Written by – Elijah J. Magnier:
At Rumyantsev-Paskevich palace, in the Byelorussian city of Gomel not far from the border triangle of Byelorussia-Russia-Ukraine and near the Pripyat Rivers, the Russian presidential delegation waited on its Ukrainian counterpart in an attempt to find a solution for the war. The Russian delegation is led by former culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky and other Defence and Foreign Ministry representatives, but the Ukrainians failed to show up. Whatever the outcome (success or failure), any potential meetings would mark the beginning of talks between the two belligerents, away from the US-NATO intervention that has only fuelled the conflict and permitted Kyiv to challenge Moscow. The invasion of Ukraine may not stop immediately unless – which is probably unlikely from the first meeting – Ukraine accepts to sign a neutrality agreement and submit to the Russian attackers who are around the capital. However, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – who fled the capital for a more secure location in the west and close to the Polish borders – still believes the west is his best choice. Therefore, until convinced otherwise, Russian President Vladimir Putin will continue his military incursion until he achieves his desired objectives.
For President Zelenskyy to leave the capital without announcing it aims to keep the morale of his troops high without giving a feeling of abandonment that could lead to the capitulation of Ukraine faster than expected. Moreover, it also indicates that the west, mainly NATO, is undoubtedly guiding the battle against Russia in a joint military operation, which is behind the idea. Having Zelenskyy far away and in a secure location allows the west to reject the recognition of any pro-Russian government and follow the example of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the former Yemenite president living in Saudi Arabia -or pro-western Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader of in Venezuela. That would force Russia to take in its arms the state of Ukraine and its well-being, or any plan B that President Putin may have foreseen. Undoubtedly, President Putin will not be intimidated by any western plan and is ready to challenge the European and American leaders and meet his objectives.
It is not the first time Russian President Vladimir Putin has confronted a group of Western countries led by the United States. Instead, Ukraine is the second battlefield in which Moscow puts its security above the economy, like Syria, which was the first experience where it took lessons in war. Indeed, the Syrian war raised Russia’s economic and military readiness. Russia participated in live combat drills in the Levant to prepare for the significant battle that Putin seems to be preparing in Ukraine.
This conflict does not lead to an all-out military war with Europe, yet. Instead, it is now a European-American economic war that Russia erupted against and will determine the outcome in the light of the results and the speed with which the battle is conducted. Note that Ukraine is not part of the European Community nor a member of NATO.
Moreover, there is no parity between the Ukrainian and (superpower) Russian forces– which could quickly finish the battle had they decided to use excessive force and overlook civilian casualties, as happened in the three weeks of US and allies’ war to occupy Iraq in April 2003. Russia encircled the capital Kyiv in less than three days, while the US and the most robust coalition of mighty armies needed six days to reach Baghdad. Most of the population was against President Saddam Hussein, and the Iraqi military was poor, inadequately equipped, and disbanded.
The Russian forces engaged in the first three days of the battle were only a third (around 50,000) of the troops massed along the border for weeks before the beginning of the offensive. The Pentagon estimated the presence of approximately 130,000 – 150,000 soldiers. On the fourth day, Sunday the 27th, the Kremlin ordered to inject additional forces totalling half of the prepared troops and keep the remaining half on alert pending the third wave of attack, if necessary.
These Russian forces, cast in the early days of the battle, are considered spearheads that used organic weapons (tanks and mechanical mechanisms) to open the road, breach the Ukrainian lines and test the defensive fortifications. The objective was to build a bridgehead to allow additional fire support troops to progress towards the main Ukrainian cities and Kyiv capital. The nature of the course of the battle determines the possibility of injecting new forces unless the completion of the tasks assigned to the offensive forces, which aims to subjugate Kyiv in the coming days, falters.
Russia destroyed over a thousand objectives representing the most critical military centres, command and control bases, airports, and air defence systems. Russian military commanders began assessing areas of strength and weakness of the Ukrainian army and setting goals based on the success or failure of each offensive stage daily. The advance of forces was reinforced from the west with secondary forces from the Chernobyl nuclear plant coming from Byelorussia in the north and north-east and from the south starting from Crimea to create several advance fronts. The main mechanical armoured force advanced from the east, reinforced by airborne troops and special operation units landing behind Ukrainian lines to control important military centres and various airports. Russia fired hundreds of precision strategic and cruise missiles and launched drones, helicopters and winged aircraft to bomb several selected targets. Ukraine announced that it had blown up some bridges linking the capital, Kyiv, with the northern and eastern regions to prevent the progress of Russian tank columns advancing towards the capital. This indicates the balance of power in the field, notably when only Russia reached the Capital in two days of battle, unlike media and military experts alleged. Regardless of the attempt to blow-up bridges, Russia is known for its enormous ability to use floating bridges, which can carry more than 60 tons, enough for armoured vehicles to cross, depending on whether
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