announced by the US and the UK, the military fellows of Atlantic Council assume that „While the transfer of US high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) and British multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) will help Ukraine, we assess that the amount of systems and ammunition planned for transfer in the first tranche will only have a minor impact in the fighting.“

Intelligence update Ukraine, 03.06.2022
„Russia controls over 90% of Luhansk Oblast and is likely to complete control in the next two weeks. Russia has achieved these recent tactical successes at significant resource cost, and by concentrating force and fires on a single part of the overall campaign. Russia has not been able to generate manoeuvre or movement on other fronts or axes, all of which have transitioned to the defensive. Measured against Russia‘s original plan, none of the strategic objectives have been achieved. In order for Russia to achieve any form of success will require continued huge investment of manpower and equipment, and is likely to take considerable further time.“

Why Putin’s Mighty Russian Army Is Struggling To Achieve Its Goals In Ukraine ,  03.06.2022: MICHAEL KOFMAN AND ROB LEE: NOT BUILT FOR PURPOSE: THE RUSSIAN MILITARY’S ILL-FATED FORCE DESIGN, JUNE 2, 2022 -

How Ukrainians’ Guerilla Warfare Strategy Blindsided Putin’s Mighty Russian Army Amid War:

Swapping Severodonetsk for Kherson? , 30.05.2022
„Ukrainian commanders seem to be accepting the risk of losing Severodonetsk in exchange for a shot at winning Kherson. Conversely, Russian commanders seem to be willing to risk Kherson if it means winning Severodonetsk. […] Taking Severodonetsk, the last free city in Luhansk Oblast, could allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to declare a sort of “victory” in Donbas—even if that victory comes at the cost of Russia’s remaining combat power. For the Ukrainians, Kherson—pre-war population 290,000—is more valuable than Severodonetsk. Not only is Kherson bigger, it’s an important seaport with substantial economic potential.“

Russia’s ‘cauldron’tactic may be tipping Donbas battle in its favour, 27.05.2022  
„After several weeks of deadlock, Russia’s military appears to have found a way to advance in the Donbas – pounding it with such intense, unsophisticated artillery that Ukraine’s exhausted defenders are having to yield. […] The Russian advances are not dramatic but they reflect a new strategy. Gone for now are the attempts at wider encirclements of Ukrainian forces in the Donbas [...]. Instead units are focused on smaller encirclements – or “cauldrons” – and a sheer concentration at Sievierodonetsk. […] Russian efforts in the Donbas have also been aided by shorter supply lines over the border into Russia as well as a dense network of railway lines in the parts of Luhansk occupied by pro-Russian forces since 2014. And forces previously thrown into the failed attempt to take Kyiv continue to arrive. […] An ongoing problem [...] was that it can take two months or more for promised western weaponry to arrive, another reason why Russia may be enjoying a tactical advantage. Ukraine’s fundamental problem is that [...] it has not been able to reverse Russia’s territorial gains in the south and east. That means it has incurred human and economic losses far greater than Russia.“

"There are almost no satisfied ones" , 24.05.2022
"Satisfied with Putin, probably almost none. Business and many members of the government are unhappy that the president started the war without thinking about the scale of the sanctions – one cannot live normally with such sanctions. "Hawks" are not satisfied with the pace of the "special operation". They think they can act more decisively. [...] “Problems [in Russia due to the war] are already visible, and in the middle of summer they will simply fall from different directions: transport, medicine, even agriculture. No one simply thought of such a scale,” Meduza’s interlocutor close to the government explains. […] Meduza’s interlocutors close to the Presidential Administration and the government note that against such a backdrop, the topic of “the future after Putin” is increasingly being discussed in the authorities. […] there is an understanding, or a wish, that in a fairly foreseeable future he will not govern the state, ”explains one of the sources. [...]"
(«Довольных почти нет»
"Довольных Путиным, наверно, почти нет. Бизнес и многие члены правительства недовольны тем, что президент начал войну, не подумав о масштабах санкций — с такими санкциями жить нормально нельзя. «Ястребов» не устраивают темпы «спецоперации». Они думают, что можно действовать решительнее. […] «Проблемы [в России из-за войны] уже видны, а в середине лета они просто посыплются с разных сторон: транспорт, медицина, даже сельское хозяйство. Никто о таком масштабе просто не думал», — объясняет близкий к правительству собеседник «Медузы». [...] Близкие к АП и правительству собеседники «Медузы» отмечают, что на таком фоне во власти все чаще обсуждается тема «будущего после Путина». […] есть понимание, или пожелание, что в достаточно обозримой перспективе управлять государством он не будет», — поясняет один из источников. [...]")

