The military update on the war in Ukraine: Putin sends political messages with missiles

Of Andrea Marinelli and Guido Olimpio

Russia wages a war of attrition. For the first time, Moscow has employed a hypersonic weapon and continues with the tactics seen in Grozny and Aleppo – a threatening sign. The Russians can wait longer, and make it weigh on the negotiations

Putin uses the arsenal to deliver political messages. For the first time, he employed a hypersonic weapon and continues with the – ancient – tactics seen in Grozny and Aleppo: indiscriminate cannon fire, which does not make a great distinction between military and civilian targets. The Tsar wages a war of attrition to wear down as much as possible the opponent and the defenseless population, thus aiming to have a position of negotiating strength. The day started with a surprise: a Kinzhal would have hit an underground deposit in the Ukrainian west, the great rear. It is a missile that spins ten times the speed of sound, launched by Mig 31 and Tu23, difficult to intercept, can carry – if needed – a nuclear charge, it is guided by sensors that increase its accuracy.

The latest news on the war in Ukraine

What matters here is its use. It is a threatening sign, proof that the Russians are ready to resort to any means. They avoid exposing fighters (they have lost many, in fact they have relied on cruise ships), but hit with an “uncommon” device, which evokes the Kremlin’s constant references to super weapons. It is a way of indirectly alluding to the unconventional “spear”, knowing full well the effect on Western public opinion. HI Sutton, a naval affairs analyst, speculated the presence of an Akula-class nuclear submarine in the eastern waters of the Mediterranean, a maritime space where the Russian task force which uses the Syrian port of Tartus as a shore crosses. Another expert, Rob Lee, points out that Putin’s aviation continues to have a minor and in any case not decisive role. And this affects the opposition of the opponents. A “weakness»Already highlighted but that the General Staff is not yet corrected. Perhaps because he is unable.

Together with the missile exploit, Moscow continued to hammer. He covers the sorties of his troops and wears out the enemy. The Russians have entered Mariupol, a martyr city, where the resisters are closed in some pockets: the eventual conquest – analysts warn – will allow for move resources to other targets in the south, a region where Ukrainians must always be careful not to get trapped. It is clear that Moscow is gaining ground, albeit not as fast as expected. Long lead times can be a disadvantage – conflict becomes swamp – but also an advantage, taking into account the non-infinite resources of the Ukrainians, especially if the Russians manage to interfere with Western supplies. Kiev mourns the deaths of over 80 soldiers in the Mykolaiv barracks in the south.

In the northern sector, however, engineers have begun to build underground positions where tanks and armored vehicles entered, no longer aligned along the road axes that had made them vulnerable to ambushes by light resistance units. It is still observers who provide insights by examining the satellite photos: some of these “holes” do not have the step that allows the wagon to “go out”, fire, and then re-enter the shell of earth. Small details for specialists, but noteworthy to evaluate the whole: this type of solution is temporary, but it is also an indication of a moment of waiting, while the long calibers plow the neighborhoods.

The picture remains the dramatic one of the last few days. The Russians target inhabited areas with everything they have, conduct bets meeting the usual resistance of the attacked. Cannons, guided missiles, rockets make it possible to “beat” the enemy lines in relative safety. It is the boa that suffocates, there is the intent to make life impossible for those who are locked in a basement, in a tunnel, in a garage. The usual logistical nodes remain, the experts repeat: the tsar does not seem to have enough numbers to close the stranglehold on Kiev and then maintain it despite the fact that he has now committed 90 percent of the mobilized device, also because suffered heavy casualties among elite troops necessary to conquer territory and take control of the capital.

The Guardian relaunches the news of the arrival of 150 Syrian mercenaries, hired by Moscow to increase the ranks, the vanguard of a contingent that could be larger. Cannon fodder, cutthroats responsible for homeland killings: ideal for “cleaning” plans. On the other hand, there are losses, as there is wear and tear after weeks of operations: consideration that applies to both contenders. This is the real advantage of Putin’s army: it can hang around longer, making it weigh on the negotiations.

Volodymyr Zelensky’s openings – mainly the renunciation of NATO and the status of neutrality – are not enough to Putin, who needs a victory to show politically and will not accept mediation: the optimism shown by the Russians on the negotiations could only be an attempt to avoid new sanctions, the Tsar could “settle” for a ceasefire that would allow him to keep the conquered territories on the ground. However, it is not clear how many are willing to sacrifice the Ukrainian president and his men to reach an agreement, which provides for the withdrawal of the Russian troops and an end to the suffering: in Kiev they have not yet made a decision, and above all they must understand how they will be able to communicate it – and get it accepted – to the Ukrainian people.

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