Planned Redeployment or the Beginning of Collapse? – Opinion

In the week that has just passed, Russia’s position in Kharkiv collapsed. There are two explanations, and both involve an endgame for Putin’s War.

The center of gravity, Donbass, is what has been the focus of most commentary about military operations in the past week. This was followed by the besiege of Mariupol. My view is that the Ukraine-Russia border has the most important activity. Kharkiv was under constant artillery fire and rocket firing, but most of that destroyed.

You can also see the significant shift in northeastern Kharkiv’s positions over the past week. The tweet I have attached below shows you a side by side comparison between the frontline today and one week ago.

The Ukrainian counteroffensive pushed Russian artillery beyond Kharkiv. But the biggest news is that Ukrainian troops crossed 40km to the Russian border. Russian troops appear to have begun withdrawing from the area.

As I’ve pointed out many times, the Russians attempt to do too much with too few assets. Their inability to mobilize overwhelming forces at critical points on the battlefield is due to this diffusion of effort. We see four distinct operations currently underway with Russia at the tipping point of technical and numerical inferiority. The Kharkiv operation, the one that targets northern Donbas and the third targeting southern Donbas are all centered. Kherson is the fourth and fifth, with politicians pushing for an additional campaign to seize Odesa in order to create a land bridge linking Russia to Donbas and Crimea. Two of these campaigns are actually supporting each other at most. Some of these campaigns are critical (Ukraine’s Future Depends on These Three Fights That Russia Must Win), and some are sideshows, but the point is that only one campaign should be ongoing. All other activities take assets that can be used to the main effort, and grind them down. The concept of the “tyranny of numbers” doesn’t just apply to computers. Russia launched the war using 120 battalion tactical units (BTGs)

A BTG with full strength will be able to support 600-800 soldiers. Evidence is mounting that the Russian BTGs didn’t enter war at their full strength. They are now at less than half strength. There are only 100 BTGs left. They can be divided up into five separate campaigns so that no one is unable to accomplish anything.

Kharkiv was a campaign to secure some Ukrainian units while reducing the number of Russian units. The Russian army never had the fighting power necessary to seize a large city. In addition, the Russians had more troops that the defense forces needed. After the Battle of Kiev, Ukraine’s actions show that it does not intend to physically invade Russia (though it might use air, missile, and special forces strikes against key assets). Russia should abandon its attack on Kharkiv, reconstitute the units and send them to the Donbas campaign.

The other possibility is that we’re seeing the leading edge of a loss of will on the part of the Russian Army. Multiple reports have indicated that combat refusals were reported and there was an unauthorised retreat.

This could be done in an area like the one north of Kharkiv. They have fully committed their resources and men to counteroffensive in order to drive the Russian artillery out of Kharkiv. The Russians, on the other side, are on a lower priority front and may be eating hind teat when it comes fuel, food and ammunition. It can prove difficult to stop the Russian troops if they aren’t on board with the plan.

Ukraine is expected to expel Russian troops in Ukraine from the rest of the country, except Donbas, if the Russians’ current movement continues. What is it?

It could be that it was a decision to withdraw from a no-win situation and to use the troops in Donbas to more effect. In that case, it will signal that Russia’s war aims have been reduced to annexing Donbas (see Russia Is Creating Facts on the Ground to Support Annexing Eastern Ukraine). The tactical withdrawal of troops from Kharkiv will also return territory under Ukrainian control to Donetsk Oblast and give Moscow a bargaining chip for any future negotiations.

However, moral breakdowns such as the one experienced by the German Army 1918 will not help this situation. We will see this happen once more in the coming month. Units that were involved in heavy fighting for almost 90 days, and now feel the brunt from Western European weaponry, should decide to stop having fun and make their own decisions.

Putin could be leaving Donbas in order to give up his troops, and establish a new border to cease-fire talks. This move, regardless of its motivations, can be seen as part of an ending.



About Post Author

Follow Us