War critical letter by the All-Russia Officers' Assembly, 19.05.2022:
Statement of the Council of the All-Russian Officers' Assembly
"[...] At the same time, carefully analyzing the course of almost three months of hostilities, we came to the conclusion that the special military operation that began on February 24, unfortunately, ended in failure: after a month of hostilities, Russian troops retreated from the captured bridgeheads near Kyiv, left the liberated territories in Sumy and Chernihiv regions in the north and Mykolaiv region in the south of the so-called Ukraine. [...] To us, [..] the following became quite clear: The special operation is over! A full-blooded war has begun! In its spiritual, moral, national-political and socio-economic essence, this is a new Patriotic War of historical Russia against the global infernal forces of the so-called "new world order". [...] Based on the current situation, the All-Russian Officers' Assembly DEMANDS: 1. On the basis of Articles 3 and 4 of the Federal Constitutional Law No. 1-FKZ of January 30, 2002 “On Martial Law”, by Decree of the President of the Russian Federation, introduce martial law in the following constituent entities of the Russian Federation that have land and sea borders with NATO countries: […]. With this open Statement, we are addressing the President of the Russian Federation, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, and other senior officials of the state with a demand to immediately take measures to sharply increase the combat power of our Armed Forces and strengthen the defense capability of Russia [...]."
("Заявление Совета Общероссийского Офицерского собрания
[...] Вместе с тем, внимательно анализируя ход почти трёхмесячных боевых действий, мы пришли к выводу, что начавшаяся 24 февраля специальная военная операция, к сожалению, завершилась неудачей: российские войска через месяц боевых действий отступили с захваченных плацдармов под Киевом, оставили освобождённые территории в Сумской и Черниговской областях на севере и в Николаевской области на юге так называемой Украины. [...] Нам, [...] стала совершенно очевидным следующее: Специальная операция закончилась! Началась полнокровная война! По своей духовно-нравственной, национально-политической и общественно-экономической сущности это новая Отечественная война исторической России против глобальных инфернальных сил так называемого «нового мирового порядка». [...] Исходя из сложившейся обстановки, Общероссийское Офицерское Собрание ТРЕБУЕТ: 1. На основании 3 и 4 статей Федерального конституционного закона от 30 января 2002 года № 1-ФКЗ «О военном положении» Указом Президента РФ ввести режим военного положения в следующих субъектах Российской Федерации, имеющих сухопутную и морскую границу со странами НАТО: […]. Мы обращаемся с этим открытым Заявлением к Президенту Российской Федерации, Патриарху Русской Православной Церкви, другим высшим должностным лицам государства с требованием незамедлительно принять меры к резкому повышению боевой мощи наших Вооружённых Сил и усилению обороноспособности России [...].")

The Siloviki - Putin's inner circle of power:

Suspicious fire at Russian Aerospace Institute, 22.05.2022
A Fire broke out at the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute in Zhukovsky, a major Russian aerospace institute only 43 miles from Moscow. The institute has been crucial to the development of aircraft such as the Su-27, MiG-29, and MiG-31 fighters as well as various rockets. Professor Douglas London, a retired CIA operative, spoke of a 'Ukrainian sabotage campaign inside Russia': 'US and allied enabling of a Ukrainian sabotage campaign inside Russia telegraphs a significant and escalating cost Putin can ill afford,' he said.

Smaller and smaller Russian offensives, Sky news, 20.5.2022 -

Russian forces focus on capturing Luhansk Oblast, 19.05.2022

Institute for the Study of War: „Russian forces will likely complete their withdrawal from the vicinity of Kharkiv City but attempt to hold a line west of Vovchansk to defend their GLOCs [Ground Lines of Communication] from Belgorod [Russia, north of Izyum] to Izyum. It is unclear if they will succeed. The Russians will continue efforts to encircle Severodonetsk and Lysychansk [Luhansk Oblast] at least from the south, possibly by focusing on cutting off the last highway connecting Severodonetsk- Lysychansk with the rest of Ukraine.“

Russian senior commanders fired 19.05.2022
„In recent weeks, Russia has fired senior commanders who are considered to have performed poorly during the opening stages of its invasion of Ukraine. Lieutenant General Serhiy Kisel, who commanded the elite 1st Guards Tank Army, has been suspended for his failure to capture Kharkiv. Vice Admiral Igor Osipov, who commanded Russia‘s Black Sea Fleet, has also likely been suspended following the sinking of the cruiser Moskva in April. Russian Chief of the General Staff Valeriy Gerasimov likely remains in post, but it is unclear whether he retains the confidence of President Putin. [...]“

Former Russian colonel and defence columnist Mikhail Khodaryonok gave a damning assessment of Russia's war in Ukraine on Russian state TV Rossia 1 -

Why is Russia‘s army so weak? -  The Economist -

Russia has likely lost one third of its ground forces – Intelligence update 15.05.2022
„Russia‘s Donbas offensive has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule. Despite small-scale initial advances, Russia has failed to achieve substantial territorial gains over the past month whilst sustaining consistently high levels of attrition. Russia has now likely suffered losses of one third of the ground combat force it committed in February.
These delays will almost certainly be exacerbated by the loss of critical enablers such as bridging equipment and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance drones. Russian bridging equipment has been in short supply throughout the conflict, slowing and restricting offensive manoeuvre. Russian UAVs are vital for tactical avareness and directing artillery, but have been vulnerable to Ukrainian anti-air capabilities.
Russian forces are increasingly constrained by degraded enabling capabilities, continued low morale and reduced combat effectiveness. Many of these capabilities cannot be quickly replaced or reconstituted, and are likely to continue to hinder Russian operations in Ukraine. Under the current conditions, Russia is unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance ovr the next 30 days.“

Head of Ukrainian military intelligence about the end of the war and a coup in Moscow - 14.05.2022
Major General Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine's head of military intelligence, spoke to Sky News about the war in Ukraine and a coup against Putin. As for the war he predicts that "The breaking point will be in the second part of August. … Most of the active combat actions will have finished by the end of this year. … As a result, we will renew Ukrainian power in all our territories that we have lost including Donbas and the Crimea." The General also told that a defeat in Ukraine "will eventually lead to the change of leadership of the Russian Federation. This process has already been launched and they are moving into that way." When asked if a coup is under way, Budanov replied "Yes". "They are moving in this way and it is impossible to stop it." Then he added that Mr Putin is in a "very bad psychological and physical condition and he is very sick".

How Finland and Sweden would transform NATO‘s military capabilities, WSJ, 16.05.2022 -

Finland and Sweden want to join NATO, 12.05.2022
„Accession would tighten the strategic Nordic grip on the Baltic Sea — Russia’s maritime point of access to the city of St. Petersburg and its Kaliningrad exclave. Finland and Sweden also join them, along with Iceland, at the heart of the triangle formed with the North Atlantic and maritime areas in the Arctic, to where Russia projects its military might from the northern Kola Peninsula. Integrated NATO military planning will become a lot simpler, making the region easier to defend. [...] If Finland joins, it would double the length of the alliance’s border with Russia, adding a further 1,300 kilometers (830 miles) for Moscow to defend.“ -
As for Russia, its Foreign Ministry warned the same day that "Finland's accession to NATO will cause serious damage to bilateral Russian-Finnish relations, maintaining stability and security in the Northern European region. Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop the threats to its national security arising in this regard."
("Присоединение Финляндии к НАТО нанесет серьезный ущерб двусторонним российско-финляндским отношениям, поддержанию стабильности и безопасности в североевропейском регионе. Россия будет вынуждена предпринять ответные шаги как военно-технического, так и иного характера в целях купирования возникающих в этой связи угроз её национальной безопасности.") -

Russia Crisis Military Assessment - 11.05.2022
„While Russia has made slight progress in the Donbas, the line of control has hardly budged and the Kremlin’s campaign has largely stalled. The Ukrainian counteroffensive near Kharkiv remains strong, with Russian forces being pushed back toward the Russian border. [...] Numerous Ukrainian fires and explosions within Russia have rocked Russian logistics and supply facilities, including oil and fuel depots. We assess that these efforts are part of a Ukrainian strategy to interrupt Russian supply lines and destabilize its military establishment. US weapons deliveries are rapidly reaching Ukraine—as seen by the employment of 155mm Howitzer long-range artillery pieces within weeks of their announced transfer—and are bolstering Ukrainian resistance.“

Address by the President of Russia at the military parade on the Red Square in Moscow, 09.05.2022
In that speech Putin repeats the arguments which he already presented before the invasion of Ukraine: The West is militarily present in Ukraine and that‘s a threat for Russia. For this he had to start his „special operation“:  
„Another punitive operation in Donbass, an invasion of our historic lands [he is speaking of the Donbass], including Crimea, was openly in the making. […] The NATO bloc launched an active military build-up on the territories adjacent to us. Thus, an absolutely unacceptable threat to us was steadily being created right on our borders. […] Let me repeat, we saw the military infrastructure being built up, hundreds of foreign advisors starting work, and regular supplies of cutting-edge weaponry being delivered from NATO countries. The threat grew every day. Russia launched a pre-emptive strike at the aggression.“ -
(„В открытую шла подготовка к очередной карательной операции на Донбассе, к вторжению на наши исторические земли, включая Крым. [...] Блок НАТО начал активное военное освоение прилегающих к нам территорий. Таким образом, планомерно создавалась абсолютно неприемлемая для нас угроза, причём непосредственно у наших границ. [...] Повторю, мы видели, как разворачивается военная инфраструктура, как начали работать сотни зарубежных советников, шли регулярные поставки самого современного оружия из стран НАТО. Опасность росла с каждым днём. Россия дала упреждающий отпор агрессии.“ -

Russian offensive potential exhausted with Donbass campaign – 07.05.2022
Michael Kofman, Director of the Research Program on Russia Studies at the Center for Naval Analyses in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel: „Without national mobilization, Russia's offensive potential will be exhausted with the campaign in Donbass. It doesn't matter if the operation is successful or not - but as things stand, this will be the last major Russian offensive.“ […] Even in a war of attrition, Russian forces would probably exhaust themselves if Ukraine continued to receive equipment from Western countries.“ When asked, "Do you think Ukrainian forces can recapture significant areas to the east and south?", Kofman replied, "Yes."
(Ohne nationale Mobilmachung wird Russlands Angriffspotenzial mit dem Feldzug im Donbass aufgebraucht sein. Es spielt keine Rolle, ob die Operation erfolgreich ist oder nicht – aber so, wie die Dinge stehen, wird dies die letzte große Offensive der Russen sein.“ […] Selbst in einem Zermürbungskrieg würden sich die russischen Streitkräfte wohl erschöpfen, wenn die Ukraine weiterhin Ausrüstung aus westlichen Ländern erhält.“ Auf die Frage „Glauben Sie, dass die ukrainischen Streitkräfte bedeutende Gebiete im Osten und Süden zurückerobern können?“, antwortet Kofman mit einem „Ja.“)
Der Spiegel, Nr.19, 7.5.2022, S. 14

Intelligence update Ukraine, 07.05.2022: „The conflict in Ukraine is taking a heavy toll on some of Russia‘s most capable units and most advanced capabilities.“

Russia‘s economy unfit for war in Ukraine? , 07.05.2022
„Meanwhile on Russian state TV, military experts are concerned that Russia‘s current economy is unfit to meet the needs of its Armed Forces. One expert advocated the urgent need to move on to „military socialism“ and a „wartime economy“, with government in charge of everything.“ , Julia Davis on Twitter
Konstantin Sivkov, the analyst in the added video: "Our current economical market system is unfit to meet the needs of our Armed Forces and of the entire country under these conditions. We need to move on to another system, I will tentatively call it 'military socialism' […]. All strategic resources, without exceptions, like land, factories and everything else have to be placed under government control and develop according to a centralized plan. [...]. We need to urgently, urgently adopt our industries into a wartime economy".

U.S. intelligence helps Ukraine kill Russian generals and helped it strike the Russian flagship Moskva. Thus, the New York Times reported on May 4th: „The United States has provided intelligence about Russian units that has allowed Ukrainians to target and kill many of the Russian generals who have died in action in the Ukraine war“. And a day later the newspaper wrote: „The United States provided intelligence that helped Ukrainian forces locate and strike the flagship of Russia‘s Black Sea fleet“, the cruiser Moskva.

Frustration in Russia‘s security institutions - 01.05.2022
The Russian investigative journalists Irina Borogan and Andrei Soldatov, senior fellows with the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), wrote on April 25 that „Russia’s army is deeply unhappy at the new and curtailed strategy Putin has ordered them to adopt in Ukraine, abandoning the big goal of capturing Kyiv for a much more modest objective of invading Donbas […]. Russia’s military believes that limiting the war’s initial goals is a serious error. They now argue that Russia is not fighting Ukraine, but NATO. Senior officers have therefore concluded that the Western alliance is fighting all out (through the supply of increasingly sophisticated weaponry) while its own forces operate under peacetime constraints like a bar on airstrikes against some key areas of Ukraine’s infrastructure. In short, the military now demands all-out war, including mobilization. […] This is the very first time the siloviki (силовики́ - representatives of the security services and the military) are putting distance between themselves and the president.“

War of attrition in Donbas and the decisive role of logistics, 29.04.2022
According to the Intelligence update of the British Ministry of Defence of 29.04. „The Battle of Donbas remains Russia‘s main strategic focus, in order to achieve its stated aim of securing control over the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.“ There they attempted to advance south from Izium towards Slovyansk. But „Due to strong Ukrainian resistance, Russian territorial gains have been limited and achieved at significant cost to Russian forces.“ For the future course of the war the senior military fellows of Forward Defense assess „that victory in the Donbas region will go to whichever side seizes the advantage in offensive fires and resupply efforts over the next few weeks and months.“ But in recent days Russia has attacked railways in southern and western Ukraine to slow the supply of equipment and needed supplies to Ukrainian forces. As for the Ukrainians, they likely attacked fuel depots in Russia near the border as well as Russian supply lines to starve Russian military forces of needed fuel and munitions.

Russia wants to conquer southern Ukraine as far as Transnistria said Rustam Minnekaev, acting commander of the Central Military District, 22.04.2022:
„Since the beginning of the second phase of the special operation, it has already begun just two days ago, one of the tasks of the Russian army is to establish full control over the Donbass and southern Ukraine. This will provide a land corridor to Crimea, as well as affect the vital objects of the Ukrainian economy. […] Control over the south of Ukraine is another way out to Transnistria, where there are also facts of oppression of the Russian-speaking population.“
(„С начала второй фазы спецоперации, она уже началась буквально два дня назад, одной из задач российской армии является установление полного контроля над Донбассом и Южной Украиной. Это позволит обеспечить сухопутный коридор в Крым, а также воздействовать на жизненно важные объекты украинской экономики. […] Контроль над югом Украины - это еще один выход в Приднестровье, где также отмечаются факты притеснения русскоязычного населения.“)

Assessment of Minnekaev‘s speech by the Institute for the Study of War & AEI’s Critical Threats Project, 22.04.2022:
„Deputy Commander of the Central Military District Rustam Minnekaev gave a speech to the annual meeting of the Union of Defense Industries on April 22 that has been misinterpreted as the announcement of a new Russian campaign. [...] Minnekaev stated that Russian control of southern Ukraine provides Russia a future capability to conduct an offensive toward Transnistria, rather than announcing an imminent Russian offensive toward Moldova. […] Even if Russian forces did seek to resume major offensive operations toward Mykolaiv and on to Odesa, they are highly unlikely to have the capability to do so.“

Ukrainian troops mount last-ditch stand in tunnels of Mariupol ,  17.04.2022
Though, for more than seven weeks, invading Russian forces pound Mariupol with bombs, artillery and missiles, about 2.000 Ukrainian troops there are still fighting, taking refuge in the Azovstal steel works and parts of the seaport, which have an extensive network of tunnels. As for the situation in the city, the Financial Times spoke with a founder of the Azov  Battalion: >>“As for how they survive, Mariupol is a big city, and there are a large number of big buildings made of reinforced concrete and steel, and a large number of underground passages,” he said. […] The fighters were contending with scarce food and drinking water, he said. Ukrainian helicopters had dropped emergency provisions including armaments and medicines via an “air bridge”, although he did not say whether they were still doing so. Biletsky said doctors and nurses were helping but were working underground, as throughout Mariupol, with a lack of medicines, including antibiotics and anaesthetic.<<

Ivan Ilyin: Putin‘s philosopher of christian fascism
Timothy Snyder: “God Is a Russian”, April 5, 2018 : >>Russian innocence was becoming one of Ilyin’s great themes. As a concept, it completed his fascist theory: The world had lost its “divine totality” and “harmonious unity.” Only Russia had somehow escaped the evil of “history” or “the fragmentation of human existence.” Because it “drew the strength of its soul from God,” it was under perpetual attack from the rest of the malevolent world. Its immaculate essence had endured “a millennium of suffering.” This Russia was not a country with individuals and institutions but an immortal creature, a “living organic unity.” Ilyin enclosed the word “Ukrainians” within quotation marks, since in his view they were a part of the Russian organism. [...] “Power comes all by itself,” declared Ilyin, “to the strong man.” This leader would be responsible for every aspect of political life, as chief executive, chief legislator, chief justice, and commander of the military. Democratic elections, Ilyin thought, institutionalized the evil notion of individuality. It followed that “we must reject blind faith in the number of votes and its political significance.” Elections should rather be a ritual of submission of Russians before their leader.<<

Russian warship 'Moskva' sinks in Black Sea - What does it mean _ DW News, 15.04.2022  -
Russia Crisis Military Assessment: How Ukraine can take the fight to Russia , 13.04.2022
„We assess that Russian operations are now centered on the consolidation of gains in the eastern Donbas region and the completion of a land bridge from there to Crimea […]. We have determined two immediate focus areas of the Russian offensive. First, the Kremlin wants to take control of (or annihilate) Mariupol, effectively ending Ukrainian opposition to a land bridge connecting Crimea to the Donbas. Second, the Russians are likely to conduct an offensive against the city of Izyum, which lies south of Kharkiv and just north of the Donbas.“ As for the central campaign for the control of the Donbas the military experts of Forward Defense conclude: „We predict that this phase of the conflict will be distinct from phase one, with a greater focus on offensives against dug-in combatants as opposed to Ukrainian defense against a large attacking force. The campaign is likely to become a bloody war of attrition with limited territorial gains on either side.“

New Russian Strategy Does Not Resolve Underlying Military Issues, 14.04.2022  
According to Vikram Mittal, associate professor at the United States Military Academy, some issues for the Russian military will remain though they have changed their strategy, focusing their operations to the Donbas region now instead of the whole country. One critical issue for the Russians during the war against Ukraine has been command-and-control. Thus, „the Russian military was not able to synchronize and coordinate their attacks.“ Another issue he sees in the Russian logistics - that is, a constant resupply of ammunition and fuel  - as the Russian resupply convoys are targeted by Ukrainian drones. A third issue is related to Russian doctrine as it is defensive in nature, heavily relying on artillery, what does not necessarily work well for offensive operations. „Although their new strategy is an improvement from that used for the initial invasion, they will likely face many of the same issues that they faced on the initial invasion. These issues, including command-and control, logistics, and doctrine, will plague this new Russian offensive operation.“

New Russian military convoy near Kharkiv:

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, 04.04.2022
„Efforts by Russian forces advancing from Izyum to capture Slovyansk will likely prove to be the next pivotal battle of the war in Ukraine. Russian forces likely intend to cut off Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine and will need to take Slovyansk as their minimum step to do so. If Russian forces take Slovyansk, they will then have the option to advance directly east to link up with Russian forces fighting in Rubizhne [...] or advance toward Horlivka and Donetsk to attempt a wider encirclement of Ukrainian forces. [...] If Russian forces are unable to take Slovyansk at all, Russian frontal assaults in Donbas are unlikely to independently breakthrough Ukrainian defenses and Russia’s campaign to capture the entirety of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts will likely fail.“ Institute for the Study of War and Critical Threats

Strategic importance of Mariupol – at the beginning of April 80 to 90 percent of the city has been completely destroyed and it could soon be completely conquered by the Russians. For their plans it is an obstacle on the way from Donbas to the annexed Crimea where Russia wants to create a land corridor. As Mariupol is the biggest port in the Azov Sea region, Russia could also control more than 80% of Ukraine's Black Sea coastline and furthermore, it could strangle Ukraine‘s economy as Mariupol is home to major iron and steel works, and, in normal times, is a key export hub for Ukraine's steel, coal and corn.

Russian retreat from Kyiv and northern Ukraine
Zelensky on 02.04.2022:  „Occupiers are retreating in the north of our country, slowly but noticeably. Somewhere they are pushed away with fighting, somewhere they are leaving their positions themselves. After their withdrawal, the situation is catastrophic, and there is so much danger. And this is true. First of all, airstrikes might continue. Secondly, they are mining the entire territory, houses, hardware, even the bodies of those killed. There are so many tripwires and other dangers. [...]“
As for Russia, it described the withdrawal as a tactical move to regroup and reposition its forces for a major push in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. And the Pentagon warned that the formations near Kyiv could be repositioning for renewed assaults.

Experts‘ military assessment of the latest force developments surrounding Ukraine: Forward Defense, an expert group within the Atlantic Council‘s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, conclude on 30.03.2022:
„The Russian MoD’s announcement of a shift in strategy to focus on the Donbas region was a result of the ongoing battle situation, which is characterized by a stalled offensive momentum and a serious loss of personnel and equipment. Despite the announcement, Russia is likely to continue launching air and missile attacks across the country […]. In the northern area of operations, Russia will continue to bombard major cities such as Kyiv and Kharkiv but will not threaten to capture either city. Ukraine is likely to execute small counteroffensives to retake small but critical terrain. However, these attacks are unlikely to lead to any large-scale victories over Russian forces or the collapse and/or capitulation of Russian forces in the north. In the south, Russia is unlikely to conduct an offensive against Odesa, and instead will continue its effort to control Mariupol [...]. The main Russian effort is now in the Donbas, [...] with the intent of controlling the entire region and strengthening Russia’s hand in peace negotiations.“

Lugansk soon joining Russia? - "I think that in the near future a referendum will be held on the territory of the republic where people will exercise their constitutional right and express their opinion on joining Russia. For some reason, I am sure that this is exactly how it will be", Pasechnik, head of the „Lugansk People's Republic“ assured -, 27.03.2022. - If this is a common move with Russia, this would make the strategy shift, announced by the Russian General Staff on 25.03., more probable: now Russia concentrates on the expansion of its territory into the east of Ukraine.

Ukrainian counter offensive – while Russian troops near Kyiv are now at risk of getting surrounded themselves Russia speaks of an accomplished first stage of its „special operation“:
„Ukrainian forces are carrying out successful counter attacks against Russian positions in towns on the outskirts of the capital, and have probably retaken Makariv and Moschun. There is a realistic possibility that Ukrainian forces are able to encircle Russian units at Bucha and Irpin.“ UK Ministry of Defence, 23.03.2022:
"In general, the main tasks of the first stage of the operation have been accomplished. The combat potential of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has been significantly reduced, which allows us, once again, to concentrate our main efforts on achieving the main goal — the liberation of Donbass," Sergey Rudskoy, head of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, 25.03.2022

NATO military build-up in eastern Europe - Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, 24.03.2022: „Leaders approved our four new NATO battlegroups. In Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. These are in addition to the four already in the Baltic countries and Poland. So we have eight multinational NATO battlegroups now. From the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.“
As for Europe‘s dependence on Russian gas, the US wants to supply it now with 15 billion cubic metres of liquefied natural gas to help reduce this dependence on Russia.

EU Rapid reaction force: A new paper tiger as the never deployed EU battlegroups before or has the EU recently found a political will to act together, under EU flag, in defence and security? Is Russia‘s war in Ukraine having enough uniting effect?
„We need to be able to respond to imminent threats or quickly react to a crisis situation outside the Union at all stages of the conflict cycle. To this end, we will develop an EU Rapid Deployment Capacity that will allow us to swiftly deploy a modular force of up to 5000 troops, including land, air and maritime components, as well as the required strategic enablers.“ A Strategic Compass for Security and Defence, 2. ACT, p. 14, 21.03.2022,

Strategic importance of Odessa: In these days Odessa is preparing for a possible Russian invasion from the sea, where already Russian navy
landing ships are waiting at the horizon and could start an invasion of a city which has a strategic importance for whoever has control over it: Thus, Odessa controls access to and control over the Black Sea and is important for the transport of cargo and resources through Europe. First of all, the Rhine-Main-Danube canal, which is connecting north and central Europe to the Middle-East and Asia, passes through the Odessa region. Additionally, three European trade routes, including an important section of the Silk Route, pass through Odessa Oblast. Furthermore, oil and gas from the Caspian Sea, the Middle-East, Central Asia, and Russia are important resources that are either transported through or refined in Odessa. As for Ukraine, Odessa‘s importance is that of an industrial centre that is situated in a top grain producing and exporting region of Ukraine.

British Defence Intelligence about Russia‘s logistical problems in Ukraine – 17.03.2022: „Logistical problems continue to beset Russia‘s faltering invasion of Ukraine. Reluctance to manoeuvre cross-country, lack of control of the air and limited bridging capabilities are preventing Russia from effectively resupplying their forward troops with even basic essentials such as food and fuel. Incessant Ukrainian counterattacks are forcing Russia to divert large numbers of troops to defend their own supply lines. This is severely limiting Russia‘s offensive potential.“

NATO Military built-up in Eastern Europe – 16.03.2022 – Press conference by NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg: „There are now hundreds of thousands of forces at heightened alert across the Alliance. One hundred thousand US troops in Europe. And around 40,000 troops under direct NATO command, mostly in the eastern part of the Alliance. Backed by major air and naval power. As well as air defences. But we face a new reality for our security. So we must reset our collective defence and deterrence for the longer term. Today we have tasked our military commanders to develop options across all domains. Land, air, sea, cyber and space. On land, our new posture should include substantially more forces in the eastern part of the Alliance, at higher readiness. With more prepositioned equipment and supplies. In the air, more Allied air power. And strengthened integrated air and missile defence. At sea, carrier strike groups, submarines and significant numbers of combat ships on a persistent basis.“  

German military: 15.03.2022 - a big thank you to Mr Putin, as it‘s because of your special Ukraine operation that the German Bundeswehr gets up to thirty-five F-35 stealth jets which can also carry the US-atomic bombs that are still at the Fliegerhorst Büchel! To be honest, I think it wouldn‘t have gotten them without you! Financed from a special budget of 100 billion Euros, that the military also only has gotten because of you and your ideas, the F-35 shall replace part of the 40 years old Tornados. Ok, they are US-built and not European as the FCAS (Future Combat Air System), but I think the Luftwaffe is already happy when there is a jet that really flies and the FCAS would only be ready to use in 2040. You know, much stuff of the Bundeswehr is only scrap metal, but perhaps, things will change soon, thanks of you! Wouldn‘t that be great?!

The Russian Military’s Debacle in Ukraine - 11.03.2022 - Michael Kofman, an expert on the Russian military, in an interview:
„The [Russian] political leadership had imposed the framework, and the crux of it was that they believed the Russian military could, in a matter of days, achieve a regime change in Ukraine—that there wouldn’t be a significant amount of fighting and resistance, that they wouldn’t have to conduct a protracted war, that they could rapidly build up forces and introduce them into the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. […] They actually had not organized a lot of the key logistics and enablers for a real campaign. […] I think that what Ukraine has largely been doing is pursuing the right strategy, which is trading territory or space to buy time, trying to exhaust Russian forces, and trying to engage them in contexts where Ukraine has the advantage. These include fighting in urban settings where the terrain strongly favors the defender, and ambushing Russian convoys in small groups, taking advantage of extended Russian supply lines. […] We just had two wars that were like that. Afghanistan’s a great example. We just had twenty years in Afghanistan [...]. Or the Soviet experience in Afghanistan.“
Full interview:

How Ukraine’s Military Has Resisted Russia So Far, 03.03.2022 - "Ukraine’s soldiers have blown up bridges to halt advancing Russian ground troops. Its pilots and air defenses have prevented Russian fighter jets from conquering the skies. And a band of savvy Ukrainian cyberwarriors are so far beating Moscow in an information war [...]. Armed with shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons, they have attacked a mileslong Russian armored convoy bearing down on Kyiv, the capital, helping stall an advance plagued by fuel and food shortages, and stretching a march that was expected to take a handful of days into possibly weeks. [...] Ukraine has succeeded in slowing the Russian advance, but has not been able to stop it, nor is the resistance strong enough to shift Russian President Vladimir V. Putin’s war aims. Over the long term, U.S. officials said, it will be difficult for Ukraine to continue to frustrate the Russian advance." - read more:

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